Friday, 9 December 2011

Wasdale & Englands' highest

Wasdale... hadn't been there for a while, so while the rest of the countr held their breath for a fine forecast for a certain wedding, Cumbria was blessed with glorious sunshine, so off I went - Scafell Pike and Scafell were todays targets.
I've said it before, but this IS AN EPIC!! Apologies if you get fed up half way round...

A hazy shot of the classic Wastwater view. No matter the weather this place always has its own atmosphere. Well worth a visit even oif only to sit by the side of the lake (which is lakelands deepest).
No doubting where we are, but can you see the stick man shadown on the floor off the sign? Just along the road here in Greendale is the home of legendary fell runner Jos Naylor. He can be often seen in the summer out with his dogs.
Reflections of Illgill Head, aka the screes as you come down the lake. Stunning.
Not our destination today, but a shot of Kirk Fell on the left and Great Gable in the distance over the flowering gorse.
I parked at Brackenclose at the top of the lake by the campsite, and had intended on going upthrough Brown ongue. There was a group of lads heading the same way, so I headed up Lingmell for a bit of P&Q and solitude. The view down to waswater from the start of the climb.
A glance across towards Pillar at the head of the Mosedale valley. Taking this route would give great views into here.
The steep climb ahead up Lingmell - a real lung and leg buster....
... but worth it as the views in Mosedale open up. Looking over Wasdale Head, Pillar the highest peak on the right.
Over the stile and the views into waswater open up. I was huffing and puffing like an old man by now.
Did I mention the great views into Mosedale? I love this vista.
Meet Cliff... this is the name I have given to this wee fella who couldn't have been more than a day old. I heard his bleeting and located him stuck down the side of a river bed. I approached him he ran straight over, so knew he was distressed. Hoping I was doing the right thing I picked him up and carried him back onto the fellside.
With camera in one hand and Cliff in the other, I looked around fro signs of his mother, but there were no sheep around. As I headed a little further across these two seemed to show some interest, so I put him down near by and after I retreated they came over. They eventually wandered off together, so hope things worked out ok.
Scafell and the crags below, our 2nd destination today. Our path up here is via Lord's Rake and follows the line where the crags meet a slight grasssy slope in this pic.
Waswater from Lingmell col with the 'tourist path' clearly visible snaking down the hill side. Don't often use this route, but best way for todays circuit
Looking back at the col with Lingmell and Great Gable behind.
A close up Gable. The jagged rocks on this side are called the Napes, and one of my to do routes this year.
The deserted summit of England's highest - you have no idea how rare this is!! I took a shot of the summit from Scafell later, and counted over 40 people on here!!
As you'd expect on a day like today from here the views are pretty amazing - this is looking towards Bowfell on the left and Pam's lovingly renamed 'Crinkley Ride' on the right.
From Scafell Piek we head directly towards Scafell. This is Mickedon saddle my normal approach route, but this is where it ets interesting. It looks so easy to access from here, but the rock faces should be left to rock climbers. The slit here is called Broad Stand, and notorious for accidents with the unwary attempting it.
My route today via Lord's rake is a classic scramble, and is accessd by going as far along teh path above as possible then dropping down to the right, following the trail below the crags.
The path is very atmosphereic nestled below the huge rock face. This is looking at Pulpit Rock, reported to be one of the birth site of rock climbing, where teh first looney stood below it and thought 'this looks fun, let's try and climb it!' and remeber they had nails in the soles of their boots and tweed jackets on!
The start of Lord's Rake. There is a chock stone at the very top, and to give it some scale you can climb through the gap under it.
Looking back down the rake. The scree was that loose it was difficult to get a footing along here to stand still enough to take this pic!!
The top of the 1st section and the chock stone... I hope it can hold for another 10 minutes!!!
The rake consists of 3 ups and 2 downs, looking at he 2nd up.
There some amazing surprise views through the gulleys and cliffs along here.
Approaching the final 'up' of the rake, aswater peaking around the corner. I stopped along here for a butty....
.. who wouldn't with views like this. Looking across towards Mosedale again and it's surrounding fells. It was magical sat here.
A closer look at the final section of the rake. Loved the sky and that little cloud floating along.
Out of the rake and back in the sunshine on the path to Scafell, wonderful view into Wastwater with Burnmoor tarn on the left.
Top of Scafell looking towards Mosedale (again!!) England 2nd highest peak.
Of course, what goes up must come down, so after a 10 min break soaking up those amazing views, it was the steep descent. Looking back up the path.
A diffent view of Yewbarrow on the way down, this is a great fell to climb, but is always seen as a steep conical shape from the lake road.
Almost our 3 peaks of the day - Lingmell on the left with Scafel Pike centre and Scafell crags on the right. A stunning day out in perfect conditions, shorts and T shirt all the way.
A last look down the lake on the way home, the Scafell massif at its head.

