Author Topic: Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe  (Read 401 times)

richardh1905

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Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe
« on: 09:13:11, 15/07/20 »
Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe - and Grey Crag   13-14 July 2020

Determined to make the best of what is left of the summer, I planned another wild camp. Monday night fitted in best with family duties, but the forecast wasn't that promising, with a fair chance of rain and not a good chance of cloud free tops, according to MWIS. But I have dithered too often in the past because of iffy forecasts, so went for it anyway, and I am so glad that I did. I chose a late start on Monday, as the wild camping spot that I had earmarked was not that far from the start of the walk. Parked up outside the community hall at Kentmere, and was on my way at 1615.



ROUTE ON VIEWRANGER HERE

Garburn Pass proved to be hard going with a full pack, but I just settled down into a nice steady (snail's) pace, and plodded away, enjoying the flowers, and the quiet of the hills on a late afternoon weekday. The only person I met was a runner who, fortuitously for them, caught up with me just as I was going through the summit gate, so I held it open for them. I took the path north from the top of the pass, a pleasant walk over moorland, before tackling the southern slopes of Yoke, more hard work. I could see my destination, the little plateau at the top of Rainsborrow Crag, to my right, but I didn't fancy the traverse over trackless slopes with a heavy pack, so I headed on up to the summit, meeting the runner again, on his way down. After a quick photo stop (I did not know whether the summits would be clear tomorrow) I turned east and descended grassy slopes beside a fence to my chosen spot, the tiny tarn at the top of Rainsborrow Crag, being chased by some unpleasant weather coming in from the west. Arrived at 1815, a two hour walk in. I circled around the tarn looking for a likely spot, before deciding that where I had arrived was the best place after all. The tarn is tiny, but is quite deep - I plumbed it with my walking stick and only the handle was showing!

So up with the new Lightwave Trek tent - I've got used to it now and can pitch it reasonably quickly - a good thing as it is an inner pitch tent and it was starting to rain! A few more photos and then in for the night, listening to the sound of the rain pattering on the fly. No chance of any views as the clouds came down.


Windermere from Yoke, bad weather coming in from the west!


Descending eastwards to Rainsborrow Crag Tarn, as I shall call it. A lofty perch!


Weather closing in - the notch is Nan Bield Pass, with Harter Fell to the right. I must visit that quarry high on the hill some day.


All set for the night. Harter Fell and Kentmere Pike being enveloped by the clouds.

The rain continued well into the night, then the wind picked up, coming in gusts that buffeted the tent quite vigorously. But it stood it well, all part of the confidence building process. Things quietened down in the early hours, and I awoke at 0530, and was on my way at 0615 - bit of a lie in by my standards!

The plod back up to the top of Yoke was somewhat wearisome, but the weather was much improved, all but the highest fells being cloud free, and there were even a few patches of sunshine on the valley floor. Now to tackle the horseshoe, a walk that I have long wanted to complete! The ridge walk over Ill Bell and Froswick is excellent, a steep drop down to Kentmere on my right, and fine views of the higher fells to my left. A runner passed me, the first of many - in fact I met more fell runners than walkers on the hill today.


Looking down into the Kentmere Valley. My pitch was on the top of the prominent ridge.


South from Ill Bell

After Froswick, the nature of the terrain changes, broad grassy slopes replace narrow ridges. The ascent of Thornthwaite Crag from this direction is pretty gentle, and I was now in what was new territory for me, so I enjoyed the climb. The cairn is quite an impressive structure, visible from afar, but it is in a precarious state, and warning notices have been placed advising people not to shelter behind it for fear of falling rocks! Rather out of place on the hill, I feel.


Kentmere Reservoir.

The views northwards from the top of Thornthwaite Crag were lovely, and I decided to get a better view by descending a short way to the north. This turned into a walk all the way out along the ridge to Grey Crag - a long mile out and an even longer mile back! But what a fine airy promenade - well worth the extra work, especially as the clouds on the higher fells to the west were lifting. The cairn at the end of the ridge proved to be an excellent spot to take a break, my first of the day.


North from the northern slopes of Thornthwaite Crag, Ullswater in the distance, the Grey Crag ridge beckoning me onwards...


