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The Other Tower Ridge

The Other Tower Ridge


Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:35 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Eel Crag, Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head

Hewitts included on this walk: Crag Hill (Eel Crag), Grisedale Pike, Hobcarton Crag, Hopegill Head

Date walked: 15/06/2016

Time taken: 5.25

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 1250m

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Following a magnificent week on the Isle of Arran (which has seen me decamp to the Scotland board for a while) the post holiday blues were in full swing. With this in mind something had to be done.

Links to Arran adventures below;

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=64093 Part One Goat Fell
http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=64500 Part Two Pirnmill Hills
http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=64841 Part Three Caisteal Abhail

Negotiations with my better half saw me ditch my school run responsibilities and my faithful mutt Hughie and I set off bright and early across the A66 to arrive at Braithwaite for an 8 O'Clock start. The plan for the day was to ascend Crag Fell (or Eel crag if you prefer) via Wainwright's Tower ridge and take it from there. The forecast was OK if a little cloudy and that looked fairly accurate as I booted up, parked by the church, on a still, humid and cloudy day.

The damage caused by the floods is still all too evident at Braithwaite, it must have been a terrifying time for the locals but as ever the peoples of the Lakes seem hardy enough to bounce back quickly, it must have something to do with living in what is a paradise (most of the time) for lovers of the outdoors.

Although, like most people I suspect, heading up a ridge to start the day is preferred it is sometimes nice to start by walking up a valley, especially when you've never walked up it before. In this case it was Coledale with its mining track providing a quick way into the heart of the North Western Fells. Even though the going was blissfully easy the lack of any breeze ment I was already sweating freely by the time I crossed Coledale Beck and started the ascent in earnest.

ImageStarting off up Coledale by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageFew wisps of Crag Fell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageCrossing Coledale Beck by Anthony Young, on Flickr

The head of Coledale may not be the most beautiful in the Lakes but it has plenty of interest with the mining paraphernalia, the impressive vegetated Force Crag, and Force Crag Falls all adding to the scene. It was soon after this that I left the highway up to the Hause on a vague trod following a small burn coming down the hillside.

ImageForce Crag Falls by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageForce Crag Mine by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageForce Crag by Anthony Young, on Flickr

I soon found a comfy boulder and had breakfast of some granola, yoghurt and berries in a tub while admiring the views. It was good to stop and cool down as the gentle gradient so far was about to come to a crashing halt, as was good pace I had set up to this point.

ImageLooking down Coledale by Anthony Young, on Flickr

What followed was by far and away the toughest part of the walk as the trod soon ran out and I was left to slog up increasingly steep roughish ground to find the base of the ridge. This proved easier said than done as it's far from well defined lower down and mainly grassy with few rocks in it's lowest sections. I actually think I ended up on AWs Ledge route for a while before realizing Tower Ridge was sprouting up to my left leaving me and Hughie behind. A turf clutching crawl later I made the crest of the ridge to turn and see that old spoil sport Mr Claggy rolling up the valley. :( I continued on and had reached the start of the rocky section to be engulfed by the clag reducing visibility to little more than around ten metres.

I rested for a while wondering what to do next. Having made such an effort to get up here I was loath to turn around and head back down but I'd done very little research on the route and was feeling a little intimidated by not being able to see what lay ahead.

Having decided the clag wasn't going anywhere soon I decided to set off anyway and headed off up the rocks. Even though things had if anything got even steeper, it was far more enjoyable scrambling up the rocks than trudging up turf. I stayed largely to the crest, but did avoid a couple of bits with bowel losening drops below them, Hughie's four paw drive saw him have little trouble and all too soon we topped out. Looking back was strange as it was impossible to see even a hint of where we had come from. Following a breather we made our way to the summit of Crag Fell. As conditions were the same the last time I was here I shall now be renaming this hill Clag Fell :(

ImageHere comes the Clag by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageHughie on the ridge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImagePinnacles in the mist by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageNearing the top of the ridge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking down into nothingness by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageClag Fell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

I stood on the summit wondering just what to do next, with no sign of the clag clearing chances of summit views were limited. I considered going down the Scar to Sail and beyond but eventually decided to head to Coledale Hause and eventually bag my final Lakeland Hewitt of Hobcarton Crag which had eluded me on previous visits.
Going downhill was a blessed relief and I made quick time down to the hause which was clear of clag, as were, as luck would have it, the tops to the North. It was on my way up Sand Hill that I saw my first other walker of the day, the advantage of an early start I suppose, but the least surprising event was the clearing of Crag Fell behind me :roll:

Looking back at Crag Fell I was somewhat taken aback by just how steep Tower Ridge looked :shock: . Feeling somewhat vindicated by my struggles to get up it I pushed on to Hopegill Head, (deciding quickly that omitting such a fine top when it was clear was a crime) and elected to have an early lunch with boots off taking in the views.

