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Coledale Horseshoe with add ons.

Coledale Horseshoe with add ons.


Postby Morecambe Monkey » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:11 am

Wainwrights included on this walk: Causey Pike, Eel Crag, Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Sail, Scar Crags

Hewitts included on this walk: Causey Pike, Crag Hill (Eel Crag), Grisedale Pike, Hobcarton Crag, Hopegill Head, Sail, Scar Crags

Date walked: 06/11/2011

Time taken: 8.47

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After a few blustery days the excellent forecast for the Lake District for Sunday was just too good an opportunity to miss,but where should i head to? I considered Striding edge as it's been well over two years since my last traverse but instantly dismissed that idea,be like the M6 on there i thought,so i decided on a longer drive to take on the Coledale Horseshoe,which i'd also not done for over two years AND the added bonus of bagging two Birkett tops that have been on my radar for a while now.

Any ideas i had of an early night were dashed by the constant exploding fireworks of the numerous Bonfire night celebrations & this unfortunately impacted on my plan to get out stupidly early as i managed to oversleep by an hour or so,finally crawling out of bed at 0615. Porridge & coffee devoured,bag packed & away from the house at 0720,I arrived at the small car park at Braithwaite at 0840 & managed to get one of the remaining two spaces,going to be busy up there today.

The walk starts straight out of the car park & is instantly into a steep ascent up some steps through the bracken & trees which is a bit of shock to the system & the old legs/lungs & heart were soon screaming at me :shock: The obvious path then winds it's way steeply up onto the flanks of Kinn & eventually above the trees where the first good views of Grisedale Pike & Skiddaw appeared,with a large bank of fog hanging in the valley below it making for an impressive sight.
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Grisedale Pike from Kinn
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Skiddaw from Kinn

Continuing up the good path,i made frequent stops,partly to catch my breath,mainly to look at the great views with Skiddaw the obvious draw behind me but also to the other side of the horseshoe where Causey Pike & Eel Crag(Crag Hill) were looking superb. Route finding really is probably as straightforward as it gets & a bit of a Wainwright baggers dream with up to 10 different Wainwright summits doable,albeit over a long day out. I finally made the summit of Grisedale Pike at 1020,one & a half hours after setting off. Sadly most of the valley fog beneath Skiddaw had now lifted(if only i'd got out of bed earlier...)
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Skiddaw from Grisedale Pike
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Grisedale Pike summit,surface block trigpoint,Hopegill Head behind

There were quite a few people here taking in the views & i got talking to one guy who was taking photos,turns out we went to the same high school(a few years apart) & he & his sister used to be friends with my mate(& sometime walking partner) Andy. It's a small world sometimes!
From the top of Grisedale Pike i headed back on myself slightly & descended the easy shoulder of the first Birkett top i had come to do,Hobcarton End. Not much to say about this one really though you do get a different perspective of Grisedale Pike & also a good look at Hopegill Head.
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Grisedale Pike from Hobcarton End
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Hopegill Head & Ladyside Pike from Hobcarton End
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Skiddaw & Blencathra from Hobcarton End

Reascended the same route & then simply followed the path over Hobcarton Head & on to the impressively craggy & spiky looking top of Hopegill Head which is a great viewpoint back to Grisedale Pike & over to Grasmoor & Whiteside.
031.JPG
Heading to Hopegill Head
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Grisedale Pike from Hopegill Head
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Ladyside Pike from Hopegill Head
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Whiteside & Gasgale Crags from Hopegill Head

At this point the walk became much trickier as i was descending from here down to Ladyside Pike which was my other Birkett winner of the day. The descent takes in some steep rock slabs which were like glass after the heavy frost the previous night & as it's Northwest facing hadn't (& won't for a while now)seen any of the wonderful sunshine i had had the pleasure of all the way up. Any dignity soon went out the window as i resorted to the old on all fours hands behind me crab style/slide on my backside tactic while i was aware that people were watching from the summit above. This tactic worked as i got down unscathed but my backside was soaked from the wet rocks. There was a noticable difference in temperature,decidedly cold i'd say & i was glad to be back in the sunshine on the ridge to Ladyside Pike. Had a bite eat at the summit cairn,standing with my back(side) to the sun to dry off my kecks! From here there was a great view of Grisedale Pike with Skiddaw still imposing across the ridge of Hobcarton End,Blencathra in the distance & a view down to Whinlatter.
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Grisedale Pike from Ladyside Pike
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Skiddaw & Blencathra across Hobcarton End

