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A short walk to a Christmas tree.

A short walk to a Christmas tree.


Postby trailmasher » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:21 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Grisedale Pike

Hewitts included on this walk: Grisedale Pike

Date walked: 06/01/2016

Time taken: 2.05

Distance: 6 km

Ascent: 559m

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Hobcarton End.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


As I've been grounded with a bad right knee for the past few weeks, today - Wednesday - is not too bad weather wise and my knee now feels good enough to start climbing the hills again. E and I thought that it may be a good day to check out the durability of the knee on a short - very short - but fairly steep - both ways - attack of Grisedale Pike by way of the south ridge and then along the Hobcarton End ridge and down alongside Black Crag followed by a walk through the Hospital Plantation.

As we drove down the A66 towards Keswick the weather was looking pretty grim with the mist so low down that we couldn't see the fells to neither left nor right and there was rain in the air which wasn't supposed to be arriving until mid-afternoon. E was a bit despondent about the conditions but we carried on and as we got nearer to Keswick the sky opened up. By the time we had arrived at Threlkeld it was positively bright over most of the fells and definitely where we were heading.

Upon passing through the village of Braithwaite it was obvious to see what damage had been done by the recent floods as the flood debris was piled up wherever it could be safely put until time could be found to remove it to the tip. This is such a nice village it hurts to see the damage that has been inflicted by the recent torrential rain swelling Coledale Beck which runs right through the heart of the village itself.

As we drove onto the Whinlatter Pass road and just past the last dwellings there are some barriers alongside the road protecting the edge where the beck has washed all of the banking away and it is very fortunate that the road has been left intact or there would have been more major transport problems in the county.

Upon passing the small car parking area which gives access to Grisedale Pike and Force Crag Mine it was noted that it was full of debris - and I mean so full that there was no room for cars to park - that I presume had been washed down off the hillside and was now being removed by means of an excavator and wagons.

We continued on to reach the newly refurbished Revelin Moss car park which is on the left hand side of the road and just before the Whinlatter Forest Park Visitor Centre that is on the right. The ticket machine is out of action, whoopee! Despite the temperature of 6°c the cold breeze made it feel a lot colder than that as we booted up and prepared for the walk in hand.

Setting off from the car park we went down the tarmac road turning left onto and following the forestry track that runs roughly south and passes over Comb Beck and then begins to climb easily up through the trees where signs of forestry work can be identified by the numerous stacked logs that are alongside the track. Some of the trails are blocked off due to this work and because of the heavy passage of their machinery those trails are now just seas of churned up stone and mud.
1 - Leaving Revelin Moss car park by the bottom forestry road.JPG
Leaving Revelin Moss car park by the bottom forestry road.

After a few minutes we arrived at a marker post on our right indicating the way to Grisedale Pike on the left.
3 - The marker post for Grisedale Pike points left.JPG
The marker post for Grisedale Pike points left.

A couple of metres into the trees brought us to a single gate that led directly onto the foot of Grisedale Pike. There is another path leading off to the left of this one which if followed would take you to over to Grisedale Gill and then the path that leads onto the main Sleet How route.
6 - Heading south uphill to Grisedale Pike.JPG
Heading south uphill to Grisedale Pike.

Going through the gate we immediately started to climb up alongside the tumble down dry stone wall that goes straight to the top of the pike.
7 - Looking back down to Hospital Plantation from the south ridge of Grisedale Pike.JPG
Looking back down to Hospital Plantation from the south ridge of Grisedale Pike.

The path is good underfoot, steady enough but fairly steep for the approximately 460 metre - 1,500 feet - climb up sometimes on grass and other times on well worn stretches of same.
9 - We continue climbing up the south ridge of Grisedale Pike.JPG
We continue climbing up the south ridge of Grisedale Pike.

As we gained height the cold wind got progressively stronger and colder. Not strong enough to make us struggle against it but to tell us it had no intention of letting us out of its cold grip just now. On the lower slopes the views are still quite good as we look towards the Whinlatter Fells and across to the Skiddaw range of hills.
10 - A view towards the Skiddaw Fells.JPG
A view towards the Skiddaw Fells.

