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All the Lakeland Tops

All the Lakeland Tops


Postby Chris Henshall » Wed Jul 28, 2021 1:43 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Allen Crags, Angletarn Pikes, Ard Crags, Armboth Fell, Arnison Crag, Arthur's Pike, Bakestall, Bannerdale Crags, Barf, Barrow, Base Brown, Beda Fell, Binsey, Birkhouse Moor, Birks, Black Fell, Blake Fell, Blea Rigg, Bleaberry Fell, Blencathra, Bonscale Pike, Bowfell, Bowscale Fell, Brae Fell, Brandreth, Branstree, Brim Fell, Brock Crags, Broom Fell, Buckbarrow, Burnbank Fell, Calf Crag, Carl Side, Carrock Fell, Castle Crag, Cat Bells, Catstyecam, Caudale Moor, Causey Pike, Caw Fell, Clough Head, Cold Pike, Coniston Old Man, Crag Fell, Crinkle Crags, Dale Head, Dodd, Dollywaggon Pike, Dove Crag, Dow Crag, Eagle Crag, Eel Crag, Esk Pike, Fairfield, Fellbarrow, Fleetwith Pike, Froswick, Gavel Fell, Gibson Knott, Glaramara, Glenridding Dodd, Gowbarrow Fell, Grange Fell, Grasmoor, Gray Crag, Graystones, Great Borne, Great Calva, Great Carrs, Great Cockup, Great Crag, Great Dodd, Great End, Great Gable, Great Mell Fell, Great Rigg, Great Sca Fell, Green Crag, Green Gable, Grey Crag, Grey Friar, Grey Knotts, Grike, Grisedale Pike, Hallin Fell, Hard Knott, Harrison Stickle, Hart Crag, Hart Side, Harter Fell (Far Eastern Fells), Harter Fell (Southern Fells), Hartsop above How, Hartsop Dodd, Haycock, Haystacks, Helm Crag, Helvellyn, Hen Comb, Heron Pike, High Crag, High Hartsop Dodd, High Pike (Eastern Fells), High Pike (Northern Fells), High Raise (Central Fells), High Raise (Far Eastern Fells), High Rigg, High Seat, High Spy, High Stile, High Street, High Tove, Hindscarth, Holme Fell, Hopegill Head, Ill Bell, Illgill Head, Kentmere Pike, Kidsty Pike, Kirk Fell, Knott, Knott Rigg, Lank Rigg, Latrigg, Ling Fell, Lingmell, Lingmoor Fell, Little Hart Crag, Little Mell Fell, Loadpot Hill, Loft Crag, Long Side, Longlands Fell, Lonscale Fell, Lord's Seat, Loughrigg Fell, Low Fell, Low Pike, Maiden Moor, Mardale Ill Bell, Meal Fell, Mellbreak, Middle Dodd, Middle Fell, Mungrisdale Common, Nab Scar, Nethermost Pike, Outerside, Pavey Ark, Pike o'Blisco, Pike o'Stickle, Pillar, Place Fell, Raise, Rampsgill Head, Rannerdale Knotts, Raven Crag, Red Pike (Buttermere), Red Pike (Wasdale), Red Screes, Rest Dodd, Robinson, Rosset Pike, Rosthwaite Fell, Sail, Sale Fell, Sallows, Scafell, Scafell Pike, Scar Crags, Scoat Fell, Seat Sandal, Seatallan, Seathwaite Fell, Selside Pike, Sergeant Man, Sergeant's Crag, Sheffield Pike, Shipman Knotts, Silver How, Skiddaw, Skiddaw Little Man, Slight Side, Sour Howes, Souther Fell, St Sunday Crag, Starling Dodd, Steel Fell, Steel Knotts, Steeple, Stone Arthur, Stybarrow Dodd, Swirl How, Tarn Crag (Central Fells), Tarn Crag (Far Eastern Fells), The Knott, The Nab, Thornthwaite Crag, Thunacar Knott, Troutbeck Tongue, Ullock Pike, Ullscarf, Walla Crag, Wandope, Wansfell, Watson's Dodd, Wether Hill, Wetherlam, Whin Rigg, Whinlatter, White Side, Whiteless Pike, Whiteside, Yewbarrow, Yoke

