Today had been earmarked as the day for "Granny's Wainwright" - last year she made it to the summit of Hallin Fell, and this year we reckoned that Latrigg should be well within her reach. You climb Latrigg mainly for the views, so we had been trying to pick the best day of the week for this ascent with that in mind.
Uncle Michael had assured us there was plenty of parking space at the top of the Gale Road, so we set off rather leisurely, in three cars as we were all going in different directions afterwards. But when we got to the car park it was pretty full, and we only just managed to find places to squeeze in without blocking anyone. Cars continued to arrive after us - it got pretty chaotic for a while.
Busy car park
There's a path to the summit marked "Accessibility" specifically designed for wheelchairs, pushchairs and the like, so the going was the easiest I've ever had to a Wainwright summit. The views were spectacular, despite (and sometime because of) the clouds.
Keswick and Derwent Water
Derwent Water and Castle Crag
Granny was very pleased at getting to the top and proving that she ca still do Wainwrights.
Helvellyn ridge from Latrigg
Skiddaw in cloud as usual
Rather than retrace our steps, we made a circuit of it by carrying on and picking up the path at the other side of Latrigg - everyone was convinced we were heading in the wrong direction to get back to the cars, but I knew where I was going (and so did the GPS.
Back at the cars, the car park had emptied considerably, and I was able to move the car into a less precarious location. Granny and Uncle Michael departed, and Lorraine, Robert, Sarah, Thomas, Sapphie and Gem set off up Lonscale Fell. Sarah was about to take a photo of us setting off when Gem pulled her arm and she dropped her beloved iPhone into a puddle. We fished it out sharpish and it seems to have survived, though she kept it safely put away in a pocket for the rest of the walk so the rest of the photos are all mine!
we were using an original edition of the Wainwight "Northern Fells" book as our guide to the summit of Lonscale Fell, borrowed from Uncle Michale, as I had not brought my second edition. As we were feeling a little pressed for time, and could see major rainclouds approaching, we decided to go for one of the shorter routes up the front rather than the more interesting routes along the Glenderaterra valley and up the back of the fell. Wainwright promised us a shepherd's path up to a gate in a new fence, and we did find odd bits of path heading in approximately the right direction. The going was pretty tough though, diagonally up the side through bracken and heather.
Views continued to be pretty spectacular though.
Spotlight on Keswick
Light over Latrigg
Eventually we found all that was left of the 'new fence' at the gateway, and with it a path that took us up to the summit.
The "new fence"
As we reached the summit, so did the rain, so we didn't linger. After a little debate about whether we had time to descend via burnt horse ridge, we decided that the Skiddaw path was the better option. I'm always a little dubious about such 'motorway' paths, especially if steep as this one had looked from the road, but in fact it turned out to be an excellent path, just loose enough to be gentle to walk on and not so steep as it looked. As we descended with an hour or so to go before sunset (according to the GPS) we passed plenty of people still heading up Skiddaw - I hope they all had torches!
Skiddaw shepherds' memorial
At the bottom of the path near the car park was this interesting memorial cross, apparently to two local shepherds and noted breeders of prize Herdwick Sheep.
"Great Shepherd of thy Heavenly Flock
These men have left our hill
Their feet were on the living rock
Oh guide and bless them still."
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