Enjoying the rain on Lingmoor Fell and Side Pike.
by trailmasher » Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:26 pm
Wainwrights included on this walk: Lingmoor Fell
Date walked: 02/04/2016
Time taken: 3.5
Distance: 11 km
Ascent: 683m6 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).
It's that time of the month when my walking buddy Chris the Middlesbrough Mountain is back onshore for a few days so because of the MWIS weather forecast we didn't do what we had intended to do and settled for these two hills as a fallback number. Rain was forecast along with 35mph to 40mph winds and the two combined was not conducive to going too high today.
As usual Chris arrived at my abode early, had his coffee and a chat with E and then off we went to Langdale via Pooley Bridge - yes the new bridge is open - over the Kirkstone Pass to Ambleside, arrived at Langdale where we took the road that leads to Blea Tarn and parked up by the cattle grid at the 224 metre contour. There was a chap over nighting in his van who popped his head out for a few seconds, saw the state of the weather and promptly closed the door again. We couldn't blame him really as it was raining with the fells clothed in mist, although it was quite warm at about 7°c.
Having got changed under the shelter of the hatchback door we set off straight across the road and accessed the fell by way of a wooden gate stile and as we were going to mount Side Pike first we followed the directions of the finger post which told us that the top was a mere ¼ mile away.
The path heads off north gently rising over very wet grass until we arrived at a second gate stile and then climbs easily over a variety of underfoot conditions although always wet today until we arrived at the first level area that was swimming in water. From this point the path was a bit more rugged as we clambered over sometimes slippery rock that appeared at various points and after about 10 minutes came across an old stone wall that we more or less followed as it made its way through the rocky terrain.
Side Pike although not a big hill is one of those teasers where one thinks that he is nearly at the top and then finds that there is a bit more to do, followed by a bit more and as we climbed the path swung slowly around until we were now heading more or less east towards the summit.
Arriving at our next patch of level ground the views aren't too bad despite the rain and the low lying cloud cover as I attempt to take a photo of Blea Tarn as it sits looking like a patch of quick silver at the end of the large expanse of the low lying brown area of wet ground with trails of water leading across to it.
It was some years ago on my last visit to here that I sat watching an excavator as it civilised the ground around the tarn and formed the road leading up to it to create a better access for those less abled to cross rough ground and who would like to enjoy the delights of this tarn and the area around it that looks so much better when the weather is as it should be on a good day.
Leaving here we walked on grass again for a few metres before once again meeting a mixture of path conditions as we continued to climb easily upwards with a tiny scramble over rock here and there until we reached the summit cairn that is perched on grass and rock although there are some outcrops of rock that are higher than the cairn.
What a shame that it's a bad weather day as the view of the Langdale Pikes, Pike of Blisco, and all the way up to Bow Fell would have been magnificent indeed. I have been here on a clear winter's day and can therefore endorse what the views are about from up here. It's just a pity that Chris is here on a less than good day but, we shall be back in Langdale again later this year so he can catch up on the views then, hopefully.
From the top we can see the lower flanks of the Langdales and Pike of Blisco whilst to the east we can see below us the ridge of Lingmoor Fell with its dry stone wall as it rises steadily in a south easterly direction until it disappears into the clag.
Chris is perched on a rock overlooking the north face and I had to warn him of the possibility of slipping due to a combination of wet boots and rock as the 'front' face isn't as generous in its nature as the way we have just arrived here.
At this point I must add that the photos are a bit dire due to the weather and I have made an effort to take photos with my back to the breeze that is with us just now. The breeze gives no concern for walking but is just strong enough to blow a few raindrops onto the camera lens and trying to get it dry and keep it that way is nigh impossible so a bit of frustration about that I'm afraid.
As the OS map only shows one way on and off this fell we were prepared to retrace our steps back to the first gate stile by the road and follow the path east alongside the wall before it turns north again to arrive at the foot of the ridge to Lingmoor Fell. But whilst on our way up and as we crossed one of the lower areas that sits between the twin humps we crossed a path that was running roughly southwest and as it looked fairly well used decided to give it a go as if it worked out right we would knock off a fairly large corner and save quite a bit of height loss. If it didn't work out as it was merely a sheep trod we could sulk and then make our way back up to the regular route off and back to plan A.
The path is good and easy, over grass all the way and it does disappear for a few metres at one point but the way through the accompanying rocks is obvious to see as it moves from going south to east and then as we arrived at a barbed wire topped fence that had to be scaled it turned north as we followed it up the hill on the regular path up Lingmoor Fell.
It was whilst passing over the fence that Chris tore his monstrously expensive over trousers on the barbed wire and I do take some of the blame for that as I selfishly hadn't held down the wire as he had for me. In my defence Chris has got the legs the length that many a woman would pay a small fortune for. I rest my case.
