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SYD - Gragareth + 3 circular around Ease Gill.

SYD - Gragareth + 3 circular around Ease Gill.


Postby trailmasher » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:16 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Gragareth, Great Coum

Date walked: 14/07/2017

Time taken: 4.23

Distance: 15.5 km

Ascent: 560m

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Gragareth-Green Hill-Great Coum-Crag Hill.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Another phone call from Jim had us all sorted to drive down to the South Yorkshire Dales again for the second time in a week, this time to get two more Hewitt's ticked off plus the two that lie on either side of Great Coum - Green Hill and Crag Hill.

It was another overcast day as we set off for the M6 and J36 for Kirkby Lonsdale from where at Cowan Bridge just a short distance further on we turned off onto the narrow road that is signposted for Leck. The road to the start of the walk seemed easy enough to find when looking at the map but as we drove through the village of Leck we saw nothing that looked promising until we had reached the further outskirts from where the road either continued back around to the A65 or turned left along a narrow metalled road. Neither was the right way and the one leading back to A65 certainly wasn't.

After a few metres of driving along the narrow road it just didn't seem right so we stopped and asked a man who was taking his child out for a stroll the right way to reach Leck Fell House as we had already enquired of a few other people who couldn't help us. As luck would have it he was a Dales Park Ranger and told us that Leck Fell House had been renamed Middleton House so it was no wonder that the other people that we asked didn't know where it was. The DPR directed us back into the village where just past the church and school we came upon the right road and looking at the road signs it was now obvious why we had missed the turn as the signs were discoloured a very dark brown - nearly black - and blended in well with the accompanying stone wall.

Turning onto the narrow, metalled road we drove for about 8 kilometres - 5 miles - along the rising road as it ran up between Leck Fell and Ireby Fell to finally reach the end where it terminated at the newly named Leck Fell House. We had climbed some 300 metres through some wild looking countryside to arrive at a gate across the road barring passage to all but the owners of the house/farm. Just back from the gate there is a well compacted stone car park at SD674790 and big enough for quite a few cars but we were the only ones there when we set off walking and the same when we had returned.

The valley is quite open and good views were enjoyed southwest where Barbon Low Fell and its larger brother Barbon High Fell could be seen whilst a look north gave us a good view of Crag Hill and Great Coum. East we had Gragareth towering over us where we could see the stand of cairns that go by the name of the Three Men of Gragareth and south gave us a view of the lowlands of Thornton in Lonsdale and the ground just beyond the A65.

As we set off there was a cloud filled sky but fortunately they were very high and visibility was not bad at all. Despite the 13°c we had to don our coats as there was a cold wind blowing and it was bound to be even colder the higher we climbed.

Near the gate that bars the way to the house there is another one, old and wooden with the official Open Access notice board fixed to it and alongside there is a large, circular, yellow plastic bin top endowed by the black, hand painted words telling us that it was 'Private land No motorbikes!' As we weren't on motorbikes that excluded us from the ban notice so we went through the gate to start the walk along a wide track that runs behind Leck Fell House/Middleton House for quite a long way at a nice easy gradient and terminates at a shooting lodge and Grouse Butts.
7 - Leck Fell House is now known as Middleton House.JPG
Leck Fell House is now known as Middleton House.

6 - The well graded track with Crag Hill just left of centre.JPG
The well graded track with Crag Hill just left of centre.

We walked along the track for a couple of hundred yards or so until we found a suitable place to leave it and begin the climb, traversing back on ourselves as we worked our way steadily up the fell in the direction of the Three Men of Gragareth by passing the areas of rocks to stay on grass wherever possible. After about 120 metres of easy climbing we arrived at the three neighbourly cairns that go by the afore mentioned name and from where we had good views over to the east where from this meagre height we could now see the sea and the small wind farm that lies besides the M6.
9 - Three Men of Gragareth with  Barbon Low Fell behind.JPG
Three Men of Gragareth with Barbon Low Fell behind.

