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Ghosts on Eel Crag
by L-Hiking » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:50 pm
Wainwrights included on this walk: Causey Pike, Eel Crag, Grisedale Pike, Sail, Scar Crags
Hewitts included on this walk: Causey Pike, Crag Hill (Eel Crag), Grisedale Pike, Sail, Scar Crags
Date walked: 11/02/2012
Time taken: 7
Distance: 19 km
Ascent: 725m2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
It has been a while since I have had the opportunity to get out into the hills, and therefore planned to travel over the Pennines to the Lake District on Saturday the 4th February. Unfortunately the weather forecast was very poor and decided to err on the side of caution and go to the football match instead. Big Mistake, the match was rubbish and I crashed the wife’s car on the way home in a snow blizzard!
So plan B was arranged in the pub before going home to tell Carol about the scratch to her car, we would travel next week weather permitting and so on a crisp clear morning with the thermometer reading a cool minus 8 degrees centigrade, we left York at 6am.
Looking forward to this trip very much and hoped to try out my new camera, as we approached the Lake District it was obvious that the best weather had been left at home in York as it was cloudy, but reasonably clear and the forecast was encouraging. At lease there was no more snow to deal with on the roads and hopefully not on the fells today. After a good ‘Fat Lads Breakfast’ at the Little Chef near Penrith, we arrived in Braithwaite at 0900 and parked in the car park on the Winlatter road, with the temperature reading a pleasant 4 degrees.
The cloud was grey and low with visibility not very good, however we had made it with no more bumps to the car and gingerly set off up the long arm of Grisedale Pike and it was not long before the effects of the breakfast were being felt! The cloud level was pretty low and as we reached Sleat How at 500 meters there was no view at all just a dull grey curtain surrounding our immediate area, so there goes my hope of posting some decent pictures with this report.
Just then the mist looked as it was going to disappear and there was a nice view of Outerside appeared to our left and Grisedale Pike also showing its North face directly ahead. Unfortunately this clag was here to stay and it quickly reappeared and stuck for the remainder of the day. After summiting Grisedale Pike the initial plan was to follow the old broken down wall which leads to Hopegill Head via Hobcarton Crag this is a fine view point on a fine day, but quite dangerous today so we opted to follow a bearing of 203 degrees at the point where the wall bends to the right which would take us to Coledale Hause.
This journey was alien to me I have walked here a few times in the past, however the mist does have a great change on the thinking of a human mind and the inability to accurately understand your location. Coledale Hause was reached and the decision was made to carry on up to Crag Hill at 839 meters and traverse back via Sail. There were some strange shapes coming out of the clag as we approached the broad summit plateau, I couldn’t recall any wind shelters up here?
Low and behold these shaped moved and we were greeted by at least a dozen walkers having their lunch at the trig. After giving our greetings they all faded away into the mist and we were again alone in complete silence with that veil of clag hanging around playing with the mind, it was eerie and maybe a little scary. Only a few meters away were dangerous unseen crags in all directions other than the way we had approached and we had to navigate to a thin ridge, our target for safe passage towards Sail.
During all my days as a fell walker I have never been in this type of situation before totally without a view and having to rely solely on my navigation skills to find a way safely off the mountain.
I sat and thought!!! Come on Geoff you have read and practiced this many times I said to myself, but I was not confident.
I had practiced many times and was confident in my map reading and compass skills and therefore decided that from the trig point we would ravel at a bearing of 130 degrees for 50 meters and then on a bearing of 100 degrees which should lead to the ridge towards Sail. I checked and double checked..Was the map upside down? Was my compass pointing North on the map as I took a bearing? All seemed right so we went for it very carefully and found our route downwards.
What a relief!!
The walking was pretty straight forward now and after the scramble on the ridge we reached Sail then followed what looks like a hideously designed new path towards Scar Crags. I can see why there is a new path way here as there was a large scar on the landscape previously but it does not look very nice now and my view was limited and snow covered.
Causey Pike was the next summit a pretty fell with a need for some scrambling at the summit, it was not until we were well down before we were out of the clag and even then the day was very dull, but there was light at the end of the tunnel at the Royal Oak our next target and a pint of Jennings waiting at the bar.
To summarise we all had a thoroughly enjoyable day, although the views were nonexistent, but the feel good factor of successfully navigating our way around these fells in thick clag is an awesome feeling
by DaveB1 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:04 pm
by ciderpeter » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:48 pm
by SusieThePensioner » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:14 pm
I drove over to Ullswater on Sunday (12th) and once we hit the county boundary on the A66 the fog was awful, had to slow to 40mph Very misty in the Lakes but lifted slightly in the afternoon
L-Hiking wrote:Big Mistake, the match was rubbish and I crashed the wife’s car on the way home in a snow blizzard!
Well, you're winning at the moment so hope it stays that way and hope the car has been sorted out
by ChrisW » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:17 am
by L-Hiking » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:57 pm
DaveB1 wrote:Shame about the views, but the navigating clearly added an alternative buzz,
Cheers Dave, I do feel quite pleased with the effort
ciderpeter wrote: Did you enjoy the hideous path on the side of Sail?!
I agree CP that path on Sail is awful and definitely a 'Blot on the Landscape'
SusieThePensioner wrote:You must have a sense of achievement in those conditions and enjoyed your photos
Cheers Susie, I will get that camera in action soon, maybe Tenerife next week and Mount Tiede
ChrisW wrote:it must have been a great confidence booster....and you still got a day in the hills with or without views
You are right Chris, confidence is well high now, just need some of those Canadian blue skies next time