Friday, 31 May 2019

Wainwright’s - Wansfell Pike (Baystones) and Troutbeck Tongue

The weather forecast was not so good with showers and hill cloud the order of the day.  Driving along the shores of Ullswater there was plenty of clear sky to suggest the forecast could to be wrong. Sadly on reaching Kirkstone pass we were met by thick cloud and a heavy drizzle – the forecast was spot on.

Parking just up the road from the Queens Head Hotel on the A592 we walked along the road for a 100m or so and then branched off on the minor road to Troutbeck.

Once in Troutbeck we followed the Nanny Lane track which rose steeply up towards an area marked as the Hundreds on the map.  We were just below the cloud ceiling at this point and it all felt rather claustrophobic as a grey drizzle turned to rain and forced us to don waterproofs.  

Nanny Lane as the rain swept in

On reaching a bend where the track swung north we left the lane and headed across the fellside towards Wansfell Pike.  

Leaving Nanny Lane

The views were limited to a few metres so we just plodded our way towards Wansfell Pike. On the summit the cloud above did seem to be thinning a bit but after hanging around for a while the drizzle returned. 
Approaching Wansfell Pike summit

It is worth mentioning here that while the Wansfell Pike top is accepted (by many) as the top named in the Wainwright’s books. Others however say it the Wainwright is the highest point of the fell just over a kilometre away along the undulating ridge and is marked Baystones on the map.  To add to the confusion the grid ref we had for the Wainwright top was actually a spot height around a 130 metres north of Baystones.  The easy way to solve this was to bag them all as we were heading that way anyway.

After some very soggy going we found the cairn on Baystones . 

Baystones Cairn

After a quick break we headed off to the grid ref we had as Wainwright’s top a little over 100m away. As we did so the cloud began to lift over on Wansfell Pike

Having bagged Wansfell, Baystones and the little lump to the north we felt we had covered all bases so continued our way north towards our next objective Troutdale Tongue.

Looking back to Wansfell Pike as the cloud broke up from the northern end of the ridge

On reaching the end of the walled fields we then dropped off the fell onto the A592 Kirkstone road.

Heading for the Kirkstone Pass road
This was crossed and after a bit of pathless exploration we made away down to the stone slab footbridge over Troutbeck.  

Troutbeck Tongue from just above the stone slab bridge

Slab bridge - a nice pretty spot for a break 

A steep pull then led us onto The Tongue and our second Wainwright.

Troutbeck Tongue with Windermere beyond

The way back

From here we followed the footpath down to Hagg bridge and then followed Ing Lane back to Town Head and our start point. 

 This completes the Far Eastern Fells section, leaving us with 56 to do

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Wainwrights - Grey Crag, Tarn Crag, Kentmere Pike and Shipman Knotts.

We only had three Wainwrights left to do here, namely Grey Crag, Tarn Crag and Shipman Knotts.  The only problem was that Shipman Knotts was on the opposite side of the valley to the other two and involved descending 230m into upper Longsleddale and then climbing something like 330m up onto Kentmere Pike. The effort though was worth it.

Parking at Sadgill just after 7.30am it was straight into it as we puffed our way up the steep intake land and onto the fellside via a short easy gully.  

Sadgill and our start point below

Things flattened out a bit as we reached the top of Great Howe. From here the going was easy if a little boggy at times.  Despite the May sunshine the summit of Grey Crag was a bitterly cold place to hang around so we found a bit of shelter for a quick break.  The difference in temperature out of the wind was considerable and set the tone for a day of constant gear faffs as we added and removed layers to try and keep comfortable. 

Summit cairn on Grey Crag. Blue skies but unseasonably cold for May

From here we could clearly see the survey pillar which sits on the top of Tarn Crag, however before heading over to it we made the rather boggy detour over Sleddale Fell to Harrop Pike. 

Harrop Pike and the view towards Tarn Crag.

Retracing our steps to where the fence turned north towards Tarn Crag we made our way over some very sloshy and at times horribly bouncy ground where a thin skin of vegetation now sits atop of what remains of Tarn Crag Tarn. The tarn is marked on the map still even though nothing can be seen on the surface!   On the summit we met the first person of the day.

Survey pillar a few meres from the true summit

From the summit we followed the fence northwest to the col where the path comes in from Mosedale.

Mosedale with Mosedale cottage below the spoil heaps

After a short boggy section in the col the ground dropped away and took us steeply down to Brownhowe Bottom. On the way down our eyes were constantly drawn across the valley as we tried to work out a line of least resistance that would lead us up the slopes of Kentmere Pike.  

