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A good mix of Western Fells south of Ennerdale Water.

A good mix of Western Fells south of Ennerdale Water.


Postby trailmasher » Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:11 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Crag Fell, Grike, Lank Rigg

Date walked: 05/08/2016

Time taken: 3.57

Distance: 13.77 km

Ascent: 769m

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Ennerdale and Kinniside hills.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


There were still some of the Western Fells that E hadn't done so we decided to mix and match three Wainwright's that are also Birkett's with another six that were not yet climbed by any of us so we set off on a warm and cloudy morning to drive down the A66, A5086, Ennerdale Bridge, to call a halt at the top of Scarny Brow to take a picture of the Kinniside Stone Circle. Although the circle has nothing to compare it with Stonehenge or similar large relics of times and people long passed by it has history of its own. Someone in days gone by deemed the spot important enough to erect the stones for what reason we can only guess at. In his Western Fells Book and the chapter on Grike, Wainwright gives a good account of its recent history of restoration.
1 - Kinniside Stone Circle.JPG
Kinniside Stone Circle.


Photos taken we left to drive further along the road to pass over Scaly Moss to find a small parking place below Blakeley Raise's west side where the OS map indicates Harry Hodgson's Well with accommodation for about four cars if sensibly placed. Boots on, a hot drink and a piece of cake later we started the climb up the pathless west side of Blakeley Raise where the lower slopes are a mixture of short green grass, rushes, and low growing clumps of still flowering yellow gorse. As we climbed higher up the easy incline the grass slowly went from the short green grass to the more typical high fells brown and rougher variety.

About halfway up the fell we stopped and turned around to see if there was the opportunity of taking a picture or two from this relatively low level…
3 - Looking west towards Flat Fell and the sea.JPG
Looking west towards Flat Fell and the sea.

and was surprised to see that over and beyond Sellafield to the southwest the Isle of Man could be seen in all its glory despite the clouds that were thinning out and lifting just now. Looking to the northwest we could see across the Solway Firth with its abundance of tall windmills protruding from the sea. Shortly after that we arrived at the grassy summit with the cairn of stones and cobbles that is sat on an island of green grass set amongst the rough brown fell grass beside the corner of the fence.
5 - Blakeley Raise summit.JPG
Blakeley Raise summit.

Something has changed since the last time that I was here and as far as I'm concerned it's for the better as a great swathe of pine trees has been cut down and what's more of a surprise is that the ground has been left pretty well cleared of debris that is so often left behind after a logging campaign.
7 - Whoap - Lank Rigg and Whoap Beck from Blakeley Raise.JPG
Whoap - Lank Rigg and Whoap Beck from Blakeley Raise.

Looking northeast we could see our next fell of the day, Grike…
8 - A view of Grike from below Blakeley Raise.JPG
A view of Grike from below Blakeley Raise.

with the tops of Great Borne, Starling Dodd, and the High Stile Range peeping out from behind it. Following the fence down along a good grassy path we soon arrived at Kinney How that has also been denuded of trees and where we picked up the old forestry track after going through a metal gate. Good progress was made along the track which was well stoned up, firm underfoot, and well graded. Instead of taking the path to Grike from the gate on the left we continued on up to more or less the top of the track to easily gain more height and then climbed up the fellside following the easiest gradients. Immediately upon leaving the track there is a jumble of left over dead branches from the plantation clearance operation, but after that it was an easy passage over the heather and grass before having to stride over the fence with the help of some conveniently previously placed stones. From the fence it is then but a cock stride to the large cairn and shelter from where the views north, east, and south are amazing and not forgetting west where the Isle of Man was plain to see.
19 - Isle of Man and Blakeley Raise from Grike.JPG
Isle of Man and Blakeley Raise from Grike.

It was in the shelter where we decided to have a quick drink and upon my commenting that I had never seen anyone on these fells before a couple walked up and started chatting. They were quickly followed by a chap who was on his way to Caw Fell and Haycock returning the same way. So words eaten we set off east following a good path over grass to then pass over a fence stile finding it wet and boggy as we reached the low point between Grike and Crag Fell.
20 - Approaching Crag Fell.JPG
Approaching Crag Fell.

An easy climb still over grass soon found us at the summit of Crag Fell giving us a good view onto Ennerdale Water and the fells of Great Borne, Starling Dodd, and the High Stile Range just off north, Steeple, Pillar, Great Gable, etc to the east were clearly visible in the great light that we had. Out to sea it was a bit hazy but the views were still very good.
24 - A view east from Crag Fell top.JPG
A view east from Crag Fell.

21 - Grike from Crag Fell.JPG
Grike from Crag Fell.

We left Crag Fell on well walked grassy paths once again, dropping off to the south towards Red Beck and the remnants of another plantation with only the lines of the grey scars of the old and dead branches left behind. We crossed over the fence by the stile to reach the old and wide plantation track and followed it down to its lowest point where we had to cross Red Beck.
25 - Descending to Red Beck with Whoap behind.JPG
Descending to Red Beck with Whoap behind.

