Author Topic: Completing the Wainwrights  (Read 17990 times)

Brandywell

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Completing the Wainwrights
« on: 20:09:40, 21/09/11 »
Mrs Brandywell has never been one for ticking off lists of summits, but as she was approaching her 60th birthday, she wondered if it was possible to complete the Wainwrights in less than seven weeks before the big day.   After much trawling through her diaries and memories she reckoned she'd done 185, leaving just 29 to do.  Looking at the list of what was left to do they were scattered all over the lakes, left for "another day" or too inconvenient to fit into the days walk.  I must add that she'd done many of the fells on her own, no mean feat considering she is hopeless at navigating (a failing which she readily admits to) and is happy to follow any old sheep trod.!

I thought they could be done in 11 walks, albeit involving a bit of driving between some of the fells.  Kate chose what was to be her final summit and what order to do the walks.  I just went along ... for the most part.   This is the story . . .
 
The Fusedale Rim ...and a bit more
 
Bonscale Pike
Arthur's Pike
Loadpot Hill
Wether Hill
Steel Knotts
Hallin Fell
 
We parked by St. Peter's Church above Howtown.  The weather forecast said it was going to be a fine day but it was a bit overcast when we set off, taking a path behind the church which descended under Steel End towards Howtown.  The steep western slopes of Bonscale Pike looked a bit intimidating as we walked up the lane to Mellguards and through its courtyard to reach a gate onto the open fellside.
 
From the gate I usually head straight up on a path above the wall which zigzags up to a gill, but the start of the path was completely overgrown by tall bracken so we carried on left for a short distance before embarking on the direct path which is a lot steeper but has better views which we could appreciate as the weather was improving.
 
The summit of Bonscale Pike was soon reached, a fine viewpoint for Ullswater.  We had a look at the Bonscale Towers before descending south east to cross Swarthbeck Gill and climbed the easy slopes above it to the summit of Arthur's Pike.
 
The views from Arthur's Pike are ok but the summit is set too far back on the ridge to make them outstanding so we backtracked a little to pick up the Roman road towards Loadpot Hill.  The road bypasses the actual summit so we left it at the Lambert Lad boundary stone for a path rising alongside Loadpot Hole directly to the trig point, this appears to be a "new" path that has been created by Wainwright baggers over the years.
 
The summit of Loadpot Hill is a cheerless place so we passed over it to have a break at the site of Lowther House.  Nothing much remains of this former hunting lodge and stables, just the concrete base.  The tall chimney that AW sketched is now little more than a heap of stones but I remember it as a substantial landmark that was visible for miles around.  We were joined by a group of 8 walkers who had started out from Pooley Bridge and were heading for Wether Hill before descending to Howtown to catch the ferry back to Pooley Bridge, not the first time I've met walkers doing that on these hills.
 
The walkers departed and we followed them on to Wether Hill.  This is right up there with Mungrisdale Common as the most boring/pointless hill.  The cairn doesn't even seem to be on the highest point, the wooden stake is of course long gone but the boundary stone, lying on its side, is still there as part of the cairn.  The walkers turned off to descend directly towards Fusedale, they must have been anxious to catch the ferry, I've never descended by that way, the map shows a path but it's not very evident on the ground.  We carried over the northern top and the col beyond it then angled down to intercept the grooved path near Mere Beck which led down to the ruined hut at the head of Fusedale.
 
The best part of this walk is the section from the hut to the summit of Steel Knotts (and beyond) which is why we left it to the last.  After a boggy crossing to gain the col north of Gowk Hill the path slips round the side of Brownthwaite Crag and over rocky knolls before the final rise to Pikeawassa with wonderful views throughout down to Martindale and the high fells to the west.
 
I tried to persuade Kate to stand on the sharpest of all the Wainwright summits but she was having none of it.  ::)    We had our second break here before continuing over the summit ridge and descended the blunt,and steep, north-west ridge over Birkie Knott back to the car park. After dumping the sacks in the Land Rover two tired spaniels jumped in too, thinking their walk was over for the day.  However, they weren't disappointed to be told they had another short walk in the offing . . . the ascent of Hallin Fell and a relaxing sit by the massive cairn from where we could see our day's entire route.
 
