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Combe Gill Horseshoe

Combe Gill Horseshoe


Postby trailmasher » Mon May 18, 2015 12:55 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Rosthwaite Fell

Date walked: 01/05/2015

Time taken: 4.05

Distance: 11.21 km

Ascent: 889m

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Combe Gill Horseshoe.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


To start this walk I drove into Borrowdale along the B5289, through Rosthwaite, past the Stonethwaite turn off until I arrived at the cottages of Mountain View. Just before crossing Strands Bridge which spans the - I'm not sure about this as Grains Gill and Styhead Gill meet just below Stockley Bridge before passing under said bridge and meeting up with Combe Gill at Burthwaite Bridge and then appearing as the River Derwent with no name given for the gill which lies between Stockley Bridge and Burthwaite Bridge - gill. Maybe someone could enlighten me on this one?

No matter what it's called, just before the bridge I then turned off down the lane to Thorneythwaite Farm, where, after a short drive a substantial car parking area can be found on the right hand side of the lane at NY249135. The farmer maintains it and there is an honesty box which advises that there is a £3 parking charge.
1 - Lowbank Crags-Base Brown with Grey Knotts and Brandreth behind.JPG
Lowbank Crags-Base Brown with Grey Knotts and Brandreth behind.

The way forward is to go back down the road for a short distance where a gate will be found on the right hand side leading onto a dirt track which winds easily around the hillside, through a few trees until reaching the intake wall and a gate giving access onto the fell side proper. This path is the one which will lead you up to Glaramara and the fells beyond if so desired but I will be heading off east just before reaching the rocky face of Glaramara.

From the intake wall the path climbs steadily and easily south on good ground with a few short rocky sections, and a short paved section, before reaching the wet grassy area as the summit of Glaramara comes into view proper. The views in all directions are worth losing a minute or so to stop and take advantage of.
2 - Looking into Borrowdale and its fells.JPG
Looking into Borrowdale and its fells.

Looking back there are quite a number of people far down the fell side following in my wake. I came across a young couple who had wandered off piste having lost the path among the rocky ground and looking a bit concerned as to which way to go. After a short chat and a point in the right direction they were off like two mountain goats. Ah! to be young again.
3 -  The Combe-Dovenest Crag-Combe Door-and Combe Head.JPG
The Combe-Dovenest Crag-Combe Door and Combe Head.

4 - Base Brown-Fleetwith Pike-Dale Head and beyond.JPG
Base Brown-Fleetwith Pike-Dale Head and beyond.

After passing the cairn of Thornythwaite Fell…
5 - Great Gable from Thornythwaite Fell cairn.JPG
Great Gable from Thornythwaite Fell cairn.

6 - A view towards Pillar.JPG
A view towards Pillar.

and covering a further 400 metres the going gets easier still as there is now grass underfoot, albeit wet, spongy grass which entails a diversion or two to circumnavigate the worst sections of it. The rocky and snowy front of Glaramara is now in sight.
8 - The north face of Glaramara.JPG
The north face of Glaramara.

A few more metres and the path returns to something more respectable as I leave the main path heading up the fell to turn off east and make my way over to Combe Head and the crags overlooking Combe Gill of which the main leader appears to run from a gully which is underneath Combe Door.
7 - Combe Head.JPG
Combe Head.

A short climb up through the rocks soon gets me to the top of Combe Head at some 733metres in height. Excellent views are to be had from this summit, again in all directions. Borrowdale, Rosthwaite Fell, Base Brown, Green and Great Gables, Fleetwith Pike, the snow covered High Street hills and so on.
9 - A view of  Pillar and the Gables etc from Combe Head top.JPG
A view of Pillar and the Gables etc from Combe Head top.

10 - The Combe and Borrowdale from Combe Head top.JPG
The Combe and Borrowdale from Combe Head top.

Good place to stop for a short break where I was joined by two chaps who were on their way to Glaramara and asking about the route across to Allan Crag and the best way back to Seatoller.
11 - Enjoying the peace and quiet.JPG
Are ewe enjoying the peace and quiet?

12 - Across the Langdales and Crinkles.JPG
Across the Langdales and Crinkles.

