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Base Brown from Langdale? Oh go on then!

Base Brown from Langdale? Oh go on then!


Postby malky_c » Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:32 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Base Brown, Bowfell, Eagle Crag, Esk Pike, Glaramara, Harrison Stickle, High Raise (Central Fells), Sergeant's Crag, Thunacar Knott

Hewitts included on this walk: Base Brown, Bowfell, Combe Head, Dovenest Crag, Esk Pike, Glaramara, Harrison Stickle, High Raise (Central Fells)

Date walked: 16/09/2021

Time taken: 10

Distance: 28.5 km

Ascent: 2650m

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Hewitts: Harrison Stickle, High Raise, Dovenest Crag, Combe Head, Glaramara, Base Brown, Esk Pike, Bowfell.
Date: 16/09/2021.
Distance: 28.5km.
Ascent: 2650m.
Time: 9 hours, 50 minutes.
Weather: Warm and sunny with occasional overcast spell on Bowfell.

Another day out on my own from the lodge at Langdale. Although we were on holiday, I had actually been doing a couple of days of work through the week, and I rapidly moved this full day off from Friday to Thursday after seeing the forecast. This turned out to be a good move :) .

A little later than intended I cycled the 3 miles or so up to the Old Dungeon Ghyll, and I was walking just before 9am. I had a rough plan in mind - pick off the outstanding Hewitts of Base Brown and Combe Head (a new one that had appeared since I was last on Glaramara), maybe add in some Wainwrights I hadn't been up (Sergeant Crag and Eagle Crag), and include a few classics that I'd been up before (Harrison Stickle, Glaramara and Bowfell). Most of this is not particularly logical from Langdale, but it's where we were staying and I had no desire to drive anywhere to look for parking - Stonethwaite and Seathwaite would probably be mobbed. Plus it gave a good long day out, something I've not done much of this year.


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Raven Crag above the ODG

It was a lovely morning and unsurprisingly people were already up and about. I took the path up the eastern side of Dungeon Ghyll which leads between the Pikes. However I was sure that there would be a more direct way up Harrison Stickle. I was correct - in fact this could have been my descent route from about 20 years ago. I remember slithering around over big drops in the snow shortly after Christmas, wondering where we had gone wrong. There are a couple of brief scrambly moves and great views down onto Stickle Tarn and Pavey Ark, and before too long I was at the summit.

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Pike o Blisco and Crinkle Crags

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Stickle Ghyll

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Pavey Ark emerging

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Approaching the steep bit of Harrison Stickle

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Pavey Ark and Stickle Tarn

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Down Langdale to Windermere

I thought about going over some of the other nearby summits but didn't bother in the end. Pavey Ark is close by but the southeast face is a lot more interesting than the top. Instead I pushed on over Thunacar Knott to High Raise - the actual high point of these hills, but also the least distinguished. There was a little bit of cloud sitting over Great End and the Scafells, but other than that it was one of those lovely end of summer/beginning of autumn days.

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Pike o' Stickle and Esk Pike

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Blea Tarn to Pike o' Blisco

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Bowfell and Esk Pike

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The back of Helvellyn

After High Raise it was time to go off piste a bit. There is a bit of a path towards Sergeant's Crag but I missed it higher up. No matter - as I left Langdale behind, a whole new load of interesting views appeared ahead in the Borrowdale direction. Just past the summit of Sergeant's Crag, I stopped on a big slab of rock for my first break of the day.

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Down into Langstrath from Sergeants Crag

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Langstrath and the side of Glaramara

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Stonethwaite and Borrowdale

The path was more obvious in the direction of Eagle Crag, which was another nice summit. I retraced my steps a short distance from here to make the descent down into Langstrath. I had a feeling this would be a bit wild and I was correct - in fact it was even heavier going than I imagined!

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Sergeant's Crag from Eagle Crag

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Looking down into Langstrath

The beginning was in deep heather, then shallower heather and scree, then deep bracken, scree and rocks. It took me the best part of an hour to get down - more than double my estimate, but it complied with malky's no. 1 rule: every visit to the Lakes must include at least one section of Scottish-style terrain :lol: .

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At the bottom of Langstrath

I picked up the path on the east side of Langstrath and followed it to Blackmoss Pot, where I crossed the river. There were quite a few people swimming and exploring the gorge here, so I went upstream of the slightly to fill up with water.

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Blackmoss Pot

I hadn't really decided how to get onto Glaramara. Jackie's parents had climbed up this flank a couple of days earlier anticipating some kind of path, but hadn't found one. I was less concerned about paths but was sure I could at least find something better than what I had just come down. The ridge of Cam Crag looked like it might be a good scramble, but I wasn't sure so I just went up steep ground to the north of it. There were animal tracks for a bit, and higher up the terrain wasn't to vegetated, so it wasn't a bad route at all.

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Cam Crag - could have potentially been a good route up

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Looking back to Eagle Crag and Sergeant's Crag

I hadn't specifically planned to visit the summit of Dovenest Crag but I was almost on it so I made the small diversion. It was interesting to get a proper look at the terrain up here - it is probably some of the roughest in the Lakes. I had come over Glaramara and Dovenest Crag in 2018 after camping out on Seathwaite Fell, and seen nothing due to poor visibility and spindrift blowing right into my face for the entire morning.

