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April fool - an Easter weekend summit camp of two halves

April fool - an Easter weekend summit camp of two halves


Postby malky_c » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:25 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Allen Crags, Glaramara, High Raise (Central Fells), Loft Crag, Pike o'Stickle, Rosset Pike, Rosthwaite Fell, Seathwaite Fell, Sergeant Man, Thunacar Knott, Ullscarf

Hewitts included on this walk: Allen Crags, Dovenest Crag, Glaramara, High Raise (Central Fells), Pike o' Stickle, Red Beck Top (Glaramara S Top), Rossett Pike, Seathwaite Fell, Ullscarf

Date walked: 02/04/2018

Time taken: 10.25

Distance: 32.5 km

Ascent: 1940m

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Hewitts: Ullscarf, High Raise, Pike o' Stickle, Rossett Pike, Allen Crags, Seathwaite Fell, Glaramara, Red Beck Top, Dovenest Crag.
Date: 01 and 02/04/2018.
Distance: 22km + 10.5km.
Ascent: 1540m + 400m.
Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes + 3 hours, 45 minutes.
Weather: Saturday - cold and clear, turning cloudy, Sunday - breezy, snowy, horrible.

With some time to kill over the Easter long weekend, A toss-up between the Lakes and the Dales needed to be settled. I've never walked in the Yorkshire Dales before, so was quite keen on that, but I couldn't come up with a satisfactory route that would have me finished promptly on Monday morning, when the weather was set to be rubbish. Back to the Lakes then, which is no hardship as there are endless options there, and good public transport.


Day 1.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


I decided on a route I had planned as a day walk for the SHills Lakes meet earlier in the month. It looked easy to do most of it on Easter Sunday, give my tent its first airing of the year (first since it collapsed and broke a pole above Loch Affric actually), and scarper back down to a low level first thing on Monday morning. Sunday trains meant that I wouldn't start walking from Borrowdale until 12:45 pm, but with daylight past 8 pm, that wasn't an issue.

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Blencathra looking good on the way over

The weather was varied on the journey over, but by the time I was approaching Keswick, it looked like a lovely day. Off the final bus at Rosthwaite, and it was just about t-shirt and shorts weather - nice!

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Stonethwaite Beck

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Heron Crag

Good paths led me towards Stonethwaite, then onto the steep climb to Dock Tarn. Quite a busy path, but some lovely woodland to walk through then a nice bumpy section of moorland. Great Crag was an easy Wainwright bag from here, but I passed by it, not wanting to get bogged down in detouring for Wainwrights so soon in the day. I squelched over the outflow of the tarn and hit the damp slopes of Ullscarf.

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Looking back to Stonethwaite

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Woods on the way up to Dock Tarn

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Langstrath

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On the way up to Dock Tarn

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Langstrath with the Scafell range in the background

The route I had planned was a bit of an odd one, although it looked sensible enough on the map. I would be approaching the Langdale Pikes from the lass-visited side, missing out some of the more impressive parts, then traversing along close beneath some of the highest summits in the Lakes without going up any of them. I was quite happy with this - just to enjoy the range of scenery (some of it from unusual angles) without giving too much thought to visiting some of the more popular and classic tops.

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Maiden Moor and Skiddaw

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The Dodds from Ullscarf

Ullscarf wasn't a bad hill, but a bit bland and boggy compared to many of the surrounding ones. The traverse to High Raise was also wet in places - partly down to a lot of recent rain and snowmelt I think, but probably also naturally quite damp. I met a few other people on the traverse.

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Shower moving in

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Helvellyn range

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Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw from Ullscarf

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West to Great Gable

High Raise is also not overly exciting - in fact I remember suggesting to my dad that we tag it onto a walk up Harrison Stickle once; he said 'why would I want to do that?' As it turned out, we ran out of time anyway, but I could see his point to some extent.

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Coniston Fells from High Raise

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Bowfell and Great End from High Raise

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Pavey Ark and the Coniston Fells

Things became more interesting as I diverted slightly to Sergeant Man, although the best views of Pavey Ark and Stickle Tarn weren't quite visible from this point. I could've diverted over Pavey Ark, but decided not to rush, and just stick approximately to my planned route. Sadly the sun had mostly disappeared over the last hour or so, and there was the odd light shower lurking. Still, it wasn't a bad day by any means.

