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Lakeland's Best Mile - a Great Evening Fell Walk

Lakeland's Best Mile - a Great Evening Fell Walk

Postby mountain coward » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:56 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Whiteside

Hewitts included on this walk: Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Whiteside

Date walked: 26/07/2009

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The photos for this walk are of varying quality as some are quite late in the evening but have good light... the others were another day and don’t! I'm afraid it makes them a bit incongruous...

The accolade of ‘Best Mile in the Lake District’ was given originally by Lakeland Walker magazine but I’m in total agreement with their choice and often do this walk in the evening I arrive in the Lakes. The ‘best mile’ ridge can be nicely incorporated into the following round with the advantage that you get to walk the best mile twice...

Set off up Grisedale Pike via the Sleet How route – there are lots of starting points for this depending on how lazy you’re feeling. The lowest start point is just out of Braithwaite village (near Keswick)on the start to the Whinlatter Pass – there is a small carpark on the left where the vehicle track comes out of the Coledale Valley from the mines.
The next hardest but very pleasant sets off just below what I call ‘Bassenthwaite View’ – a viewpoint roadside parking spot halfway up the pass. From here you drop back down the road round the bend and you will find a little track on the right setting off into the forest. This joins a forest track (keeping left) which eventually leads you out onto Kinn, the foothill of Grisedale Pike.

The easiest route starts off from Revelin Moss carpark near the visitor centre at the top of the pass (ask at the visitor centre for a forest map £2-ish). Whichever way, you end up on the ridge at the foot of Sleet How ‘arete’ and ascend that in 20 minutes or so to the dainty summit of Grisedale Pike (my favourite Lakes mountain).
Grisey Pike-Sleet How.jpg
Down Sleet How.jpg

The way from here is straight on across Grisedale Pike’s mini-pike, or as I call it, Grisedale Pikelet;-)
The Grize fm mini-pike.jpg
Grisedale Pike from the 'pikelet'
From here you drop down to a col and keep alongside the escarpment to the beautiful Hopegill Head or Hobcarton Pike (a lot of Lakes fells have 2 names – both of these are geographically accurate).
Hobcarton Pike.jpg
This summit is where the golden mile starts...

A slight left keeps you along the escarpment which descends for about 100 yards at a gentle angle then suddenly steepens down a narrowing rocky nose. You descend to another col while getting great views into Gasgale Gill and across to Grasmoor.
Dove Crags.jpg
Dove Crags, Grasmoor
Crag Hill&Gasgale Gill.jpg
The ridge gets quite narrow (nothing worrying though – just pleasantly narrow) and you then start a gentle ascent up to Whiteside.
Whiteside Ridge.jpg

Whiteside is a long grassy ridge with 2 main summits and the views are towards Crummock Water – in my mind the nicest looking Lake District lake. There are great views down the crags now to Gasgale Gill on your left.

At the end of the ridge and after you’ve had a good look down more or less straight onto Crummock Water you turn and go back along the ridge to Hopegill Head. It may sound boring to cover the same ground twice but it really isn’t in this case.
Hopegill Head fm Whiteside col.jpg

On reaching the summit of Hopegill Head again, look over the edge of the drop on your left and you’ll see a little path heading off down the slabs on the side of the arête leading to the col before Ladyside Pike (this fell is opposite Lord’s Seat and used to therefore be called Lady’s Seat but the puritanical obviously thought bums to that name!)
Ladyside Pike.jpg
The first time I looked down to this path I thought it looked a bit dodgy but it’s actually fine and really enjoyable.
Descent to Ladyside.jpg
Hopegill Head Arete1.jpg
From the other side...
Hopegill Head-top slabs.jpg
looking back up...
The slabs are at an easy angle and there is a faultline going down the middle of them which forms steps if you want to use them. If the rock is wet it is pretty slippery so it’s best to use the ‘steps’.

The slabs lead down to a nick before a slabby platform which Wainwright suggested is a great spot for sunbathing – it is! The view down the nick is pretty good and shows Hobcarton Crags and various gullies – not recommended for climbing on as they are apparently way too friable!

After your sunbathe in the setting light, head off past what I call ‘The Horn’ (a cute little peak with fun scrambles on)
Ladyside Pike&The Horn.jpg
along the narrow grassy ridge to Ladyside Pike.
Hopegill Head Evening Arete.jpg
Looking back up...
Hopegill Head Arete.jpg
Looking back...
From here you amble down the grass and over a stile. You then need to turn about 45 degrees to your right and head downhill. You can’t see where you want to be to start with but you basically need the righthand corner of the forest – this soon comes into view.

From the corner of the forest a steep path goes down beside the fence to the beck. Cross the beck and clamber up the far banking on some tufa which is usually pretty wet. You will then reach a forest track which you follow left until you meet a junction. You need to continue straight on at the junction and in a couple of miles you reach Revelin Moss carpark (one of the start points mentioned earlier). If you didn’t set off from there you have a not unpleasant walk back down the pass to your start (pretty quiet in an evening).

The best pub by the way is the Coledale – off to your (first) right immediately at the bottom of the pass before you reach the village proper. They do real ale and great puds!;-)
mountain coward

Re: Lakeland's Best Mile - a Great Evening Fell Walk

Postby pic4186 » Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:46 am

Nice. I must give this one a try. Thanks for the report & photos.
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Re: Lakeland's Best Mile - a Great Evening Fell Walk

Postby 37lumleyst » Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:54 pm

I can see whay it got the claim of the 'Best Mile' - despite the variation on quality the pictuires dont do it justice, I like the sharp edge to the ridges - these always make for good walking as you feel 'elevated' no matter what the ridge height.

Good report - I enjoyed that.
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Re: Lakeland's Best Mile - a Great Evening Fell Walk

Postby susanmyatt » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:54 pm

Its on our list too, great report and love the first picture, we will perhaps get a chance later in the year :thumbup:
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Re: Lakeland's Best Mile - a Great Evening Fell Walk

Postby mountain coward » Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:00 am

susanmyatt wrote:love the first picture

Thanks, it was my desktop wallpaper for quite a while :D
mountain coward

Re: Lakeland's Best Mile - a Great Evening Fell Walk

Postby dibrooksbank » Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:54 pm

I was looking for inspiration on how best to approach Whiteside - and you've just delivered it! Thank you for a brilliant report.
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Re: Lakeland's Best Mile - a Great Evening Fell Walk

Postby Phooooey » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:09 pm

Great report and I'm going to take this walk as inspiration for this Saturday. I haven't completed Whiteside yet and the stretch to Ladyside looked inviting last time I was on Hopegill Head. The easy route sounds the right option :wink: :lol:
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Re: Lakeland's Best Mile - a Great Evening Fell Walk

Postby ChrisW » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:29 am

Lovely MC, how wonderful to see the sunshine over Lakeland. It almost looks like early spring. There are so many wonderful views in Lakeland it's difficult to see how anyone could definitively name the best mile....but I'd be hard pressed to argue with this choice.

What a fine wander....it must have been stunning 'in the flesh' :D
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Re: Lakeland's Best Mile - a Great Evening Fell Walk

Postby L-Hiking » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:55 pm

Totally agree, one of my favourites :clap:
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