The web site Caledonia Hilltreks details my ascents of the Munros, Corbetts, Grahams and New Donalds. The blog, Scottish Sub 2000 Hills describes my ascents of the Scottish Marilyns below 2000 feet. This blog will detail my ascents of the English, Welsh and Irish Hills.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Skiddaw, Lake District.


Skiddaw, Lake District, England.
Height – 931 metres. Map – BMC Lake District.
Climbed - 23 September 2010. Time taken – 8.5 hours.
Distance – 17.5 kilometres. Ascent – 1050 metres.
Trip Report Details:

We were staying in Keswick, so rather than drive to one of the starting points we walked along the old railway line then followed a path which led to Spooney Green Lane. This lane, a ‘Public Bridleway’, led round the west side of Latrigg Hill to the car park at the end of Gale Road.

From here the marked route led to a monument where the path split. The Cumbria Way headed east while we continued north up the west side of the Whit Beck. It was a fair slog up the steep gradient but eased higher up and before we reached a gate. The option here was either to go through the gate and make a direct ascent of Skiddaw or climb the path onto the Little Man. We took the second option.

There had been a couple of brief showers earlier in the day but now the heavens opened and the cloud lowered. We reached the Little Man before descending its north-west ridge to rejoin the route to Skiddaw at Broad End.

The heavy rain eased then ceased just as we approached Skiddaw’s summit cairn, trig point and indicator. We had lunch at the cairn as the cloud began to lift and break up, which allowed us views of Bassenthwaite Lake and Blencathra.

After lunch we returned along the south ridge before descending a scree path to Carside Tarn before making the short climb to Carl Side. This was followed by a long descent of it’s south ridge which was steep and eroded in places and in low cloud which had returned. The path emerged onto the public road beside Millbeck and we walked along the road through Applethwaite and back to Keswick.

Photos taken on walk.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Scafell Pike and Scafell, Lake District.

Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike and Scafell, Lake District, England.
Height 977 and 964 metres. Map – BMC Lake District.
Climbed - 22 September 2010. Time taken – 9.5 hours.
Distance – 19 kilometres. Ascent – 1600 metres.
Trip Report Details:

This was to be the longest and toughest of the three Lake District walks planned as it involved combining the ascents of Scafell and Scafell Pike. The alternative was a ninety mile round trip from our base in Keswick to climb Scafell on its own,

We drove to just north of Seathwaite Farm and, as others had done before, parked on the east verge before walking through the farm and up the east side of the River Derwent to Stockley Bridge. Once across the bridge we followed the path up the side of Styhead Gill and onto Styhead Tarn.

Just before Styhead Pass we headed across to Sprinkling Tarn where we encountered the first rain of the day. From this tarn there was a slight descent before the path climbed to Esk Hause where the showers became a bit more frequent.

At Esk Hause we had some views towards Esk Pike and Ill Crag before continuing our ascent of Scafell Pike. The cloud lowered as we left the path and climbed to the summit of Ill Crag where we had a brief view of the River Esk below. From Ill Crag we took a bearing for Broad Crag and crossed the Scafell Pike path before a slight climb onto this top. At the summit of Broad Crag we had lunch sheltering from the breeze with occasional cloud brakes to give a view of Scafell Pike.

After lunch we returned to the path followed by a slight drop to the col before climbing Scafell Pike’s north-east ridge, which was initially a bit narrow. This led to the summit where a number of folks were hanging around despite the inclement weather. We had already met several people including a few on their descent.

Visibility was pretty poor and a few paths led off the summit. It wasn’t possible to say which one we required so we took a bearing and followed it for a while before we came across a cairned path which descended to Mickledore Ridge and the mountain rescue post.

It was then a steep descent down scree to the point where we expected to locate the path for Fox’s Tarn. Visibility was poor and it had been raining steadily since we left Scafell Pike. We saw the gully with its stream but didn’t imagine it as an ascent route so satisfying ourselves we were at the correct location we took a bearing towards the Tarn and after working our way up some grassy rakes, initially on a faint path, round and over some rocks, we reached a large cairn at the top of the stream.

The next section of the walk involved following eroded paths to the summit of Scafell where it was wet and windy with poor visibility.

We returned to the cairn at the top of the stream where we met a group of walkers, possibly on a course, who were planning on camping lower in the valley. They were surprised that we had managed to navigate our way from Scafell Pike and pointed out the location of Fox’s Tarn which we still couldn’t see for the low cloud.

We decided to descend the stream gully, which was cairned at the top, and the group later followed us although we lost them in the low cloud. The path wasn’t particularly easy as it did involve a bit of scrambling over some large wet boulders and a few were quite slippery.  If the burn was in spate I think our alternative ascent route would be better.

Once back at the foot of the gully we climbed Scafell Pike by the route used earlier that afternoon. Here we stopped for a quick snack before descending to the path at the head of Ruddy Gill. Instead of following the morning’s route we took the path down the east side of Ruddy Gill with all the streams now in spate. Fortunately there was a bridge lower down to facilitate our crossing which would have been impossible otherwise.

The rain had ceased by the time we reached Grains Gill and dusk was falling so we continued across Stockley Bridge and back to the start.

Photos taken on walk.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Helvellyn, Lake District, England.

Helvellyn, Lake District.
Height – 950 metres. Map – BMC Lake District.
Climbed - 21 September 2010. Time taken – 3.5 hours.
Distance – 9 kilometres. Ascent – 985 metres.
Trip Report Details:

This was my first visit to the Lake District and after a morning spent travelling we drove south on the A591 Keswick to Grasmere Road , along the east shore of Lake Thirlmere. At the south end of this lake we parked in the car park beside Wythburn Church at a cost of £4 for four hours. Parking in the Lake District is obviously expensive.

From the north end of the car park we followed a path through the forest, across the ‘Permitted Path’ from Dunmaill Rais to Swirls, and onto the open hillside. The path followed the fence line, which ran along the edge of the forest, then above the south bank of Comb Gill before climbing round the tops of Comb Crag and High Crag.

It was early afternoon so there were a number of folks descending the path as well as few making their ascent. Higher up we left the path and climbed to the summit of Nethermost Pike. The cloud was floating around the summit of Helvellyn but we did manage views of Striding Edge and Grisedale Beck.

A short descent north from Nethermost Pike was followed by an easy climb towards Helvellyn passing a shelter before reaching the cairn perched above the east ridge. A short walk along the edge of the ridge took us to the summit trig point. The cloud broke briefly and allowed views of Red Tarn and Swirral Edge.

The descent was by the return route missing out Nethermost Pike. We made it back to the car park with half an hour to spare before the parking fee expired.