Author Topic: TR - Wetherlam  (Read 1302 times)

richardh1905

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TR - Wetherlam
« on: 15:57:14, 13/10/20 »
Wetherlam

A family ascent of Wetherlam from Tilberthwaite on a perfect autumn day.

11th October 2020


We decided to take advantage of the excellent weather forecast and head into the hills on Sunday – it’s not often that you see visibility described as ‘superb’. After a bit of discussion, which included Pavey Ark and Bowfell, we plumped for Wetherlam from Tilberthwaite.

The day dawned bright and clear, and we managed to get away at a reasonable hour, quite an achievement in our household. As we headed west, Coniston Old Man and the nearby hills came into view – quite stunning in the early morning sunshine.

Despite being reasonably early, the car park at Tilberthwaite was already filling up. We parked in one of the remaining spaces and were ‘on the hill’ at 0930. Tilberthwaite is a particularly lovely spot, lush green meadows surrounded by woods, crags and quarries, and is a great place to go for low level walks, full of interest, as well as being a good starting point for Wetherlam and the Coniston fells.



Viewranger route HERE

We had visited Tilberthwaite earlier in the year, and had walked up the south bank of Tilberthwaite Gill, through the quarries. This time we took the north bank, a well made miners track cutting up the hillside, quite steep at first, but levelling off as the track traverses dramatically above the deepest part of the ravine. The gorgeous view unfolding behind us gave us the perfect excuse to take a break.


Tilberthwaite from the miners track that cuts up the hillside to the north of Tilberthwaite Gill. Fairfield, Red Screes and Ill Bell are the three most prominent hills in the background.


The track passes below the steep southern end of Blake Rigg – crags, scree, bracken and a scattering of trees against a stunning blue sky.


The miners track levels off as it passes the deepest part of Tilberthwaite Gill. There was a huge drop to our left.

The track emerges into more open country after passing above the ravine. We took the right fork at a junction, and climbed up the beautiful valley beyond, passing more copper mines. There were quite a few other people heading up the track, and we said a few Hellos – everybody happy to be out on such a perfect day.


One of the many disused copper mines in the area, a reminder of the Lake District’s industrial past.


Wetherlam towering above the upper part of the valley. Beautiful autumn colours, bracken and wiry moorland grass.

At the head of the valley, a stone staircase took us up past more old mines onto the summit ridge of Birk Fell, where the view to the north was dramatically revealed. There followed a pleasant walk along the ridge towards Wetherlam Edge, the northern slopes hidden in the shade. Plenty of time to take in the view before the hard work began.


Looking back down the valley from the foot of the stone staircase. The shallow tarn is not named on the OS map.


Helvellyn and Fairfield were suddenly revealed to us as we reached the crest of Birk Fell


Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Pike O Blisco, Glaramara and the Langdale Pikes from Birk Fell


Wetherlam Edge – “We’re not really going up that way, are we?”

I had come this way earlier this year, on the night of the epic thunderstorm, and had had a miserable time on Wetherlam Edge due to the weight of my pack and the jungle like humidity. This time I enjoyed the climb, at times taking a more direct route up the rocks (losing the path, in other words). Tess was off the lead as there were no sheep about – she is quite good at finding her own way up rocky bits, but did have to be helped up one steep section. Quite a number of people were on their way up, bunched up a bit on the steep ground, but queuing not required, thankfully – this isn’t Snowdon!


Looking back down Wetherlam Edge from near the summit, the Birk Fell ridge and Little Langdale Tarn far below.

The ground eases off after the steep section, and shortly afterwards we reached the summit – time to enjoy the wonderful view. It was only 11:30, but we decided to find some rocks to sit on and take an early lunch – we had earned it.

And what a view! To the South West was nearby Coniston Old Man and the adjoining fells, to the north the Scafell range, Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes, glimpses of Skiddaw and Blencathra beyond. The Helvellyn range dominated the scene to the north east, with Fairfield and Red Screes further south, High Street and the Troutbeck hills beyond. Far to the east we could see the Howgills, and even flat topped Ingleborough, before the land drops away towards the Forest of Bowland and Morecambe Bay – I even spotted Blackpool Tower!


The Scafell range and Bowfell from Wetherlam


I am beginning to suspect that Tess is a closet Wainwright bagger!

Quite a few options were open to us for the descent. My wife and I quite fancied heading on, perhaps going up Prison Band onto Swirl How, and descending north eastwards along the ridge above the lonely Greenburn valley; my sons wanted to get back though, so we decided to go down Wetherlam’s broad south ridge before cutting north eastwards across moorland back to Tilberthwaite, a nice circular route. Nobody wanted to go back down Wetherlam Edge!

The south ridge is a very pleasant way down, descending gently at first so we stayed high. We lost the view of Scafell and the Langdale Pikes though, but the views to the east, south and west more than compensated for this.


Looking down on Birk Fell from the south ridge of Wetherlam


The largest of the three small tarns on the south ridge, a lovely place to spend the night.


Coniston Water with Morecambe Bay beyond


Coniston Old Man and Levers Water, scene of a sublime wild swim earlier this year.


