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The wind and Whinlatter

The wind and Whinlatter


Postby nigheandonn » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:30 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Whinlatter

Date walked: 26/08/2018

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Sunday's grand plan was to wander over the rest of the Grasmoor cluster, up to Whiteless Pike and eventually down from Barrow - the only problem being that in spite of Saturday's good weather the forecast for Sunday had stayed resolutely bad.

The final version was for strong winds from 'the middle of the day', with probable accompanying clouds and rain, although those were more likely to be patchy in the north. So there was a chance that if I got out early I would get round at least some of it - it was the narrow ridge between Whiteless Pike and Wandope that really worried me, and then the descent to Sail, but at least once I was up I could always drop down into Coledale if it got really wild.

So it was still fairly early when I set out, although not the crack of dawn - since this might be the last time I was in Buttermere, I made the tiny detour into the church as I passed.

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Wainwright plaque

The church has a beautiful decorated gate - the outside has more details, but I loved the shepherd and his sheep showing against the landscape behind.

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Buttermere church gate

With a choice of starting routes I took the path by Mill Beck on Wainwright's advice - a little path through a wooded area on the bank.

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Tiny path

This brought me out onto the path along Sail Beck, then a steeper little climb through the bracken to the main path on Rannerdale Knotts and a view back towards the lake, looking slightly forbidding.

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Buttermere

At the junction with the Rannerdale Knotts path I was still undecided, and I did climb a bit further, but up here in the open there was more wind than I had expected so early and some stronger gusts coming over, and I decided just to be a wuss, not liking the idea of not know how much worse it might get higher up.

The immediate alternative was to drop back onto the path I'd come from and keep following it, along first Sail Beck and then Rigg Beck to come out where I'd come off the hills the last time, and walk out to Braithwaite and the bus - I wasn't really sorry to get a chance to do it, because I'm always fascinated by through routes on the map.

But I wasn't all that keen on a day with no hills at all, and although I'd climbed all the lower hills in the immediate neighbourhood, if I was going to try to squeeze the whole cluster of hills between the Whinlatter pass and Bassenthwaite Lake into one day later on, then I had had one main problem, which was Whinlatter itself - well off the main ridge and barricaded by forestry plantations. So that would make a useful objective if I could figure out how to get there - a look at the map confirmed that there was no way through the hills, but if I made it to Braithwaite I could easily walk up by the road.

The map shows a path running from the hause to join the Sail Beck path, but with the bracken still high it can't have been obvious, and I retraced my steps, with a good view of the road opposite as well as the path below. It's not very clear what made anyone think of putting a road there, but I suppose the route as far as Newlands Hause coming south is so obvious that from there on it's just a case of making the best of it.

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The road and the valley

The road and the path run parallel at first, and I could see two people with big packs plodding up the road - my route was a bit slower, but I think I preferred it. Where the slopes of Knott Rigg come down the road swings off east to pass them on one side and the path sticks to the other, turning in along the hillside twice for stream crossings.

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Above Sail Beck

The third stream was Addacombe Beck, where piles of stones and the remains of walls suggested old mining operations, although neither map was admitting to them.

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Mining remains at Addacomb Beck

Not far beyond that the path leading up towards Sail Pass was marked with a little cairn, which I ignored, not wanting to be any higher, and then I was over the highest point and looking down the other side.

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Causey Pike and the other side

Going down the path was looser and stonier in places, and although I must have been sheltered from the worst of the wind occasional gusts tried to move me from the path, particularly if they caught me on one foot. It was cold, and although it was never desperately wet neither was it exactly dry, and altogether it was far more like a winter day than like anything I expect from August.

As I got nearer to the road I could see my descent route from Ard Crags coming down to join me - the last part of the path was good, and then I was on the road and resisting the lure of wandering about Newlands for the lure of a hill.

The lucky coincidence of a dry spell and a bench provided me with a spot to eat lunch, but the cafe in Braithwaite still held out the lure of hot tea - it really might as well have been winter, because my hands were so cold and useless that I couldn't push them under the waistband of my waterproof trousers to fish out the change that was in my back pockets, and eventually had to pull my waterproof trousers down to let me in.

The tea, however, came in a great big pot holding about five cups worth, and I spent a bit too long slowly warming up and drinking more than half of it before giving up. I also made the useful discovery that a bus stopped at the Whinlatter visitor centre about 5 to 5, which would be a useful alternative to walking down to catch the Penrith bus an hour or so later - I never seem to use that side of the 77 loop, so had no real idea of where it went.