Fairfield and St Sunday Crag from the Grey Crag ridge. The long sloping ridge in the middle distance is Hartsop Above How.


Back at the summit of Thornthwaite Crag - the Ill Bell ridge and Windermere to the south

After retracing my steps to Thornthwaite Crag, I turned east and then NE to climb High Street, a very gentle wide grassy slope. It must be one of the flattest high summits in the Lake District, but the ground drops away steeply to the east and west.  I have climbed High Street before, but not from the south, so this was still new ground for me.


The remote Hayeswater valley


The Grey Crag ridge from the slopes of High Street, the Helvellyn range finally clear of cloud beyond.


Looking NW from the High Street trig point.

My descent route took me south eastwards over Mardale Ill Bell, more new territory. Easy going with good views down towards Haweswater, but the ground steepened as I descended towards Nan Bield Pass. I was delighted to find a spring, lovely clear water seeping out of the ground just a short distance from the path, and I poured away the rather suspect cloudy water from Rainsborrow Crag Tarn and refilled my water bottles. Note to self - order that water filter!


Bulky Harter Fell from Mardale Ill Bell


Small Water and Haweswater from the Mardale Ill Bell path, Cross Fell in the distance

I got a good view of the Nan Bield path descending into Kentmere, and it did cross my mind that this would be an easy way down, but I banished such weak thoughts from my head, and, after taking a photo of the shelter at the top of the pass, I pressed on up the steep slopes towards Harter Fell. And steep they were! The heavy pack was really beginning to make it's presence felt, and I crept upwards at a tortoise pace. The ridge does ease off a bit, and I got my second wind climbing the final slopes up to the broad summit of Harter Fell, dramatic views down to Small Water and Hawes Water, and back towards the Ill Bell ridge distracting me from my suffering.


The crazy final hairpins of Nan Bield Pass - what a ride that must be on a mountain bike!


Nan Bield Pass shelter - I like the sign.


View across Kentmere Reservoir to the Ill Bell ridge. I camped on the spur above Rainsborrow Crag far left.


Small Water and a glimpse of Blea Water from the slopes of Harter Fell, the vast High Street summit plateau to the left

I stopped for another quick snack at the unremarkable summit of Harter Fell, and drank some of that lovely spring water, but I pressed on quickly as some people were approaching from the Gatesgarth Pass direction, and I was enjoying my solitude.

The descent south over Kentmere Pike is a bit of an anticlimax, to be honest, but was pleasant enough, despite the weight of the pack, which by now was becoming more noticeable. I stopped before Kentmere Pike, just enjoying the quiet situation, my only company being a few sheep grazing the hillside ahead. The climb over Kentmere Pike was easy enough, but I didn't stop, continuing southwards down grassy and in places boggy slopes. Another rest, this time I found it a struggle to summon the energy to pick up the pack and continue!


Longsleddale with the Yorkshire Dales Hills beyond

The path angles across the slopes away from the top of Goat Scar - I had thought about going along the crest of the ridge over this top, but the path proved too much of a temptation. I passed Shipman Knotts, a rocky knobble on the ridge, before dropping more steeply down from Wray Crag towards the pass between Longsleddale and Kentmere.


The Kentmere Hills

I enjoyed the last mile of road walking down the valley, but was relieved to reach the car, arriving back at 1415 - I had been on the go for 8 hours with only a few short stops. Next stop Wilf's Cafe in Staveley, for a socially distanced sausage butty and tea, then home for more tea and a long soak in the bath!

16 miles or so in total; a memorable outing into the hills.
« Last Edit: 07:55:50, 16/07/20 by richardh1905 »
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April

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Re: Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe
« Reply #1 on: 19:17:59, 15/07/20 »
Great stuff Richard  O0 We have looked at Rainaborrow Crag and wondered about a wild camp there. We ended up nearby on Buck Crag I think. The horseshoe is hard and tough enough without including Gray Crag  :o

If I didn't know better I might think you were ticking off your Wainwrights  ;)

"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

karl h

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Re: Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe
« Reply #2 on: 19:34:13, 15/07/20 »
Brilliant Richard O0
The Kentmere round is on of my favourites.
Was wondering if Wilfs was open  ;)
show your love for Lady Nature. And she will come back again.
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Ridge

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Re: Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe
« Reply #3 on: 19:35:23, 15/07/20 »
If I didn't know better I might think you were ticking off your Wainwrights  ;)
I was just about to put something very similar!