Reascent by the same route posed few problems as there were plenty of handholds on the rocky slabs to drag myself up with & Hopegill Head was soon reached again. It was noticeable that there were now very few people about & i headed up the easy climb of Sand Hill quickly reaching the cairn where views were spectacular,the Eastern fells of the Helvellyn Massif clearly seen & the now close Eel Crag looking very dramatic & slightly intimidating as i started to descend Sand Hill.
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Helvellyn Massif across Causey Pike
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Eel Crag from the descent of Sand Hill
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Grasmoor from the descent of Sand Hill

Descending Sand Hill with the sun still beating down,it was still warm even though time was pushing on(around 1430) & i passed 4 walkers,one of whom was in shorts(it wasn't that hot,must've been one of those stupid postmen!) At the foot of Eel Crag i looked at the scramble directly up the front which i've done on the previous two visits & thoroughly enjoyed,then reluctantly opted for the simpler avoiding path which skirts between it & Grasmoor as time was getting on & the darkness would be all too soon upon me. The path reaches a col between the two fells & i cut left straight to the trigpoint at the top of Crag Hill. This is a stone built one rather than the more usual concrete structure,unfortunately since my last visit,it has been vandalised & most of the stones from the base of the Northeast corner have been hacked out & left strewn around the trig itself.
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Damaged trigpoint on Crag Hill

I stayed here for about 15 minutes,revelling in the views over Causey Pike to the Helvellyn massif,Grisedale Pike to the North,Skiddaw looming still to the Northeast & the wonderful Blencathra away in the distance. Two people were up there paragliding from the Southern face of Crag Hill,i laughed to myself as one of them let out a shout of "WHOOHOO" as they took off,must be great fun,if you've got the bottle for it-which i haven't!
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Paraglider on Crag Hill. WHOOHOO indeed!

The descent towards Sail is simple enough,but care needs to be taken as it's quite rocky & steep,hands down where required but thankfully no crab-like backside sliding this time. The summit cairn on Sail was surrounded by a huge deep pool of water so i resisted the temptation to wade through to touch it even though my autistic trainspotter brain was telling me otherwise!
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Sail summit cairn,fancy a swim? Nope

Again descent from Sail towards the col at the foot of Scar Crags was simple but slightly disheartening,there's been a lot of new path work done here recently(which i know is a neccessary evil)but it has left an unsightly scar right down the hillside.like a giant sidewinder has been going about it's business. Easy to walk on but not in the least bit pretty i'm afraid.
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A giant scar on the hillside

At the col it was decision time,drop down the obvious route in to Coledale & directly in to Braithwaite or onwards over Scar Crags & Causey Pike with an almost two mile road walk back to Braithwaite from the end of the descent from Causey Pike. I opted for the latter & shot off at a pace to the top of Scar Crags to be met by a lovely golden view as the low sun lit up the valley ahead,Blencathra instantly drawing my gaze.
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Blencathra from Scar Crags(zoomed!)

Pressing on along the simple but very pleasant ridge to Causey Pike,a quick summit photo & then down the tricky rocky descent where i was being a little more than careful & i was passed by a couple who were probably 15 years my senior! What the hell,descending isn't my strongest subject.
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Crag Hill from Causey Pike

From here it began to turn cold,the sun lowering by the second leaving the sky a pale shade of pink over the Helvellyn range,this combined with the moon making an early appearance,it made for a beautiful final view of the day as i descended into Coledale & to the road. The walk back along the road was actually quite pleasant,woolly hat donned,the frosty chill of the night air felt good & i even got to use my new Alpkit Gamma headtorch(as recommended on the general discussion forum,thanks for the tip,what a great bit of kit.) Got back to my car at 1735,a good long day on the fells,you can't beat it.
Last edited by Morecambe Monkey on Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coledale Horseshoe with add ons.

Postby gammy leg walker » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:34 pm

Some stunning pics MM,thats a fair amount of tops in such a short time frame. :shock:
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Re: Coledale Horseshoe with add ons.