Braithwaite is a strange curly place - all the roads just run into each other, but I found a way onto the pass, and then it was just up and up. Even on a day without many views the views over the valley were pretty good.

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Basenthwaite Lake

It's not a very exciting place, the Whinlatter road - further up the views are mostly of trees and more trees, not that trees are not a good thing. Some of the buildings near the visitor centre are tantalisingly in view for quite a long time before the entrance appeared, although once it does it does its best to make things more exciting with sculptures.

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Whinlatter sculpture

I was on a quest to follow the green posts, but at first the track was shared with various other paths and bits of playground, before leaving them to head up on a smaller path through the woods.

Despite getting mixed up in various children's trails further down, I still wasn't really expecting to meet a monster in the woods - I first spotted him lurking against the light in a gap between the trees, which did make me jump a bit! However it turned out to be a very friendly monster, who let small people climb up him to sit on his head.

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An unexpected meeting in the woods

The green route duly delivered me to the Horsebox crossroads (which has no horsebox), but without giving me any idea of which road was which, since the path isn't on the map - I had to have a good look at the angles between the roads and make an educated guess before setting off along a nice track which fortunately turned out to be the right one.

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Forest road

At the fence everything changed - no more trees, only grass and heather. The only steep part of the climb is a little bit by the fence to reach the top of the ridge, and then it's just a nice wander.

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Open ground

Scraps of cloud were still floating around up here, touching the forested hills to the east as well as the high hills to the south, but the wind was behaving itself reasonably well at this level and with nothing to channel through.

The eastern summit is, as Wainwright argued, the higher, although the western is more distinctive - it's unusual to find the OS arguing for the lower point, although they've sorted the maps out since then!

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Whinlatter east summit

The way to the western summit leads on over a tumbledown wall - it looked further from here than it really was.

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Over the wall

It's nicer walking on the far side of the wall - less grass and mud and more tiny paths through heather.

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Tiny paths

This second summit has an impressive shelter, and sits at the edge of the high ground, looking down the far side of the pass to the Vale of Lorton.

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Whinlatter summit

The really good view from here, though, was back up to yesterday's hills, Grisedale Pike and Hopegill Head all ridges.

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Grisedale Pike and Hopegill Head

The same green way led back, over the summit towards the edge of the forest.

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The way back

Keswick and Derwentwater looked quite near, and artistic wisps of cloud were decorating the hills.

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Hills in the cloud

I knew that hurrying down would only mean missing the bus by 5 minutes rather than 10 or 15, but the forest paths were so tempting - broad and solid and gently sloped - that I hurried anyway, because it was easier and more fun to run down, more or less, than to walk. And round those roads there was always the chance that the bus would be 5 minutes late, or more, but it wasn't, and I walked back down to Braithwaite with plenty of time before the next bus, finding a different route through the tangly streets.

Signs in this part of the world seemed to be always in the wrong place to be useful - earlier I had passed a sign inviting me to tea and cake in Newlands church once I was too far past the church to head back, and now I discovered that I could have spent the afternoon in a church in Keswick listening to Bach and knitting - two things I enjoy! But really I was quite glad not to have been led astray by cake or music, because it was a nice little hill.


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nigheandonn
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1501
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Wainwrights:214   Islands:34
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Location: Edinburgh

Re: The wind and Whinlatter

Postby Sgurr » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:43 pm

This is a really fine expedition compared with our smash and grab raid on Whinlatter from the visitor centre. Nice to see what else there was round about.
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Sgurr
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Posts: 4948
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Location: Fife

Re: The wind and Whinlatter

Postby nigheandonn » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:57 pm

Oh, mine was a smash and grab raid, I just had to get over from Buttermere first! :)

A nice wee hill, though. I didn't meet any squirrels, only two Gruffalos (dad lurking in the woods and daughter asleep), so we can't have taken quite the same route.
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nigheandonn
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Posts: 1501
Munros:19   Corbetts:9
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Joined: Jul 7, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: The wind and Whinlatter

Postby Sgurr » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:26 pm

I was told by the lady in the shop to go past the gruffalos, but couldn't find them, and couldn't really remember her instructions, so we had to revert to plan A via the 2 squirrels.
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Sgurr
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 4948
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
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Sub 2000:569   Hewitts:138
Wainwrights:160   Islands:58
Joined: Nov 15, 2010
Location: Fife

Re: The wind and Whinlatter

Postby trailmasher » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:13 pm

Nice little wander there from Buttermere and a great way to get to Braithwaite. There are quite a few nice hills in the Whinlatter area and ones that I do enjoy revisiting. Nice report and pics :clap:
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