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Tour de Troutbeck

Tour de Troutbeck

Postby The English Alpinist » Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:58 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Froswick, Ill Bell, Sallows, Sour Howes, Troutbeck Tongue, Yoke

Hewitts included on this walk: Froswick, Ill Bell, Yoke

Date walked: 20/12/2015

Time taken: 5.25

Distance: 16.6 km

Ascent: 1080m

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I began today's walk in picturesque Troutbeck. It was stage 9 out of the 30 stages I've plotted to do all the Wainwrights by end of March 2016. At 10 miles it was the shorter of the 4 options I was considering today. My decision was partly made by not getting up early enough. The forecast was 'edgy' - cloudy developing into 'showers' (which with wind and low temperatures really means hail squalls) - and I just didn't fancy being out there too long. I'd be going up as far as Froswick, then down again to finish with little Troutbeck Tongue. Ill Bell and Froswick are fairly high, though, so there would be a brief element of climateological grin-and-bear-it, probably. On leaving Troutbeck village, a passing squadron of cyclists in festive dress didn't do any harm for my spirits. I've yet to see a Santa on the fells themselves though.

1 Troutbeck.jpg
Basecamp Troubeck. Cyclists in Santa costumes, indeed.

The morning was actually perfectly okay, just a bracing wind but no rain, and good views. Everything had that watery hue, though, as if seeing the world through a grey-blue filter, which I'm becoming so familiar with in these winter walks. The first objective was Sour Howes, one of the smaller and uglier of the Lakeland family. Poor Sour Howes, what can I say? Well, the views are excellent, north into the main body of the Far Eastern Fells and south to Lake Windermere. I speculated on why it is so-called. I presume peat, which is mostly what there is up there, tastes sour (I've never tried it). It looked a bit like a WW1 battlefield with lots of shellholes. Onward to Sallows, smoother but even wetter. From there, it was the more substantial fell-walking business of Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick.

2 route.JPG
The route ahead, Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick peaks on the right, Troutbeck Tongue centre.

3 Sallows.JPG
On Sour Howes, Sallows ahead. One done.

4 view back.JPG
Looking back towards Windermere.

5 on Sallows.JPG
On Sallows, two Wainwrights done.

6 Sallows views.jpg
Lifeforms and views around Sallows.

Getting from Sallows to Yoke is clearly not a popular route, consisting of a moist and muddy trail (I can't count how many of these I'm using on this mission). You get a feel for routes that are classics in their own right, or just there for the sake of the Wainwright-Bagger breed of fell-walker to which I belong until March (and then I'm done with this, the mountaineering equivalent of trainspotting). I'm having lots of fun, really! I'm not counting 100 metre detours to avoid a swamp as part of that, though. Reaching the col below Yoke, I found myself on a real path of grit and solidity - hooray! Just as I reached the summit of Yoke - basically just a mound with good views, but a deceptively good height of 2,300 - the weather was beginning to turn, as I thought it might. An aggressive wind was blowing in specks of H2O in liquid-solid state, and it was time to put on extra layers. There's a certain satisfaction in that, though, because I hadn't wasted my time in bringing them and it does make you feel the part. I met the only true fellwalker of the day up there too, besides a group doing a more low-level walk over Sour and Sallows (sounds like a comedy duo). One of that party was carrying an umbrella :o

7 dismal ascent.JPG
Swampiness en route to Yoke.

8 Yoke.jpg
Up to Yoke (inset: me on summit).

I moved on into my second climate of the day. After the tame if somewhat 'fresh' conditions on the 2 smaller starter fells, I was now into gales and hail. This was coming from the South West, so not in my face at least, and I wouldn't be in it for very long on this shortish walk. This is, in fact, one of the district's great ridge walks. What's more, I was treated to the views from it now and again. Down to the right, Kentmere and the Far Eastern fells even further east which I'd be tackling in a few days. To the left was Red Screes and Wansfell (which I'll also be doing soon, weather permitting), and a good view of Kirkstone Pass snaking up from Troutbeck. I speculated on the name, 'Ill Bell'. It's 'ill' as in 'sick', but not Roman numerals for '3' as I once thought. The latter could make sense, as it's en route to High Street and the roman road. Furthermore, there is not one but 3 - three! - distinctive cairns on top of it. That gave me something to look at, since the view was gone by now. It briefly returned on the dip between there and Froswick summit. That was the climax of the day in terms of height and nastiness of weather.

9  Kentmere.JPG
Up to Ill Bell. Kentmere below.

10 summits pain.jpg
Various pained expressions on the summits of Ill Bell and Froswick.

I feared the unpleasantness was in to stay for the rest of the walk, and the descent from Froswick into the teeth of it was not much fun. The trail was grassy here, which translates as watery. With so much rain this month, many of the alleged paths are demonstrating how rivers form, with mini canyons gouged out along them sometimes. I only had the little Troutbeck Tongue left to do, however, so I invited the weather to do its worst. Would you believe it, by the time I was on it it stopped raining, a bit of sun came out - 3rd climate of the day - and the view down the valley towards Troutbeck village was splendid. The Tongue is well-named, not least for the shape of it just like a tongue in a giant oral cavity (in fact there's several such 'tongues' scattered around the Lake District), but also because they're every bit as moist as a 'tongue', if not quite as warm.

11 Tongue.JPG
Summit of Troutbeck Tongue. All done.

12 tongue back.JPG
Glad to be out of that stuff, looking back to Froswick.

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Postlude: Steady rain set in after I'd descended the Tongue - 4th climate of the day - and I headed back to Troutbeck along something which had the audacity to call itself a 'bridleway'. Running along the foot of the Yoke ridge, this 'bridleway' made for an efficient gutter to collect the fell's drainage, which comprised bits and pieces of the fell itself as well as just water. I encountered those all too familiar landslips which have a semi-solid, stony paste consistency. In the scheme of things, today was an easy enough walk with the weather gods displaying a touch of attitude just to remind me who's boss. The final stage brought me through the holiday camp, with this tempting looking advert on the hoarding. A respectful 'no' from me.

13 holiday!.jpg
I don't think so.
The English Alpinist
Posts: 147
Joined: Oct 27, 2015

Re: Tour de Troutbeck

Postby ChrisW » Sun Dec 27, 2015 7:59 pm

Great to see you ticking off another TEA, I think you are actually beginning to enjoy the miserable weather....if you ever get another warm sunny day you won't know what to do with yourself :lol: The Santas on bikes was a bit random, one of the great things about hiking is the strange things that crop up unexpectedly, they really add to the day and the hike as a whole....keep em coming :clap:
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