11 - A view towards the Whinlatter Fells.JPG
A view towards the Whinlatter Fells.

But as we steadily climb the mist starts to drop down on to the higher tops blocking out all chances of some decent landscape shots. We can still see down into the forest area where the tree felling operation is obvious by the large treeless tracts and stacked logs and it does look like they have actually cleared away all the usual debris that is left behind after such works have ended.
13 - The wall is a perfect guide to the summit.JPG
The wall is a perfect guide to the summit.

14 - The Hobcarton End Ridge.JPG
The Hobcarton End Ridge.

At about the 650 metre contour the path changes to a more rugged one as it passes over the lower rocky slopes of the pike…
15 - Elizabeth on the roughest last few metres to the summit.JPG
Elizabeth on the roughest last few metres to the summit.

until we reached the tiny pile of stones sat on the summit of rock.
16 - Elizabeth at the top of Grisedale Pike.JPG
Elizabeth at the top of Grisedale Pike.

The mist is well down by now and we can't see much of anything around us. It had been lifting and producing patches of sunshine over by Skiddaw and the Whinlatter Fells but for us now there is nothing but grey to be seen.

We decided to have a bite to eat and a warm drink so found a spot behind a small outcrop of rock just over the north side of the summit more or less on our line of descent. Fed and watered we set off once again down the scree like slope which is similar to the north side but not as rocky. The small pieces of stone and rock were quite slippery and not having found the path proper just yet and being a bit unsure of her stability E felt more at ease using the poles at this time. We still couldn't see more than a few metres but made our way down and roughly northwest across the scree slope until we reached the path that would take us down the ridge of Hobcarton End.
17 - Looking along the mist shrouded Hobcarton End ridge.JPG
Looking along the mist shrouded Hobcarton End ridge.

The path actually begins way up and behind us but on going to the summit of Grisedale Pike we passed it by so making it necessary to cut across the fell side as we did, although due to the nature of the ground it is a bit difficult to find at the start of it in any case.

Just a few minutes after starting our descent the mist cleared somewhat giving us a view some way along the Hobcarton ridge revealing the large rounded humps which are a bit reminiscent of a serpents back with the long stripe of the path running along its back.
19 - The way to Hobcarton End.JPG
The way to Hobcarton End.

Just a pity about the mist as a good view of the ridge would I'm sure make for a good photo. I must come back here on a good clear day. The path is good, albeit wet in places, sometimes stony, sometimes grassy, but nevertheless good and easy to follow as it climbs up and down in and around the easy slopes which are not as steep at this point as they appear to be from a distance.

To the west we can just about see the Ladyside Pike ridge, north are the Whinlatter Fells, Broom Fell, Graystones, and Kirk Fell. East and across the valley there is the Skiddaw range of hills with Blencathra further round behind it whilst looking south east are the Dodd's.

After only about ten minutes walking we arrived at the highest point of Hobcarton End at 634 metres in height and then a fence and stile which was loose and slippery with green algae on the surface of the steps maybe indicating that it hadn't been used for a while. The mist is down again by now.
20 - The only stile on the whole walk.JPG
The only stile on the whole walk.

21 - Hobcarton End summit in the mist.JPG
Hobcarton End summit in the mist.

Continuing on from the stile and within a couple of minutes we spotted a touch of Christmas over to our left and just a few metres off the main path. There stood in all its glory, a pine tree, adorned with baubles and beads, bells, and other fancy shaped decorations that came in many colours. Who would do this we wondered. Who started this ritual of dressing up a lonesome pine on the slopes of this fell? Whoever it is, or was, thank you for this touch of colour and festivity sat amongst the, what is just now a mist laden and miserable looking fell side.
23 - The Christmas tree on Hobcarton ridge.JPG
The Christmas tree on Hobcarton ridge.

Many of the baubles had blown off in the wind so E set about picking up the ones that weren't broken and replacing them back on the tree.
24 - Elizabeth replacing fallen decorations.JPG
Elizabeth replacing fallen decorations.