The last time that I was here the ground around the area of the crossing of Red Beck was very wet but that is not the case now. It is a little damp but nothing like it used to be so maybe global warming is also creeping up on the LD.
27 - Looking to Ennerdale and surrounding hills from near Red Beck.JPG
Looking to Ennerdale and surrounding fells from near Red Beck.

After crossing the damp of the beck we continued climbing south and then southeast up the easy slopes to reach the forestry fence and gate that leads onto the open fell at the start of the wall that goes by the name of the Ennerdale Fence. We followed the wall until it turned off to the left and then we roughed it straight across the fellside until we reached the path that took us towards and over the unmarked grassy summit of Whoap as we made our way towards the massive bulk of Lank Rigg lying straight across our path.
30 - Crag Fell from Whoap top.JPG
Crag Fell from Whoap top.

The stone built trig column of Lank Rigg is plain to see from Whoap as is the path that runs up the long and steep slopes leading to it and I'm sweating just looking at it.
33 - The head of Red Gill with Lank Rigg behind.JPG
The head of Red Gill with Lank Rigg behind.

The last time I climbed up this one was just south of Hole Gill from the old Intake Works that sits besides Worm Gill after dropping off from Caw Fell. There is no path to follow or help you on your way from that side so at least we had the luxury of one running up southwest from Red Gill.

As we dropped to the col and Red Gill we had a superb view down into Whoap Beck with its dark green bracken covered banks in stark contrast to the lighter green and brown of the fell grass.
32 - Looking down to Whoap Beck with Blakeley Raise behind and centre.JPG
Looking down to Whoap Beck with Blakeley Raise behind and centre.

The crossing of the gill was another simple affair as it is the highest point between Red Gill and Whoap Beck from where the water drains off into either one or the other. Before we started the hot slog up the path we slaked our thirst and had 5 minutes to gird the loins before taking the plunge into sun soaked purgatory. As things went it wasn't too bad a climb as after the first initial steepness the slopes eased somewhat and we arrived at the top in a surprisingly short 15 minutes after setting off from the gill.
34 - The view northeast from Lank Rigg.JPG
The view northeast from Lank Rigg.

Whilst having a quick breather the man of the couple that we saw and passed earlier caught us up and we accompanied him to the summit after he had left his wife back at Red Gill having her lunch whilst he did the climb up and back again as she couldn't face the hill. Can't blame her for that on a day like this. Having arrived at the trig point we were met with a family having a picnic who had arrived by way of the west side after crossing the River Calder and passing over Lankrigg Moss and following Long Gill up to its head.

The views are still great in all directions with Haycock making an appearance in the east; Pillar, the Scafells, etc are more to the right whilst west we can see the fells that we will be climbing after leaving this, the highest of our fells today. After the recent rain I am just a tad concerned that the River Calder may be holding a lot of water although from where we were on the summit it didn't look too bad.

After having a chat with the family and photos taken I mentioned the tale of Wainwright leaving a 2 shilling piece - 10p in new money - under a flat stone for some fortunate person to find if they had known about it when the man of the house lifted a stone from the base of the accompanying cairn to reveal a veritable stash of coins that people had deposited there over the years. I believe that the thing to do is that if you take one, then you also leave a new in its place.
36 - Cache of money in the base of Lank Rigg's summit cairn.JPG
Cache of money in the base of Lank Rigg's summit cairn.

We walked over to the south cairn that sits on an outcrop of grass and rock and also to check out the small unnamed tarn that lies alongside it.
39 - Lank Rigg summit from the south cairn and tarn.JPG
Lank Rigg summit from the south cairn and tarn.

40 - A hazy Isle of Man behind Burn Edge.JPG
A hazy Isle of Man behind Burn Edge.

We had a bite to eat and a drink whilst surveying all around us before deciding to set off down the pathless west slopes and heading for the higher bit of ground that constitutes the Birkett of Kinniside at 375 metres and just west of Poukes Moss, that although has one particularly wet patch needing a work around and has long tough grass and rushes in abundance was easily negotiated without getting wet feet. Kinniside is a miserable little hump of rough grass adorned with a small cairn of stones that was probably taken there from the stony top of Latter Barrow by someone overflowing with energy and is but a few metres higher than Poukes Moss.
41 - Kinniside summit.JPG
Kinniside summit.

Passing quickly over this hill we continued in a south westerly direction to walk down the fell to reach the lowest point which is a mere 14 metres below the top of the next hill that is Latter Barrow, itself being only 21 metres lower than Kinniside. Once again the access onto this latest hill constitutes easy going over grass…
43 - Elizabeth on her way to Latter Barrow from Kinniside.JPG
Elizabeth on her way to Latter Barrow from Kinniside.

with a big change in sight as we approached large swathes of small stones lying around the fellside. Three large cairns decorate the stone scattered top with the one at the southeast end looking the highest. The reason for the three cairns on this summit I would think belongs to the abundance of stones and perhaps someone trying to tidy up the top for a game of football because there's plenty of room for one.
44 - Latter Barrow summit.JPG
Latter Barrow summit.

