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Blessed are the Trailbreakers

Blessed are the Trailbreakers


Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:14 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Allen Crags, Glaramara

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

Date walked: 25/03/2017

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 988m

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There can be few things better than spring snows in the hills, especially when they give way to a spell of settled weather. So It was with little surprise that when I arrived at Seathwaite at 9:20 on a stunning morning I ended up parked well up the road due to the masses of cars already present.

Part of the reason for this was some of the verges were very soft but also the place seemed full of ill equipped "track suit and trainer" walkers seemingly planning a trip to England's highest point. I'm not sure if there was a charity event of some sort but the numbers were quite overwhelming.

All the more strange then that the gents toilets were locked :( now this would not normally be a major issue but with my usual comfort break at the Rheged centre being prevented by renovations it's safe to say that I was somewhat disgruntled by this development. I set off with the crowds up Grains Gill, a place of little cover, trying not to think about the call of nature. It was also around this time that I realised that two items I'd been determined to take, sunglasses and sunscreen where both back in my car :roll:

ImageTaylorgill Force by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBorrowdale by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Image
Looking up Grains Gill from Stockley Bridge by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageGlaramara by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageFalls in Grains Gill by Anthony Young, on Flickr


I ploughed on regardless, with my back teeth floating :wtf: and the sight of pure white snow fields at Esk hause drawing me onwards until I managed sufficient separation between those ahead and behind me to finally find some relief :D

This over with I could finally start to enjoy myself and soon I was above the snow line and plodding on with microspikes as conditions were an interesting mix of everything from ice to dry rock. As I neared the top of Grains Gill the snow cover was thick deep, crisp and even, and I must admit a debt of gratitude to those who had gone before me as a nice solid trench had developed through the snow up towards Esk Hause. The huge rock face of Great End looked magnificent and with just about every step onwards more wonderful sights were revealed.

ImageAbove the snow Line by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking back down Borrowdale by Anthony Young, on Flickr (click on pic for bigger version)

ImageSnow in Springtime by Anthony Young, on Flickr (click on pic for bigger version)

ImageSun and Snow by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBlessed are the Trailbreakers by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking towards Great Gable from Esk Hause by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageWho's theGreatest? by Anthony Young, on Flickr (click on pic for bigger version)

ImageEsk Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSkiddaw from Esk Hause by Anthony Young, on Flickr

As it was midday the glare off the snow was starting to take its toll as I regretted my failure to remember sunglasses once again. Soon enough I found some bare ground and had a sit with the green grass providing a welcome sight amidst the dazzling white snow. I wasn't sure that I was going to complete the traverse of Glaramara at this point, I had drank more of my water than was ideal, and I was becoming concerned as to the intensity of the glare. I solved the water situation by topping up my bottle with virgin snow and decided to at least head to the top of Allen Crags.

I arrived at the summit with a stunning view to greet me, some of the finest fells in Lakeland shown beautifully in partial winter coats. I soon got chatting to a nice fellow and had a fine natter with him and his two companions before moving off as Hughie looked to make a move on there sandwiches. Turned out we just missed a fellow walk highlander in the form of martin.h, sorry I missed you, perhaps our paths may cross again someday.

ImageLangdales and Rossett Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBowfell peeking around Esk Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageShelter at Esk Hause by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBowfell and Esk Pike by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImagePike O'Blisco, Wetherlam and Bowfell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageFun in the Snow by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Anybody who has been over the Glaramara ridge will know just how many lumps and bumps there are. A concequence of this was the mix between deep drifted snow and bare ground all the way meaning slow going at times but at least route finding was easy following the footsteps. In direct contrast to the start of the walk there were very few people about and my pace slowed with many photo stops taking in the wonderful views in the warm windless conditions. While sitting on Red Beck Top a Raven flew over my head with every wing beat being perfectly audible in the stillness. Moments like this are magical especially when your're on your own with your own thoughts.

ImageGreat Gable from Allen Crags by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSculptured Snow and Great End by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageHere in my Head by Anthony Young, on Flickr (click on pic for bigger version)

ImageLingcomb Tarns by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBowfell and High House Tarn by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageHughie by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageShoreline by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageConiston Fells by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBowfell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageAnother nice pose from Hughie by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking Steads by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageSnow and Stone by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageDrifting by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageAnd another Hughie shot by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageTowards Landgale from Glaramara by Anthony Young, on Flickr

I eventually reached The summit of Glaramara way later than I expected, not a problem as I was in no rush, to be greeted by the superb view down Borrowdale culminating with Derwent Water and the mighty Skiddaw. I rested again and finished off my rations before attempting to find a way down. The west side of Glaramara was covered in deep soft snow so my descent was more of a controlled fall than traditional way down. But soon enough I was headed for the last top of my day, Combe Head.