The top of the tree bears no star or fairy, but then again who would want to drag a step ladder all the way up here? Once satisfied with her decorating skills we set off once again to reach the final cairn that sits on the far northerly point of Hobcarton End. This cairn is not the summit as it sits at around 30metres lower than the actual summit cairn that we met just before the fence and stile.
26 - Elizabeth at Hobcarton End  lowest cairn.JPG
Elizabeth at Hobcarton End's lowest cairn.

The way down now continues along the slopes of Black Crag as it makes its way down to the Hospital Plantation where the tree felling works are being done.
29 - Looking into the Whinlatter Valley from Black Crag.JPG
Looking into Whinlatter Valley from Black Crag.

30 - Looking down the Black Crag ridge to Whinlatter.JPG
Looking down Black Crag ridge to Whinlatter.

33 - The view northwest from Black Crag.JPG
The view northwest from Black Crag.

From the ridge we could see the tree felling machinery stood idle with just one machine stacking the already cut into lengths pieces of tree trunks. At around the 470 metre contour and just above the forest line we were accosted by three warning notices telling us not to pass this point due to the activities that are ongoing in the forest. They must be joking. Do they think that we are going to walk all the way back especially as there are no warnings anywhere else on this route? I don't think so.
34 - The Forestry Commission warning signs on our way down.JPG
The Forestry Commission warning signs on our way down.

There is no tree felling ongoing at the moment and I'm pretty sure that we can work our way around the tree stacker. E is a bit hesitant until I convince her that there would not be a problem and the worst that could happen is that we would get an escort to safety by one of the Forestry workers if required. Off we go then ever downwards to the forest and the path leading straight through it and well to one side of the parked up and silent tree felling machine. The path through the trees is quite civilised just yet but as we get further down we can see where the machines have had no mercy and destroyed the path making for a careful passage over mud covered broken branches.

After passing over that little lot the path has disappeared altogether but we can see where a way has been forced through the tree branches, obviously by someone who was previously in the same position as ourselves.
39 - Working our way through the trees due to the churned up track.JPG
Working our way through the trees due to the churned up track.

We gratefully followed this temporary path until we reached an old track - an old farmer's cart track may haps - with a tumbledown dry stone wall on its lower side, our left. Looking at the map this old track would lead us back to the way of our outward journey. This track is not marked on the map but the wall is.
40 - An old unmarked track we followed.JPG
An old unmarked track we followed.

After a while we came across where the machines had run across it and completely wrecked it at this point leaving it a sea of mud and branches. We safely negotiated this and continued along the track until reaching a path that ran down through the woods. It doesn't appear to be well used but down it we go and at the bottom found ourselves back on the main and clear forestry road leading back to the car park. Job done.

This was only a very short walk done in dry - no rain - but misty conditions with an as mentioned cold and strong breeze making the temperature a lot less than the 6 degrees that we set off in. The primary object of this walk was to test out the knee which has held up well both on the long climb up to Grisedale and the drop off from Hobcarton End via Black Crag, and if my body works like everyone else's I find that knee pain usually starts to nag on a down rather than an up.

Happy New Year to all :)
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trailmasher
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Re: A short walk to a Christmas tree.

Postby ChrisW » Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:44 am

Bit of a dodgy wet route to be trying out an equally dodgy knee TM :shock: I like the christmas tree but I reckon whoever put those baubles up there ought to go back and take them down again now :wink: I laughed at the warning signs right at the end of a great loop, who the hell is going to take any notice of that :lol: Anyway, glad the knee stood up to the test and looking forward to some drier, sunnier hikes as the year continues....fingers crossed :crazy:
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ChrisW
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Re: A short walk to a Christmas tree.

Postby trailmasher » Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:06 pm

but I reckon whoever put those baubles up there ought to go back and take them down again now


Thanks Chris :D and you're maybe right as they could pose a danger to grazing wildlife and livestock especially the broken ones :( looking at the path leading up to the tree they have been there for quite some time :? Not much of a walk but had to get the knee sorted as I need 'em for a long time yet :lol:
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trailmasher
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