9.25 miles
2,990 ft of ascent
6 Wainwrights done ..... 23 to go
 

 

Descending past Steel End towards Mellguards with Bonscale Pike straight ahead
 
 

Fusedale from the ascent of Bonscale Pike, Pikeawassa on Steel Knotts is on the right
 

Hallin Fell from the climb to Bonscale Pike
 

The foot of Ullswater from the summit of Bonscale Pike
 

Hallin Fell and Ullswater from the summit of Bonscale Pike
 

The Bonscale Towers
 

Loadpot Hill from Bonscale Pike
 

Pikeawassa
 

Bannerdale from Steel Knotts
 

Descending the north-west ridge of Steel Knotts with Hallin Fell, our final summit of the day, straight ahead
 

Climbing Hallin Fell, Steel Knotts in the middle distance with Loadpot Hill and Wether Hill on the skyline
 

Martindale from the slopes of Hallin Fell
 

The summit of Hallin Fell
Watch where you are putting your feet : AW

Cheviot Stroller

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #1 on: 20:14:19, 21/09/11 »
Excellent photos and TR  O0   Can't wait for the next instalment  ;)
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Crib Goch

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #2 on: 20:31:54, 21/09/11 »
Excellent report and photos John.
 
We were over the same tops a few weeks ago, but we did it as a linear walk with one car at Pooley Bridge, the other where you parked. Oh, and we omitted Hallin Fell, as Claire has earmarked that for number 214 - she has nine to go.

Ridge

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #3 on: 09:32:45, 22/09/11 »
Lovely, great photos and report.
 
I did this walk a couple of years ago but had to miss out Hallin Fell as we were worried about missing the last ferry back to Glenridding. It is very peaceful up there as not many people get round to that side of the lake.
 
Looking forward to the next 10 reports, are we allowed to know where has been picked for the last one or is it a secret?

jonathan

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #4 on: 12:28:47, 22/09/11 »
great photos and trip report. Steel Knotts/Pikawassa is the only Wainwright I have to do in that area; gonna combine it with a ride on the steamer  :)
207/282 214/214 190/190 212/251

ramblingpete

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #5 on: 12:47:00, 22/09/11 »
Lovely John - great report and pictures...it never rains when you're out and about does it ;)

Brandywell

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #6 on: 18:01:30, 22/09/11 »
Excellent photos and TR  O0   Can't wait for the next instalment  ;)

Thanks Yvonne - the first few are nice big grassy hills,and you can catch the ferry back to Pooley Bridge.  ;)


We were over the same tops a few weeks ago, but we did it as a linear walk with one car at Pooley Bridge, the other where you parked. Oh, and we omitted Hallin Fell, as Claire has earmarked that for number 214 - she has nine to go.

Good choice Martin  O0   It would be nice to cruise over to Howtown from Pooley Bridge and have Claire's objective in view throughout - that would be a wonderful experience.  :)
 
 
 
Watch where you are putting your feet : AW

Cheviot Stroller

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #7 on: 18:04:55, 22/09/11 »

Thanks Yvonne - the first few are nice big grassy hills,and you can catch the ferry back to Pooley Bridge.  ;) 
 

Thanks for that John  O0 O0
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Brandywell

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #8 on: 18:20:38, 22/09/11 »
great photos and trip report. Steel Knotts/Pikawassa is the only Wainwright I have to do in that area; gonna combine it with a ride on the steamer  :)

Hope you have a nice day for it.  The Steel End ridge looks interesting.  O0

Looking forward to the next 10 reports, are we allowed to know where has been picked for the last one or is it a secret?

That's put me on the spot.  :)   Do you really want to know ? I'm struggling to write that one up.  ::)
 
Lovely John - great report and pictures...it never rains when you're out and about does it ;)

Doesn't it  :o   I've never really noticed  ;D
 
 
Watch where you are putting your feet : AW

Ridge

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #9 on: 18:45:21, 22/09/11 »
That's put me on the spot.  :)   Do you really want to know ? I'm struggling to write that one up.  ::) 

I guess I can wait.

Brandywell

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #10 on: 20:16:47, 22/09/11 »
The Kinniside Fells .... in search of buried treasure
Grike
Crag Fell
Lank Rigg

 
We parked up at Scaly Moss on the Cold Fell road between Gosforth and Ennerdale Bridge. I was born and grew up at the foot of these fells and used to walk them long before AW wrote his guide to the western fells.  Walking back a short distance along the road we started up the old mine road that runs along the northern slopes of Blakeley Raise to enter the forest which extends for about 3 miles along the southern slopes of Grike and Crag Fell.
 
They are now cutting down large areas of the forest and there were a few heavily laden trucks descending the forest road below us.  It felt strange to return here and see all the changes. I remembered the time when this was a young plantation, much smaller in area than it is now and the trees just a few feet high.
 
We crossed the forest road which was all churned up by the trucks and continued along the mine road which generally keeps to the top end of the plantation.  The felled area to our right enabled us to have a good view of most of the intended route. A stile beside an iron gate led onto the open slopes of Grike, we paused here for a while to watch yet another giant truck being loaded up with huge logs.  The path up to Grike was new to me, it certainly did not exist back in the 1960's, we used to gain the summit from the highest point of the mine road a few hundred yards further on from the stile.  The summit of Grike, referred to locally as the Stone Man, has a large cairn which is thought to be the remains of a bronze age tumulus and has been hollowed out to form a wind shelter.  Kate had a sit in it but promptly jumped out again when a swarm of angry wasps emerged from a hole at the back of it.
 
