This board helps you to share your walking route experiences in England and Wales... or overseas.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Coledale Round

Coledale Round

Postby 37lumleyst » Sat Dec 19, 2009 5:11 pm

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

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

Date walked: 18/12/2009

Time taken: 8

Distance: 18 km

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

The days started at 0430 with an early alarm clock and breakfast before heading out of the house at 0500 The forecast for the West of the country was cold clear and bright but, living on the East side I had to get through the snow that had fallen the past day or so. The journey across the A66 was a bit dodgy in places and took about half an hour longer than usual but I still managed to get to Braithwaite before it started to get light. I parked in the car park at 0645 on the Eastern side of Hospital Plantation just above Braithwaite village, got kitted up and headed off for a loop around Coledale.
It was very cold (-4 according to the car) with a predicted wind chill of -18 above 450 meters and with clear sky’s I was hoping to gain some height before the sun came up. I walked the short distance back into an through Braithwaite taking the track that leads through Braithwaite Lodge and onto the slopes of ‘barrow’ Nothing was moving as I walked along by the light of my head-torch, with the exception of a dog barking as I passed through the Lodge’s driveway. Once clear of the early ‘village’ parts I found myself on the grassy slopes of ‘Barrow’ which gave a steady but swift climb up to 455 meters. I could see across to the East the first shafts of light glowing over the Helvellyn range and knew that an early start was going to be worth it. From ‘Barrow’s’ relatively small peak I followed the well defined path passed barrow Door and started to climb onto ‘outerside’ I knew it was a cold morning as my breath was freezing in front of me but with a steady pace and the hill work I was toasty warm as I pulled up the first few hills. Once I reached the 568 meter summit of ‘Outerside’ I could feel the icy wind which was blowing across from the North East with a hungry bite. I didn’t hang around as I knew I had bigger fish to fry and also wanted to pop on my outside layer on ready for the more lofty peaks which were on the menu.
I dropped down towards ‘High moss’ but I was conscious that i wanted my Coledale round to start from its South Eastern point of ‘Causey Pike’ so I didn’t want to loose too much height as I came off ‘Outerside’ I decided to head for the summit and started the first steep climb of the day. I was in the lea of the prevailing icy wind which was good as I would have been very hot climbing in all my gear. As I approached the ridge like summit of Causey I could feel the icy wind swirling as it tumbled over the ridge so decided to don my outer layer, scarf and thick mountain gloves; I’m glad I did because as I came over the ridge the wind was bitterly cold. I turned left and walked the short distance out to the end of the hill and admired the views as dawn broke North across to ‘Skiddaw’ and ‘Blencathra’ and East across to the Helvelly range.

Barrow and Outerside from causy with Skiddaw in the distance and Braithwait in-between. 1st light shots

L to R; Crag Hill, Hope Gill head and Grisdale Pike from causy Pike early sunrise

Scar Crags from Causy Pike

Looking towards to head of Coledale along Scar Crags with Sail and Crag Hill left and Sand Hill wrapped in mist right

I doubled back across the ridge and started the ‘round’ by crossing over ‘Scar Crags’ heading towards ‘sail’ the path followed the ridge and then broadened as it climbed a little more steeply up to ‘sail’ there were a few scramble bits as I approached ‘sail’ which would be very simple in warmer weather but given the dusting of snow and abundance of Ice I took these slowly and steadily. It was fully light now with a bright sun above the Eastern horizon and from ‘sail’ I was rewarded with stunning views of the walk ahead as well as great views of ranges away in the distance. I could clearly see the snowy North Pennines and South West across to Great gable and Sca Fell.

looking back across Scar Crags to Causy pike with Outerside and Barroe down to the left

After a short descent I started to climb again on to ‘Crag hill’ which would be the 2nd highest peak of the day coming in at 839 meters. The climb was steady and without incident so I quickly came up to the summit cairn of ‘Crag Hill’ and surprisingly there was little wind on the top. I descided that this would be a great place to break out some breakfast and have my first hot drink of the morning. I enjoyed some stunning views whilst refuelling and think that this is one of the best vantage points on the entire walk. I could also clearly see the next section of my route which would take me down and around ‘Addacomb Hole’ and out onto ‘Wandope’
By now my camera was feeling the effects of the cold and was continually telling me it had flat batteries, so unfortunately the pictures are a little thin from here on in.

Looking back at sail and Causy Pike along the ascent ridge

North from Crag Hill with Skiddaw centre and Grisdale Pike left

Grassmore from Crag Hill

Looking South from Crag Hill

looking at Grisdale Pike from Coledale Hause with Sand Hill left and Skiddaw distant right

Ice on the stream flowing into Coledale Hause

From ‘Wandope’ I headed North up the broad grassy slopes of ‘Grassmore’ which was the heighest but easiest peak to reach at 852 meters. It gave some cracking views across Buttermere and the High-stile Range opposite but alas my camera was having non of it so no pictures. I back tracked and then dropped down to ‘Coledale Hause’ for another refuel and hot drink stop before continuing North up and onto ‘Sand Hill’ Up until now most of the slopes hade been either craggy of grassy but this one was completely void of any vegetation of soil, it took on the appearance of a wind swept lunar scene dusted with snow and wind formed frost.