Swirl How to the west, Black Sails to the right – hills for another day

Towards the end of the ridge, the path steepened and descended boggy ground, not so pleasant underfoot, but we pressed on and soon reached the good track that cuts across the moors from Coppermines Valley to Tilberthwaite. The colours were lovely in the autumn sunshine, bracken and wiry moorland grass turning a lovely rich brown, but our enjoyment was spoilt by the roar of scrambler bikes approaching – they tore past us at speed, not even bothering to slow down. They disappeared into the distance at speed, but we could see them climbing up the valley towards Birk Fell. But it was impossible to stay annoyed for long in such beautiful surroundings, and peace soon returned to the fells.


Heading back towards Tilberthwaite across bracken covered moorland

The last mile or so back to the car was delightful, bracken covered moors gave way to the steep hillside to the south of Tilberthwaite Gill, and we descended past disused quarries to the meadows below. A lovely varied 5 mile circuit, highly recommended for a short day on the fells.


The path traversed across the southern edge of Tilberthwaite Gill


Climbers were at play in the quarry


The meadows of Tilberthwaite




« Last Edit: 07:35:03, 14/10/20 by richardh1905 »
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pdstsp

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #1 on: 16:30:13, 13/10/20 »
Nice pics Richard - my favourite route up Wetherlam.

April

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #2 on: 19:47:01, 13/10/20 »
Some wonderful photos there Richard  O0

I've never been up Wetherlam on that route, it looks a great way up  :)
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

henryb

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #3 on: 20:33:22, 13/10/20 »
Fantastic photos Richard, I really like the view of Little Langdale from there O0  Never actually done Wetherlam, its always good to see photos from an unfamiliar area :)  I once walked 11 miles from Coniston up to Swirl How, Great Carrs, Brim Fell and the old man of Coniston. It was one of my favourite walks O0

beefy

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #4 on: 21:06:55, 13/10/20 »
Great pics richard O0
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #5 on: 21:35:18, 13/10/20 »
Nice pics Richard - my favourite route up Wetherlam.


Some wonderful photos there Richard  O0
I've never been up Wetherlam on that route, it looks a great way up  :)


Thanks pdstsp, April - the route is full of interest, right from the start. Wetherlam Edge is pretty steep though, some minor scrambling involved. And the Tilberthwaite valley is so lovely - it is becoming a favourite of mine - this was my third visit this year.
« Last Edit: 21:42:22, 13/10/20 by richardh1905 »
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #6 on: 21:41:01, 13/10/20 »
Fantastic photos Richard, I really like the view of Little Langdale from there O0  Never actually done Wetherlam, its always good to see photos from an unfamiliar area :)  I once walked 11 miles from Coniston up to Swirl How, Great Carrs, Brim Fell and the old man of Coniston. It was one of my favourite walks O0


Thanks Henry - They are a great group of hills, and it is possible to climb them all in a day - at least it was when I was younger - a lot younger!


Great pics richard O0


Thanks beefy - I couldn't really go wrong in such perfect conditions, even with my camera phone. :)
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Dodgylegs

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #7 on: 22:59:47, 13/10/20 »
Bootifull photos Richard  O0

richardh1905

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #8 on: 19:04:37, 14/10/20 »
Bootifull photos Richard  O0


Thanks Dodgylegs  :)
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April

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #9 on: 20:46:38, 14/10/20 »
I couldn't really go wrong in such perfect conditions, even with my camera phone. :)


Your photos are taken with a phone?  :o


They are fab quality photos, who needs a "proper" camera?
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

karl h

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #10 on: 20:49:57, 14/10/20 »
Lovely pics of a brilliant route  O0
Love Tilberthwaite, beautiful but also full of history  :)
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Ridge

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #11 on: 07:51:57, 15/10/20 »
Superb visibility and superb photos.
Tess probably has a list in her basket where she is ticking them off.

richardh1905

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #12 on: 12:14:06, 15/10/20 »

Your photos are taken with a phone?  :o


They are fab quality photos, who needs a "proper" camera?


My phone is a Samsung Galaxy 5 (SM-J530F), and I have been hugely impressed by the camera on it, especially landscape shots in good light, even into the sun. Telephoto is useless though, and low light focussing is very hit and miss, as is macro focussing.


I do edit the photos, mainly levelling and cropping them, but also tweaking contrast etc - I try to do so with a light touch otherwise the result can look artificial. No need to tweak the colour settings on this walk though!
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #13 on: 12:14:57, 15/10/20 »
Lovely pics of a brilliant route  O0
Love Tilberthwaite, beautiful but also full of history  :)


Thanks Karl, as I said in an earlier post, Tilberthwaite is becoming one of my favourite places; so lovely, and so much of interest there.
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Wetherlam
« Reply #14 on: 12:19:14, 15/10/20 »
Superb visibility and superb photos.
Tess probably has a list in her basket where she is ticking them off.


Thanks Ridge - no biscuits for Tess if I find a copy of Mr Wainwright's list in her basket! ;D
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