Besides these three cairns there are one or two more scattered about but further over to the north and a little higher there is another group of three cairns mimicking the real three. It was decided to go over to them just in case we had got the wrong three and in doing so we passed over a good path that runs straight up the fellside more or less directly to the summit OS trig column. Just in case we were at the wrong three where there was thousands of rocks lying about…
13 - The alternative Three Men of Gragareth.JPG
The alternative Three Men of Gragareth.

we took the regulation photos before picking up the previously found path to make our way easily to the summit of Gragareth and its trig column. It was whilst walking along here that I saw one of the small lizards running into the grass for cover and it brought to mind that haven't having seen one for years I have now seen at least one on my last 4 walks.

The column lies in a pool of water on this great flat summit that allowed views only of the tops of the highest fells one of those being Ingleborough…
21 - Ingleborough from Gragareth summit.JPG
Inglebourgh from Gragareth summit.

and another one of Whernside and Great Coum, the Lake District mountains over to the north and the sea in the west can also be seen.

From the trig column we left in a north westerly direction, still following the narrow and grassy path until we came across the wall that we would follow on a good path all the way to Green Hill, Great Coum, and Crag Hill. Between Gragareth and Green Hill there is only one obstacle and that is a step stile to pass over the wire fence before making the long walk to our next hill.
23 - On the way to Green Hill-Great Coum and Crag Hill.JPG
On the way to Green Hill-Great Coum and Crag Hill.

With Gragareth at 627 metres in height and Green Hill at 628 metres there is only a slight drop in height where the lowest point is on the 600 metre contour that also gives an easy climb to the summit of Green Hill. Apart from the wet grass and cold wind the walk so far has been a pleasant one and although the ground is a bit boggy along the lowest part of this section it wasn't too bad considering the recent rain and we got through it unscathed. An indication of the dryness of this walk today was that I hadn't put my gaiters on and only the very bottom of my trousers was wet. The high fells were strangely quiet and devoid of any life, there wasn't even a sheep around so maybe they have been taken off for shearing or the like. But what we did see was a number of small flocks of wheatears, brownish coloured birds easily identified by the flash of white on their wings.

During this walk it was noted that there are plenty of stiles in the wall and initially we wondered where they led to as there are plenty of cross walls with no paths shown on the map, but as we walked alongside the wall it was also noted that there were stiles over or through all of the cross walls that are on the east side of the summit ridge wall so a walk along the east side would be possible apart from the fact that there was no path in evidence as there was on the west side where we were.

Green Hill is as it is named, green, and stands out amongst the darker green and browns of the surrounding landscape. As we climbed up the slope to Green Hill the path makes a move away from the wall - probably to miss bad ground - but very soon bends its way back towards it as we neared the top of the fell.
We were soon at the summit that sported a small cairn of stones…
34 - Small cairn on Green Hill summit - Gragareth behind.JPG
Small cairn on Green Hill summit - Gragareth behind.

from where we had a good view forwards to our next destination and also southwest along the lower ground of Ease Gill that we would say 'hello' to later on in the day.
36 - Great Coum and Crag Hill from Green Hill.JPG
Great Coum and Crag Hill from Green Hill.

As we moved on we noticed that the clouds had begun to drop over the tops of Great Coum and Crag Hill…
40 - Jim and the cloud now hanging over Crag Hill.JPG
Jim and the cloud now hanging over Crag Hill.

so we decided to find shelter from the wind behind the wall at Saddle of Fells lower down the fell to have a bite to eat and a drink before we started the slightly steeper climb up towards Gatty Pike with its very large cairn of stones perched on its edge.

We were now not too far above Long Gill from where I got a half decent photo along the line of Ease Gill and the fields in the far distance.
43 - Another view down Long Gill and Ease Gill.JPG
Another view down Long Gill and Ease Gill.