The ascent route with Causy pike left, Scar crags centre and Sail right

‘Sand Hill’ was a windy summit so I didn’t stop with the exception of coaxing a photo out of my pool camera looking into the North col of ‘Grasmore’ which looked more like a drawing from a Wainwright book than an actual scene. The dusting of snow and clear sky gave a very ‘black and white’ appearance to the mountains all around. From ‘Sand Hill’ there was a short climb onto ‘Hopegill Head’ which gave me some fantastic views out to the North West and also across to my last summit of ‘Grisdale Pike’ via my route which took me around the imposing cliffs of ‘Hobcarton Crag’

Grisdale Pike from Hope Gill head with Hobcarton Crag right of centre

I could really feel the bite in the wind across the only exposed part of my face and could also see some lower cloud heading my way. I decided the best thing to do was to push on whilst I still had clear sky’s as the wind had increased in speed and I didn’t think it would be long before the cloud would envelop my last summit.
I passed ‘Hobcarton’ quickly and climber onto ‘Grisdale’ without a fuss.

Skiddaw from Grisdale Pike, the mist rolling in

I took a long last look around at the stunning scenery and turned my attention to getting down and back to the car. An event free descent form ‘Grisdale’ followed but its worth noting that in places this is quite steep with amore lofty feel than its humble 791 meters would have you believe.

Looking back into Coledale from Sleet How

I took it easy until the path widened onto the more grassy slopes of ‘Sleet How’ and after a very enjoyable day arrived back at the car at 1500
Last edited by 37lumleyst on Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Posts: 297
Munros:6   Corbetts:1
Joined: Apr 3, 2009
Location: Teesside

Re: Coledale Round

Postby Paul Webster » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:07 pm

Great report, one of the most enjoyable Lakeland horseshoe's in my book.

(ps. you aren't really allowed to upload a scanned map though - breaks Ordnance Survey copyright rules, though hopefully these will change next year.)
User avatar
Paul Webster
Site Admin
Mountain Walker
Posts: 5504
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:71   Donalds:45
Sub 2000:120   Hewitts:133
Wainwrights:134   Islands:92
Joined: Jan 6, 2007
Location: Highland
Walk wish-list

Re: Coledale Round

Postby mountain coward » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:36 am

My joint favourite Lakeland Round (along with the Kentmere Horseshoe)... and my favourite 'Corbett' Grisedale Pike :) You added a lot into your round doing Grasmoor and Causey Pike/Scar Crags! No wonder you set off early... Love the icicles pic of the beck!
mountain coward

Re: Coledale Round

Postby susanmyatt » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:10 pm

Hi Paul, great post and some superb pictures, have been out of action for a month with knee problems but was in the lakes yesterday for our xmas dinner in the Birks at the end of the Duddon Valley, when we got there we knocked off Harter Fell. The rate you knock them off you will be catching me soon :lol:
User avatar
Munro compleatist
Posts: 438
Joined: Feb 3, 2009

Re: Coledale Round

Postby johnnyaztec » Sun Dec 20, 2009 9:57 pm

Stunning mate ,a beautiful round and some great sunrise pics thats what the mountains are all about for me ,well worth the early rise.

Spare batteries for the camera next time im guessing is on your to do list, unless its a power pack battery of course keeping the camera next to the body works as well to preserve life in the batteries.

Agree with the other posters it is one of the best rounds in the lakes, even better on a day like you had.
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 479
Munros:70   Corbetts:8
Grahams:5   Donalds:5
Joined: Oct 18, 2009
Location: Liverpool

Re: Coledale Round

Postby Dannyboy » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:20 pm

Nice one! You had a nice frosty day there!
I do like the difference in hill names between up here and down there
- its like a different language(i know it is but it does!) :crazy: :lol:
Munro compleatist
Posts: 53
Munros:140   Corbetts:7
Sub 2000:9   
Joined: Jun 23, 2009

Re: Coledale Round

Postby canisp » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:08 pm

That looked a cracking day out, a just reward for the early start. Enjoyed the report and excellent photo’s :D :D just a shame the batteries died. Thanks for sharing...
User avatar
Posts: 331
Munros:281   Corbetts:191
Grahams:28   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:195
Joined: Jan 2, 2008
Location: Barrow in Furness/Cumbria

Re: Coledale Round

Postby 37lumleyst » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:32 am

It certainly was a good day on the hills - I love the early starts as it allows you to get up into the hills to catch the sun rise as well as meaning you are more 'alone' when walking.

I like the idea of comming off the hill and passing folk that are just starting their walk. As for my camera, well............

I think I must have the s**t'est camera going as I cganged the batteries half way round thinking that the cold had got to them. I also carried the damn thing in my inside jaket pocket too, so it was as warm as I was. Might have to ask Santa for a new one (hope your reading this dear wife :) )
User avatar
Posts: 297
Munros:6   Corbetts:1
Joined: Apr 3, 2009
Location: Teesside

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?

Return to Walk reports - Outside Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests