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A Windy Place

A Windy Place


Postby The English Alpinist » Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:34 am

Wainwrights included on this walk: Angletarn Pikes, Beda Fell, Hallin Fell, Place Fell

Hewitts included on this walk: Place Fell

Date walked: 17/12/2015

Time taken: 4.5

Distance: 16.4 km

Ascent: 1227m

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It was a windy place alright. That's 'Place Fell', the highest point on today's walk and the only peak above 2,000 feet that I'd be doing. Technically, it was only a half-walk on the 30 legs I have plotted for doing all the Wainwrights within 5 months. I'm struggling to fit them in, though, so this week I tried grabbing any time I could mid-week to bite off smaller chunks. This one follows on from Wether Hill and co two days ago. The forecast was for more clouds and some rain, but at no more than 10 miles and modest altitudes I reckoned I could handle that, fed up of it though I am. As it turned out, I got no rain at all, and near full visibility the whole time - hooray! This despite driving through a vile downpour on the south side of Kirkstone Pass. Indeed, an old friend and former Cumbria resident who was visiting these parts this Christmas had gone out on Wansfell that morning, and got treated to the vileness. Hard luck Pete! As for me, the rain completely stopped by the time I was down in Patterdale.

1a Place from Aira.jpg
Taken on a previous walk, Place Fell seen from across the Lake at Aira Force.


1 start.JPG
View of the long Hartsop Above Howe ridge, en route up Place Fell.


Setting out from Goldrill Bridge, I passed a local lady just before the footpath proper. "It's dangerous up there, I don't know if anybody has told you. You go up at your own risk," she said. Not the most encouraging of starts, but I thanked her for her warning (she meant well). It wasn't that dangerous at all, though it might well have been a few days ago at the height of the flooding. I saw the evidence she meant: landslips over the path, chaotic in places but easily passable and perfectly stable at this time. Up at the first col, Boredale Hause, it was much better anyway. A solid, beautiful gravelly path all the way up to Place Fell summit, On the way I had satisfying views of the Fairfield range and the Hartsop Above Howe ridge I'd come down last week. At Place summit I met 3 younger guys and a pretty damn ferocious wind. It was kind of fun, though, and I could see they agreed; one of them doing the 'Titanic' pose at the trig point, balancing into the gale. I enjoyed the panorama, but didn't linger too long, feeling deeply suspicious that the weather gods might unleash hell on me somewhere on Beda Fell on the way back.

2 summit.JPG
Place Fell summit, 2nd photo taken by the only fell-walking life met that day.


3 wind!.JPG
A wind-blasted face.


4 Place descent.JPG
Down from Place Fell towards Hallin Fell. Summit pillar visible even from here.


There's several what-you-call-them, under 2,000 feet - 'Birketts' - on the Place Fell massif, but these don't interest me (maybe they will one day, and I'll come to regret not taking them in when I had the chance). So, I forged the simplest route down towards the second objective of the day, Hallin Fell. My descent took me into the green and pleasant valley of Boredale, equally as timeless as the valleys back'o Skiddaw but prettier imho. I had to pass over a little stone footbridge, which is always fun. Along the lane to St Peter's Church, I encountered a JCB and council vehicles at work on the flood damage. The walk up Hallin Fell will probably hold the record for the briefest Wainwright during all my adventures. Simplicity itself, and rewarded with great views north along the length of Ullswater and up the bigger Far Easter Fells, and also one seriously impressive summit cairn. A miniature fell though it is, even up there the wind was substantial. I couldn't complain though, as there was absolutely none of the threatened rain and the third and last objective of the day, Beda Fell, was still free of cloud.

5b Garth Head.JPG
Coming down to Garth Head Farm, Boredale valley.


6 Boredale Beck.JPG
Cute bridge over Boredale Beck.


7 Hallin.JPG
On Hallin Fell.


I would be going against the wind on the way back, along Beda Fell, and feared it could be quite nasty especially if the rains came. It proved a perfectly enjoyable yomp, though, a pretty short climb in the scheme of things and an interesting, undulating ridge walk. The wind merely served to keep me fresh and remind me not to malinger. Beda Head has a good summit cairn, which you always want (well, I do, as it makes you feel 'welcome' somehow instead of a wandering madman), and as a bonus there's the remnants of an old shepherd's shelter close by if you fancy hunkering down for a break. In summer maybe, but not now. I soon moved on, not wanting to flirt too much with nightfall. If time and conditions seemed okay, I had the option of trying to shorten one of my future walks by taking in Angle Tarn Pikes at the end, even Brock Crags too.

8 Beda view.JPG
View back from Beda Head.


9 Beda Head.JPG
Beda summit with old shelter in background.


When I reached the junction of the path back to Boredale Hause or continuing on to the Angles, I made the inspired choice: onward, get the buggers done. I had enough daylight and the reassurance it was a fairly simple and short descent to Patterdale. Clouds were drifting in more persistently now, and I was losing visibility of the Pikes. For spells, I feared this epilogue to the day might degenerate into the summit-finding stress of two days ago (Arthur's and Bonscale Pikes). I was far from sure whether I'd hit the northerly one of the Angle Tarn Pikes - no cairn, but the rocks 'looked' right - and just as I thought my greed would be punished by failure, the clouds cleared enough for me to see the way onto the southerly (and main one). I was treated to a view of the tarn itself, which confirmed my position. Pleased with myself, I called it quits and headed down the trusty Cumbrian Way. Doing Brock Crags, about a kilometre away, was feasible, but I didn't want to push my luck. I'd have certainly ended up walking by torch light, and possibly worse cloud into the bargain.

10 Angletarn Sth.JPG
Angle Tarn Pike the southernmost, success!


11a Cumbrian Way.JPG
The Cumbrian Way down from Angle Tarn.


12 Patterdale dark.JPG
Familiar type of finish, day's end above Patterdale.


That little stretch of the Cumbrian Way was an excellent, dramatic walk along the fell sides by the way. In the fading light, dusk-hued clouds and wintery breeze the atmosphere was spellbinding. In full, summer daylight it would be a magnificent picture-postcard, This is 8 full legs of the 30 done now. It's December 17th, but I really want 12 done by January to say I'm on top of it, working on the principle that the weather might well throw even worse things our way before March.


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The English Alpinist
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Re: A Windy Place

Postby ChrisW » Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:22 am

Great to see you rewarded with a day of 'dry' TEA, and glad to see you sneak a bit extra in and get away with it :wink: It's also nice to see someone out there walking, there's certainly not much of that going on recently, El Nino has a lot to answer for I think, non stop rain over there, no snow in winter over here :roll: At least it should let me get a few more in during the winter :wink:

Glad you're staying on top of the challenge mate, you never know it might clear up after christmas and be fantastic weather til spring :crazy:
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Re: A Windy Place

Postby trailmasher » Wed Dec 23, 2015 3:39 pm

Once again a tidy round TEA :clap: A good report and pics making the best of a poor day out :clap: . That's a good round and one that I have done a couple of times starting from the old church in Martindale with Beda Fell first. Let's hope the weather improves to help you in your own challenge and the rest of us in ours for 2016 :)

Have a great Christmas and New Year :clap:
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