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The Final Coundown: Part Two

The Final Coundown: Part Two


Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:18 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Great Carrs, Grey Friar, Kirk Fell, Lingmell, Scafell Pike, Swirl How, Wetherlam

Hewitts included on this walk: Black Sails, Grey Friar, Kirk Fell, Kirk Fell East Top, Lingmell, Scafell Pike, Swirl How, Wetherlam

Date walked: 12/08/2015

Distance: 31.5 km

Ascent: 2951m

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A Greenburn round plus One, 12 August 2015, 12km 1110m

I've long looked forward to the final four (five if you count Black Sails) Coniston Fells and once again our location was spot on as a fifteen minute drive took us to the start of our days walking. I managed to get the car off the road opposite Castle Howe, taking care not to block the gate, and we set off on a dazzlingly beautiful morning.
Some days the light is superb, the fells glow with vitality and the views are crystal clear, this was such a day :D
Some days you also quickly lose the path :lol: and end up trudging through wet ground but this wasn't a big problem as we crossed the River Brathy, passed over the end of Wet Side Edge and dropped back down again to the bridge over Greenburn Beck.

Wetherlam is thought to be just about the most mined mountain in England, full of holes of various shapes and sizes. The impressive craggy bulk of the fell remains untouched by mans best efforts however and possibly enhanced by sites such as the atmospheric ruined mine buildings we passed as we set off up the slopes. Rather than a direct line up to Wetherlam Edge we elected to follow the old mine tracks upwards. Once again the path was lost for a while :oops: but soon was relocated as we made our way upwards with ever improving views of Little Langdale, and the Langdale Fells.

ImageStart of the walk by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBridge over Greenburn Beck by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking towards Little Langdale by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLangdale Fells from Wetherlam by Anthony Young, on Flickr. Link for full size version

This was a steep climb on a hot day and continued once the ridge was attained. Rather than follow the more obvious route we followed a route slightly further down which led us to some simple but entertaining scrambling up a gully and took us to the broad stony top for the first fell of the day. We had a bite to eat while taking in the hugely impressive views.

ImageOn Wetherlam Edge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSix to Go! by Anthony Young, on Flickr

We set off again towards the Prison Band and split up briefly as me and Hughie paid a visit to the Hewitt of Black Sails and met up again at Swirl Hawse. The prison band looks and sounds a touch intimidating but the reality is an excellent route up the next fell on the round, Swirl How. This is another fine top with the impressive cairn perched right on the edge of the crags. We had a good break as it was a warm day and we had already took in around a 850 meters of ascent in only around three miles of walking. Also, quite frankly who wouldn't want to spend time up here? Wales and Snowdonia was once again just about visible to the south although not quite as clear as Saturday and to the north the border hills of Scotland could be spied. It was a fine lunch stop :D

ImageConiston Old Man from Black Sails by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageThe Prison Band and Swirl How by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageOn the Prison Band by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageDow Crag by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageFive to Go! by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSwirl How by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageMother and Daughter by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGreat Carrs from Swirl How by Anthony Young, on Flickr

We took a fairly direct route to the outlier of Gary Friar from Swirl How over the aptly named Fairfield. There is something about the more isolated fells on the west of the Lakes that I find very appealing, I think it's the sea views which today were a touch hazy with the Isle of Man seemingly floating in the air. The Scafells are also beautifully seen from here with the tops of Slight Side, Scafell, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Ill Crag and Great End all clearly defined. We retraced our steps to the col and climbed the gentle slopes of Great Carrs towards the site of the memorial to the airmen who died on these slopes back in 1944. There is something about these places, especially on such an idyllic day as this that is very poignant. The tender age of many of the deceased, so far from there homes in Canada is quite heartbreaking, killed fighting a war half a world away. We paid our respects and moved onto the last top of the day.

ImageThe Scafells from the way up Grey Friar by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGrey Friar with the Isle of Man in the distance by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageScafells from Grey Friar by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageMorecambe Bay by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageFour to Go! by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageThe Gray Friar? by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageR.I.P. by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSwirl How from Great Carrs by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGreat Carrs by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Our descent from Great Carrs was down Wet Side Edge which contrary to it's name is a beautiful way off the fells. A gloriously easy stroll down grassy slopes with views of most of the ground covered during the day. The path does get indistinct lower down but the ground is easy and we re-forded the youthful River Brathy on the way back to the car to complete a truly memorable day in the fells. Why can't life always be as good as this?