Leaving Combe Head I continued east making my way down the rocky path towards Combe Door…
13 - High Raise-Sergeants Crag-Eagle Crag-Ullscarf beyond.JPG
High Raise-Sergeant's Crag-Eagle Crag-Ullscarf beyond.

14 - The northeast face of Combe Head.JPG
The northeast face of Combe Head.

15 - Combe Head looking to Dale Head-Fleetwith Pike etc.JPG
Combe Head looking to Dale Head-Fleetwith Pike etc.

before reaching the grassy col decorated with a few small unnamed tarns and then climbing the grassy side up to the small summit cairn of Combe Door at 676 metres.
16 - Combe Door.JPG
Combe Door.

17 - Combe Door.JPG
Combe Door.

18 - Looking across the Great Hollow to Rosthwaite Cam.JPG
Looking across the Great Hollow to Rosthwaite Cam.

After the regulation photo shoot I left here dropping down the fell and then heading north for, and across the mini tarn covered head of Woof Gill before reaching the wet area of Great Hollow which can thankfully be circumnavigated by a small path running around the east side of it.
23 - The Great Hollow from Combe Door.JPG
The Great Hollow from Combe Door.

Having got around this great sump I made my way onto Rosthwaite Cam where another break was had whilst surveying the top of Rosthwaite Fell. I have been here a few times in the past but still enjoy the views over Tarn at Leaves, Borrowdale, Grange Fell, etc.
19 - Rosthwaite Cam top.JPG
Rosthwaite Cam top.

20 - Rosthwaite Fell and Tarn at Leaves from Rosthwaite Cam top.JPG
Rosthwaite Fell and Tarn at Leaves from Rosthwaite Cam top.

Looking across to Raven Crag there can be seen a long fissure - or gully - running for the full height of it. This I believe is one of the classic rock climbs of the area and was first done by the legendary climber Owen Glynne Jones - 'Only Genuine' Jones - in 1897.
21 - Raven Crag and gully.JPG
Raven Crag and gully.

From here and still heading north I worked my way down through the rocky fell side using sheep trods and nearer the bottom some of the many faint footpaths whilst crossing the west side of Tarn at Leaves of which I have yet to find the origin of such a strange name. There is not a tree in sight and probably hasn't been for a few hundred years or so.
22 - Bessyboot behind Tarn at leaves.JPG
Bessyboot behind Tarn at Leaves.

The next object of my attention is Bessyboot, the large rocky hill overlooking the tarn and which stands at 500 metres. Again an easy one to ascend with just an awkward step just before the summit but with care doesn't present any problems.
24 - The view south from Bessyboot top.JPG
The view south from Bessyboot top.

I was going to descend via an unnamed gill which starts just across from the base of Bessyboot but decided to take the easier option of the path which runs down by the side of Rottenstone Gill. Ten years or so ago this path was in good condition but now it is hardly visible in many places having grown over and got fairly boggy for a fair length of it. The only really good stretch is the first 400 metres or so but takes a turn for the worst as the downhill starts. Lack of use I presume. It doesn't get respectable until it meets up with the path running alongside Combe Gill but of course it's fairly level ground here.

Instead of crossing Combe Gill just before the intake wall and following my original route from the bottom of Thornythwaite Fell, I decided to continue following the gill under High Knott and High Buck How and then turning northeast across a footbridge to follow a path across the fields to the main road and the short walk back to the car park.

This was not to be as the footbridge was blocked off - by the farmer I presume - so not wanting to retrace my steps back up to the higher crossing I decided to walk upstream to see if there was a nearer, and suitable place to cross where I could then sneak through the trees and return to the car unobserved. A few metres up from the blocked footbridge I came across an old building and various bits of iron work set into the ground - an odd wheel and vertical metal bars - but also saw on the map that there is a reservoir and weir marked up of which this building and selection of ironwork are the remnants of. The reservoir cannot have been of any substance as there just isn't the space - it's quite narrow here - and apart from the building and iron there are no signs of anything which may have been placed across the gill.

