An achievement out of failure.
by trailmasher » Mon Oct 05, 2015 8:09 pm
Wainwrights included on this walk: Allen Crags, Esk Pike, Glaramara
Hewitts included on this walk: Allen Crags, Esk Pike, Glaramara
Date walked: 23/09/2015
Time taken: 6.36
Distance: 19.11 km
Ascent: 1761m3 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).
This walk has taken some forward logistical planning as three of the group work on separate oil rigs in three different locations - all off shore - whilst mini-rambo had to do a fair amount of 'you’re the best boss in the world' creeping to be able to get a day off to match our own efforts of same.
So with myself there is 'thefallwalker', 'mini-rambo', Rob the walking food bank, and an unknown 'Paul' - friend of the first two -and who has not walked before, has the gear, and is super fit because he does a lot of bike riding. Before the day of the walk the nature of this walk was explained to him and we were re-assured that it was within his capabilities, but I have my own reservations regarding this.
The purpose of today's walk is to allow the other four the chance of bagging some new Wainwright's, all of us some Birkett's, and to cover some ground that we haven't touched before. I, myself, have done all of the above apart from Pike de Bield, Pen, and the pathless route down from Pike de Bield by way of Yeastyrigg Crags, the ascent up Little Narrowcove to Pen, and then the climb up Rough Crag and the northwest ridge to the top of Scafell Pike.
We arrived at Seathwaite on a day that was dry, cool, and with a cloud laden sky at 9:00am and was walking by 9:20am as the boys from the northeast had to fuel up having been on the road since 6:00am. The weather forecast was fair to 4pm with rain to follow but for some reason I suspect that their clock is not synchronised with ours. If they are correct then we should be walking off the hills when the rain begins to fall.
As we walked through the farmyard of Seathwaite Farm we could see Seathwaite Fell rising above and in front of us…
as we headed for the wide track that would lead us to the start of our walk proper…
the gate leading onto the open fell at the foot of Hind Gill. Going through the gate we stepped onto the rock strewn grass…
and picked up a faint path on the south side of the gill which led us up through steadily increasing steep and rocky ground.
The path became more obvious as we climbed higher but now with quite a few rocky steps to negotiate as we approached the intake wall with its gate leading directly onto the open fell side and not far below Hind Crag.
The path retains its steepness as we progress ever upwards and passing through a patch of bracken stopping to take in the views over Seathwaite below us and Base Brown directly in front. In the distance to the northwest can be seen the fells of the Newlands Round and as far as Grasmoor. Further round to the west the Gables are shrouded in mist although the sun is getting through in places as the earlier photos show. I'm hoping that this is a sign of things to come and that the sun will burn off the mist.
We are all climbing well including our new member, Paul, so that is encouraging, so far. As we get above Hind Crag at about 600 metres the ground eases off and we follow the intermittent path that is straggling through the rough grass and rocks but seems to be pulling us across towards Combe Head where we do not want to be. I think that is because the ground falls away to the north slightly and it was a natural reaction to take the easier ground. A slight change of direction and we are back on track for our first summit of the day, Glaramara. The higher we now climb the easier it gets as the ground is really getting walker friendly with the easy gradient reaching the final steeper climb onto the summit of Glaramara. We wended our way upwards through the final rocks to the summit cairn at 783 metres where we found two ladies in the shelter cairn having a bite to eat whilst sheltering from the now brisk breeze which was cooling us down fairly fast after our climb up here which took us only about 1½hrs from the car.
Rob who is the only one in shorts grabs the chance of a quick sandwich whilst we have a chat to the 'girls' before we set off along the ridge where they decided to pick off the couple of Birkett's on their undulating way to our next objective, Allen Crags.
As we leave Looking Stead the mist that we hoped would melt away in the sun got thicker and lower as it beat the sun at its own game. All is well as we pass by the Lincombe Tarns…
along the well beaten path that runs the whole length of Glaramara, over Allen Crags to meet the main crossroads just below Esk Hause. But, as we climbed over the last rocky knoll before reaching Allen Crags the rain started to fall. Not too hard, but combined with the wind it was reason enough to don the wet gear which we all did apart from Rob who put his jacket on but who's a real man and kept his legs bare to the elements, for now.