Hewitts included on this walk: Allen Crags, Bannerdale Crags, Base Brown, Blencathra, Bowfell, Bowscale Fell, Brandreth, Branstree, Carrock Fell, Catstyecam, Causey Pike, Clough Head, Cold Pike, Crag Hill (Eel Crag), Crinkle Crags (Long Top), Dale Head, Dollywaggon Pike, Dove Crag, Dow Crag, Esk Pike, Fairfield, Fleetwith Pike, Froswick, Glaramara, Grasmoor, Great Borne, Great Calva, Great Dodd, Great End, Great Gable, Great Rigg, Green Gable, Grey Crag, Grey Friar, Grisedale Pike, Harrison Stickle, Hart Crag, Harter Fell (Far Eastern Fells), Harter Fell (Southern Fells), Haycock, Helvellyn, High Crag, High Pike, High Raise (Central Fells), High Raise (Far Eastern Fells), High Spy, High Stile, High Street, Hindscarth, Hopegill Head, Ill Bell, Kentmere Pike, Kirk Fell, Knott, Lingmell, Little Hart Crag, Loadpot Hill, Long Side, Lonscale Fell, Pike o' Stickle, Pike of Blisco, Pillar, Place Fell, Raise, Rampsgill Head, Red Pike (Buttermere), Red Pike (Wasdale), Red Screes, Rest Dodd, Robinson, Rossett Pike, Sail, Scafell, Scafell Pike, Scar Crags, Scoat Fell, Seat Sandal, Seatallan, Selside Pike, Sheffield Pike, Skiddaw, Skiddaw Little Man, St Sunday Crag, Starling Dodd, Stony Cove Pike (Caudale Moor), Stybarrow Dodd, Swirl How, Tarn Crag, The Old Man of Coniston, Thornthwaite Crag, Ullscarf, Wandope, Wetherlam, White Side, Whiteless Pike, Whiteside, Yewbarrow, Yoke

