Author Topic: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw  (Read 1064 times)

richardh1905

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Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« on: 16:49:41, 07/07/20 »
Wild Camp - Back O'Skiddaw - Carrock Fell, Knott, Great Calva       6-7th July 2020

Let loose at last! But where to go?

After much pondering, which included Langdale (the Howgills one), High Street from the east, Helvellyn from the north, I decided upon a hike over the empty country "Back O'Skiddaw", and see where my feet took me. The weekend was a washout and a bit of a blow was on too, so I went for Monday night, parking up at Mosedale, north of Mungrisdale (just south of the Caldew bridge) and getting on the hill at about 11:20, a little late perhaps, but that is no disadvantage if you are camping out.



https://my.viewranger.com/route/details/MzE3OTQ3MQ==

Up over Carrock Fell first. I had spotted a path on the map, winding it's way up the steep eastern end of Carrock Fell, so I thought that I would give it a go. Unfortunately this was not the well made miners track that I had hoped for, but a steep, loose, eroded and downright nasty climb up scree and then a gully, no fun at all with a 10kg pack! And it was like Picaddilly Circus - I overhauled a group of 6 strung out along the gully, and met a solo walker and two mountain bikers with their bikes across their shoulders who were descending. What a relief to break out onto the more open heathery slopes above! Bilberries and fine views helped me up to the summit, where I donned Gore Tex as it was pretty windy.


Looking back down the nasty path up the eastern face of Carrock Fell - up until now I did not have a 'banned list'!


The well built summit cairn of Carrock Fell, Blencathra to the left


A view down into the wilderness of the upper Caldew valley, Blencathra to the left, Skiddaw to the right


Fluffy clouds above the Eden Valley

After a pie and a fruit bar, I continued westwards, weaving my way through a watery maze before the going improved as I climbed up towards the col south of High Pike. I was passed twice by a man not in the first flush of youth who was riding an electric mountain bike. High Pike was off route and didn't look very interesting from this direction, so an easy decision was made to leave it for another day. I had planned to go over Great and Little Lingy tops, but I had spotted the Lingy bothy and the well used track leading to it, and I fancied a look - good call as the hut was in a beautiful spot, and it was a good place to take a rest out of the wind. Had a socially distanced chat with a couple who arrived shortly after I did - the hut is just big enough to allow this!


The Lingy Hut - note the steel hawsers used to lash it down! Even so it looks rather wonky.


The interior is pretty basic, but it was good to get out of the wind and take a breather.


Room with a view


Mosedale far below, Bowscale Fell to the right

The couple departed and it was with some regret that I did the same shortly afterwards - but it was too early in the day to think of stopping, and I'm wary about sharing for the night right now. The path continued towards Knott, and was boggy for a while, becoming drier as the path climbed steeply onto the grassy eastern ridge. The summit was a good viewpoint, and I'm sure that there must be some good pitches nearby, but it was still rather too early to be thinking of calling it a day.


Spotted this large caterpillar whilst crossing the boggy area
EDIT - pretty sure that this is an Emperor Moth caterpillar


High Pike and Carrock Fell from the eastern spur of Knott


The view south was pretty good too!


Skiddaw from the broad grassy summit of Knott

I descended south westwards down easy grassy slopes towards Little Calva. The sun made an appearance and I stopped half way down the final slope and had a laze on the heathery grass - my daydreaming ended abruptly when a large dark cloud made an appearance and blotted out the sun - time to move! I didn't see much point in climbing to the top of broad boggy Little Calva; instead I took the path that made a rising traverse towards the summit cone of Great Calva. The path turned out to be very boggy, the ground quivering at times.


Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite Lake from the slopes of Knott


Great Calva with Skiddaw beyond


South from the summit of Great Calva - Helvellyn and Thirlmere in the distance, Lonscale Fell middle right


Criffel across the Solway Firth - Binsey is the sunlit hill to the left

The wind had really picked up now, and I decided against trying to camp high. Little Calva didn't look too inspiring in any case. I hurried southwards, down wet heathery slopes that seemed interminable. I was starting to cast my eye around for a likely pitch, but all I saw was exposed heather and bog, so I pressed on up to Skiddaw House hostel. After a snack to restore flagging mind and body, I turned north eastwards down a good path that descended towards the young River Caldew, pleasant late afternoon walking but still no likely pitch. By now I had my sights set upon Wiley Gill, which runs between Great Calva and Knott. I turned off the main path and entered an untrodden land of heather, bracken and bog - I began to lose heart. But I had to press on, and eventually my persistence paid off and I found a tiny grassy pitch near the stream - luckily I have a tiny tent!


Great Calva from near Skiddaw House  - the hostel is shut due to coronavirus, but looks like a great place to spend a night or two


Down the Caldew valley towards Carrock Fell

The tent was new to me (Lightwave T10 Trek), and I was still getting used to it, but I had it pitched and secure by 1900, despite there being a lot of rocks lurking just under the surface. Snacked and dozed until 2100, when the sun made a brief appearance.