ImageClear at Coledale Hause by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageColedale Hause by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageCrag Fell now clear by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGrisdale Pike and Hobcarton Crag by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGasgale Crags by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageRidge to Ladyside Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking towards Grassmoor by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageAlong the ridge from Hopegill Head by Anthony Young, on Flickr

With some low cloud threatening I re-booted and headed off along the ridge to Grisedale Pike, This is a fine walk with views of the crags of both Hopegill Head and Hobcarton. My last Lakeland Hewitt came and went quickly and apart form a chat with a fellow walker as to the merits of West Highland Terriers amongst other things I was soon on the last top of the day.

I'd made good time so I once again un-booted and sat, alone apart from Hughie and took in the sights. It had been a fine walk up to this point and with only a simple descent down to Braithwaite to go I saw little point in rushing off.

ImageLooking down on Hobcarton by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLadyside Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageOn the way up Hobcarton Crag by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking back towards Crag Fell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageHopegill Head by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageColedale from Grisedale Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGrisdale Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageKinn by Anthony Young, on Flickr

The descent down to the village was as uneventful as expected, mainly on good ground apart from the steeper sections on Grisedale Pike which are quite eroded. All in all a fine day out and post holiday blues banished...at least for now.


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johnkaysleftleg
Walker
 
Posts: 3009
Munros:25   Corbetts:10
Grahams:10   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:166
Wainwrights:214   Islands:8
Joined: Jan 28, 2009
Location: County Durham

Re: The Other Tower Ridge

Postby ChrisW » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:54 am

This is a beauty JK, such a damn shame about the clag rolling in at just the wrong time (is there ever a right time ) but kudos to you for continuing on led by the steady feet of Hughie. Love the shots mate, even the claggy ones, though some of those clouds toward the end there look downright troubling :shock:

Great way to banish the post holiday blues :clap: :clap:
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ChrisW
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Re: The Other Tower Ridge

Postby dav2930 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:30 pm

Enjoyed that JK - a nice way to banish the post-holiday blues! Wainwright's Tower Ridge looks an intriguing and quite impressive scramble; well done for persevering despite the clag, which can be unnerving on steep, unfamiliar ground. This is one I haven't got round to trying yet - which is shameful considering the number of times I've been round these fells! Definitely on the to do list now :wink:

Oh and congrats on completing all the Lakeland Hewitts! I still have a few left to do.
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dav2930
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Posts: 1271
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Re: The Other Tower Ridge

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:33 pm

ChrisW wrote:This is a beauty JK, such a damn shame about the clag rolling in at just the wrong time (is there ever a right time ) but kudos to you for continuing on led by the steady feet of Hughie. Love the shots mate, even the claggy ones, though some of those clouds toward the end there look downright troubling :shock:

Great way to banish the post holiday blues :clap: :clap:


Cheers Chris, despite appearance to the contrary the clouds had no rain to give thankfully.

dav2930 wrote:Enjoyed that JK - a nice way to banish the post-holiday blues! Wainwright's Tower Ridge looks an intriguing and quite impressive scramble; well done for persevering despite the clag, which can be unnerving on steep, unfamiliar ground. This is one I haven't got round to trying yet - which is shameful considering the number of times I've been round these fells! Definitely on the to do list now :wink:

Oh and congrats on completing all the Lakeland Hewitts! I still have a few left to do.


Thanks Dav, I honestly had no idea just how steep the ridge was till I looked back :lol: certainly a recommended route, some of the views are probably awesome when you can see them :roll: :wink:
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johnkaysleftleg
Walker
 
Posts: 3009
Munros:25   Corbetts:10
Grahams:10   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:166
Wainwrights:214   Islands:8
Joined: Jan 28, 2009
Location: County Durham

Re: The Other Tower Ridge

Postby Mal Grey » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:49 pm

Great report with some wonderful images (not surprisingly given the author), some of which are really atmospheric. An interesting round, and the ridge looks and sounds excellent.
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Mal Grey
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Posts: 2846
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Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

Re: The Other Tower Ridge

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:10 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Great report with some wonderful images (not surprisingly given the author), some of which are really atmospheric. An interesting round, and the ridge looks and sounds excellent.


Cheers Mal, most kind. AWs tower ridge is well worth a visit.
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johnkaysleftleg
Walker
 
Posts: 3009
Munros:25   Corbetts:10
Grahams:10   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:166
Wainwrights:214   Islands:8
Joined: Jan 28, 2009
Location: County Durham

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