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Unleashed in the Far East

Unleashed in the Far East


Postby johnkaysleftleg » Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:51 am

Wainwrights included on this walk: Branstree, Grey Crag, Selside Pike, Tarn Crag (Far Eastern Fells)

Hewitts included on this walk: Branstree, Grey Crag, Selside Pike, Tarn Crag

Date walked: 07/04/2015

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 900m

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Following a frustratingly fine Lakes Easter weekend spent in the house we finally managed to get over the A66 on the Tuesday. The fine weather had held on and it was a blissfully perfect morning at Mardale. There is always something about the Mardale and the head of Haweswater that gets me, even though it was flooded to create a reservoir, drowning a wonderful little community that had existed for centuries, I can't help but feel awestruck by it's beauty. It helps I suppose that it has been very kind to us as regards weather as it was again today.

ImageHeaven is a place on earth by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

Our three remaining Far Eastern Fells were not the easiest to link up sensibly, Options being a long circular from Swindale, or a route containing large sections of there and back from Mardale or Longsleddale. I eventually stumped for the Mardale route, starting with Branstree's North ridge. Branstree is a fell we have climbed before and due to it's somewhat dull nature it became synonymous with grassy lumps and the sound of "oh no not another Branstree!" has been a common cry from Grace over the years.

This route starts off very promisingly as the small path winds it's way up through crags and boulders in charming fashion, with beautiful cascades to your left adding to the scene. All to soon however the gradient eases and the features vanish leaving you with an expanse of rising grassy moorland. We stayed on the Mardale side to give us fine views over Haweswater but soon it became apparent that the grassy trod we were following was just traversing, not climbing the hillside. A brief direction change and some hard work brought us to the optimistically named Artle Crag where stands a superbly built cairn as apposed to the small pile of stones and dog bowl on the actual summit.

ImageRound the Bend by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageLakeland Road by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageA Bit of a Slog by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageArtle Crag by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageHighest dog drinking bowl in England by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

We barely paused on Branstree and set off down the peculiarly named, given it's on Branstree, Selside Brow towards our next target, This was a very quick and simple descent to the boggy col at the top of Mosedale. Any thoughts of dullness were forgotten by the huge temperature inversion to the South with cloud filling longsleddale making a spectacular sight. We've seen this phenomena a few times now but it never gets old. Thanks to the relatively dry weather of late the col was OK and the peat hags were easily avoided. The climb up Tarn Crag was a case of following the fence up the largely gentle gradient before heading of towards the flat summit. Here stands a peculiarity of this fell in the shape of a large survey column. The structure is repeated on the slopes of Branstree and Grey Crag and has weathered quite beautifully. The original purpose was apparently the construction of the Haweswater Aqueduct and must have been quite an undertaking before the days of helicopters dropping stones where you want them.

ImageLongsleddale Inversion by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageLooking down Mosedale by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageShippman Knotts by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageTowards the Gatesgarth Pass by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageView from Tarn Crag by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageSurvey Column and Tarn by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageGrace on Tarn Crag by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

We had lunch here, enjoying the views of the dissipating inversion before returning to the fence to hopefully make a relatively dry crossing to Grey Crag. The country here is certainly not that which is typical of the Lakes, far more Pennine in character as it changes from crags to the boggy delights of the Shap fells. Fortunately the route wasn't too bad (especially as we had to return this way) and this remote Eastern outpost of the Lakes was bagged.

ImageHughie on Grey Crag by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

We retraced our steps, apart from the diversion to Tarn Crag's summit and arrived back at the head of Mosedale to be confronted with the less than attractive sight of the initially steep slopes of Selside Brow. Following some slow trudging we left the wall and crossed over towards the survey column missing out on another visit to Branstree. (because I'm a merciful and benevolent leader :lol: ) We passed some stubborn snow patches, which Hughie enjoyed immensely on the way and declined to climb the nameless lump between Branstree and Selside before an easy gradient took us to our final Far Eastern Fell. Hazy but expansive views of the Pennies were our reward and we had a few moments rest to celebrate.

ImageRiver of Snow by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageMad Dog Snow Swimming by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageStone Tardis by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageAll done on Selside Pike by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageSwindale with Pennines beyond by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

We returned via the old Swindale/Mardale corpse road which granted us great views with Haweswater looking like Quicksilver in the afternoon sun and the beautiful cascades of Rowantreethwaite and Hopgil Becks reflecting just what a paradise Mardale can be and just how heartbreaking it must have been for the displaced families who had lived here for generations to leave.