ImageCairn on Wet Side Edge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageWetherlam, Swirl How and Great Carrs by Anthony Young, on Flickr. Link for full size version

ImageWet Side Edge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageA youthful River Brathay by Anthony Young, on Flickr


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Kirk Fell, 13th August 2015, 8.5km 852m


If yesterday had been warm today was a scorcher, the humidity had also went up several notches this combined with the small threat of thundery showers in the afternoon meant that today would be a one fell day with Kirk Fell providing the target. We braved the Hard Knott Pass on the way over to Wasdale which I'd avoided for several years following a traumatic crossing a few years back. This time the early start ensured the idiots were still in bed and all was good. Wasdale was as busy as ever but soon the crowds were left behind as we made our way along the very pleasant route up to the Black Sail pass.

ImageWasdale Head by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGreat Gable by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageMosedale by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageStirrup Crag and Gatherstone Beck by Anthony Young, on Flickr

We were thankful of the easy gradient on such a hot day and we took it easy up to the pass where the quite fearsome looking Kirk Fell Crags came into view. There are several routes up here and we kept left, not for any particular reason, and ended up confronted by an unpleasant looking Red gully. Fortunately a simple scramble up the left side takes you onto a small grassy arête where a path is found that takes you onto the large grassy plateau of Kirk Fell.

ImageBlack Sail Youth Hostel by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageKirk Fell Crags by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageHaystacks from Kirk Fell Crags by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImagePath up through the Crags by Anthony Young, on Flickr

The walk to the top from here is simplicity itself, just follow the old fence posts all the way to the summit. Great Gable looks very striking and impregnable from here but also has to share attention with the Scafells looking awesome across Wasdale Head.We had a well earned lunch on the top with boots off before I left the girls to chill while I popped over to the Hewitt of the North top. The reason we didn't all go was a decision had been made to go down the South West ridge rather than via Beck Head and Gavel Neese. This would not prove to be the best decision ever :roll:

ImageGreat Gable by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageNorth Top of Kirk Fell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Image212 down two to go by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageWasdale by Anthony Young, on Flickr

We followed the cairns over to the edge of the plateau as the ground fell away to the valley at an alarming angle before plunging down the slopes. At first it wasn't too bad but once the steepest section is reached the scree makes it nigh on impossible to say upright and we all came a cropper several times as the air filled with the smell of cordite and curses. Fortunately the scree does not last forever (just seems that way) and gives way to the slightly preferable knee and toe crushing grassy slopes back down to Wasdale Head. We stopped on the way back at the Woolpack for food before braving the Burnt clutch pass (sans idiots once again) on the way back to Chapel Stile.

ImageThe Scafells by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGreat Gable...again by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageNever again! by Anthony Young, on Flickr


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And then there was One, 14th August 2015, 11km 989m

Friday was wet but quite frankly a rest was exactly what was needed following three days on the hills, that left Saturday, the final day of our holiday to complete the mission and climb Lingmell. We could of course have included Great End and finished the whole thing but we decided to stick with what we'd agreed. The best route up Lingmell looked to be the Piers Gill route as long as the weather was OK. So it was with this in mind we arrived at a heaving Wasdale Head amid showers and clag. :? The forecast was fair for the day however so we donned waterproofs and set off. We hadn't left the village green before some numpty asked which one was Scafell Pike? The thought of sending him up the South West ridge of Kirk Fell was so tempting but I pointed at Lingmell and told him you can't see it from here as it's behind that, pointed him in vaguely the right direction and escaped the car park before any other ill prepared jean wearing fools accosted me. The rain soon stopped and the clag started to lift as we followed the valley route towards Sty Head.

