by johnkaysleftleg » Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:39 am
Wainwrights included on this walk: Dodd, Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head
Hewitts included on this walk: Grisedale Pike, Hobcarton Crag, Hopegill Head
Date walked: 23/09/2020
Time taken: 3.75
Distance: 10.7 km
Ascent: 760m6 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).
Sometimes things don't go to plan. My initial idea for this day was to make my way to Borrowdale to do a few of the Western Fells which are quite accessible from there. A road closure at Rosthwaite however added an extra hour to my overall travelling time so I decided to change tack and bag a few of the better Birketts I'd yet to visit in the North West.
I decided upon a Hobcarton Round which would take in three stray Birketts including both Ladyside Pike and Hobcarton End both of which looked well worth a visit. I spent a bit of time ensuring I could access the open fellside from the Whinlatter forest both out and back just to be sure and with a fine forecast in the offing I figured I could even add a wander along to Whiteside from Hopegill Head (AKA Lakelands finest mile) and back.
Everything in place what could go wrong? I got up at 6:00AM for the drive over and checked the met office forecast for Grisedale Pike which had looked great for the last few days,rain clearing by 3AM, bit of mist till about 10 but clearing to sunshine from then on out, to find it replaced by a solid line of FOG. Huummm? That mornings updated fell forecast was still optimistic for a fine clag free day in the main so something was fibbing.
Of course I set off anyway with doubts about just what the slabs on the final pull up Hopegill Head might be like when wet and as I made my way down the A1 and over the A66 in frankly awful wet conditions it became obvious that the fell forecast wasn't going to pan out. A few patches of blue and a sighting of Causey Pike's summit did lift spirits a little but pulling into the small parking area (still free!) at Hobcarton it was hard not to fear the worst.
We set off in the gloomy conditions, there were a few optimistic signs to the West but my mind set was for a damp clag ridden wander, always best get your head in the right place for the challenges ahead. Soon enough following a few zig zags up the forestry tracks I found the stile that led me to open fellside.
Setting off up the forestry Road
A bit of false hope given by a sliver of brightness to the West
A fairly lush looking Hobcarton Gill
...and in portrait
Escape to the open Fellside
The route by the wall up to Swinside is probably a bit of a dull slog on a good day, the less said the better today but the unimpressive 'summit' was soon attained, not one of the better Birketts.
Clag on the Fells North of the Whinlatter pass
Just about the last view for a good while
Swinside - probably not that impressive even on a good day!
The walk should have go a lot better from this point forward but with visibility down to around 10 meters or less it was more a case of keeping going and waiting for the cairn on Ladyside Pike to loom out of the gloom. We stopped here and had food, with me trying to imagine just what the views might be like and Hughie attempting to get me to give him my food once he'd scoffed his own.
My thoughts now turned to the slabs up the side of Hopegill Head, I'd looked down from the summit before and recalled it looked quite steep, also it was a sure thing that it would be greasy as well, still no harm in having a look.
I picked my way upwards taking great care before I actually came across a decent path which look me to the summit. A mixture of relief at getting up here was tempered by disappointment at the total lack of views from one of the finest viewpoints in England.
Summit Cairn of Ladyside Pike
Some Locals question my Sanity
Not looking great if I'm honest
Still not looking great!
Made it! Hughie on Hopegill Head Summit
I couldn't see any real gain in doing an out and back to Whiteside so I set off along the familiar route to Grisedale Pike. There were plenty of folk about but apart from when we passed the sense of muffled quiet was nice, making up in some small way for the lack of views.
We had lunch on Grisedale Pike, enjoying a brief moment of hope when the sun threatened to break through before feeling the drops of rain that would continue for the remainder of the walk.
All so Quiet
The Sun makes a cameo on Grisedale Pike
It would have been very easy to head off in the wrong direction given the conditions so I took a bearing to make sure I ended up on the the ridge to Hobcarton End and set off in the light but persistent rain. The general sense of disappointed was increased when wandering along this ridge as the thought of the lovely views which I was missing out on, views I hadn't previously enjoyed, dominated my thoughts.