Once we were fed and watered we set off once again and were soon at the wall junction of the wall that runs alongside Long Gill and where a large County Stone is to be found supporting the four walls that meet there. The boulder is large and has split into four large pieces and looks like it would tumble over if the south wall was taken away. The stone is initialled and dated as ITC 1832 JH and bears other signs of carved graffiti with the most prominent being WB, J Mullins,1893, so 61 years after the other one some erstwhile persons arrived at the stone with hammer and chisel in hand and proceeded to leave their mark for posterity.
45 - County Stone initialled and dated.JPG
County Stone initialled and dated.

There is a step stile on the wall to assist the scaling of.

Next on is Great Coum and the cloud has lifted with a climb that is a little steeper than the previous one but before we reach Great Coum we must first of all pass over the small but prominent hump of Gatty Pike that sticks out onto the east side of the wall from the base of Great Coum. Its sides are covered in hundreds, if not thousands of grey rocks many of which have been used to build a very large cairn on its eastern edge.
47 - Jim on his way to Gatty Pike with large cairn.JPG
Jim on his way to Gatty Pike with large cairn.

From Gatty Pike we had a magnificent view back along the ridge towards Green Hill and Gragareth, down Long Gill and into the valley in the far distance with the hills behind them smudged into a dark skyline by the light mist that was hanging below the clouds.
48 - Gragareth and Green Hill from Gatty Pike.JPG
Gragareth and Green Hill from Gatty Pike.

We were now well on the way to the summit of Great Coum at 687 metres and above Gatty Pike the ground eases off to make it a very steady climb to the summit that has a middling cairn of stones set on its large flat area of grass. To get to the summit we passed through a couple of convenient wall stiles to find a most uninteresting top of the typical rough fell/moor grass so not much point in lingering especially with the cold wind now getting a little stronger. The views are enormous from here with most of the surrounding fells available to see including Calf Top and Castle Knott over to the west.

Upon leaving the top we went through another stile to get back to the south side of the wall so that we could continue on the steady walk along the ridge to Crag Hill. We passed a fairly large cairn on the way that looked as though it was in competition with the one on Great Coum their sizes not much different to each other.
52 - Cairn just beyond Great Coum summit  with a sunlit Dentdale behind.JPG
Cairn just beyond Great Coum summit with a sunlit Dentdale behind.

From the cairn it wasn't too long before we climbed over a wooden stile in the wall to reach the summit of Crag Hill with its OS trig column once again sat on grass but surrounded by flat stones and not water as the one on Gragareth.
63 - A view of the Howgills from Crag Hill.JPG
A view of the Howgills from Crag Hill.

The Howgills were plain to see although a little more light and sunshine would have brightened up the scene somewhat.
60 - Castle Knott and Calf Top from Crag Hill.JPG
Castle Knott and Calf Top from Crag Hill

61 - Ingleborough-Gragareth-Green Hill from Crag Hill.JPG
Ingleborough-Gragareth-Green Hill from Crag Hill.

65 - The view southwest towards the sea from Crag Hill.JPG
The view southwest towards the sea from Crag Hill.

Now that we have topped out on all four fells all we have to do is make our way back to Leck Fell House/Middleton House by way of continuing to follow the wall and then a wire fence, but so far we are just short of halfway around the circuit of these fells so a long way to go yet. Fortunately it's mostly downhill for most of the way back with the only climbing left was when we exited Ease Gill below the farm house where we had parked. As we started to descend the view in front was quite amazing with the whole of the scene right out to the sea being visible as well as our just walked hills over to the east of us with the farm at our start point visible by the light reflecting off the outbuilding roofs of metal. To the north we could see into Dentdale with its sun bathed fields whilst we were still under cloud.

We followed a faint path through rough grass and rushes and this proved to be the wettest part of the walk with quite a lot of moss filled boggy areas but after a while with the valley below seeming to get no nearer just yet we arrived at the cairn of Richard Man.
72 - The cairn at Richard Man with Barbon Low Fell behind.JPG
The cairn at Richard Man with Barbon Low Fell behind.

