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A busy 1st of May in the Central Fells.

A busy 1st of May in the Central Fells.

Postby trailmasher » Thu May 27, 2021 7:22 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Eagle Crag, Sergeant's Crag

Date walked: 01/05/2021

Time taken: 4.57

Distance: 14.39 km

Ascent: 716m

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Eagle and Sergeants Crag.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

The 1st of May dawned nice and clear, sunny with a smattering of cloud and a cold breeze that has been hanging around for a good few days now, but I suppose as long as there is snow on the fells the chill in the air will continue to chase around after us. It was around 10 months ago that we last climbed these fells from the west side but today we decided to take the Wainwright route from the east side leaving the Greenup Edge path alongside Greenup Gill at the old sheepfold that is situated at around the 350 metre point and NY281 118.

Arriving at Stonethwaite before 9am we found plenty of space for parking, there was even room left in the hamlet by the bridge but we elected to use the lay-by at NY260 139 leaving plenty of room for local and farmer’s traffic to easily get by. So booted and bagged we set off to walk through a quiet Stonethwaite to pass by the Langstrath Inn and follow the lane through the trees above the camping site on this gloriously sunny and fresh morning. Everything looking as it should for this time of year, spring like with new leaves and shoots on trees, wild flowers, birds singing and new lambs a playing under the sun not to mention likewise walkers taking a variety of routes intent only on their own destinations, and from Stonethwaite there are plenty to choose from.

The walk along the track is stony and gently rises as it makes its way towards Langstrath Beck and we made good time along it stopping only to take in the beauty of this part of Borrowdale and photos for the album, photo’s that I have taken many times before but just can’t help taking more as every day has a different combination of light and moods.
Just after we had passed by Alisongrass Hoghouse I took my first shot of Eagle Crag with its east face bathed in sunlight whilst its north face sees very little at all. In spring there is usually a fair showing of bluebells on the east side of the crag but there were none to be seen just now, only acres of dead bracken soon to be sprouting once again to smother all beneath it.

ImageThe north face of Eagle Crag from near to Smithymire Island

It’s hard to believe and even imagine an iron ore smelting mill being on Smithymire Island all those years ago of which thankfully nothing remains and we spent a good few moments looking at the gnarled trees and rocky features of Stonethwaite Beck before moving along into Langstrath.

ImageStonethwaite Beck

A few minutes later and now with our feet just about in Langstrath I took a more intimate shot of Eagle Crag in which its ruggedness now looked a lot softer and not as intimidating as when seen from afar.

ImageEagle Crag from Langstrath Beck

And then there is Alisongrass Crag, that massive lump of grey rock stuck out from the east side of Rosthwaite Fell, aka Bessyboot, soon to be covered in the all consuming green bracken.

ImageAlisongrass Crag

The paths into Langstrath on either side of the beck are rough and stony but gets you where you want to quick enough and just to extend this walk we elected to walk into Langstrath and then do a tight U turn by crossing the beck at the footbridge and walking northeast to the footbridge across Greenup Gill from where we would continue climbing steadily alongside it to the sheepfold. The water in the becks and gills were crystal clear today and despite the chill from the breeze the rock pools looked very inviting indeed but something to be saved for a warmer day than this one.

ImageWalking into Langstrath

It was warm work walking along the enclosed path with the high fells towering above us on either side and was mostly sheltered from the cold breeze and as we passed the northern corner of Eagle Crag we saw maybe half a dozen walkers making their way up to the stile over the old wall way up under the crags. Also by this time with not much of the morning gone the clouds began to roll in saying an early goodbye to our glorious start to the day.

ImageLooking back towards Borrowdale

Still, no point in sulking so we continued the climb meandering to and fro, sometimes near the gill where we enjoyed the many small waterfalls tumbling over their short drops into many crystal clear pools.

ImageSmall waterfalls in abundance in Greenup Gill

At about the 280 metre point we arrived at the confluence of gills where Mere Gill and Greenhow Gill join two or three others as they made their way down the western slopes of Ullscarf to mingle and enlarge the flow of Greenup Gill.

ImageRock scattered fellside below Eagle Crag

A few minutes after the last photo was taken we had crossed the quiet running Greenup Gill at the sheepfold and was soon climbing the easy grassy rake, first to the west and then turning to the northwest as we followed the easier contours up and around the south side of Pounsey Crag to the wall stile just south of Eagle Crag.

ImageGrassy rakes below Pounsey Crag

Steady walking over grass soon had us with a view of Sergeant’s Crag, High Raise and Ullscarf, the latter never being out of sight anyway.