Date walked: 22/05/1972

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This story started in May, 1972 when, as an eleven year old, I went on a school camp in a field next to Stonethwaite Beck in Borrowdale. It didn't matter that the weather was terrible, that we were flooded out and that everyone went back to Manchester without climbing anything after two days; I'd seen the Lakes for the first time and I loved the place... so I went back.
I went back to sleep in the bell tents at that same annual camp for several more years, I organised trekking trips to the fells with my brother and our mates, I worked at The Yew Tree in Seatoller after I left school and through university and I got into fell running before moving south - but always travelling north to push my climbing grade on the Lakeland crags. I became a teacher myself in the early 1980s and, of course, started to run trips to the mountains for the kids I taught - doing courses to qualify as a hill walking and as a climbing instructor. And, when my own family arrived at the beginning of the 1990s, I had the privilege of introducing them to the fells as well. I have run outdoor education trips for those whom I teach based in places like the Bury Jubilee Centre in Glenridding and High House in Seathwaite since the early 1980s (repeating the same fells time and again) and I usually manage a solo camping trip or two during the year on visits to see relatives in Manchester and Newcastle.
All this means that I have climbed most of the main hills many times - I think Dale Head is probably the leader with well over fifty ascents - and I have slept by the summit cairns of well over a dozen of them in a bivi bag at some time or other. I didn't start to collect the tops in a conscious fashion until about 2010 - but then I worked out which ones I'd done and began to fill in the gaps, going out of my way, here and there, to pick up summits which I hadn't visited. Doing them all needed a few specially organised trips to tick off those around the edge over several years - but these, too, have been wonderful, rewarding ventures, opening up new horizons in familiar territory.
Given all this, these notes only record the first time I climbed each of the fells – a complete diary would have been far too long and repetitive – but it is worth stating that it was with very mixed feelings that I got to my final fell top, Holme Fell, all those years after climbing Allen Crags, my first Lakeland hill.
So, a massive thanks to those teachers who were dedicated enough to run that first camp to Stonethwaite back in 1972; they didn't know what a wonderful life they were opening up for me, out there between the Morecambe and the Solway sands.
Trip One (School Camp in Stonethwaite, May 1973)
Walk 1: Allen Crags, Glaramara and Bessyboot via Langstrath.
Walk 2: Scawfell (via Seathwaite, Taylorgill, the Corridor Route, Lingmell Col and Broad Stand) and Scawfell Pike.
Walk 3: Pillar from Gatesgarth via Scarth Gap, Black Sail Pass and the High Level Route with an ascent of Pillar Rock en route.
borrowdale 1974.jpg
School camp by Stonethwaite Beck, May, 1974
borrowdale 1973.jpg
School friends on camp in 1973 - I am at back right, Charlie Coase at back left and Paul Crowther at front left
Trip Two (School Camp in Stonethwaite, May 1974)
Walk 4: Castle Crag.
Walk 5: Green Gable and Great Gable via Seathwaite and Sour Milk Gill.
Walk 6: Grange Fell.
Walk 7: Eagle Crag and Sergeant's Crag.
Trip Three (School Camp in Stonethwaite, May 1976)
Walk 8: Ullock Pike, Longside, Carl Side, Skiddaw and Bakestall from High Side near Bassenthwaite.
Walk 9: Coniston Old Man, Dow Crag, Brim Fell, Swirl How and Weatherlam from Coniston.
Walk 10: Bow Fell and Esk Pike from a high camp in Upper Eskdale.
Trip Four (Youth hostelling with my brother Nick, Nigel Foster and Angus Grant, August 1976)
Walk 11: Helm Crag from Grasmere.
Walk 12: Fairfield, St. Sunday, Dollywaggon, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn and Catstycam from Grasmere.
Nethermost.jpg
Angus, Nick, Nigel and me on the col between Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn
Walk 13: Blea Rigg, Pavy Ark (via Jack's Rake), Harrison Stickle, Loft Crag, Pike o’Stickle, Thunacar Knott, High Raise, Sergeant Man and Tarn Crag from Grasmere, initially via Easedale Tarn.
Walk 14: Great End and Lingmell (in a day that started with Scawfell and Scawfell Pike) from Wastwater Youth Hostel.
Walk 15: Haystacks from Black Sail Hut.
Walk 16: Scoat Fell, Steeple and Red Pike Wasdale (in a day that also included Pillar and both the Gables) from Black Sail Hut.
Walk 17: High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike Buttermere from Black Sail Hut.
Walk 18: Dale Head from Black Sail Hut (via Loft Beck and Honister).
Trip Five (A family day trip, October, 1976)
Walk 19: Loughrigg from Grasmere.
Loughrigg.jpg
My brother Nick and my sister Caz on top of Loughrigg
Trip Six (A family day trip, February, 1977)
Walk 20: Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell from Castlerigg with Nick.
Walk 21: Knott Rigg from Newlands with the entire family.
Trip Seven (A family day trip, April, 1977)
Walk 22: Skiddaw Little Man and Latrigg (both after climbing Skiddaw) from the Gale End Road with the family.
Trip Eight (Trekking trip with my brother Nick and Nigel Foster, August 1977)
Walk 23: Steel Fell, Calf Crag and Gibson Knott (with Helm Crag) from Ghyll Foot.
Steel Fell.jpg
Nick, Nigel and me on top of our first fell of the trip, Steel Fell
Walk 24: Low Pike, High Pike, Dove Crag, Hart Crag and Seat Sandal (and Fairfield) from a camp at Buckstones Leap .
Walk 25: Whiteside, Raise, Stybarrow Dodd, Watson's Dodd, Great Dodd and Clough Head (after Dollywaggon, Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn) from a camp at Grizedale Tarn.
Watson's Dodd.jpg
Nigel, looking north west from Watson's Dodd
Walk 26: Blencathra from a camp at Hause Well on the Old Coach Road.
Walk 27: Ard Crags, Robinson, Hindscarth, High Spy, Maiden Moor and Cat Bells (also including Knott Rigg and Dale Head) from a camp in Stoneycroft Gill.
Walk 28: Causey Pike, Scar Crags, Sail, Eel Crag, Grasmoor, Whiteside, Hopegill Head and Grizedale Pike from the same camp in Stoneycroft Gill.
Causey Pike.jpg
Nigel on top of Causey Pike soon after 6.00.am.