ImageSkiddaw from Glaramara by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageThe Gables from Glaramara by Anthony Young, on Flickr

There wasn't much of a broken trail up Combe Head so for once it was largely up to me to push through the snow to the summit. We'd missed out on this the last time but being on my tod this time I wasn't going to miss the view and every step was worth it for the truly wonderful vista on offer. It was impossible not to linger for at least a few moments before floundering off the top through more deep soft snow.

ImageTough going by Anthony Young, on Flickr (click on pic for big version)

ImageGlaramara by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageConiston Fells from Combe Head by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageCombe Head Panorama by Anthony Young, on Flickr (click on pic for big version)

ImageHughie backed by the Coniston Fells by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Once back to the main path, or trail through the snow, things were now straightforward as we followed the ridge down to Thornythwaite Crag leaving the snow behind. There is one thing about Glaramara however and that is it's a fair distance back to Seathwaite if you follow this ridge or continue towards Rosthwaite Fell. Perhaps it's the fact that your're going in the wrong direction for a couple of miles before heading back up the valley that makes the return to the car seem endless.

ImageCombe Head by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageCombe Head Mono by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking back by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageThornythwaite Fell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageBorrowdale from Thornythwaite Fell by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageHaving a break by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageLooking back up The Combe by Anthony Young, on Flickr

ImageTrees in Borrowdale by Anthony Young, on Flickr

Hughie and I eventually arrived back at the car at least two hours later than expected both of us fairly tired but, speaking for myself, having enjoyed a fabulous day out. Not even hitting the tea time traffic through Keswick or encountering long queues in Booths while purchasing some much needed sustenance could put a dampener on things. What a day!


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Last edited by johnkaysleftleg on Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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johnkaysleftleg
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Re: Blessed are the Trailbreakers

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:34 pm

Brilliant stuff, JKLL, with the usual suite of beautiful pics - superbly clear. It seems like this was a phenomenal weekend all over the country.

I'm very envious of all that snow (there was nothing where I was in Wales on Sunday), but I can also see the reason for your beatitudes on the trailbreakers: it looks like there was a good old depth of snow there. It's always seems amazing to me that Hughie manages in deeper snow!

I'm realizing more and more that I need to explore this area between Honister and Scafell (my son & I are hatching a cunning plan for the summer...).
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Re: Blessed are the Trailbreakers

Postby Mal Grey » Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:51 pm

Sun, snow, superb photos and a cute wee dog? The perfect day!
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Re: Blessed are the Trailbreakers

Postby trailmasher » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:03 pm

Yet another great spring walk JK and a fine set of photos to show off just what a great day the pair of you had on those fine fells :clap: :clap: Good job that you followed the 'trailblazers' as I myself have done that job up Grains Gill in the past and hard work it is indeed :crazy: :roll:
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Re: Blessed are the Trailbreakers

Postby martin.h » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:21 am

It was definitely one of those "great to be out" days Anthony, hard work at times, but well worth the extra effort, its a long time since we've had near perfect conditions like those.

We forgot our sunglasses and sun screen as well, didn't think it would be too much of an issue but once above the snowline we realised our error, we had to keep staring at rocks to ease the glare :lol:

Lovely photo's again, really capturing the surroundings as they were :D, I like the ones of Hughie in deep snow, he must have some stamina, ploughing his way through that lot :lol:
We're up again this coming weekend, aiming for the Loweswater fells. :D. Cheers
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Re: Blessed are the Trailbreakers

Postby nigheandonn » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:05 am

I do like a report with plenty of Hughie pics :)

What a difference in a week - this weekend the only visible snow was a couple of odd patches on the 'back' of the Helvellyn range.
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Re: Blessed are the Trailbreakers

Postby jacob » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:35 am

I do like a report with plenty of Hughie pics :)


Yep, doggiepics are the best pics, I fully agree.

Further: is it true I'm seeing more snow than in the Scotland department?