Postby SusieThePensioner » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:23 pm

Loved reading your report and brought back lots of happy memories from the past 50 years of walking in the Lakes :lol:

Some fantastic photos and glad you made such good use of a wonderful day. We also had similar weather in County Durham but spent it going for a drive on the North Pennines in our elder daughter's MGB Roadster :D
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Re: Coledale Horseshoe with add ons.

Postby Morecambe Monkey » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:04 pm

gammy leg walker wrote:Some stunning pics MM,thats a fair amount of tops in such a short time frame. :shock:


Thanks GLW,aye it seems to be a bit of a theme in that area as there's a few other walks nearby that get in 6 or so tops in one round. Good way of getting the tally up quickly(if you're that way inclined that is!)

SusieThePensioner wrote:Loved reading your report and brought back lots of happy memories from the past 50 years of walking in the Lakes :lol:

Some fantastic photos and glad you made such good use of a wonderful day. We also had similar weather in County Durham but spent it going for a drive on the North Pennines in our elder daughter's MGB Roadster :D


Thanks Susie,it really was a beautiful day,far too nice to spend indoors. Glad you also got out in the sun,the Roadster sounds like fun! 8)
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Re: Coledale Horseshoe with add ons.

Postby pollyh33 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:54 pm

Wowsers MM,

So glad I dipped into this non-Scottish part of the forum. What a report!

Your photos are superb but I must admit to pulling a face when I saw those scars- so ugly :( :( Very well photographed though :thumbup:

Well done :D
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Re: Coledale Horseshoe with add ons.

Postby colgregg » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:05 pm

Great report on an excellent round although I found it a bit of a grind doing Grisedale Pike first. I have to agree that the new "path" off Sail looks a complete mess. Probably a necessary evil. Is it the way I'm looking at the pic or has it been raised up above the natural surface? I can still see there will be new erosion caused by all those who can't be arsed to follow the zig zag and will make a beeline down the hillside.
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Re: Coledale Horseshoe with add ons.

Postby Red Peak » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:06 pm

That new path coming off Sail looks horrendous! :wtf: Surely that's a more intrusive scar on the landscape than a well-used path! It looks awful. And as colgregg says, it'll soon be worse when people start cutting across the zig-zags! :?
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Re: Coledale Horseshoe with add ons.

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:38 pm

That path on Sail is an abomination. Built through a project called "Fix the fells", they're doing something to the fells but it's certainly not fixing them. That raised style of path is unfortunately sprouting up in a few places around the lakes. One has appeared on Lingmoor fell even though there was no erosion and no path previously.
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Re: Coledale Horseshoe with add ons.

Postby Morecambe Monkey » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:33 pm

Thanks for the nice comments on the report/photo's guys. As for that horrible looking path coming down Sail,yep it is indeed raised up above the natural surface. In time i dare say it will deteriorate & crumble at the edges making more of a mess on the hill side & ultimately making it harder to walk on. Believe they've been at it with 'Fix the fells' on the Walna Scar road too. :(
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Re: Coledale Horseshoe with add ons.

Postby Cartland Rambler » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:24 pm

Great photos, MM, now I can see what I've been missing! A lot of our Lake District walks seem to involve mist.

Have walked both halves of the Coledale Horseshoe - but on different occasions, using the path IN Coledale up/down as well. Latest walk was in October (2011), when, yet again, we did not see much on the descent from Sail because of the mist - until we got low enough to see the new path that has caused much furore above.

Have to agree that it is a bit "in your face" but it might tone down a bit. In 2005, when we last walked up Coledale, we saw the path below Coledale Hause (NY190202) being built. Looked a bit raw then, but has sunk and blended into the landscape a bit since then.

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Path below Coledale Hause during construction in 2005

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Path below Coledale Hause in October 2011


We did not see any evidence of folk taking short cuts between the zigzags - it was certainly easier on my legs to follow the path than to clamber through the heather between the loops.

As well as Sail, we have missed (mist?) seeing the views from Dale Head (NY223153) no less than 3 times!
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Re: Coledale Horseshoe with add ons.

Postby L-Hiking » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:34 pm

Great report MM, and like the rest I agree the path is a mess.

It is probably been dreamed up as a new design imagined up by someone who does not walk the fells or appreciate their beauty. Its worse than it was before it was repaired!! :(

Or more likely a quick fix with costs at the forefront of the planning. :?
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