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Walk 29: Rossett Pike (followed by all the Langdales and High Raise with a descent over Seargeant's Crag and Eagle Crag) from the campsite by Stonethwaite Beck.
Walk 30: Brandreth and Grey Knotts (after Glaramara, Allen Grags and the Gables) from the same camp in Stonethwaite.
Walk 31: Slightside from a camp at Sprinkling Tarn (which involved passing over all the Scawfells twice!)
Walk 32: Seathwaite Fell from the same camp at Sprinkling Tarn.
Sprinkling Tarn.jpg
Nick by our tent at Sprinkling Tarn with Gable behind
Walk 33: Illgill Head and Whin Rigg from a campsite at Wasdale Head.
Walk 34: Yewbarrow and Kirk Fell (with Red Pike, Scoat Fell, Steeple and Pillar in between) from the same campsite at Wasdale Head.
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The three of us at the end of the trip in Gatesgarth
Trip Nine (A family day trip, December, 1977)
Walk 35: Barrow from Braithwaite.
Barrow.jpg
The family on top of Barrow
Trip Ten (A family day trip, February, 1978)
Walk 36: Lingmoor from the Blea Tarn Pass.
Trip Eleven (Working at the Yew Tree in Seatoller, April - August, 1978)
Walk 37: Whiteless Pike and Wandope from Buttermere (after coming over Honister from Seatoller on my pushbike).
Seatoller.jpg
An early spring day in 1978 looking down the Honister road into Seatoller
- the foot of the rainbow.
Walk 38: Crinkle Crags (climbed after sleeping out on top of High Raise after work, walking down to Langdale to meet my brother and Nigel Foster on my day off, heading up via Three Tarns to camp on the main Crinkles Ridge and then returning over Bow Fell to Seatoller the next morning in time for work).
Pillar.jpg
Early morning view of Pillar from a bivi on Dale Head, July, 1978
Walk 39: Haycock from Seatoller (done as part of a long day starting with the Gables, Kirk Fell, Scoat Fell and Steeple with a return via Ennerdale, Red Pike High Stile, High Crag and Haystacks).
Gable Day.jpg
The view west from Gable, heading west towards Haycock
Walk 40: Fleetwith Pike from Seatoller (with much illegal late night exploration of the Honister mines).
Trip Twelve (Winter Climbing Trip to Patterdale, January, 1980)
Walk 41: Birkhouse Moor (used as an approach to Striding Edge and the gullies on Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn).
Trip Thirteen (Working at the Yew Tree in Seatoller, August - September, 1980)
Walk 42: Rannerdale Knotts on a day when the family came to visit.
Rannerdale Knotts.jpg
My Dad, every inch a mountaineer, on Rannerdale Knotts
Trip Fourteen (Working at the Yew Tree in Seatoller, June - September, 1981)
Walk 43: Base Brown from Seatoller.
Westmorland Cairn.jpg
View from the Westmorland Cairn after a bivi on the summit of Gable with Tony B
Walk 44: High Rigg, High Seat, Raven Crag, High Tove, Armboth Fell, Great Crag, Ullscarf and Silver How (and all the other Central Fells with Chris Bland and Ian Charlton, accompanying Chris on day three of his attempted circuit of all of the fells in each of Wainwright's seven guidebooks in seven days) beginning at St. John's Chapel and finishing at Rydal Church.