Impressive photos as always.
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Re: Blessed are the Trailbreakers

Postby Guinessman » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:58 am

Superb shots on one of those rare days.
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Re: Blessed are the Trailbreakers

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:18 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Brilliant stuff, JKLL, with the usual suite of beautiful pics - superbly clear. It seems like this was a phenomenal weekend all over the country.

I'm very envious of all that snow (there was nothing where I was in Wales on Sunday), but I can also see the reason for your beatitudes on the trailbreakers: it looks like there was a good old depth of snow there. It's always seems amazing to me that Hughie manages in deeper snow!

I'm realizing more and more that I need to explore this area between Honister and Scafell (my son & I are hatching a cunning plan for the summer...).


Cheers Alteknacker it was a phenomenal day, Hughie loves the snow but even he was getting a bit sick by the end. This is a superb area, you could camp at Seathwaite and be occupied all week by different walks. I look forward to the report of the expected epic.

Mal Grey wrote:Sun, snow, superb photos and a cute wee dog? The perfect day!


Thanks Mal

trailmasher wrote:Yet another great spring walk JK and a fine set of photos to show off just what a great day the pair of you had on those fine fells :clap: :clap: Good job that you followed the 'trailblazers' as I myself have done that job up Grains Gill in the past and hard work it is indeed :crazy: :roll:


Thanks TM. Not sure how far I'd have gotten without a trail to follow, probably just headed down to sty head and back to the car.

martin.h wrote:It was definitely one of those "great to be out" days Anthony, hard work at times, but well worth the extra effort, its a long time since we've had near perfect conditions like those.

We forgot our sunglasses and sun screen as well, didn't think it would be too much of an issue but once above the snowline we realised our error, we had to keep staring at rocks to ease the glare :lol:

Lovely photo's again, really capturing the surroundings as they were :D, I like the ones of Hughie in deep snow, he must have some stamina, ploughing his way through that lot :lol:
We're up again this coming weekend, aiming for the Loweswater fells. :D. Cheers


Cheers Martin, I've never found rocks and patches of grass so interesting :lol: Hughie can often scamper over the top of the snow while I plunge through it. I remember him doing that on the way to Armboth once only for me to plunge into a freezing stream! Hope you had a good day around Loweswater, it's a beautiful area.

nigheandonn wrote:I do like a report with plenty of Hughie pics :)

What a difference in a week - this weekend the only visible snow was a couple of odd patches on the 'back' of the Helvellyn range.


I was there to this Saturday and it was quite amazing to see the transformation. I don't think I've ever had so many great poses from Hughie in one walk. Think he was to tired to scamper off once the camera got pointed at him. :D

jacob wrote:
I do like a report with plenty of Hughie pics :)


Yep, doggiepics are the best pics, I fully agree.

Further: is it true I'm seeing more snow than in the Scotland department?

Impressive photos as always.


Certainly a good and heavy fall but unfortunately all gone in a matter of days.

Guinessman wrote:Superb shots on one of those rare days.


Cheers GM, it was a gift from the hill walking gods.
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Re: Blessed are the Trailbreakers

Postby dav2930 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:39 pm

That looked a fabulous day out JK. As you say you can't beat sunshine and snow on the fells and some of the scenes captured in your photos (superb as always) look positively Alpine. Well done for making the detour up to Combe Head - it's a great viewpoint isn't it?

Sounds like the trailbreakers who went before you did a better job than the ones on Helvellyn, where I was on the same glorious day. The fact that the foot-holes in the snow were frozen solid was more of a hindrance than a help! I also forgot my sun cream and sun hat (though I did have my sunglasses) and next morning my face was red as a beetroot! :lol:
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Re: Blessed are the Trailbreakers

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:55 am

dav2930 wrote:That looked a fabulous day out JK. As you say you can't beat sunshine and snow on the fells and some of the scenes captured in your photos (superb as always) look positively Alpine. Well done for making the detour up to Combe Head - it's a great viewpoint isn't it?

Sounds like the trailbreakers who went before you did a better job than the ones on Helvellyn, where I was on the same glorious day. The fact that the foot-holes in the snow were frozen solid was more of a hindrance than a help! I also forgot my sun cream and sun hat (though I did have my sunglasses) and next morning my face was red as a beetroot! :lol:


Thanks Dav. Combe Head is certainly up there as a view point with any in Lakeland, worth my thigh deep explorations.
I suppose the fact that this is a popular way up the Pike helped bash the trench down nice and level. Must have been a lot of red faces following these few days!
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