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Postby mountain coward » Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:21 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Allen Crags, Glaramara

Hewitts included on this walk: Allen Crags, Glaramara, Red Beck Top (Glaramara South Top)

Date walked: 24/01/2009

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In December my friend Richard and I were staying at our favourite hotel in Rosthwaite, Borrowdale. It was the start of that severely cold weather we just had. As it was so cold I was feeling very ill as the cold has a very bad effect on my stomach, but of course, you go to the Lakes to walk up mountains so I just had to put up with it. Richard hadn’t done any winter walking whatsoever up to that point so I decided that, as everywhere was snow-covered, we’d best do something easy... so I picked Glaramara.

As I was feeling so ropey we got the bus to the start of the route at Mountain View cottages and headed briefly up the icy vehicle track by Stands Bridge. Shortly after that you take the track on the left which starts off through thin woodland and turns right up towards the ridge of Thornythwaite Fell. The track first goes alongside the beck and towards Comb Crags. It then ascends the left hand (east) side of the ridge. The path was pretty icy in places and in the end we abandoned it and climbed onto the ridge itself where there was more snow and less ice. There are a couple of steep sections when the path comes onto the ridge and ascends it but no problems. After the steepest bit you end up on a long and gently rising path across frozen bog towards the final crags of the summit, passing Combe Head on your left. Another chap in front of us detoured off up Comb Head but I was feeling extremely sick and quite faint so we just went straight for Glaramara. By now the day was lovely and sunny.

The scramble up the front of the crag is good fun in dry weather but would be very slippery in the conditions we had – everyone detoured round and up the easy, grassy side. Between the 2 summits there was a beautiful tarn which was iced over completely and the ice was glittering in the sun.
Glaramara Summit Tarn 2Bowfell.jpg
Glaramara Summits in Snow.jpg
Bowfell fm Glaramara.jpg
There we sat and had a hot drink and Richard had some of his home-made tea-loaf (excellent stuff). I took a few photos and then we set off along the very humpy and tarn-filled ridge of Glaramara. This is a really scenic mountain in snow and doesn’t really merit crampons (which we didn’t have anyway) as there is nowhere particularly dangerous or steep. There are great views of the Langdales on your left all along the ridge.
Langdale Pikes fm Glaramara.jpg

Soon after passing Lincombe Tarn
Lincombe Tarn(snow).jpg
we headed up the long and steady pull to Allen Crags – a superb viewpoint of the Gables, Great End, Esk Pike and Ill Crag.
Gables fm Glaramara.jpg
There is also a great view of Angle Tarn looking dark and mysterious in its hollow under Bowfell. We had another hot drink and I managed a piece of tea-loaf and sat in the sun admiring the view.

It was late afternoon when we left Allen Crags – we knew we would be best to get to Stockley Bridge before dark as we suspected the TaylorGill Path would be very icy. We quickly descended to Esk Hause and took the first path (the grassy one) down to Sprinkling Tarn. Normally I would take the more rocky one as that one can be boggy but as the ground was frozen so it was okay. We got to Sprinkling with no problems and after taking a couple more photos continued to Styhead.
Sprinkling Tarn(snow).jpg

We were surprised to see people heading up towards Esk Hause as we descended to Styhead. For once you could cut straight across the boggy ground by Styhead Tarn as it was frozen. We saw there were lots of tents (about 10 in total) at the inflow to the tarn – probably the people heading up to Esk Hause – they’d be in for a very cold night! The light was pretty much going by now for photography but I took one last shot across the tarn with Great End reflected in it and then put the camera away for the icy descent.
Styhead & Great End(snow).jpg

From there the path was very bad with ice and getting worse all the time. What we should really have done was go down the harder path at the other side of the gill – a narrow one amongst crags. We looked across at it as we slithered about on the main path and it had no ice whatsoever as it had been in the sun most of the day.

As the path got steeper it got icier – the only respite is where it passes briefly under some lovely pines. Halfway down there is a beck crossing which was absolutely lethal. Richard and I both went across on our hands and knees as the whole thing was covered in ice for about 20 feet or so (but level). We listened to the people following and, one after another, they crashed down on their arses with a clattering of walking poles as they tried to walk across. It was chaos! The stone-pitched path got progressively more icy until it became completely impossible and, like others in front of us, we abandoned it completely and went down the fellside on grass and bracken. I rarely leave a made path as I hate eroding mountains but the ground was solid and the path really was dangerous. Even on the grass a guy in front of us went crashing down onto his back and slid down the slope.

Eventually we reached Stockley Bridge with some vague daylight left – that was shot ice too! Everyone hung onto the walls and struggled across. The path from there was mostly alright to Seathwaite Farm (unfortunately the teashop was shut). We walked down the narrow, icy road to Seatoller in the dark avoiding the very many cars of the other walkers. We decided we would catch the bus back from Seatoller as there was one due in about 10 minutes, although there is a good route across the fields to Rosthwaite from not far down the road – but we’d had enough for the first day. Also that way we got back for our free tea, scones and rum butter by the roaring fire of the hotel!;-)
mountain coward

Re: Glaramara-in-the-Snow

Postby canisp » Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:08 am

Looked like a great day out. Good report and photo’s, i especially like the reflection shot of Great End and Styhead Tarn.
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