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An Accidental 10 with a wild camp - Now with pics
by georgeaquaterra » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:45 pm
Wainwrights included on this walk: Dollywaggon Pike, Fairfield, Glenridding Dodd, Helvellyn, Nethermost Pike, Raise, Seat Sandal, Sheffield Pike, St Sunday Crag, White Side
Hewitts included on this walk: Dollywaggon Pike, Fairfield, Helvellyn, Raise, Seat Sandal, Sheffield Pike, St Sunday Crag, White Side
Date walked: 01/06/2013
Distance: 24 km
Ascent: 1950m2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
My first post.
I set off with the dog on Saturday morning aiming to do a route from Seathwaite, but checking with MWIS the forecast suggested cloudy tops in the west, but clear in the east. This prompted a bit of thought in the car and a change of mind to do a route with St Sunday Crag as the star for the day.
I had seen St Sunday Crag last year after a quick up and down of Helvelyn from the Swirl's, and thought that (a) it would give much better views of Helvelyn than I had got on that day, (b) it looked a great hill, (c) it would make a nice route to Fairfield. Checking the maps later, I had considered it an ideal route to take and wild camp up at Grisedale Tarn. So with that settled (and no clear idea of what I would do after I had covered St Sunday and Fairfield), I changed course for Patterdale.
Reached the car park in Patterdale about 12ish and set off up via Grisedale and onto the side of the hill. First consequence of the change of plan was that having not prepared for this route, I did not click that Birks was also a Wainwright, and I breezed past in blissful ignorance without going the extra few metres to 'bag' it on route. Ho hum.
Halfway up I met in with a fellow walker Neil from Kendal, and we walked together until the top of Fairfield (if your reading this Neil I hope you got down to Ambleside and your bus safely - sorry for distracting you from your original plan!).
St Sunday proved just as good a walk as I hoped, and gave great views of the crags facing east from the Helvelyn range, as well as a great view to the next destination - Fairfield. I have to say Cofa Pike is a daunting climb from this direction, and proved a perfect guardian for this giant, but the top of Fairfield was not as stunning as the approach views or the clamber up the pike. If like me you like your summits to have a 'point', rather than being a big flat bit with various scattered cairns, Fairfield is not going to be a favourite.
I headed down from Fairfield towards Grisedale Tarn, vaguely aware that it was far to early to set up camp, and trying to decide if my legs had it in them to make an attempt on Seat Sandle to burn up an hour or so. By the time I reached the saddle my mind was made up, and man and dog set of up the third Wainwright of the day (dog with much greater enthusiasm than man!). As it happens Seat Sandle amply repaid the quite modest work of reaching the top with great views and satisfaction of a job well done. If we hadnt climbed it, I know it would have been smirking down at me all evening as I hid from it in my little tent by the tarn.
There was a large group with 4 tents also planning to camp by the tarn, so I ended up going a little bit down the valley to the 'Brothers Parting Stone' and camping out of sight from them. A reasonable pitch, but I imagine it would have been very boggy in wetter weather. Whilst talking about pitches here, I would note that around the tarn there were at least three other good pitching areas ruined by uncleared remains of old fires, rubbish and general tell tales of previous occupation. Whatever happened to leave nothing but footprints??? I ended up bringing out some rubbish I found around my own site.
Went to bed (early: note to self bring some entertainment next time!) in two minds about the morning. Climb up to Dollywaggon, or just hike back down Grisdale. The condition of my legs in the morning would decide.
Up early after a loooonnnng night in the tent (do all dogs get up and sniff around the tent, jumping over you whenever a sheep comes within a hundred yards or a plane goes over?) and feeling good. Dollywaggon it was! Packed and walking by 8.30 - no sign of life at the other camp yet, but I guess they had more entertainment options the night before.
Its a fair slog up Dollywaggon, but we made good time to the top and enjoyed the view along the ridge. Not sure how Wainwright decided these things, but Dollywaggon and even more Nethermost Pike's are by no means seperate mountains from Helvelyn. From the top I could see most of the high hills to the west were covered in cloud, as was Skiddaw to the north. So I wandered along the top towards Helvelyn wondering about my next move. At a snack break on Nethermost, I decided that if it looked like it was going to get claggy when I reached Helvelyn I would head down Swirral edge, and consider Catstye Cam before heading back. If it still looked clear I would keep going to Whiteside and probably Raise before heading on down one of the paths back to Glen Ridding.
From the top I could see a little drift of cloud on Raise, but not enough to put me off, and on we went bagging both before heading down the stick pass path. Here was the second mistake from not being on a planned route. I should have gone over the first Dodd after the Sticks pass and walked down the ridge towards Sheffield Pike, but at this point I hadnt even considered adding on Sheffield Pike. So with pre-planning my accidental 10, should have been a planned dozen!
It was only when I got to the flatter area of the pass, and sat with a cup of soup looking at the spoil heaps from the old quarry, that Sheffield Pike became a consideration. It looked so close. And hardly a big climb. Why wouldnt you? So we did. And a horrible boggy ascent it is from this side too. But a nice summit with great views.
At the top I considered my options. There are no paths marked on the OS map, but I was sure there must be a route down from here towards the saddle over to Glen Ridding Dodd. So I set a compass bearing (first one needed in two days!) and set off in that direction. Within about 20 yards, I found a path going generally in the right direction and follwed it. Very glad of it too - the route down this way was one of the most hands on parts of the whole circuit. Good fun, but It would have been slow going without the path.
By the wall that runs over the saddle between Sheffield Pike and Glen Ridding Dodd, I stopped for the last hill refreshment of the trip. Looking across at Glen Ridding Dodd, I was sure it was too small to be a Wainwright, but the wonders of technology meant I had a mobile phone signal here, and could google it. Once I knew the answer, I wasnt about to go past it, when for an extra 100m of climbing I could get my round 10 for the trip, so off I went and was up it in no time.
Back down the way we came and we carried on down the rake into Glen Ridding, and the long walk back down the road to Patterdale by about 3.30 including a bacon roll stop. A great couple of days!
by johnkaysleftleg » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:27 pm
by L-Hiking » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:02 pm
Is it my eyes or is your wild camp on a slope
by georgeaquaterra » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:27 am
johnkaysleftleg wrote:A great first report and some lovely pics Very sad to here about the mess left besides Grisedale Tarn, it's hard to believe any lover of the hills wouldn't show the respect required.
Thanks. It is hard to believe, but I guess Grisedale Tarn has been used as a bit of a party spot. There was one old fire on the rocks by the tarn where a lot of charcoal had been left and a second burned ring in the grass with the remains of unburnt rubbish left inside it. As well as some old chopped up towel chunks which I carried out.
L-Hiking wrote:Impressive and well done
Is it my eyes or is your wild camp on a slope
I managed to find a small flat dry bit between the slope behind and the swamp in front! Although if I am honest 'the dogs half' at the back of the tent still had enough slope for a sleeping bag to slide off a mat, but by the front door it was fine.
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