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Towards Windermere from Sergeant Man

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Bowfell etc with Pike o' Stickle in front

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Harrison Stickle

After crossing Thunacar Knott, a short steep descent took me into more interesting terrain between the Pikes. I left out Harrison Stickle (which I'd been up before) and made a line for Loft Crag, where the ground drops away impressively into Langdale.

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Langdale from Pike o' Stickle

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Bowfell and Pike o' Stickle

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Harrison Stickle

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Pike o' Stickle

An easy walk and brief steep ascent took me onto Pike o' Stickle. Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and Great End looked great from here, if a bit on the overcast side. I accompanied another guy on the way off the steep summit cone as we both scrabbled about looking for the best route down.

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Loft Crag

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Pike o' Stickle

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Looking back down Langdale along Loft Crag

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Bowfell and the head of Langdale

The next section out to Rossett Pike was a bit quieter. Rossett Pike has a good view down Langdale, which looks much wilder than the majority of the Lake District from here. Also good were the views across Angle Tarn, and the feeling of being right up under Bowfell.

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High duck

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Bowfell from Rossett Pike

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Langdale from Rossett Pike

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Esk Pike from Rossett Pike

It's a decent path that drops down to Angle Tarn then back up towards Allen Crags. I have no recollection of this path from previous visits, but it appears that I once went up Scafell Pike from Langdale this way. Allen Crags was a very short diversion on my right. This could've waited to be included in tomorrow's traverse of Glaramara, but I decided to enjoy it while it was clear.

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Angle Tarn and Esk Pike

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Angle Tarn and Bowfell

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Bowfell and Esk Pike from Allen Crags

Then it was down to the attractive Sprinkling Tarn, where I started looking out for places to camp. While there was the occasional breeze coming from the NE, the wind was set to swing around to the E and become much stronger overnight. There is plenty of bumpy ground on Seathwaite Fell, offering all manner of shelter, but the breeze was also creeping around from odd directions. I'm rubbish at this - I nearly always end up pitching somewhere stupid and getting the tent rattled all night by the wind. In 2014 I had made a midnight retreat off the summit of Beinn Sgritheall because the wind had turned, and last time out, my poles had become twisted and broken in ferocious winds in Coire Leachavie just below Mam Sodhail. Would I fare better this evening?

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Great End, Great Gable and Sprinkling Tarn

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Great End

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Central Gully on Great End

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Sprinkling Tarn

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Great End and Sprinkling Tarn

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Sprinkling Tarn from Seathwaite Fell

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Summit of Seathwaite Fell

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Esk Pike and Great End

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Un-named tarn and Great End

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Lingmell and Red Pike

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Great Gable and Green Gable

There were great views of Great End and Sprinkling Tarn from Seathwaite Fell. For some reason, Wainwright's version of the summit of Seathwaite Fell is lower and further to the north. Worth a quick diversion though for the birdseye view down Borrowdale. Always the possibility that I might find a decent camping spot too, but I didn't pass anywhere I particularly fancied.

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Down Borrowdale from Seathwaite Fell

On the way back to Sprinkling Tarn I found a flattish area that appeared sheltered. There was a meagre knoll to my east side, but I hoped it would do the job. In fact it was practically a summit camp - the top of Seathwaite Fell was only a minute away and 15m higher.

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Camping spot near the summit of Seathwaite Fell

Tent up, warm clothes on (unfortunately I seem to have finally succumbed to the fashion disaster that is leggings with shorts on top :roll: ) and dinner on. I wasn't well placed for the sunset, but there wasn't anything worth watching anyway. Still, it was nice to be here - outside on a clear evening - certainly way better than festering my Easter weekend away back in Sunderland.

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Great End and great campsite

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Camping

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Dinner time

I don't often sleep well when I'm camping. Add in my slight anxiety about the impending high winds and snow that was forecast, and I barely managed an hour's sleep despite lying there between 9pm and 6am. The booming of the wind around the summit confirmed the weather forecast, but also that I had chosen my spot well for a change. Aside from the occasional rogue buffeting, the wind barely caught the tent at all.

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Next morning on Seathwaite Fell

I had already decided to skip porridge and coffee at breakfast, and get going as early as possible. As expected, there was fresh snow outside and a brisk wind. There were no views to be had but visibility wasn't anywhere near bad as expected. This was a somewhat unusual start to the week! By the time my normal 6:45am work alarm went off, I was halfway through stuffing the tent into my bag and just about ready to get moving.