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Walk 45: Grike (done in the course of the Kinniside Fell Race from Cleator Moor).
Walk 46: Cold Pike, Pike o’Blisco, Great Carrs and Grey Friar (on a walk from Seatoller to Coniston which also included Glaramara, Allen Crags, Esk Pike, Bow Fell, Crinkle Crags, Swirl How, Brim Fell and Coniston Old Man).
Walk 47: Outerside (on a walk from Seatoller to Keswick via Dale Head, Hindscarth, Robinson, Knott Rigg and Barrow).
Scawfell Pike.jpg
Charlie H and the view to Gable after a port fuelled bivi on top of Scawfell Pike
Walk 48: Souther Fell, Bannerdale Crags, Bowscale Fell, Carrock Fell, High Pike, Knott and Great Calva, starting in Scales and finishing in Keswick.
Trip Fifteen (Wet days during a rock climbing trip, August, 1985)
Walk 49: Birks (on a round of the Grisedale skyline).
Walk 50: High Street and Mardale Ill Bell from Mardale Head.
Walk 51: Melbreak from the Kirkstile Inn.
Trip Sixteen (A wet and windy day out in low cloud with Nick from Liverpool at New Year, 1987)
Walk 52: Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick and Thorneythwaite Beacon from Kentmere.
Trip Seventeen (Instructing on an outdoor education trip from Somerset, March, 1989)
Walk 53: Beda Fell, Angletarn Pikes and Place Fell from Hause Farm near Sandwick.
Walk 54: Sheffield Pike on a night navigation exercise from the Glenridding lead mines.
Walk 55: Gray Crag, Caudale Moor and Hartsop Dodd (and Thorneythwaite Beacon) from Hartsop.
Trip Eighteen (A holiday with my wife Hilary, pregnant with our son, Thomas, August, 1989)
Walk 56: Hallin Fell from the Howtown - Martindale Hause, walked barefoot.
Trip Nineteen (Instructing on an outdoor education trip from Somerset, March, 1990)
Walk 57: Middle Dodd, Red Screes, Little Hart Crag and Hartsop Above How (and Hart Crag) from Patterdale.
Trip Twenty (Instructing on an outdoor education trip from Somerset, March, 1993)
Walk 58: Hart Side from the Glenridding lead mines.
Trip Twenty One (Instructing on an outdoor education trip from Somerset, March, 1994)
Walk 59: Brock Crags, The Nab, Rest Dodd, The Knott, Rampskill Head, Kidsty Pike, High Raise, Wether Hill and Steel Knotts from Hause Farm near Sandwick.
Nethermost Gully.jpg
Taking four students from Somerset up Nethermost Gully on an outdoor ed trip in 1994
Trip Twenty Two (Instructing on an outdoor education trip from Somerset, March, 1995)
Walk 60: Glenridding Dodd from the Glenridding lead mines.
Trip Twenty Three (A camping trip with my children, Thomas and Mary, April, 2005)
Walk 61: Nab Scar and Heron Pike on a very windy day.
Trip Twenty Four (Meeting my son Thomas and his mate Chris as they walked from Robin Hood's Bay to St. Bees, August, 2006)
Walk 62: Harter Fell and Branstree from a high camp by Angle Tarn (including a return over High Street and Mardale Ill Bell).
Angle Tarn.jpg
Camped at Angle Tarn (as my son and his mate did the Coast to Coast from east to west)
Walk 63: Great Rigg and Stone Arthur from Rydal (after a start made over Nab Scar and Heron Pike).
High Stile.jpg
Chris and Tommy heading along the High Stile Ridge in the later stages of the Coast to Coast
Trip Twenty Five (Supervising a Gold D of E expedition, July, 2008)
Walk 64: Lonscale Fell from Bassenthwaite (after traversing Ullock Pike, Long Side, Carl Side and Skiddaw) and descending to Threlkeld.
Trip Twenty Six (Instructing on an outdoor education trip from Kent, April, 2010)
Walk 65: Gowbarrow Fell in the pouring rain from Aira Force.
Trip Twenty Seven (Two days with Tommy and his girl friend on a camping trip, July, 2012)
Walk 66: Grey Crag, Tarn Crag and Kentmere Pike from Kentmere (via Sadgill and then continuing over Branstree and Harter Fell to visit Thomas camping at Small Water before returning over Harter Fell to the top of Kentmere Pike).
Walk 67: Shipman Knotts from a bivi on the summit of Kentmere Pike.
Trip Twenty Eight (Overnight solo, October, 2015)
Walk 68: Hard Knott via Moasdale from the Duddon Valley to camp on the northern shoulder of Harter Fell.
Walk 69: Harter Fell and Green Crag from the camp on Harter Fell.
Trip Twenty Nine (Two days out solo, June, 2016)
Walk 70: Buckbarrow, Middle Fell and Seatallan from Windsor Farm near Nether Wasdale to a camp in upper Blengdale.
Walk 71: Caw Fell, Crag Fell and Lank Rigg from the camp in upper Blengdale to a camp above Nether Wasdale.