We could see several pathless routes up and in the end decided to ascend via the disused Wrengill quarry so that we could have a look at what remains there.

Old engine

Tarn Crag from Wrengill Quarries
Beyond the quarries we then used a wall as a handrail to lead us to the summit of Kentmere Pike. In the shelter of the wall we were absolutely lathered and down to base layers as we toiled up the hill, only to end up feeling nithered on the last section to the summit as the wall turned southwest leaving us exposed to the strong northerly wind. Here we were also greeted by a brief snow shower.

Trig and stile on Kentmere Pike
Looking at my records the last time we were here was the 7th September 1997, so a return, while not a new tick on our Wainwright’s quest, was certainly worth the effort just to reacquaint ourselves with the summit views.

View Northwest

View Southeast

Morecambe Bay and Heyham Nuclear Power Station

Now with jumper and duvet jacket back on we did not hang around and headed off in the direction of Shipman Knotts.  On the way we detoured to Goat Scar for no other reason than it looked like it would make a good viewpoint, which it did.

Longsleddale from Goat Scar
We only stopped off briefly on Shipman Knotts for a pic before making our way steeply down towards Wray Crag. 

View from Shipman Knotts back towards Goat Scar and Kentmere Pike

A very squelchy section then led us to the Stile End track.  

Nearly down. Tarn Crag (L) and Grey Crag (R) from the track

This was then followed down to Sadgill and our start point.

That’s 4 Wainwrights bagged, but only 3 new ticks as Kentmere Pike had been done previously.  This leaves us 58 to do in total and only 2 more to do (Wansfell Pike and Troutdale Tongue) to complete the Far Eastern Fells.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Wainwright’s - Sour Howes and Sallows

When we decided to attempt to complete the Wainwright’s one of the reasons was to encourage us to get onto hills we would probably not have either thought of doing, or indeed, did not think worth the effort. Sour Howes (483m) and Sallows (516m) are good examples in that they are relatively low is stature and tend to be overlooked in favour of higher neighbours such as Yoke and Ill Bell. In addition being located on the southern side of Kirkstone Pass makes them quite a drive for us, so all things considered they would not normally appear on our radar. 

Parking at Church Bridge we made our way along the Garburn Road accompanied by a few fleecy early morning commuters.

The Garburn road
The track is an old packhorse route linking Troutbeck with Kentmere. There are several similar ones here and after a few hundred metres we crossed another called the Longmire Road.

The Garburn Road runs along the lower slopes of both hills, but we left it after a kilometre or so and after crossing yet another track, this one is called the Dubbs road, we began making our way diagonally up the hillside on a faint path.  This is marked Applethwaite Common on the map and as height is gained there are good views over Windermere.

Just before the summit we came to a boundary wall.

Wansfell/Baystones, a Wainwright we have yet to do, with Troutbeck and Town Head in the valley below. 
After crossing the wall we found ourselves weaving between several hummocks, a few of which could probably lay claim to being the highest point of Sour Howes. 

As usual we wandered onto the highest ones just for the hell of it. The Wainwright top however is a little knoll in the centre. As Moira often says when we are trying to find the exact spot, you can usually tell the Wainwright top as it always gives the best views regardless of whether it is the true summit or not.  This was certainly true here and the other main top we checked out, while appearing a similar height, did not enjoy such a good a outlook.

Summit of Sour Howes with Windermere beyond

Moving on we began following a drystone wall towards Moor Head.  After a few hundred metres we crossed the wall on a stile and began the ascent of Sallows.  The going was easy if a little boggy in places and we soon found ourselves on the summit.

The summit of Sallows is marked by a couple of small stones. 
Celebrating the completion of another two hills with a coffee and a sarnie another couple arrived.  They were easy going Wainwright baggers too and like us happy to chat about all things outdoors. As is often the case when meeting strangers we had loads in common and as well as being keen campervanners like us, they actually had family connections in Teesdale where we live.

They were heading back the same way as us so we descended the hill together. We hardly noticed the 3km walk back along the Garburn road as we chatted about travels in common and put the world to rights.

Garburn road and the view towards Windermere

All in all a great day out with some good company on two lovely little hills we would never have given a second thought to. As our Wainwright journey continues I suspect there may well be a few more gems like these hidden in plain sight.

That’s 2 more Wainwright’s done, leaving us 61 to go.