Day 2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


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Tent down

Glaramara and associated summits was my aim today, although I had the option of dropping straight down to Seathwaite if things were really grim. As it was it didn't seem too bad, and I already had most of the height done, so I headed back to Sprinkling Tarn and contoured round Allen Crags.

It turned out to be one of those days where conditions deteriorated so slowly that it was hard to notice it getting worse. But after cresting the umpteenth false summit on the Glaramara ridge, battered on the right hand side of my face by endless spindrift, I decided this wasn't much fun really!

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Somewhere on the Glaramara ridge

There is a lot more rock on Glaramara than my map showed - indeed much more than I had noticed yesterday. All in all, it seemed a really interesting hill to explore in better weather. Lots of tarns and outcrops.

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Summmit of Glaramara. Not much else to photograph

I just had one more summit I wanted to get up today - Dovenest Crag - and I almost didn't bother as I would have to descend directly into the teeth of the easterly wind, including all of its icy spindrift. As usual (probably the 4th or 5th time this has popped into my head this winter), I thought about my ski goggles hanging up in the cupboard under the stairs in Inverness. I should probably put them on ebay because I'm never going to have them in my bag when I need them!

The descent was agony - I could barely see where I was putting my feet, and there were quite a few crags to weave between (well maybe there didn't need to be, but I couldn't really look properly). I started thinking that I should have just followed the path down to Seathwaite to the west and skipped the last top, but soon enough things eased off and the visibility improved.

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Combe Head on Glaramara

Again, there were lots of impressive crags and outcrops. I might as well have left this whole part of the walk out as I have no doubt I'll be back in better weather sometime. Since there was no easy way to drop west off Dovenest Crag, I carried on towards Bessyboot. Another Wainwright that I wasn't going to bother with, but I was so close to it that I thought 'what the hell', and went up it as well. The snow was really starting to pile up in drifts in places, so I was glad to start dropping down properly after this.

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Tarn at Leaves and Bessyboot

I went straight down into Coombe Gill at quite a rate, glad to be off the tops. I was starting to wonder what the roads would be like down in Borrowdale. There was a bus due every half hour, but would any of them be running? This seems to be a common theme every time I go to the Lakes this winter. Will I manage to get back out again?

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Descending to Borrowdale

I could see the snowline end 100m or so above the valley floor, so things would probably be fine. The snow low down was incredibly slippery and I was glad to get below it, although it was now hosing down with rain. I could see a bus on the road heading for Seatoller, and I had a high suspicion that it would have turned round and gone back to Keswick just before I got to the road. It did :roll: . Never mind, there was another one due in 30 minutes, so I walked down to Rosthwaite to avoid having to hang around.

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Grim down near Seatoller

Back in Keswick, the rain was even worse. Plenty of choice of places to eat and drink, but I fancied somewhere spacious where I could spread out my grotty stuff, get changed and have a slap-up fried breakfast. Where would allow that on a busy bank holiday Monday? Wetherspoons, of course! No post-walk pint for me today - it was only 11:30am. Coffee and lots of grease instead, thanks.

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Worth waiting for

I contemplated bumming around Keswick until mid-afternoon to get the bus/train combination home that had the least changes, but in the end I decided to get on the 12:25 bus back to Penrith. Glad I did, as I was able to hop straight on a late-running train there and subsequently catch an earlier train back to Newcastle, arriving back at my flat before 4pm. Still a tediously long journey compared to driving, but I was glad to have the afternoon to catch up on sleep.

While it was never going to match my Easter 2013 camp on Sgurr na Stri for brilliance, it was still a great little getaway which made me wish I had another day off to recover :lol:
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 5834
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:251   Hewitts:256
Wainwrights:102   Islands:33
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Inverness

Re: April fool - an Easter weekend summit camp of two halves

Postby dav2930 » Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:52 pm

Looked a great weekend on some of the stragglier fells. There really ought to be one called High Duck :lol: I'll bet it was chilly packing the tent away on that snowy Monday morning?
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1297
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:10   Donalds:37
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: April fool - an Easter weekend summit camp of two halves

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:10 pm

That's what I would call a seriously weird route, but actually one that shows the benefits of weird routes - in this case superb views of a host of the well-known hills.

Overall it looks like it was a pretty decent couple of days, with just a wee challenge at the end to stiffen the moral fibre :D .

Some great pics among these. I especially like the Mr Happy selfie...
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Alteknacker
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Posts: 2692
Munros:167   Corbetts:29
Hewitts:205
Wainwrights:78   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

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