Thanks for sticking with it, and epic walk and route and worthy of a long blog, would have been an injustice not to!

A Coniston round with new friends

An unplanned walk today (to a certain degree) which was a welcome surprise. I set off not sure of where I'd end up, not knowing whether to look for a high level walk or something lower. My choices were restricted when it appeared all the diesel in Barrow had sold out and I only had 50 miles left in the tank. The reports were that there were no problems on the roads apart from Kirkstone Pass, but experience told me they smaller roads would be treacherous, so I aimed for Torver and a mooch around the Coniston Fells.
I bumped into a lad I knew through cricket at the car park, and he kindly invited me to tag along with himself and his friend Brian. It turned out to be a great walk in excellent company

We set off from Torver aiming towards the Walna Scar path. I only ever set off from here when there is ice and snow around as it's easier to access being right on the main road. Brian and Gary seting off with the Old Man just visible through the trees at the top of the path.
The path leads you gently through the lower fields of Little Arrow Moor and through some old slate workings as you climb towards the Walna Scar path. This is an old quarry which has over the years developed into a pond. The waterfall at the head of the quarry had almost totally frozen over creating some wonderful shapes. Hopefully in the image you can see the seams in the rock that have been exposed through years of mining.
Onwards and upwards as we reach the Walna Scar path. Gary and Brian had said they were heading towards Dow Crag and then round onto the Old Man, sounded like a good plan to me. Heading towards the ridge with Dow Crag looming in the distance. Despite the sun it was still a cold wind.
A quick look back at our final destination of the day, a very snowy looking Coniston Old Man
The path finaly reaches a cross roads at the top of the pass. Our route today was up the zig zag path here heading for Brown Pike, Buck Pike and finally Dow Crag. This has got to be one of the coldest places in Lakeland as it is always windy and it always seems to be a cold one!! Today was no different...
Looking back down from the climb, to the right is one of Cumbria's best kept secrets - The Dunnerdale valley. A beautifully secluded spot and well worth a visit if your ever up here. The peaks as the move away from us are: Walna Scar, White Maiden, Caw and in the far distance Black Coombe.
One of my favourite shots of the day. Gary and Brian heading towards a dark and cold looking Buck Pike. There was a biting cold wind along here and conditions underfoot a little slippy in places, but simply wonderful.
Brian takes a breather along the ridge to admire the views. Looks like he's practising his 'I'm a little teapot' routine....
Dow Crags summit is a shattered pile of rocks which look as though they have been pushed skywards. So after a brief scramble over them, we began the descent down to Goats Hawse. This was a tricky path due to drifted snow and icy rocks, all being fleet of foot, we negotiated this without problems....!!
We stopped for a quick bite amongst sheltered rocks on the descent to Goats Hawse which gave us wonderful views over a partialy frozen Goats Water. I hope this image gives you some sense of scale of Dow Crag.
At the Hawse looking towards a cloud covered Scafells across Grey Friars. I've added this for a friend at work (ian Murphy - take a bow son!) who says this is one of his favourite views and I promised I'd take one for hiim next time I was up here. Not the best example due to the cloud cover, but it's a start.
My favourite shot of the day. The lads silhouetted against the lowering sun with Morecambe Bay reflecting the sun in the distance along the clim from the Hawse.
Don't jump!! On the ridge approaching The Old Man. Strangley the wind had died down a bit now and it was the best part of the day. You can just make out the summit cairn at the end of the ridge.
The boys at the summit.
A bw view from the summit, thought I'd have a play with this one, what do you think?
There were quite a few people knocking around now all enjoying the conditions. A look back down the ridge as one group heads off towards Brim Fell. The Scafells still covered in cloud in the distance.
We stopped in at Angus's memorial plaque on the way off the summit. A great view for the old lad today. Nice how the snow has failed to stick to the slate. ps Angus was the dog of Sean MacMahon who runs the web site.
It was a very slippy descent down the south face and I hit the ground on more than one occasion. Brian was showing off as he had his traction control equipment fitted, consequently I've ordered a pair this morning! There was significant cloud building up over in the east, it looked like they were getting more snow.
Back on the path now towards Torver, and the Old Man catching the late afternoon sun giving it a wonderful orange glow. Our route up can be seen starting from the left across the ridge round and then down the face of the Old Man that is looking at us.
The sunlit path as we approach the cars.

A wonderful days walking in great company and I was glad I bumped into them as I don't think I would have gone as far today if I'd have been on my own. Hope you enjoyed our outing, thanks for stopping. Ian - Gary & Brian.