Author Topic: Catstycam & Birkhouse Moor  (Read 2421 times)

Ridge

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Catstycam & Birkhouse Moor
« on: 10:52:47, 06/06/08 »
Catstycam and Birkhouse Moor
The aimless wanderings of Ridge & Son

People here who know these hills, and I guess that is quite a few, are probably already working out the route, which should be either over Helvellyn or via Red Tarn. No one in their right mind would go
Helvellyn Youth Hostel - Catstycam - Helvellyn Youth Hostel - Birkhouse Moor - Helvellyn Youth Hostel
as this involves retracing your steps and loosing all the hight you worked so hard to gain. So guess what we did. We had not plan on doing this route it is just how the day worked out. We did have a plan, it was a good plan, here is the plan

The Plan

- 9.00am leave Helvellyn Youth Hostel in dappled sunshine, a smile on our lips and a spring in our step
- Walk all the way up Glenridding Beck, not forking left for Red Tarn
- Up the north side of Catstycam
- Swirral Edge to Helvellyn then on to White Side and Raise
- Back to Helvellyn YH via Sticks Pass
- Slap up meal accompanied by Cumbrian Ale and culminating in chocolate pudding

But things did not go to plan

The Reality

9.00am leave Helvellyn Youth Hostel in torrential rain. The clouds were gently caressing the lumps on top of Glenridding Dodd at 1450 feet and we were planning to be higher than that for most of the day. After some discussion, Son is desperate for Helvellyn as his highest top so far is Skiddaw, I agree that we will go and have a look.

So off we go, crossing the river to head towards Red Tarn, on a day like this one we are following major paths. As we round the bottom of Catstycam we dissapear in to the cloud and the wind starts to throw the rain at us in white lumps. We arrive at where Red Tarn should be but it is hiding from us so we press on up to Swirral Edge. Here we turn right and, buffeted by the wind, walk up to the top of Catstycam.


It is the views that make it all worth while.

We walk back down the edge and look the few yards that we can see along Swirral towards Helvellyn. A brief discussion follows;

Ridge - There is no way I am taking you across Swirral Edge in this weather Helvellyn will be there another day.

Son - But what about erosion, Helvellyn may have been worn down by the time we get to do it.

And so we headed back down, almost immediately meeting a family from the YH, we stop and discuss our decision and they decide to go and look for themselves. Shortly afterwards we meet a couple who ask how far to Striding Edge and we point at the map a bit. Then all the way back down past where Red Tarn is still lost and then back out of the cloud, at least it had stopped seriously raining. Down, down, down to sit on a wall near the YH and eat early lunch. I didn't find out until that evening that while I sat there thinking perhaps we should have waited a while and tried Swirral, the family we had met were hanging on for dear life with one of their daughters verging on panic wishing they had followed us.

So what to do with the afternoon, well in front of us is Birkhouse Moor and son wants to try scrambling the north east ridge.



So off we go, it is a slippery scramble but never scary.



We take a last look at Ullswater before disappearing in to the clouds.



and eventually get to the cairn on the end. We sit to eat and watch the path ahead of us disappear as the cloud thickens even more. When visability is down to about 3 meters we go along the ridge and then back down the Mires Beck path and along to the YH. All day we have seen 13 people and a dog.

Back at the YH we put all our belongings in the drying room and us in the shower, it had been a really good day. Some things do go to plan, there is a slap up meal and Cumbrian Ale and a slab of chocolate pudding so large it should appear on an OS map.

And the next day?

9.00am we leave Helvellyn Youth Hostel in dappled sunshine a smile on our lips and a spring in our step.....
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

kirbstones

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Re: Catstycam & Birkhouse Moor
« Reply #1 on: 11:12:28, 06/06/08 »
Well done, both of you and if the discussion about accidents on Helvellyn http://www.walkingforum.co.uk/index.php/topic,1388.0.html is anything to go by, a wise decision.     It'll still be there another day and the view is really worth waiting for.

Phil
www.lakeland-walks.co.uk - guided walking in the Lake District and beyond.
www.windermere-way.co.uk - a walk around England's largest lake.

Ridge

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Re: Catstycam & Birkhouse Moor
« Reply #2 on: 16:02:24, 06/06/08 »
Well done, both of you and if the discussion about accidents on Helvellyn is anything to go by, a wise decision.
I was a bit worried going off path up Birkhouse in such poor visability but I figured that the top is narrow enough that so long as we kept going up we would be OK.

Quote
It'll still be there another day and the view is really worth waiting for.
We did it the next day and my son did say how glad he was we had turned back the day before.
We didn't do Catstycam again as it is hard to explain to him why you would want to do the same hill twice as you can only colour it in on your Wainwright chart once. I've never gone up the north side but it will wait for me.
So instead we went back up to Red Tarn, Swirall Edge, Helvellyn, Helvellyn Lower Man White Side, Raise and then because it was supposed to be a 4 Wainwright walk on to Stybarrow Dodd and back down over Green Side on what was a perfect day for walking.
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

kirbstones

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Re: Catstycam & Birkhouse Moor
« Reply #3 on: 17:45:50, 06/06/08 »
why you would want to do the same hill twice as you can only colour it in on your Wainwright chart once.

Hmmm.  Not got one of those.  I've climbed Helvellyn numerous time.  It's always worthwhile, pics are of Striding Edge and summit last March
Phil
www.lakeland-walks.co.uk - guided walking in the Lake District and beyond.
www.windermere-way.co.uk - a walk around England's largest lake.

Ridge

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Re: Catstycam & Birkhouse Moor
« Reply #4 on: 21:39:14, 06/06/08 »
I've climbed Helvellyn numerous time.  It's always worthwhile, pics are of Striding Edge and summit last March

He'll come round to the idea of repeats in time, and Helvellyn he really loved, at the moment he's still got plenty of new ones left to try.

Your pictures are great, the first looks like it should be in the Alps
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

kirbstones

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Re: Catstycam & Birkhouse Moor (& Helvellyn)
« Reply #5 on: 09:42:52, 07/06/08 »
Yes, it was quite a good day.  Sunshine and snow showers.  Here's a few more pics from the same walk.
Phil
www.lakeland-walks.co.uk - guided walking in the Lake District and beyond.
www.windermere-way.co.uk - a walk around England's largest lake.