Lovely TR Richard, it is a great round.
Shame that the Thornthwaite beacon is unstable.

karl h

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Re: Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe
« Reply #4 on: 19:39:15, 15/07/20 »




If I didn't know better I might think you were ticking off your Wainwrights


I was just about to put something very similar!


He missed out the correct top on Shipman Knotts... BURN HIM  :D
show your love for Lady Nature. And she will come back again.
www.karlswalks.co.uk

April

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Re: Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe
« Reply #5 on: 19:41:29, 15/07/20 »
He missed out the correct top on Shipman Knotts... BURN HIM  :D

 ;D
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

richardh1905

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Re: Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe
« Reply #6 on: 19:52:42, 15/07/20 »
Great stuff Richard  O0 We have looked at Rainaborrow Crag and wondered about a wild camp there. We ended up nearby on Buck Crag I think. The horseshoe is hard and tough enough without including Gray Crag  :o

If I didn't know better I might think you were ticking off your Wainwrights  ;)


Thanks April - it was a great outing. Grey Crag just sort of happened - I descended a bit to see if I could get a better view down towards Ullswater, saw the ridge laid out in front of me, and just couldn't resist.


It would have been a 10 Wainwright day if I were interested in such things.  :D
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richardh1905

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Re: Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe
« Reply #7 on: 19:53:55, 15/07/20 »
Brilliant Richard O0
The Kentmere round is on of my favourites.
Was wondering if Wilfs was open  ;)


Thanks Karl - one of my favourites now.
Wilf's were very well organised, I must say.
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richardh1905

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Re: Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe
« Reply #8 on: 19:55:27, 15/07/20 »
I was just about to put something very similar!


Lovely TR Richard, it is a great round.
Shame that the Thornthwaite beacon is unstable.


Thanks Ridge, a great round indeed. Hope that they fix the beacon, would be a shame to lose such a landmark.
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richardh1905

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Re: Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe
« Reply #9 on: 20:00:28, 15/07/20 »
He missed out the correct top on Shipman Knotts... BURN HIM  :D


 ;D ;D ;D
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Mel

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Re: Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe
« Reply #10 on: 23:20:44, 15/07/20 »
Great trip report Richard.  I do feel rather fatigued just reading it though!

richardh1905

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Re: Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe
« Reply #11 on: 06:13:03, 16/07/20 »
Great trip report Richard.  I do feel rather fatigued just reading it though!


Thanks Mel  :)


I did feel rather fatigued doing it!
« Last Edit: 07:56:20, 16/07/20 by richardh1905 »
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richardh1905

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Re: Wild Camp Kentmere Horseshoe
« Reply #12 on: 07:35:55, 17/07/20 »
For those who are interested, this is what I took:

Karrimor Jaguar 66 litre rucksack, at least 30 years old [1.8kg]
Lightwave T10 Trek 4 season one man tunnel tent, new, 129 clearance model [1.7kg]
Buffalo 3 season fibre pile sleeping bag, 36 years old and still going strong [1.3kg]
Mountain Warehouse synthetic gilet for wearing around camp and as an excellent pillow
Large NEXT plastic bag for keeping sleeping bag and gilet dry
Lidl inflatable camping mattress, very comfortable [500g]
Petzl Actik headtorch (Petzl make the best, as far as I am concerned)
Spare underwear and socks in ziplock bag
Aluminium poo shovel (home made, very sturdy) [66g - yes I weighed it]
Toiletries, hand gel and toilet roll
First Aid Kit
Tiny pen knife on lanyard
Cookgear - none
Food - Higginson's pork pie, Westray oatcakes, squirty cheese, smoked cheese, mixed fruit and nuts, assorted energy/nut bars.
Sigg aluminium water bottle, 36 years old, + an old orange squash bottle (2 litres total)
Waterproof jacket and trousers, light fleece, windproof cycling jacket, buff
Maps (2), compass and whistle
Fully charged phone for photography and emergencies

All told, I would estimate around 10kg, including food and water
« Last Edit: 08:34:08, 17/07/20 by richardh1905 »
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