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Trip Thirty (Overnight solo, August, 2016)
Walk 72: Selside Pike from Mosedale Cottage (accessed from Swindale).
Trip Thirty One (Overnight solo, March, 2017)
Walk 73: Binsey, Longlands Fell, Brae Fell and Great Sca Fell from Over Water to a camp by Hause Gill, just to the south of Burn Tod.
Walk 74: Meal Fell and Great Cockup from the camp in upper Hause Gill.
Campsite 2 - Copy.JPG
Looking to Blencathra and Great Calva from the camp site
Trip Thirty Two (Instructing on an outdoor education trip from Kent, April, 2018)
Walk 75: Mungrisedale Common off the back of Blencathra after coming up by Halls Fell.
Trip Thirty Three (A quick break travelling between Manchester and Morpeth, December, 2018)
Walk 76: Sour Howes, Sallows and Troutbeck Tongue from Troutbeck.
Trip Thirty Four (Two days out solo, February, 2019)
Walk 77: Loadpot Hill, Bonscale Pike and Arthur's Pike from Helton.
Walk 78: Starling Dodd and Great Borne from a camp site at Low Ling Crag on Crummock Water.
Trip Thirty Five (Three days out solo, May, 2020)
Walk 79: Burnbank Fell, Blake Fell and Gavel Fell, from Waterend, Loweswater.
Walk 80: Hen Comb, Low Fell, Fellbarrow and Graystones from a campsite at Floutern Tarn.
Walk 81: Broom Fell, Lord's Seat, Barf and Whinlatter from a campsite on the summit of Graystones.
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Crummock Water from near the summit of Low Fell
Trip Thirty Six (Overnight solo, April, 2021)
Walk 82: Sale Fell and Ling Fell from Wythop Church.
Walk 83: Dodd from Millbeck.
Walk 84: Little Mell Fell and Great Mell Fell from a campsite above Priest's Crag.
Trip Thirty Seven (Family self-catering in Ambleside, July, 2021)
Walk 85: Arnison Crag and High Hartsop Dodd from Patterdale (in a round which also included Birks, St. Sunday Crag, Fairfield, Hart Crag, Dove Crag and Little Hart Crag).
Walk 86: Wansfell from Ambleside via Stocks Ghyll.
Walk 87: Black Crag and Holme Fell from Hollin Bank.