Needless to say we did not stay on the summit but headed off towards Crag Fell.  The depression between the two tops was not as boggy as I remembered it.  On the way we passed a large communications mast together with a small compound containing a weather station and yet more forestry staff marking up trees for felling.  We had a break and something to eat in the lee of Crag Fell's summit cairn enjoying the view of the Ennerdale valley, the high fells at its head were covered in cloud which slowly lifted as the weather improved.
 
A good path led SSE towards the depression of Black Pots, crossing a stile in the forest fence and through a boggy forest ride beyond to exit the forest by a steel gate.   Then we followed the Ennerdale Fence for a short distance before traversing over the wide slopes of Whoap.  There were  three walkers on the summit, the only people we saw all day, apart from the forestry workers.  We carried on SW, without visiting Whoap's summit, down to the small col at the head of Whoap Beck to make the 400ft climb to the summit of Lank Rigg.
 
Kate knew about the treasure that AW had left on Lank Rigg but was surprised when I turned over a stone on the cairn to reveal a cache of coins, she turned over another stone and there were coins under that one too.  AW had left a two shilling piece under a stone near the trig column and gave precise instructions on how to find it - "there is no need to turn the whole top over as if pigs had been at it -the stone is four feet from the column"  The original treasure was found on March 12th 1966, just a day after the guide was published and it has become something of a tradition that walkers leave a coin under a stone.  I described the scene to Kate as I found it in late March 1966.  I'd read about the treasure and as Lank Rigg was only a few miles from home and clearly in view I went to have a look.  Approaching the trig point it was immediately apparent that the treasure had been found as all the stones around the column had been turned over.  Most of them had been embedded so must have been prised out of the ground with great effort.  On top of the trig column was a flat stone with a word scratched on it - 'Ta'!  I replaced the upturned stones as best I could to tidy up the summit, but left the flat stone on the column.   AW was very astute by encouraging walkers to visit this isolated top, as I descended directly to Lank Rigg Moss I turned and saw at least 10 walkers making their way up to the Whoap Beck col and the ridge to the summit, no doubt to search for buried treasure.  I'd climbed Lank Rigg many times before and had never seen anybody on it!  Even today, according to a survey of the most popular fells, Lank Rigg features as the least visited. All the stones that once surrounded the column have been gathered together and now form the cairn which I think is a pity. 
 
Kate duly left 20p in the cache and we wandered over past the summit tarn and sat by the ancient tumulus.  The three walkers that we had seen on Whoap arrived at the trig point but they never turned over the stones on the cairn instead they came over to us and we had a chat.  It turned out that one of them was a very talented artist who had been sketching the view from Whoap.  We left them as the lady artist began another sketch of the tarn and tumulus, returned to the col and walked part way down the Calder Valley back to Scaly Moss.
 
8.25 miles
2,010 ft. of ascent
3 Wainwrights done ..... 20 to go
 

 

Scaly Moss at the start of the walk
 

Grike from the old mine road
 

The Stone Man cairn on Grike
 

Crag Fell from the summit of Grike
 

Ennerdale from the south-east slopes of Crag Fell above Black Pots
 

The col above Whoap Beck, with Grike in the distance across the western slopes of Whoap
 

The climb to Lank Rigg from the col
 

Looking back from the upper slopes of Lank Rigg, Whoap on the left middle foreground
 

The summit of Lank Rigg
 

The Lank Rigg treasure
 

Looking back from above the Calder Valley to Whoap and Lank Rigg at the end of the walk
Watch where you are putting your feet : AW

footix2

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #11 on: 20:23:19, 22/09/11 »
My local fells and 1st 3 Wainwright's. It's normally very quiet. I never saw a single person last time I visited, though being local I was very early in the day.

Never checked the cache while I was there either. Too windy to hang around.

The climb to Lank Rigg from the summit is short, sharp and steep isnt it.
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Cheviot Stroller

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #12 on: 20:24:19, 22/09/11 »
I so want to do that route  O0 O0   Excellent report and pics too  O0 O0
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Ridge

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #13 on: 20:39:46, 22/09/11 »
Another great report.
 
I knew all the hills in your first report and none in the second, I must try to go west more.

dibble

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Re: Completing the Wainwrights
« Reply #14 on: 20:55:10, 22/09/11 »
Excellent trip report as always John and great to see the local hills...

thanks for this, it's an excellent read.   O0
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