ImageSergeant's Crag

There are plenty of grey rocks poking out of the predominately grassy fell and we had left the dead bracken field behind as we walked the final few metres across the relatively flat top towards the wall stile and the short walk to the summit of Eagle Crag after the short clamber up the wall corner. This is where we had a drink and a bite to eat whilst taking in the familiar views that one never finds tiresome or jaded.

ImageBorrowdale from Eagle Crag

ImageLangstrath below Glaramara with Bow Fell and Esk Pike to the left

ImageEagle Crag to Sergeant's Crag with High Raise behind

The temperature dropped as the darker clouds rolled in so we cut short our dalliance with Eagle Crag and made off for its neighbour along the winding and sometimes wet path between the two and hardly noticing the short climb to the summit of Sergeant’s Crag as we chatted away.

We passed the time of day with a man and his four legged friend for a few minutes before finding the time to take a few photos.

ImageSkiddaw and Blencathra from Sergeant's Crag

ImageA southern fells skyline from Sergeant's Crag

We left Sergeant’s Crag by walking off to the south following a decent but damp in places path that did in itself tend to be intermittent as we made our way up the fellside towards Long Crag and after much mumbling and grumbling we did manage to find the odd stretch of path between the rough that eventually got us to our destination. The next photo was taken from just above the 600 metre contour.

ImageA view back to the north

By now we were almost at Long Crag with just a short stroll across fairly level ground to get us there. The original plan was to take the path that runs below Long Crag, a path that is unmarked on the OS Map but is surely there and not a bad one either. But we elected to walk over the top of the crag, also on a decent enough path, from where the views are much better than from beneath the crag. It was a lovely and airy experience walking along the near level ground on top of the crag with a background of protruding rocks giving it a real shelf like feeling and finding a sheltered spot out of the cold breeze we hunkered down for a refuel whilst enjoying the views far into the north. Of course Ullscarf is still prevalent over to the northeast...

ImageUllscarf overlooking Lining Crag taken from Long Crag

whilst over to the SSW we had view of a southern fells skyline.

ImageBow Fell - Esk Pike - Great End - Allen Crags

Soon enough it was time to move on so we took the faint in places path and followed it as it made its way just north of east to meet the Greenup Edge path at approx NY285 106 on which we descended to Lining Crag and the steep and rough in places path that runs down the south side of it. We met a few people toiling up and had to give way a couple or three times to let uphill traffic keep moving although some did stop for a chat and excuse for a breather on this steep climb. It’s a bit washed out in places so hands on rock were a requirement for some at times.

Nonetheless we arrived at the bottom soon enough with A and E pleased about that after their more careful descent than ours and was soon passing the moss that is fed by the numerous conglomeration of gills starting out with Black Gills and then spreading like dozens of fine tentacles all feeding into the head of Greenup Gill. The moss was quite dry today and there were a few sheep grazing on its not so lush looking grass.

ImageSheep grazing in the area of Black Gills below Long Crag

ImageLining Crag and Long Crag

More or less at the head of Greenup Gill there is a small tarn that looks, by its squarish shape as though it is man made with the start of the gill running nearly dead straight from it for a good few metres before starting its journey down into the valley below.

All we had to do now was more or less retrace our steps back to Stonethwaite stopping by a couple of small waterfalls tumbling into their own private pools. There wasn’t much water running today but nevertheless they made a pretty sight and sound as they fell over the rocks. This is where we had our last break.

ImageMere Gill joins Greenup Gill below Pounsey Crag

A half hour later we were in the vicinity of Galleny Force Waterfall when I took my last shot of Eagle Crag from behind an old stone structure that looked as though it was anything but a sheepfold.

ImageEagle and Sergeant's Crags

From there we soon arrived back at the cars where a few more cars were spotted and telling us that there were more walkers about on the fells than we had seen today. These two fells are popular ones and have been recorded numerous times but I suppose that I wanted to show that there are easier, though not so popular, Wainwright routes than the steep but exciting one following the wall and terraces as recorded by AW or toiling up the pathless west face from Langstrath. In any event it has been an enjoyable day out even though we lost the sunshine early on with relatively dry ground where it is usually of a boggy nature.
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Re: A busy 1st of May in the Central Fells.

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Mon Jun 07, 2021 8:12 pm

A nice little wander from a great starting point, Greenup Gill is a beauty with some lovely falls which your photos show well.
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Re: A busy 1st of May in the Central Fells.

Postby trailmasher » Tue Jun 15, 2021 7:45 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:A nice little wander from a great starting point, Greenup Gill is a beauty with some lovely falls which your photos show well.

It's a beautiful place to walk at any time JK 8) and it's a different way to access those two fells. Thanks for your comments much appreciated :D
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