From the cairn we continued down passing over Little Aygill Head and then followed the fence and Little Aygill until we reached the area of some disused coal pits from where we then struck a line south crossing a narrow but rushes, moss, and bog challenging stretch of ground to arrive at a second site of disused coal pits, a tumbledown stone wall and a gap in the fence from where the gate had been moved to one side. Our way now is to follow some faint quad bike tracks that lay between a shallow ditch on the left and a wall plus fence to the right. In front of us as we headed for Ease Gill we could see the farm a lot clearer now sat in a spotlight of sunshine, sunshine that was now creeping along towards us after a day of walking with black and grey clouds overhead. Gragareth slopes upwards behind the farm, the grey of its many rocks easily picked out from amongst the green that surrounds them. From this viewpoint the flatness of Gragareth endorsed the ease of gaining the summit from the line of cairns overlooking the valley.

As we walked along this level track we were suddenly startled by a number of falcons flying up from behind the wall. There was 6 in total and wore very light cream and brown feathers of young birds, some kind of falcon be they sparrowhawk, kestrel, or peregrine we didn't know, but they were performing fantastic aerial acrobats as they swooped down to inspect who, or what it was that had disturbed their afternoon siesta.

The green grassy humps that are split by narrow watercourses came readily into view as we started to lose the level ground and began the descent into Ease Gill.
79 - Approaching Ease Gill.JPG
Approaching Ease Gill.

Initially the slope is gentle but it soon becomes a lot steeper as we descended into the deep gully through which Ease Gill flows. As we got lower water eroded limestone came into view as well as the long brown trail of rocks, cobbles, and pebbles that forms the bed of the gill. There was no water to be seen but we could hear it as it trickled down below the rocky debris until we arrived at the wide footbridge of wooden planks - some of them seeming not fit for purpose - where the water appeared before it then ran into a narrow limestone gully before tumbling over a waterfall that is well hidden from the top by the tangle of trees and shrubs that line the bank.

Once at the footbridge we decided to have a break and settled ourselves on the intricately water carved limestone just above the falls.
85 - Limestone formation on Ease Gill.JPG
Limestone formation on Ease Gill.

Setting off once again we now had to descend further into the gill by a steep path that runs down the side of the falls and although it is nothing to cause concern as such there are a couple of limestone ledges that require a leg stretch to get down them. As we clambered down we could see that the bed of the gill was once again dry and would continue to be so on the long walk that we had along it until our point of exit.

Reaching the bottom was like entering a different world as there was a multitude of different coloured and types of wild flowering plants. In a garden they would be called weeds but here they form a large carpet of colour the likes of which I haven't seen for a long time.
90 - Rocks and flowers.JPG
Rocks and flowers.

These flowers line the lower banks of the dry gill with bracken and trees growing above them. We could also hear the sound of water although there was none to be seen until a look around to the right revealed a small open topped 'cave' carved out of the limestone by many eons of water wearing it away as it arrived from the higher slopes of Great Coum. This is where the sound of water came from as the waterfall fell down the rocks and into a small dark pool that didn't get any deeper as it was obviously a sink hole that feeds the water below the bed of the gill. The sides of the 'cave' are lined with small ferns and mosses and it isn't advisable to go in it or even try as the stone just above the pool is sloping and wet.
92 - Waterfall and sinkhole on Ease Gill.JPG
Waterfall and sinkhole on Ease Gill.

The journey was nearly over as we walked down the bed of the gill sometimes on the banks but we found it easier to walk over the stones…
94 - Jim walking along Ease Gill.JPG
Jim walking along Ease Gill.

than on the narrow stony, bracken covered path that regularly swops sides. Although there was no sun it had become brighter and it was quite warm in the confines of the flower laden gill. We were confined in the gill by the slopes of Casterton Fell to the north and the lower slopes of Leck Fell to the south.