Eventually our altitude dropped enough to drop below the cloud base and finally a view over the Vale of Keswick was observed, most welcome and more than enough to make me want to retrace my steps on this walk in the future when conditions are better.
An unimpressed Hughie on Hobcarton End
A View at last
We had no problems getting back into the forestry land, some very wet areas apart, and soon arrived back at the parking area and the waiting car. Not a memorable day but one to certainly revisit once conditions are good and lockdown conditions permit.
Autumn on the way
29th September 2020, 2.75hrs 6.4km 380m
A few days later I was back in the Lakes this time with Nicola as we finally got to enjoy our anniversary night (20 years ) which had been held over from May. The weather was a distinct split with the Saturday providing perfect conditions and the Sunday being wetter than an otters pocket.
A nice gentle stroll up Dodd was chosen and enjoyed before realising we had forgotten our clothes for dinner and had to do a mercy dash into Keswick to buy replacements
Here are a few photos from the walk.
Setting off up through the woods
Beautiful light in the woods
Sunny fellsides, better than last week!
Beautiful view point a little below the summit
Summit of Dodd Wood
Light and shade over Dewent water
End of Bassenthwaite with inversion over the Solway.
Grisedale Pike and friends
More glorious light over Derwent Water
Last weeks walk looking a lot clearer
Looking over Bassenthwaite to Barf
Fly agaric mushroom
by dav2930 » Mon Jan 18, 2021 6:41 pm
by Sgurr » Tue Jan 19, 2021 12:04 am
by johnkaysleftleg » Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:17 pm
dav2930 wrote:Your Hobcarton Round is a very interesting and unusual route and a great way up Hopegill Head, JK. The clag may have hidden the views but it's always nice getting out on the fells and conditions like that have a certain atmosphere. I did almost the same route a couple of years ago (in October I think) but took a more direct route to Ladyside Pike from the Hobcarton valley up the side of the plantations. I think your route via Swinside looks better. I love the slabbiness of the final bit up to Hopegill Head which, as you say, is a fabulous viewpoint. From Grisedale Pike I went down the NW ridge but was tempted by the N ridge which you took. Will have to go that way next time. Superb photos from Dodd wood - love the one of the fly agaric.
Thanks Dav, it was a good route, inspired by stray Birketts, not sure I'll ever complete these however given Pillar rock is amongst them
Sgurr wrote:2nd one looked much better weather.....as it should for an anniversary walk, even on the wrong day. Don't think we'll finish the Wainwrights now husband seems to have followed breaking his hip with doing in his back...but who knows. Maybe in time for our 60th anniversary, next year. ....had it not been for lockdown, he would never have got out his bike and hit that bollard....shall just have to enjoy your lovely reports. Never even kept my promise (made in front of an Any Questions panel "How Does the Panel intend to celebrate Brexit") of climbing Great Cockup on January 1st.
Thank you Sgurr, sorry to here about your other halves heath issues, still as you said, you never know.
I'm sure there would have been a few folk on Great Cockup on on New Years day who were kindred spirits, I'm all for a national monument to Brexit being built on the top just tell Boris and his chums it's name is freedom hill or some other trite nonsense and we'll get it built in a jiffy.
by trailmasher » Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:54 pm
by johnkaysleftleg » Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:35 pm
trailmasher wrote:A couple of decent walks there JK and a shame that you didn't have Dodd weather for the walk to Ladyside Pike etc as it is indeed a great round for views on a good day. When I did the same hills on a similar round I had your Dodd weather so grateful for that Great report with pics as usual and be good when we can all get out properly again BTW, congrats on your 20th
Thanks TM most kind. I'm not too disgruntled with the Hobcarton round weather, just means I get a ready made excuse to re-visit.
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