Climbing the Lakeland tops over such a long period of time has been a significant part of my life and it is quite hard to put the experience into any meaningful perspective. However, many special memories stand out:
First, there was just the sheer wonder at discovering wild country for the first time and the anticipation that I felt every time I ventured on to the fells in those early years. I still, for example, remember my wide-eyed excitement at the vivid sparks which flew off the soles of Ian Longworth's flailing nailed boots on that first climbing trip up Pillar Rock in 1973.
Then I read everything about the Lakes on which I could lay my hands - from Harry Griffin's friendly meanderings to "The Lake District" by Pearsall and Pennington in the Collins New Naturalist series. I can still feel the same dry mouthed anticipation which I experienced when I was given Wainwright's guides as a Christmas present from my parents in 1974.
After that, there were endless hours spent pouring over maps as a teenager, organising treks to take in unvisited valleys and new hills. I particularly remember long chats with the very sensible warden during the three nights which we spent at Black Sail Hut on our first youth hostelling trip in 1976 as well as long days with heavy rucksacks and camping out in places like Buckstones Leap, Grizedale Tarn and Sprinkling Tarn during our trek of 1977. The three of us (aged between fifteen and seventeen) did 144.5 miles and 46,575 feet of ascent (all meticulously recorded in my diary) in twelve walking days with one of the non-walking highlights being my brother, Nick, managing to get served in the back bar of the Scawfell in Rosthwaite at the age of fifteen; different times!
This gave way to long days working at The Yew Tree in Seatoller, waiting on table in a pair of clogs and then climbing Dale Head, Glaramara, Great Gable or Scawfell Pike in the dark to watch the sunrise; I especially remember doing the Lakeland 3,000 footers solo on a June Monday in 1978 from Seatoller when I was still seventeen and stopping for a sleep in the bus shelter in Rosthwaite with just over a mile to go. The diary which I keep of my hill trips tells me that the circuit took me from 3.00.am. until 8.30.pm. and that I found work the next day quite hard.
Working at The Yew Tree opened the door to fell running and I will never forget training for the Borrowdale Fell Race with my good friend, Ian Charlton; we once ran up High Spy through Rigghead Quarries every day before work for a week. Our best year was 1981 when Ian finished in 22nd. place in 3hrs. 01mins. and I finished in 39th. place in 3hrs. 11mins. Billy Bland won in 2hrs. 34mins. and I believe that his record stands to this day. The Bob Graham followed in 1983 but, tragically, Ian died of stomach cancer at only 57 in, I think, 2005; I still find myself thinking of him when I am out on the fells.
Sty Head.jpg
Arriving at Sty Head in the Borrowdale Fell Race of 1981
Climbing was also ever present and, apart from pushing things by soloing routes like Ardus, Gillercombe Buttress, Napes Needle and Troutdale Pinnacle in trainers, I have great memories of climbing on harder routes, especially of topping out, elated, on Saxon (now E2 5c) on Scawfell Crag with Mark from the Langstrath Hotel in 1983.
Corvus 1982.jpeg
A damp day taking Charlie H up the easy classic, Corvus,
on Raven Crag above Combe Gill on Glaramara in 1982
Later, there were many great days running courses for the kids in the schools at which I have taught, taking them onto the fells for the first time. Memorable highlights have included:
- a long, frozen but sunlit traverse of Scawfell, Scawfell Pike, Esk Pike and Bowfell with well over a dozen lads from Borrowdale to Langdale in deep snow one March which began with the Corridor Route, Lord's Rake and Foxes Tarn before finishing with a descent via the Great Slab and the Climbers' Traverse.
- taking groups of four students up some of the easy classic winter routes like Central Gully and South East Gully on Great End and the Red Tarn gullies on Helvellyn, sometimes in brilliant conditions; topping out on Nethermost Gully, some students and I once found a huge, unstable cornice stretching for 25 metres or so above the top pitches and, after checking that no one was below and belaying ourselves with a deadman, we managed to kick it down and create a colossal avalanche.
- innumerable sessions teaching basic snow skills to students on the east side of Helvellyn in March, sometimes followed by snow-holing overnight above a frozen Red Tarn or a night on the summit, waiting - bitterly cold - to welcome the dawn. Although no one ever slept the night inside them, we even built a couple of passable igloos on the flat ground around Red Tarn.
- introducing an initially uninterested Tim Emmett (now a climbing megastar!) to the Lakeland crags as a fourteen or fifteen year old.
- another lad (Oscar Todd) in an ambitious school group who showed some graft by completing the Lakeland 3,000 footers with me in a day in 2004 and who went on to top out on Everest in 2016.
- running a course from the centre by St. John's Chapel and temporarily losing a small group during a night navigation exercise on High Rigg when its members decided not to use their compass but to navigate by the direction in which the wind had flattened the grass.
- stoking the stove at High House in Seathwaite until it glowed red hot after long days out on the fells.
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Evy, Steve, Isaac and me running a camp at an ice-bound Sprinkling Tarn in April, 2013
Day 6 - Sunrise breakfast at Bleaberry Tarn (1) - Copy.JPG
An idyllic camp at Bleaberry Tarn in April, 2015 on another course
It's especially wonderful when these same kids get in touch five or six years after I've taken them up their first hills to ask questions about how they should run their own trips.
I've also found it absolutely fascinating to bring my academic understanding of the evolution of the Lake District’s scenery up to speed. This probably started with the Collins New Naturalist book by Pearsall and Pennington back in my teens but I have especially enjoyed linking the area’s igneous geology with the tectonics of the Ordovician - the andesitic peperites around Honister, for example, are brilliant - while reconstructing the extent of late glacial (Loch Lomond Stadial) ice caps took me to all sorts of corners which I would never otherwise have visited. It wasn’t, for example, until I read up on Dove Crags above Gasgale Gill that I understood the importance of deep seated mass movements in modifying post-glacial mountain landscapes – a realisation which then led me to explore the reverse scarps on the south western slopes of Kirk Fell.
Finding some of these ideas and the landscapes of the Lakes echoed in the imagery of Norman Nicholson's poetry has been an added bonus. Here, for example, are some evocative lines from "Beck" dealing with geological deep time which were, I think, first published in 1981:
"Motionless to the eye,
Wide cataracts of rock
Pour off the fellside,
Throw up a spume
Of gravel and scree
To eddy and sink
In the blink of a lifetime."