ImageClassic view from the Corpse Road by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr



The Far Eastern Fells are often not classic Lakeland, although Mardale Head most certainly is, but in many ways they benefit from this, giving this wonderful district another, quieter string to it's bow. It will not be too long before I return to the delights of Mardale and its surrounds as I feel it will be impossible to stay away.


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Last edited by johnkaysleftleg on Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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johnkaysleftleg
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Re: Unleashed in the Far East

Postby nigheandonn » Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:19 pm

Nice :) I had one of my best days, or at least half of my best weekend, on those hills - I love the empty spaces for walking in, rather than fiddly ups and downs! Think that says more about my odd tastes than the hills, though - they certainly had their boggy moments.

I don't think I've ever seen Haweswater so full!
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Re: Unleashed in the Far East

Postby Ibex » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:26 pm

Those are some beautiful photo's. The panorama at the start of the report is stunning.

Goes to show how long I have been reading your reports, as I looked at one of your pictures of Grace and thought, blimey she looks like she has grown. haha.
Closing in on that finish mate. So many great reports along the way!
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Re: Unleashed in the Far East

Postby ChrisW » Fri Apr 17, 2015 5:23 am

Another stunner JK from the wonderful pano at the beginning to the B&W river of snow toward the end...fantastic :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Unleashed in the Far East

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:40 am

nigheandonn wrote:Nice :) I had one of my best days, or at least half of my best weekend, on those hills - I love the empty spaces for walking in, rather than fiddly ups and downs! Think that says more about my odd tastes than the hills, though - they certainly had their boggy moments.

I don't think I've ever seen Haweswater so full!


I went back and read your report, that was certainly the long way to bag these four fells! I'm not sure it's odd tastes, just what you prefer. I certainly think the feeling of a walk in the Penninies with all that open space is way different to the Lakes with steep cliffs and crags aplenty. I love them both to be honest.

Ibex wrote:Those are some beautiful photo's. The panorama at the start of the report is stunning.

Goes to show how long I have been reading your reports, as I looked at one of your pictures of Grace and thought, blimey she looks like she has grown. haha.
Closing in on that finish mate. So many great reports along the way!


Thank you Ibex, Grace has indeed grown, she's rocked past her mother and with be currently suffering from a bad back she's catching me quickly as well. Hughie appears to be getting no taller however :lol:
We are indeed closing in, my reckoning it will be around 9 more walks and we'll be done and dusted.

ChrisW wrote:Another stunner JK from the wonderful pano at the beginning to the B&W river of snow toward the end...fantastic :clap: :clap: :clap:


Thanks Chris :thumbup:
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Re: Unleashed in the Far East

Postby clivegrif » Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:39 pm

Nice one JK! As has been said before, your opening picture is superb! :clap:

Good to see little Hughie is enjoying life on the hills.

Best wishes
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Re: Unleashed in the Far East

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:22 pm

clivegrif wrote:Nice one JK! As has been said before, your opening picture is superb! :clap:

Good to see little Hughie is enjoying life on the hills.

Best wishes


Many thanks Clive, might be my entry to make up to he numbers in next months photo comp. :lol:
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Re: Unleashed in the Far East

Postby trailmasher » Sat Apr 18, 2015 7:51 pm

Great report and stunning images JK. :clap: Good hills to walk especially when it's been dry for a while and looks like you got 'em on a good day. :D
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Re: Unleashed in the Far East

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:24 am

trailmasher wrote:Great report and stunning images JK. :clap: Good hills to walk especially when it's been dry for a while and looks like you got 'em on a good day. :D


Cheers, They were far better than I feared they might be
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Re: Unleashed in the Far East

Postby petenelliewalking » Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:53 pm

Lovely to see the full set of photos from the trip. (Enjoyed the lead photo in Flickr.) Looks like a steep pull up!
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Re: Unleashed in the Far East

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:29 pm

petenelliewalking wrote:Lovely to see the full set of photos from the trip. (Enjoyed the lead photo in Flickr.) Looks like a steep pull up!
Peter


Cheers Pete, all my walking photos can be found in my albums of flickr. It was only steep due to keeping on the wrong trod, giving us some harder work than strickly necessary, ment nice views however.
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