ImageGable topped by clouds by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGreat End, soon to be the only one left by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSkew Gill by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Soon the benign lower reaches of Piers Gill are reached and a fairly vague path heads off up the left hand bank. This is real mountain country and the sights get more impressive as you make your way upwards. The gill becomes increasingly foreboding and it's easy to see why this route should be avoided in poor visibility as slipping into this gaping chasm would almost certainly be the end of you, even if you survived the fall prospects would be poor.
Eventually our way was barred by some low crags but the scramble up them is fairly straightforward even with the rocks being a bit wet. We soon reached the top of the gill and had a wee bite to eat. The weather was looking really quite good at this point so a decision was made to pop up Scafell Pike.

ImagePiers Gill by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking across Piers Gill to Lingmell Crag by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGreat Gable across Piers Gill by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSty Head with Blencathra beyond by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking up towards Scafell Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageThe top fall in Piers Gill by Anthony Young, on Flickr

We headed for the Broad Crag col and following observing some walkers struggling by taking a route to the right, headed up the middle which was really easy going. The col gave us great views of Eskdale before following the rocky rib to the left of the path up to the roof of England. The summit looked as unappealing as ever with its swarm of visitors so we picked our way across to the south top and had lunch in its superb little eyrie overlooking Eskdale and giving wonderful views of Broad Stand.

ImageBroad Crag Col by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLingmell Crag by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBroad Crag, Lakeland's Roughest summit by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking down Borrowdale by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBroad Stand from the South Top of Scafell Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageEskdale by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBowfell with the Dales behind by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGrace and Hughie by Anthony Young, on Flickr

We made the customary visit to the summit, fighting our way through the crowds, before making our way towards the Lingmell col amid the scores of walkers taking the easiest way up the Pike. While descending we noticed a bit of weather on the way in from the west so we made brisk progress up to number 213. Lingmell is a fine top with the mighty cairn sitting above the precipice of Lingmell Crag and Piers Gill. We made our way down to the unusual lower cairn before donning waterproofs in readiness of a soaking.

ImageHighest dog in England for a 3rd time! by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageView North West from Scafell Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr. Click on link forfull size image.

ImageLingmell and Great Gable by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageScafell Crag by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking back to Broad Crag by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageThe Lingmell arête by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageOne to Go! by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageRain on the Way by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLower cairn on Lingmell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

We stumbled through the mist and rain for awhile before locating the path as the shower eased. This way down Lingmell is steep but nothing compared to Kirk Fell across the way. I decided to cut the corner off and head down the path above the wall which was a mistake, at first it was steep and very loose then after a pleasant grassy trod through the ferns the path disappeared leaving us to battle over erroded ground and head high ferns, never the best combination.

ImageSparkling Mosedale following the rain by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSouth West ridge of Lingmell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageA wrong turn by Anthony Young, on Flickr

The final descent apart this was a great route up to England's highest point on yet another fine day. We really struck lucky with the weather this week considering just what a poor summer it has been.

And so after a great journey only one fell remains.....


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johnkaysleftleg
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Re: The Final Coundown: Part Two

Postby trailmasher » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:47 am

A great report and images of a great set of hills to nearly completing your Wainwright's mission :clap: :clap: . Pity that you couldn't squeeze in Great End :( but no doubt it will be free drinks all round at it's summit cairn :lol: . Re the crash site, I always pay my respects when coming across one. I believe that there are so many around the LD because the altimeters were not accurate enough in those days and when you think that it is only a matter of a few metres/feet between hitting and missing it is a real tragedy for the crew and their families. :(

Well done to all the family for a good few days on the fells :clap:
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Re: The Final Coundown: Part Two

Postby georgeaquaterra » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:54 am

A great report as always Anthony. It will be a great loss to the site when you post your final report from the Wainwrights. Thanks for all the inspirational reports - they never fail to make me want to get out there and walk.
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Re: The Final Coundown: Part Two

Postby dav2930 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:58 pm

Truly stunning images of some of the grandest scenery in England. It must have been very satisfying for a talented photographer like yourself to be out on the fells in such incredibly clear conditions - it's not often you can see Snowdonia from the Lakes, especially in Summer! I had to keep looking again at your photo of Lingmell and Great Gable - best I've seen of that view I think. Well done to all of you - just one more to go! :clap:
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Re: The Final Coundown: Part Two

Postby ChrisW » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:17 pm

Absolutely fantastic shots throughout and wonderful narrative as always JK, great that the weather played along too, what a week. So, with one to go have you decided what you'll do next??????