As you can see by the photos the mist is slowly dropping in height and I can't keep the raindrops of my camera lens so from here on don't expect too much in the way of views. Once we had left Allen Crags it was just a short drop down to the main path which we crossed heading roughly south to reach the welcome cross shelter at Esk Hause where we stopped for food and drink. Rob legs have succumbed to the rain and demanded to be covered up, which, to be honest isn't a bad idea as the last time I saw a pair like that they were hanging out of a nest.
We had a chat about the weather and decided to carry on after it had been explained to them again that from Esk Pike there is a pathless drop down the rough fellside to Pike de Bield Moss and then a 560 metre climb back up to the top of Scafell Pike, so once committed and the River Esk is reached the only way back is either back up to Esk Pike or to Broad Crag col at the top of Little Narrowcove. Either way there is a hell of a climb out. We continued on our journey despite the weather 'cause that's what walkers do.
By the time that we had got to the top of Esk Pike following the good, wide path from Esk Hause and then up through the rocks to the mass of boulders which mark the summit the rain has actually eased off but the mist is getting no better. For some reason Paul has taken his hood off his head - maybe he's warm - and refuses the offer of a hat/cap despite the advice that the water will begin to run down his neck and make him feel even more uncomfortable.
We left the summit and took the Bow Fell path before turning off south to find the Birkett of Pike de Bield, or what we thought was it as with a whoop and a cheer the guys climbed on to the top and had the usual photo shoot in the mist.
Elated at finding this Birkett we continued downhill towards Yeastyrigg Crags until mini-rambo gave a yell and pointed to a huge lump of rock looming out of the mist and asked "Is that Pike de Bield?" After we had both checked our GPS units we realised that we had topped out on a smaller rocky knoll that is close to and just before reaching our true Birkett, but the mist is so thick that we couldn't see the real one which was really just in front of us. It was quite windy as we climbed to the top of the 'real' one and had another photo shoot which would prove to be the last one of the day as the future events of the day would reveal.
We left this mist shrouded rock and continued down the rough grass and rock covered west side of Yeastyrigg Crags and this is when Paul started to struggle with the ground conditions as he began to slip over onto his backside quite often as he wasn't used to this kind of outdoor activity. Having reached the Moss we crossed over it and then using our poles boulder hopped over the River Esk which had quite a good volume of water running down it to then pass through an area of rocks and bracken as we made our way to the foot of Little Narrowcove. It is at this point that Paul tells us that his legs are aching but he's alright to carry on with a rest or two on the way up.
There is a path marked on the map which we failed to find the start of but there is another one which - albeit it's rough - runs up the left hand side of the gill itself. This is the one we took as it worked its way upstream passing over many rocky patches which didn't allow for fast ascent in any case and as the gill was flowing with water we couldn't climb directly up the centre which would have been a lot easier. Paul is flagging now so we take turns at walking with him. He is also wet through to the skin as his waterproofs which he now tells us he uses for his biking activities are not up to the job on the fells, so this combined with not wearing head gear has resulted in a very wet walker. At least the climb up the gill is keeping him warm.
Just before we reached the Cove itself we were stopped by a rather large crag (I think it was the crag underneath and just to the northeast of Pen) and as the gill was full of water we couldn't continue any further forward in that direction. We called a rest and refuelling stop to survey our options when it was decided to abandon our intended route as one of the team was struggling. As mini-rambo said "there's a difference between being fit and being hill fit."
Rested and fuelled up we decided to climb up the steep bank at the side of us and go over the crags and rejoin the gill further upstream. We had only got a few metres up when we came across a good well trodden path which must have been the one that we couldn't find at the bottom of Little Narrowcove. This path led us straight over the crag and back down to the gill which we crossed to follow another decent path up through the Cove, under Chambers Crag, and to the start of probably the worst path that I have ever encountered in the Lake District. It is the climb up the very steep, slippery, loose rocky way up to Broad Crag Col. When you look at it from the Cove it doesn't look too bad or far but your mind is soon changed when going up it.
Well the story is almost over with only the walk back down the well trodden, wet, misty, path back to Esk Hause…
where we turned off northwest and then picked up the path that goes first down Ruddy Gill and once it has got through the deep gullies changes its name to Grains Gill.