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Bessyboot from Dovenest Crag

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Great Gable and Pillar

Next were the numerous lumps and bumps I needed to cross to get to the summit of Glaramara. One of these was Combe Head - when this was promoted to a Hewitt recently I was hopeful that I'd been over it on my previous walk, but of course then I had been trying to find the shortest easiest route off the high hills and bypassed it entirely. It was very nice but no more so than any other lump of rock in the vicinity.

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Combe Head from Dovenest Crag

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Looking down the Combe of Glaramara

I was on an obvious path again for the final ascent and had another break overlooking the next bunch of hills to the west - I haven't seen these in a while. Right opposite was Base Brown, which by my stupid route would involve a 550m descent directly down the side of Glaramara followed by over 400m straight back up the other side :roll: .

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Great Gable, Pillar, High Stile and Base Brown from Glaramara

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Great End and Seathwaite Fell

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Glaramara above Grains Ghyll

The way down was pretty steep - good turf high up, loose stones and dodging around outcrops lower down and mid-height bracken at the bottom. All in all it took quite a high level of concentration but was much faster than my first stupid descent of the day.

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Looking down on Stockley Bridge

At Stockley Bridge there was a bit of reprieve in using the path towards Sty Head. This got me 150m of my ascent (not that I saw anything much of Taylorgill Force - it is well hidden), so I only had 300m or so of steep pathless hillside to take me onto Base Brown. Once past the initial bracken this was straightforward.

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My descent route

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Base Brown from Stockley Bridge

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Stockley Bridge

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Base Brown above Taylor Ghyll Force

The route off Base Brown was a mostly grassy descending traverse down to Styhead Tarn which wasn't too bad, then it was motorway paths all the way home. I had another stop at Sprinkling Tarn and a very quick paddle - more of a foot wash really.

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Sty Head with Great End, Scafell Pike and Lingmell ahead

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Styhead Tarn and Great End

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Great and Green Gable

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Sprinkling Tarn and Glaramara

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Above Sprinkling Tarn

It would be easy enough to head back to Langdale via Rosset Ghyll and Mickleden from here, but I thought I may as well throw in a couple more hills since I was feeling good and the weather was decent. While I didn't pass many crowds on my rather odd route, there was a trickle of people passing by in most places all day. After passing a couple descending from Esk Hause, the trickle largely dried up.

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Great Gable and Sprinkling Tarn

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Esk Pike

Esk Pike was still in the sun but another band of lower cloud was moving across the highest Scafell summits and towards me. Would it engulf Bowfell before I reached it? I hoped not.

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Great End from Esk Pike

I was all clear of the clag on Bowfell, but by the time I reached the summit it was a little grey. I was headed for The Band next, but decided to divert via Great Slab and the Climbers Traverse if I could find it. The top of the Great Slab was easily located so I dropped down the faint path next to it. This took me away from the sunshine (if it chose to re-emerge) but also past lots of interesting rock scenery. The traverse out to the top of The Band was longer than I remembered.

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Langdale Pikes from Bowfell

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Lingmoor and Pike o' Blisco from Bowfell

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On the summit ridge of Bowfell

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Scafell and Scafell Pike from Bowfell

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Great Slab of Bowfell

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Coniston Fells and Crinkle Crags from Bowfell

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Bowfell summit

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High Raise and the Eastern Lakes across Great Slab

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Below the Great Slab

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On the climbers traverse out from Great Slab

On my way down The Band the sun did come back out, with some lovely evening light across the Langdale face of the Pikes. I made quick progress down the path to Stool end, then it was a bit of a plod back to the ODG along the tarmac driveway.

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Pike o' Stickle from The Band

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Langdale Pikes from The Band

To round off the day I had a quick pint at the ODG before cycling back to the lodge. A very satisfying day out 8) .
User avatar
malky_c
 
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Re: Base Brown from Langdale? Oh go on then!

Postby Pointless Parasite » Wed Sep 29, 2021 8:44 pm

You're insane.

A great report and a great peakbagging round. You did right to leave Pavey Ark for another day. Jack's Rake is one of the Lake Distict's finest routes and needs to be savoured.
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Pointless Parasite
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Re: Base Brown from Langdale? Oh go on then!

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Sep 30, 2021 11:58 am

That has to be the most off the wall route to Base Brown ever!!! :roll: :roll: :roll:

But looks like it was an absolutely cracking day.
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Alteknacker
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Re: Base Brown from Langdale? Oh go on then!

Postby dav2930 » Thu Sep 30, 2021 8:15 pm

I wonder if anyone ever before has set off from Langdale with the conscious objective of bagging Base Brown? :think:
Seeing your route on the map, it doesn't actually look as crazy as it sounds. Still a heck of a lot of up and down, though, esp. taking in Glaramara too. You must have had a surfeit of energy (should maybe plug you in to the national grid?) :lol:
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dav2930
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