Just above and south of the old building I found a place where I could cross whilst staying dry. Once across I scaled the tumbledown wall and fence, made my way uphill across a field until reaching the small plantation of pine trees. From here I simply walked down the hillside through the trees until reaching the path of my outward journey up to Combe Head.

As I got back to the car I could hear a quad bike coming my way and thought that maybe the farmer had seen me crossing his field so was prepared for the regulation rollicking when he stopped by my car. But no, he merely asked me where I had been and once told mentioned that he had lost one of his sheepdogs the previous day and had I seen any sign of one roaming about the fell, of which I hadn't. We had a chat about farming life in general and then said our goodbyes, him back to his work and me off to where I started from this morning

The weather has been good all day with more sun during the morning than the afternoon when clouds came in and took over most of the sky. There was quite a cool breeze at height but only to be expected with snow still in evidence.
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trailmasher
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Re: Combe Gill Horseshoe

Postby Ibex » Mon May 18, 2015 1:49 pm

Great report and lovely photo's.
I did this walk about a week after you and there was no snow. Might explain why it was so damn wet up there though.

I saw a shepherd climbing the fell that day with his dogs too, so hopefully he found him.
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Re: Combe Gill Horseshoe

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue May 19, 2015 8:22 am

It is a very fine view down Combe Gill, not sure Rosthwaite Fell is on my repeat list TBH.
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Re: Combe Gill Horseshoe

Postby trailmasher » Tue May 19, 2015 12:23 pm

Ibex wrote:Great report and lovely photo's.
I did this walk about a week after you and there was no snow. Might explain why it was so damn wet up there though.

I saw a shepherd climbing the fell that day with his dogs too, so hopefully he found him.


Thanks Ibex. :D Even in summer the approach over the grass to Glaramara is wet as are the lower areas of Rosthwaite Fell. And of course, the snow melt would make it even worse. :(
The dog the shepherd was looking for was a brown coloured sheepdog so hope that was one of the ones that you saw
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Re: Combe Gill Horseshoe

Postby trailmasher » Tue May 19, 2015 1:21 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:It is a very fine view down Combe Gill, not sure Rosthwaite Fell is on my repeat list TBH.


Thanks again Anthony, and although not an exciting fell the last couple of visits to Rosthwaite Fell I have used as a stepping stone to gain Glaramara and Allan Crag and also a route down Cam Crag, Woof Stones and into Langstrath by Blackmoss Pot.
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Re: Combe Gill Horseshoe

Postby Ibex » Wed May 20, 2015 12:40 am

I didn't notice a brown sheepdog with him, but to be honest I was walking down a slope next to a waterfall and was trying not to fall on my arse again. :lol:

I think Rossthwaite Fell will be on my repeat list. I thought it was a fascinating place, with all sorts of interesting little bits poking about.
Had a little scramble up Rossthwaite Cam and nearly got blown off the top and later did a river crossing, so had a mini adventure on there. Loved it!
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Re: Combe Gill Horseshoe

Postby Alteknacker » Wed May 20, 2015 4:14 pm

Lovely pics. Looks like a nice route, with lots of hills with character. It shows that hills don't need to be 915m +!!
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Re: Combe Gill Horseshoe

Postby ChrisW » Wed May 20, 2015 6:24 pm

Beautiful shots Trailmasher, that dusting of snow really adds to them too...my kind of hike this one :wink: :clap:
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Re: Combe Gill Horseshoe

Postby trailmasher » Thu May 21, 2015 2:20 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Lovely pics. Looks like a nice route, with lots of hills with character. It shows that hills don't need to be 915m +!!


A good route indeed Alte.. and thanks for your comments. :) Another good way to go if you haven't tried it is to park at Stonethwaite and go up through the woods between Bull Crag and Little Stanger Gill passing under Hanging Haystacks.
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Re: Combe Gill Horseshoe

Postby trailmasher » Thu May 21, 2015 2:22 pm

ChrisW wrote:Beautiful shots Trailmasher, that dusting of snow really adds to them too...my kind of hike this one :wink: :clap:


Thanks again Chris and yes, the snow just puts an edge on to the pics. A bit of everything on this route, good paths, bog, scramble, etc :crazy: .
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