From the fence the path has now steepened until we reach, wait for it, a gate through the fence that we had just climbed over. The gate only came into view as we neared the col that is between Side Pike and the start of the ridge path so if this information helps anyone to maintain the quality of their clothes then we're both happy. The gate services a path that must shoot off the one that we were on but missed, and appears to pass along a high level and rocky ledge of Side Pike, behind some rock outcrops before arriving at the aforementioned gate. There was a lot of dead bracken around as we headed east from Side Pike and continued nearly to the col so in summer it may not be pleasant walking on a wet day.
The OS map shows only one way on and off Side Pike and that is by the west ridge only. In Book 4 - The Southern Fells, Wainwright also endorses this and warns of "do not be tempted by a track going down eastwards: this ends suddenly above a vertical drop." Well contrary to this information there are now three ways on and off as we discovered on our way up, down, and around it. There is the west ridge route, the way that we came off by walking south and then east along the side of the pike, and also the route from the col and gate under the east face from where there is a well defined path climbing upwards to a level area and then appears to turn south along a grassy ledge. Due to the weather we didn't investigate the last route but we shall on our next visit to this area.
From the col and gate we followed the good path alongside the wall to reach a step stile where we left the wall for a short distance as the path now made its stony way through heather that is all but clinging to the steep fell side. The path from the col all the way up to the summit is nowhere really steep although there are a couple of short, but easy, rocky sections to negotiate which were a bit slippery due to the rain. Within a short while we made contact with the wall again but now it is on our right hand side instead of the left which is a shame really as the wall is now holding the rainwater on the path instead of it being able to drain off down the fell when the wall was on our left.
About twenty minutes after leaving the col we arrived at an unnamed top with a neat cairn that is larger than some on a major summit so Chris had to pose once again. He hasn't fallen over yet but that is due to change as we go on. There's not much to see up here but we are doing the best we can in the way of photos and they'll be more record shots than anything that could be classed as magazine material.
Leaving this small outcrop we took to the path again which is now wider and wetter and in just a few minutes had reached the summit cairn of Brown How the highest point of Lingmoor Fell. The cairn is stuck on the side of the rocky knoll of which the highest point being a raised, rounded, and split lump of rock.
We left this normally good viewpoint from where the photo opportunities are usually very good to take the wide path to a step stile in a fence that would put us on the right hand side of the wall again as we followed it as it meandered in and out, up and down with plenty of water in the lower areas.
Behind the wall to our left are the old Lingmoor Quarries and mine levels but we stay as we are following the wall until eventually coming across signs of the old quarrying works by the way of an old building or two sat amongst the debris of past works.
Continuing on from the old buildings we spotted a cairn and shelter over to our right and not wanting to miss the opportunity of climbing what may be another 'named' top at some point in the future we went across to it. Once there we found that we were on top of the 343 metre high Bield Crag that overlooks Little Langdale, but unfortunately today there was only mist in sight. The shelter turned out to be a slate built bench seat on which my boy insisted on having his photo taken. There are Juniper trees over the wall above the quarries and they looked quite ethereal in the mist, quite photogenic, but my futile attempts at capturing the ambience of the moment failed miserably.
Regaining the path we continued roughly north on the wet trudge down to meet a green, metal gate on our left over which we climbed by way of some small plates of chequer steel welded to the gates bars.
From the gate we continued downhill to more disused mine levels by the side of an unnamed gill. At this point the path now heads off northwest for a few metres before reaching a junction from where the walk can be continued east down a well made and wide path - our original plan - to pass over the top of Banks Quarry then down to the Cumbria Way, or, turn west to pass the old quarry buildings and head off up a wide green lane that is the old quarry road leading to higher, redundant workings. As there are no paths shown on the map we decided to chance our arm and take the quarry track on the assumption that as there used to be a quarry at Colt Howe there would, or could be an old miners path leading down to it and then on to the Cumbria Way.
We followed this good track climbing steadily until it finally ran out and a narrow, stony path took its place to wind across and down the fell side, sometimes a bit faint on the ground but we eventually arrived at a rough track running through the intake wall by the side of Colt Howe Quarry. Passing through the wall we came across a large sheep feeding station with the sheep hard to see as they blended in with the surrounding shrouds of mist.
It was while gawping at a particularly good looking sheep that I slipped - a rare occurrence for me - and found myself lying full length on my back on the mud and sheep crap covered track and noting that Chris was in no rush to assist me from my less than comfortable position, having posed long enough for effect, I came to the conclusion that I would have to place hands in aforementioned ground conditions and get myself up.
Keeping to the track we found ourselves in Hag Wood where we decided to have a break whilst there was some semblance of shelter by the trees. Choosing a rather large one with some convenient stones scattered around its base we were more or less out of the rain with only a few large drops falling into and weakening my less than Costa quality cup of coffee.