And
"A Niagara of chock-stones,
Bucketing from the crags,
Spouts down the gullies."

Then, alongside all this, it was wonderful to introduce my own children to the fells. Climbing Striding Edge on Helvellyn in a good winter from a snowy campsite in Glenridding with my son Thomas and daughter Mary when they were about fourteen and twelve, for example, was a good day out.
The fells have, truly, given me far more than I could ever have expected.
"Only a hill; but all of life to me,
up there between the sunset and the sea."

Next Report: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=42963
Last edited by Chris Henshall on Tue Sep 07, 2021 5:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Chris Henshall
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Re: All the Lakeland Tops

Postby hooter2014 » Thu Jul 29, 2021 1:04 pm

Fantastic Chris, what a journey over many years!
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Re: All the Lakeland Tops

Postby Chris Henshall » Thu Jul 29, 2021 10:13 pm

Thanks Hooter, that's very generous.
I have enjoyed every minute of my time on the fells over the last half century or so and it only seems reasonable to have put it all down here so that, if they want to, others can get some idea of how much joy and satisfaction a simple activity like walking these little mountains can bring. It has been fifty years well spent...
Hope to see you out on the hills yourself in the future at some point.
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Re: All the Lakeland Tops

Postby Munro Mary » Mon Aug 02, 2021 2:19 pm

Well done to the top dad! :D I would love to follow in (some of) your footsteps one day and walk up some more of these hills! And of course the Munros as I am Munro Mary… xxx :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: All the Lakeland Tops

Postby Bonzo » Tue Aug 03, 2021 9:30 am

What a magnificent post. I wish I'd kept a diary of my walks for future reference.

Is it me or did all kids look the same in the early 80s? :D
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Re: All the Lakeland Tops

Postby Chris Henshall » Tue Aug 03, 2021 10:33 am

Thanks Bonzo, it was a real pleasure stitching it all together and I'm delighted if people are enjoying reading it. I haven't actually kept a diary of all my trips into the hills - going up Great Gable in the clag with another group of kids practising for a D of E trip, for example, hasn't always been that memorable - but I've always ticked guidebooks, noted down dates and written up the trips which I have found most interesting; the same with rock climbs in guidebooks. All told, I think that makes me a bit of an anorak.
As to all kids looking the same in the early 80s - well, y'know, I don't think that much changes. I'm still taking teenagers out on the hill and, so long as I confiscate their earpieces and their phones before we set out, they're pretty much indistinguishable from the ones I took out on the hill in the 80s. Some of them are a bit fatter, maybe, but they can still be gobsmacked by the view from Glaramara.
Anyway, thanks for commenting...
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