We got a bit straggled out on the way down so another halt was called to regroup and have a bite to eat - doesn't matter much to Rob as he has been at it most of the day - and also to remind ourselves that with the wet and misty weather conditions the light will leave us earlier tonight so as much haste as possible must be taken to get us down to Seathwaite as I don't much feel like scratting in my bag for torches if possible.
Despite the weather we see a few more walkers coming off the fells, someone wild camping just below Stockley Bridge and one or two cars left at Seathwaite where we landed in the gloom of a wet evening.
Despite the breakdown in the weather which is always a probability when up on the fells and having to cut short the walk it has been a good day out. Sadly due to the weather not being very photogenic friendly the views along this route would have been well worth recording but, they will still be there next week or year when some of us shall return to complete what wasn't achieved.
We failed in the attempt to complete our route, albeit in fairly dire weather, which would have taken in Glaramara and its two Birkett's, Allen Crags, Esk Pike, Pike de Bield, Pen, Scafell Pike, Great End, and Seathwaite Fell, but we achieved the first four, failed the last four, but covered previously - for us - new ground. Our greatest achievement was getting our sore and wet comrade home safely and as long as we had done that nothing else really mattered at all.
He'll be back.
by Gordie12 » Mon Oct 05, 2015 8:46 pm
I think I need to climb Glaramara - I love the name!
by ChrisW » Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:46 am
Rob legs have succumbed to the rain and demanded to be covered up, which, to be honest isn't a bad idea as the last time I saw a pair like that they were hanging out of a nest.
This sentence had me laughing so much, I'm definitely going to use that
by thefallwalker » Tue Oct 06, 2015 7:22 am
by trailmasher » Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:39 am
Gordie12 wrote:That's a fair amount of ascent for a relatively short walk (in terms of km).
I think I need to climb Glaramara - I love the name!
A lot of ascent indeed as the initial climb up to Glaramara is near 650 metres plus all the bits and pieces along the ridge to Allen Crags. A great name and a great mountain to walk along
by trailmasher » Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:46 am
ChrisW wrote:Another great write up TM, bloody shame about Paul suffering but the hills can be a wicked place in groggy weather for any of us let along the 'new guy' unaccustomed to horizontal rain Kudos to you guys for knocking it off and walking him out I know the weather tried to kill your photographic efforts but I really enjoyed em, especially the 'walk like an Egyptian' on the unnamed summit.Rob legs have succumbed to the rain and demanded to be covered up, which, to be honest isn't a bad idea as the last time I saw a pair like that they were hanging out of a nest.
This sentence had me laughing so much, I'm definitely going to use that
Thanks Chris and he was going to join us on a two day event last week but knees still a problem We all know that the hills can be unsympathetic to walkers so we have to be as careful as we can whilst enjoying them. As for the guys on the unnamed, more like a bunch of posers than he-men Again thanks for your comments
by trailmasher » Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:50 am
thefallwalker wrote:great report mate, more or less covered everything about the day, the weather certainly scuppered our quest to get it all in, but as you're always telling me "they're not going anywhere!" onwards and upwards mucker! thanks again for a brilliant day out!
Thanks for sticking it out TFW and once a few rough days are done the others come easy Take care and see you on the next one
by dav2930 » Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:20 pm
by johnkaysleftleg » Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:12 pm
by trailmasher » Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:11 pm
dav2930 wrote:That's an ambitious agenda even in good weather, never mind in those conditions! Quite an achievement for someone without much hill experience - hope he sees it as an achievement rather than a failure! Gripping report trailmasher.
Thanks very much for your comments dav2930 . It was an agenda that we were sure we could complete and would have if the weather had been kinder and Paul's knees had kept good . Once the pain of both weather and knees have left him he will give it another go on the hills pretty soon
by trailmasher » Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:19 pm
johnkaysleftleg wrote:Another highly entertaining report TM, still some fine ground covered even if you had to cut it short. Hill fitness is a strange thing, I think it's as much to do with withstanding the general battering your joints take over rough terrain as anything else.
Thanks a lot JKLL and some fine ground covered that couldn't be seen for the damn mist and rain mate . We passed directly under Pen and couldn't even see it so another visit will be made in the not too distant future. Re the hill fitness, I'm not too bad but going down a long one gives my right knee some grief now and again