After walking for quite some time we had to leave the bed of the gill to climb over a wire fence that was across the gill and was too high to pass over from the bed of the gill. Soon after striding over the fence we had to work our way around and through some old bracken covered dry stone walls that could be the remains of a sheepfold. From this point another 20 minutes of walking brought us to a second wire fence that was easily passed over where we found a tumbledown dry stone wall. It was at this point that we made our escape from the gill by climbing up a short but steep bank to bring us to a gate from where we had just over a mile - 1.65 km - of walking steadily uphill through various patches of bracken, rushes, and soft ground to finally arrive back at the car where despite the lack of sun in our neck of the woods it was a respectable 18°c.

A quite long but easy walk had been enjoyed and the walk along Ease Gill was in stark contrast to walking on the high fells, one green and lush with a multitude of colourful flora and the other of rough brownish green grass that so often adorns the moors and high fells with only the dry stone walls and scattered grey areas of loose rocks breaking up the vastness of the fells. We had seen no other person but the sight of a lizard, flocks of wheatears, and the young raptors more than made up for the lack of human company other than Jim on this walk.

There was much to photograph on this walk but as I am limited to 24 photos what I have inserted will have to do. I must thank JKLL for suggesting that I use Flickr so that I could post more pictures, but unfortunately I am unable to register as it refuses to accept my birthday details. I have tried to register by using various browsers and at various times of the day and night, but to no avail despite using every combination of the correct numbers for day and year, so if anyone has any advice to offer it would be gratefully received and worked upon, so thank you in advance.
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trailmasher
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Posts: 1302
Munros:13   
Hewitts:179
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Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: SYD - Gragareth + 3 circular around Ease Gill.

Postby martin.h » Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:17 pm

Nice report trailmasher, this is a walk I've been intending to do for a while so some good info there, thanks.

Re Flickr, I use my Yahoo a/c log in to gain access to Flickr, if you don't have one you could set one up, I don't use any birthday details just my user name and password, have a go at that it might work for you, Flickr is run by Yahoo, try to be unique choosing user name and password, it can be sensitive to similar details for other users.
I use Flickr for my reports, easy to download photo's, file size is not an issue and the numbers are virtually limitless
:D :lol:
Hope that helps.
Cheers.
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martin.h
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 599
Munros:216   Corbetts:20
Grahams:12   Donalds:8
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:150
Wainwrights:214   Islands:24
Joined: Jul 31, 2011
Location: Halifax, West Yorkshire
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Re: SYD - Gragareth + 3 circular around Ease Gill.

Postby trailmasher » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:45 am

martin.h wrote:Nice report trailmasher, this is a walk I've been intending to do for a while so some good info there, thanks.

Re Flickr, I use my Yahoo a/c log in to gain access to Flickr, if you don't have one you could set one up, I don't use any birthday details just my user name and password, have a go at that it might work for you,


martin.h wrote:Flickr is run by Yahoo, try to be unique choosing user name and password, it can be sensitive to similar details for other users.
I use Flickr for my reports, easy to download photo's, file size is not an issue and the numbers are virtually limitless
:D :lol:
Hope that helps.
Cheers.


Thanks for the advice and your comments martin :clap: , much appreciated :D :D Now got an account with Yahoo after a battle with email address :? Just got to work out how to use Flickr now to get pics on WH :? I'm not thick, just slow :roll: :wink:
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trailmasher
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Posts: 1302
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Hewitts:179
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Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: SYD - Gragareth + 3 circular around Ease Gill.

Postby simon-b » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:38 pm

Nice report, TM. A good description and photos from these hills. I've not been on them yet, but it would be nice to get there.
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simon-b
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Posts: 2144
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Joined: Jan 2, 2012
Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Re: SYD - Gragareth + 3 circular around Ease Gill.

Postby trailmasher » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:07 pm

simon-b wrote:Nice report, TM. A good description and photos from these hills. I've not been on them yet, but it would be nice to get there.


Thanks s-b :D these 4 will be easier than the last 4 that you did :lol: Big sprawling hills with views to match on a good day 8)
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trailmasher
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Posts: 1302
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Hewitts:179
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

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