Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Steel Knotts (Pikeawassa) and Hallin Fell

In need of a leg stretch, but only having a few hours spare on Sunday, we decided to head over to the Lakes and bag a couple of the lower Wainwright's that sit on the eastern side of Ullswater.

One of the reasons we decided to make a concerted effort to complete the Wainwright's was the idea that a bit of peak bagging would take us onto hills we would probably not have bothered with.  Hallin Fell and Steel Knotts (Pikeawassa) are a case in point in that they are pretty small hills at only (338m) and (432m) respectively.  Given our limited time window, we would probably not have given them a second thought and stayed local instead.  Fortunately taken together they not only made for a pleasant morning's outing, they were both cracking viewpoints as well.

Parking below Hallin Fell near the church we headed along past Lanty's Tarn on the eastern side of Steel Knotts, where just as the sun came out, we had some grand views of the Nab, and the valleys of Bannerdale and Ramps Gill either side.

 Ramps Gill (L) The Nab (centre) and Bannerdale (R)

At Nettlehowe crag we struck directly up the hillside for a short distance and soon found ourselves on the broad ridge linking Steel Knotts and Gowk Hill. From here it was a short steep pull onto the little rocky summit marked Pikeawassa on the map. 

Here we had a laze around and a bite to eat in the warm spring sunshine before heading north towards the Birkie Knott path. 

Some grand views on the way along the broad ridge of Steel Knotts

On the way we met up with mountain dog Bingley, who along with his human companions Roma and Philip were also doing a bit of Wainwright peak bagging.

Dropping down from Birkie Knott we were surprised to see around 60 people ascending and descending Hallin Fell, with perhaps the same number on the path leading to it.

Reaching the foot of the fell, we found out this was some kind of challenge event.

To be honest with those numbers of people around we normally wouldn't have bothered heading up, but as we were only 20 minutes from the top and keen to tick it, we dumped most of our kit in the car and joined the throng.  While it was not a race people were either running, or speed walking up the hill, so we joined in the fun and soon found ourselves on the top.

Busy, but the views down Ullswater were wonderful.

That's 99 Wainwright's completed. 

Monday, 12 March 2018

Arnison Crag Patterdale

After a week of great weather in the Lakes, friends Graham and Sandra plus Moira and I, decided to head over there in the vans for the weekend.  We parked up on the campsite at Sykeside and almost immediately it started to rain, and it did so for most of the next 24 hours.

It seemed pointless to head for the higher hills, so we chose to grab a Wainwright just above the village of Patterdale.  At only 1,421ft (433m) Arnison Crag is a diminutive little hill, but it provides some wonderful views over the head of Ullswater, or at least it should if it's not raining.  It also had the advantage of a pub at the bottom and another back at our campsite.  If done from Patterdale it only takes 50 mins, but we planned to make a day of it and walk from our campsite at Sykeside.

Setting off in the rain is never fun, but as we reached Brotherswater we could at least console ourselves with some rather atmospheric views. 
 I have now got my walking companions trained to spot potential photos.  Sandra spotted this zig-zag pattern reflected in the lake .

Moving on I grabbed a few more shots of the mist and clouds

It was hoods up most of the way, until we reached Patterdale where a brief lull in the rain tricked us into removing our waterproofs.  Five minutes later they were back on and stayed on for the rest of the walk.

We took the path on the left just before the White Lion Inn and after contouring through a little wood struck off up the hill following a drystone wall.  I wasn't sure where the summit was and the 1:50,000 map simply had Arnison Crag written large over an area several kilometres square, so we just plodded up hoping to spot likely tops in the vicinity.  As the clag became thicker this proved impossible and we initially missed the path where it branched off to the top.  Instead we found ourselves on a little craggy hummock surrounded by lots of other little craggy hummocks about 200m away from the main top.  After getting out a 1:25,000 map to check properly we wandered back the way we had come and easily found the top.  Unfortunately there were no views to be had at all.  With the patter of rain on our hoods we only stopped long enough for a coffee and a bite to eat, before deciding the pub would be a much nicer place to be.  

Near Oxford crags a brief window in the clouds gave us a rather atmospheric view over Patterdale towards the head of Ullswater.

The head of Ullswater from Oxford Crag
A pint of Wainwright's (what else) provided the enthusiasm for the walk back to the campsite.

Quite an enjoyable wee hill really, and one we probably would not have bothered with had it not been on Wainwrights list. In fact I might even head back on a nicer day given the potential for some decent shots when the light is better.

Distance 13.8km