Do 'em all again in alphabetical order? :lol: :lol:
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Re: The Final Coundown: Part Two

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:24 am

trailmasher wrote:A great report and images of a great set of hills to nearly completing your Wainwright's mission :clap: :clap: . Pity that you couldn't squeeze in Great End :( but no doubt it will be free drinks all round at it's summit cairn :lol: . Re the crash site, I always pay my respects when coming across one. I believe that there are so many around the LD because the altimeters were not accurate enough in those days and when you think that it is only a matter of a few metres/feet between hitting and missing it is a real tragedy for the crew and their families. :(

Well done to all the family for a good few days on the fells :clap:


We never intended to bag Great End during this week. My better half is currently closing in on completing her Masters dissertation and wanted to get this handed in before we bag the final fell. I'll probably be driving home after bagging Great End so I think the drinks will have to be kept at a minimum :( Doesn't mean a small bottle of Champaign might not make it up there. :wink:

georgeaquaterra wrote:A great report as always Anthony. It will be a great loss to the site when you post your final report from the Wainwrights. Thanks for all the inspirational reports - they never fail to make me want to get out there and walk.


Thanks for your very kind words. I still intend to do reports and even some from the Lakes if they are of interesting routes. If I've inspired anybody to get out into the hills then I'm a very happy man indeed. :D

dav2930 wrote:Truly stunning images of some of the grandest scenery in England. It must have been very satisfying for a talented photographer like yourself to be out on the fells in such incredibly clear conditions - it's not often you can see Snowdonia from the Lakes, especially in Summer! I had to keep looking again at your photo of Lingmell and Great Gable - best I've seen of that view I think. Well done to all of you - just one more to go! :clap:


Thank you but it's hard not to take nice photographs when you're somewhere as beautiful as the Lakes and the weather plays ball.

ChrisW wrote:Absolutely fantastic shots throughout and wonderful narrative as always JK, great that the weather played along too, what a week. So, with one to go have you decided what you'll do next??????

Do 'em all again in alphabetical order? :lol: :lol:


Many thanks Chris, as for alphabetical order? Now that would be a challenge and a half! :shock:
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Re: The Final Coundown: Part Two

Postby past my sell by date » Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:22 pm

Great photos - difficult to get the greens looking so realistic I find
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Re: The Final Coundown: Part Two

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Sep 11, 2015 11:15 am

past my sell by date wrote:Great photos - difficult to get the greens looking so realistic I find


Many thanks.
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Re: The Final Coundown: Part Two

Postby Ibex » Fri Sep 11, 2015 11:25 pm

I've been wathing you guys progress all this time. Feels a bit like the end of a film, or a TV series is coming up. :lol:
When are you going to do your last one then?
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Re: The Final Coundown: Part Two

Postby Chris Mac » Sat Sep 12, 2015 12:57 am

A brilliant and detailed report with some superb photos, nice one, thanks for sharing! I was down in the Lake District in June to climb Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike and it was lovely down there, your pics make me want to return sooner rather than later and it was great to get a feel for some other areas. Cheers! :clap: :D
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Re: The Final Coundown: Part Two

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sat Sep 12, 2015 4:04 pm

Ibex wrote:I've been wathing you guys progress all this time. Feels a bit like the end of a film, or a TV series is coming up. :lol:
When are you going to do your last one then?


Episode 214, 'A Great End?' will be being filmed sometime this month, basically when we get a nice day to do it on. Still hoping for another series to be honest :lol:

Chris Mac wrote:A brilliant and detailed report with some superb photos, nice one, thanks for sharing! I was down in the Lake District in June to climb Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike and it was lovely down there, your pics make me want to return sooner rather than later and it was great to get a feel for some other areas. Cheers! :clap: :D


Many thanks, most kind of you to say. Buttermere is a beautiful place and a great taster, so many beautiful valleys and ridges in the Lakes to discover, quite jealous of those who have it ahead of them.
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