Settling in for the night as the sun sets - I had found an utterly remote spot well off the beaten track


Blencathra in the evening light


Evening skies

I had a pretty good night in the tent, my only company being the rumbustious Wiley Beck a few metres away - at one stage I awoke with a start dreaming that the noise of the beck was a quad bike approaching me in the middle of the night! Up and away after left over hard tack at 0520 - I like to start early. Unfortunately the clouds were down on the higher fells, but at least the wind had dropped.

I fought my way back through the heather and bracken to regain the main track, and from here I enjoyed a very pleasant amble back down to Mosedale, in no particular hurry to get anywhere.


Lonscale Fell across the wilderness of the upper Caldew valley, Skiddaw lost in the clouds. Skiddaw House is visible amongst the trees.


Carrock Fell getting closer...

I resisted the temptation to just head on down the road to the car, and instead turned up the Grainsgill Beck valley to have a poke around the disused Tungsten mines - MORE DETAILS HERE. My heart wasn't really in it, to be honest, and I soon made my way back down to the main valley.


Tungsten Mine Valley - the little lump on the skyline is the Lingy Hut

The public road down Mosedale makes for pleasant walking - to the left are the steep scree and juniper covered slopes of Carrock Fell, whilst to the right is the lush green farmland of the valley floor, with the slopes of Bowscale Fell beyond. I was delighted to get a good long view of a red squirrel, running along the top of a dry stone wall to the safety of some trees perhaps 100m away.

17 miles in total. A good first post lockdown wild camp with the new tent.


Looking back up Mosedale
« Last Edit: 15:55:14, 08/07/20 by richardh1905 »
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watershed

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #1 on: 17:08:57, 07/07/20 »
Excellent report Richard. Looks a great walk once up that path.

ninthace

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #2 on: 17:29:25, 07/07/20 »
I see they have done the Lingy Hut up.  Before it looked like a rejected shed from the back of a garden centre and the only thing that stopped it blowing away was the weight of the concrete slab inside.  I think the steel guys would just have ripped out of the wood.
 Last time I was there it was a snowy winter's day and I was grateful for the shelter but given there are two perfectly good pubs not that far away, it is not a place i would have chosen to overnight.
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Dodgylegs

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #3 on: 17:39:18, 07/07/20 »
Loved that Richard!




Ridge

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #4 on: 17:40:35, 07/07/20 »
Wow, when I said take pictures to make us jealous you took me at my word didn't you.


Great photos, all of them. Last time I was on Carrock Fell, a couple of years ago, the lovely cairn was one huge wasp nest. I think that is the same time that the hut was closed because they were refurbing it.

karl h

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #5 on: 18:33:25, 07/07/20 »
Lovely clear pics from a Great outing Richard O0
That path up the gully up from Stone Ends farm to Carrock has become really eroded over the last few years so much so that last time I did Carrock I used the miners path on the north/north east side which for some reason is not shown in it's entirety on the map.
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veracocha

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #6 on: 19:05:33, 07/07/20 »
Felt like I was there, thanks for taking me out. Great write up.

richardh1905

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #7 on: 20:11:47, 07/07/20 »
Thank you all for the replies  :)
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richardh1905

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #8 on: 20:12:42, 07/07/20 »
Lovely clear pics from a Great outing Richard O0
That path up the gully up from Stone Ends farm to Carrock has become really eroded over the last few years so much so that last time I did Carrock I used the miners path on the north/north east side which for some reason is not shown in it's entirety on the map.


Satellite imagery also shows a thin path up from the SE, although I also see the yellow of gorse!
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gunwharfman

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #9 on: 20:12:54, 07/07/20 »
Really good. Bought back memories when I walked from Keswick to Carlisle last year or was it the year before? It was when we had a Meet in the YHA Rosthraite. I left there after a great weekend and then walked to Edinburgh. I recognize the mining route, the climb from there up to the top was not so good but the hut was a very welcome sight, I remember I was so cold that day, the wind was bitter. Love the photos.

richardh1905

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #10 on: 20:14:35, 07/07/20 »
Thanks gwm. The hut would be a welcome sight on a cold windy day in November!  :)
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karl h

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #11 on: 21:03:53, 07/07/20 »

Satellite imagery also shows a thin path up from the SE, although I also see the yellow of gorse!
I know that path did exist because a friend said she had done it a few years ago. I read in Stuart Marshall's walking the wainwrights  book that it had fallen into disuse and lost in the gorse
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Ridge

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #12 on: 22:14:03, 07/07/20 »
Satellite imagery also shows a thin path up from the SE, although I also see the yellow of gorse!
I know that path did exist because a friend said she had done it a few years ago.
I went up Carrock from the Swineside road heading up just outside Mosedale in 2016, I guess that is where we are talking about. There was evidence of a path near the road and odd sections once the ground started to level out towards the top but not much between the two.

richardh1905

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #13 on: 22:18:36, 07/07/20 »
Link to Viewranger route added after map
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richardh1905

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Re: Wild Camp Back O'Skiddaw
« Reply #14 on: 21:07:03, 08/07/20 »
More on the Lingy Hut, if anyone is interested. The benches would sleep 4, I would guess. There is a stainless steel shelf for cooking on, a fire blanket, two candle holders and a poo shovel. I also spotted a pack of cards and a bottle of tabasco!


Quite tempted to stay the night sometime in the autumn - quite a view to wake up to!
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