Another snack break and a look around ensued before starting the walk down the southwest side which is fairly well covered in thousands of loose stones making for a careful descent for most of the way down. On our way down we stopped to check out the River Calder and the next hill - Swarth Fell - which is some way away and on the other side of the river that doesn't look to have too much water running in it.
45 - Elizabeth descending towards Swarth Fell and the River Calder.JPG
Elizabeth descending towards Swarth Fell and the River Calder.

Swarth Fell although lower than Latter Barrow looked to be a lot bigger from where we were and the lower we descended the bigger it looked with its steep, pathless, and bracken covered sides. As we reached the bottom of the fellside the ground levelled out somewhat as we arrived at a step stile over a wire fence to find that lots of tree saplings had been planted amongst the very long grass that looked like a cross between rough moor grass and rushes.

As we got nearer to the river we found that the ground dropped away down a steep bank and was inaccessible in places so quite a bit of wandering around had to be done to find a suitable way down to the river. At this point I spotted a couple of places that would make for easy crossing but first of all we had to scramble down the bank and this is when E took one of her turns of rebellion so I asked her where she would like to make the crossing. Her place of crossing noted and a way down to the river found, off we went struggling down to find ourselves on a narrow shelf of grass adjacent to the chosen spot. Now at this point this is where the patience of a saint is needed as noting the lack of rocks to allow for a dry crossing she said that she wasn't going across at this her chosen spot. I would have made a crossing but there weren't enough rocks around to make one so with a muted grumble we slogged it back up the bank to walk north upstream until the steep bank ran out to more level and marshy ground. It was here that E suggested following the river up to the ford that crosses the River Calder at the junction of Comb Beck and Stinking Gill and coming back some other time to walk the last two hills, a matter of around 3 kilometres but after giving her a withering look, mentioning the 225 kilometre round trip and daring to say no chance I continued down to the river bank and proceeded to throw rocks in like a man possessed. Quite a few hurled rocks later and by the aid of the poles the crossing was made safely and we continued to beat a way through the long rush like grass to start the climb up the fellside to pass over another fence via a step stile.

This is where the hard work began as we initially fought our way through long bracken and once above that skirted a large bed of rushes whilst toiling up the steep bank in the afternoon sun.
49 - A Swarth Fell view northeast across the River Calder.JPG
A Swarth Fell view northwest across the River Calder.

This hill is a lot smaller than Lank Rigg but is much steeper as it climbs away from the river and the 115 metres of climb felt like much more and a couple of stops for a drink was needed in the heat of the day. Eventually the gradient eased off as we made our way roughly north to the summit and a very large cairn at 335 metres from where a good view of our last four walked fells were to be seen. To the south Swainson Knott, Ponsonby Fell, could be seen, and east is Caw Fell, Haycock, Seatallan, and a glimpse of Kirk Fell taking up the rear. This little hill has been a sod to get at and up but it's done now and the only thing left to do is walk north down a good path to the col and then follow it as it climbs the 20 metres or so to the grass and rush covered top of Burn Edge that has one large white stone acting as the significant spot.
51 - Burn Edge-Blakeley Raise-Grike-Great Borne at the back.JPG
Burn Edge - Blakeley Raise - Grike - Great Borne at the back.


As the road is quite near, this hill and Swarth Fell must be a fairly popular visiting spot but whoever comes here must go no further than the top of Swarth Fell as there are no paths on the other side despite there being stiles over the fences.

From Burn Edge it's just a case of walking down the path to meet the tarmac road below Blakeley Raise and making our way the short distance back to the car.
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trailmasher
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Re: A good mix of Western Fells south of Ennerdale Water.

Postby ChrisW » Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:17 pm

Wonderful read as always TM and beautiful shots to accompany it. I love the purple heather in the view to Ennerdale. I confess as a yorkshireman I would be tempted to take a quid and leave a shilling under that rock :wink: I suspect you could have done without the river crossing debacle so late in the hike :roll: but we have to do what we have to do mate :wink: ... :lol: :lol:
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ChrisW
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Re: A good mix of Western Fells south of Ennerdale Water.

Postby trailmasher » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:48 am

ChrisW wrote:Wonderful read as always TM and beautiful shots to accompany it. I love the purple heather in the view to Ennerdale. I confess as a yorkshireman I would be tempted to take a quid and leave a shilling under that rock :wink: I suspect you could have done without the river crossing debacle so late in the hike :roll: but we have to do what we have to do mate :wink: ... :lol: :lol:


Thanks very much for your comments Chris :D :D and the heather looks great at this time of year. If I'd have had a couple of farthings on me a trade may have been made for some of the newer models of cash :lol: :lol: .

ChrisW wrote:we have to do what we have to do mate :wink: ... :lol: :lol:


You're right Chris, I put it down to heat and distance with a hint of east coast Scotland also making an appearance :wink: :? :roll:
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