Tuesday 7 July 2015

Mopping up the Langdales

We'd done a few walks in the Langdales before, but not covered this exact ground, so it was a good choice to end the weekend on.  We parked in one of the car parks by the hotel at the bottom of Dungeon Ghyll (cunningly named the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel).

Difficulty: 6
Walkers: Tim, Caroline
10:39, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (98)
12:46, 6.7km 2h06 566m, Rossett Pike (651)
14:30, 11.3km 3h50 810m, Pike of Stickle (709)
15:03, 12.6km 4h24 916m, Thunacar Knott (723)
15:22, 13.4km 4h43 950m, Harrison Stickle (736)
15:54, 14.4km 5h14 999m, Loft Crag (680)
17:22, 17.0km 6h42 1022m, End (100)

We started up the path we had come down when we walked up the Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell on honeymoon, I always remember that descent being really quite hard, and it was certainly a lot easier going up on fresh legs.  The weather didn't really look that promising though.

Still the cloud would occasionally lift and give us both hope and a stunning view.

The route we took to Rossett Pike was great, up until the path disappeared after we reached Angle Tarn.  I'm sure this was my navigation, but it wasn't that far.

Our path woes continued on the route across to the Pike of Stickle,   In parts it was good, but we ended up walking freestyle for most of the first stretch before the crossing with Stake Pass.  This picture shows the Pike sticking up - it took a bit of persuading before Caroline got up.  In fact I had given up and gone up myself, had enjoying the view and taken some pictures before I looked behind me and saw Caroline had clearly got bored waiting and had made it to the top.  A small amount of climbing up is needed...

The view from the top, probably taken when I was waiting for Caroline.  Thankfully the cloud had really started to clear, so we were getting reliable views.

I love this picture - I'm sure some foolhardy people go this way, but not us.

Following a fairly tedious cross country stretch we made it to Thunacar Knott.  I suspect that with the obvious views from the peaks around the cliff edges many fewer people make it over to here.

Harrison Stickle, with a great panoramic view taking in Pavey Ark on the left, to Stickle Tarn in the center and Loft Crag to the right.

Our final peak for the day, Loft Crag.

Monday 6 July 2015

Steel Fell from Grasmere

After missing out on Gibson Knott with the girls, this seemed like a good walk to do, and not just as it would annoy them!  However, it was also quite a bit shorter than the previous day, which was good as we were suffering the after effects slightly, but also didn't go up spectacularly high on a day with lots of cloud cover promised.

Difficulty: 5
Walkers: Tim, Caroline
10:04, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (68)
11:10, 3.5km 1h05 345m, Helm Crag (405)
11:48, 4.9km 1h44 425m, Gibson Knott (420)
12:37, 6.9km 2h33 567m, Calf Crag (537)
13:20, 9.4km 3h16 661m, Steel Fell (553)
14:45, 14.5km 4h41 686m, End (68)

We started the same way - parking in the large car park at the bottom of Grasmere, walking through the village, then up over Goody Bridge then the bridge over Easedale Beck.  We climbed the route up to Helm Crag, all the time comparing it to the fun we'd had encouraging Evie up there.  This photo is from just below the top of Helm Crag, looking back over Grasmere to the south.

Caroline, resting at the top of Helm Crag, with Easedale Tarn hidden to the left.

We finally made it far enough to get to Gibson Knott, with the number of lumps and bumps along the ridge it wasn't that surprising that we'd missed it the time before.  It wasn't quite as dark and brooding as this photo indicates...

My lovely wife, onwards and upwards (with the walk, rather than the wife).

Calf Crag, looking north, with the ridge of High Raise and Ullscarf behind.

Same location, looking south.

Going further along towards Steel Fell, looking at the ridge we had come along - with Helm Crag at the left hand edge, and Gibson Knott one of the rocky lumps towards the right.

Steel Fell, looking north towards Thirlmere.

We came down out the end of the ridge, I have a vague memory of feeling the need to go quite fast at this point. Quite possibly because this was a 1.45pm, and we had another 4km to go and then a half hour back to the Duck - I'm betting I was trying to make it back in time for afternoon tea...

Sunday 5 July 2015

We never meant to go to Helvellyn

The plan for this walk to do the ridge north of Helvellyn. We parked at the car park at the north end of Thirlmere, after driving up from the Drunken Duck following a hearty breakfast.  I love breakfast at the Duck!

Difficulty: 9
Walkers: Tim, Caroline
10:03, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (172)
13:03, 10.6km 2h59 669m, Clough Head (726)
13:58, 13.6km 3h55 904m, Great Dodd (857)
14:21, 15.0km 4h17 908m, Watson's Dodd (789)
14:39, 16.1km 4h36 969m, Stybarrow Dodd (843)
15:15, 17.9km 5h11 1099m, Raise (883)
15:31, 18.9km 5h27 1138m, White Side (863)
16:09, 20.9km 6h05 1296m, Helvellyn (950)
18:50, 27.6km 8h46 1377m, End (173)

We started with a longish walk north, along the valley, a great way to get some miles down on the flat for a change.

 After around the head of the ridge, we found the fairly obvious path going up, which brought us up to Clough Head.  This photo is looking north, towards Kewsick with Derwent Water on the left and Bassenthwaite in the center.

My lovely wife at the top of Clough Head.

Moving south down the ridge it took less than an hour to make the 3km to Great Dodd, where we met a group of people obviously doing some kind of extended expedition or orienteering - still, they took a rare picture of both of us.

Following the path south we got to Watson's Dodd.

The next was Stybarrow Dodd.   Just beyond this was the first point (Sticks Pass) that we could sensibly turn back home, but the weather (after a very promising early morning) hadn't deteriorated that badly, so we were keen to complete the walk and turn back after getting to White Side.

Going further down the ridge, and quite a bit higher, is Raise.  This picture is looking east towards Ullswater,

This is another picture from Raise, but looking at the path up the ridge towards Lower Man, with Helvellyn to the center and Catstye Cam sticking up to the left - White Side is just out of shot to the right.

And finally we reached our destination, the top of White Side.  For a while I had been thinking that we could always carry on to Hellvelyn, after not having made it to the top on our honeymoon, and I suspect Caroline may have been thinking the same thing, since it seemed an obvious choice at this point!

And so begun the walk up to Lower Man.  After reaching this point you really start to dislike the drop down before going back up to Helvellyn!

The weather closed in at this point, but approaching Lower Man we got great views looking along Swirral Edge going up to Catstye Cam to the left of this picture, Ullswater in the distance.

So after hours of walking, much serious climbing, finding that the sheep just are up here all the time does make you feel a little envious for the sheep...

Occasionally the cloud cleared a little, giving glimpses of the Edges and the tarn below.

Caroline, on the other hand, was very glad to have made it this far!

And so the long trek down began.  We lost the path at a couple of spots, including once at the top of a steep slope going down to the valley floor, which wasn't great.  It was also raining quite a bit by this point, enough that we got completely soaking and waterproofs became less so.

Still, the odd view was worth capturing.  I think that descent, especially after the length of the walk, broke both of us a little - legs and knees were quite sore.  Caroline also got a huge blister from her old boots - I'm pretty sure this was the last chance and they were binned fairly quickly afterwards.