Break over we continued the now short walk down to meet up with the very well made up Cumbria Way which we followed northwest through the wood as it passed under Spoutcrag Quarry. As we left the trees behind the path narrowed slightly passing through a couple or three walls before arriving at Oak Howe which comprises of a barn and a tumbledown farm.
From this point we are now walking - and in Chris's case, falling around 4 times - on paths that were literally running with water. Trying to walk on the grass alongside the path was no better as the water was just running down beneath our feet.
The grass was greasy and that caused the few wet, and red faced slips that Chris had but fortunately no damage was done to him. Upon hearing the regular squawks and thuds I turned round post haste with camera in hand but he wouldn't comply and bounced back up before the trigger finger did its dirty work. Damn, some people have no mucking in spirit.
The path took us under Oakhowe Crag and Oak Howe Needle whilst passing through a few stiles before arriving at Side House which is overlooked by the north face of Side Pike.
We crossed over another of the many unnamed and in spate becks/gills…
to take the short climb southwest up the field to climb a ladder stile and then the sodden path that runs along the fell side behind the large camp site sitting in the valley bottom to our right. The Olde Dungeon Ghyll is also in our sights and we mean to take an even closer look when we get off the fells.
A good view of the bottom half of the Langdales can be seen along with copious amounts of water running down Dungeon Ghyll and Stickle Ghyll. We also spotted a couple of walkers who had braved the elements a lot higher than we've been making their way down under Thorn Crag.
As the path turned to the south we began to climb more steeply up a rough path to meet the path proper as it came in from our right.
This, the proper path is well stoned up and the going was a bit easier as we made our way up through the zig zags from where the path now runs above and alongside the road - a fell runner passed us at this point - to finally arrive at the gate stile and our initial starting point at the cattle grid.
Apart from the fell runner at the end of our walk we saw only two pairs of walkers both of them on the Cumbria Way and going in the opposite direction to us. Despite the weather this has been a good walk in steady rain but fortunately no wind as such. It's been mild, the mist frustrating, the crack's been great, and The Olde Dungeon Ghyll awaits our company. No complaints here as this is why we do it, rain or shine it's a pleasure to be out on the hills anytime of the year.
by dav2930 » Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:20 pm
by thefallwalker » Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:43 pm
by trailmasher » Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:50 pm
dav2930 wrote:Any excuse for a pint in the ODG!
Thanks dav and it's a great watering hole Stayed overnight once and had a rough shift at the bar
by trailmasher » Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:59 pm
thefallwalker wrote: a pretty decent walk for one that wasn't a "showcase", plenty to see nearly! and of course the pints at ODG & the top of Kirkstone Pass,
Thanks for your comments TFW it's a great little walk but obviously has its better days Maybe useful for me to go on a paramedics course or for you stop drinking the falling over water
by The English Alpinist » Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:44 pm
'35mph to 40mph winds and the two combined was not conducive to going too high today.' - a nice way of putting 'sod the high ones' methinks I had the same thinking on the day I did Lingmelll,
by ChrisW » Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:15 am
by MiniRambo » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:19 am
by trailmasher » Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:28 pm
The English Alpinist wrote:'35mph to 40mph winds and the two combined was not conducive to going too high today.' - a nice way of putting 'sod the high ones' methinks I had the same thinking on the day I did Lingmelll,
Thanks for your comments TEA I'm by no means a fair weather only walker but sometimes a man doesn't need it and the last time that I was on Lingmell I was drenched before I could get my wet gear on
What's next for you, decided yet
by trailmasher » Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:37 pm
ChrisW wrote:Another wonderfully entertaining read TM, the tear in the trousers for Chris was bad enough but finding a gate almost immediately after is a real frustration....maybe that's why he didn't help you up when you planted yourself in the sheep sh*t I can see your lens struggling to find it's way through the moisture but it really doesn't kill the images, it just provides atmosphere Great stuff as always mate
Thanks as always Chris bit of a poor day weather wise and the rain did wash the crap off my waterproofs so bonus there and at least we were just happy and glad to be out and about, so although good pics are a welcome reminder of a good day out these sort just remind one just what to expect when out on the hills
by trailmasher » Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:41 pm
MiniRambo wrote:Another masterclass in walk blog writing TM. It seems like you endured my type of walking weather with this one!
Many thanks MR and on wet days out on a hill I just keep reminding myself that I'm not made of blotting paper and just KBO
by wotnowalshy » Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:32 pm
by trailmasher » Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:36 pm
wotnowalshy wrote:Thanks for the report. Visiting the Lakes in a few weeks and was looking for an afternoon's walk around this area when we get there. Hope we get clearer weather for it!
Hi and thanks for your comments WNW It is a nice walk and I hope that you get decent weather as the views are great on a good day