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From Whiteless Pike to Barrow

From Whiteless Pike to Barrow

Postby nigheandonn » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:15 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Barrow, Causey Pike, Eel Crag, Outerside, Sail, Scar Crags, Wandope, Whiteless Pike

Hewitts included on this walk: Causey Pike, Crag Hill (Eel Crag), Sail, Scar Crags, Wandope, Whiteless Pike

Date walked: 13/04/2019

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This will probably be the last year when I'm regularly in the Lake District, and although I have a few trips still to make, after this I'm turning my back on on the main bulk of the hills and heading for the little cluster in the north. Heading along to Keswick on the bus this suddenly hit me in a way that I hadn't felt since I turned my back on Haweswater more than 5 years ago - a real elegy for places never to be seen again.

It's not even actually true - I still have odd Hewitt tops to pick up in just about every area, and then there are the outlying fells in the east and south!

Unusually, I was staying in the same place for two nights - always a luxury for me - but it was an accident rather than one of my rare circular walks - Keswick just happened to be both the closest I could get to Buttermere on a Friday night, and the break in the middle of my journey back.

I didn't even try to make the 8:30 Buttermere bus in the morning, knowing I should have plenty of time, but Booths turned out to be even more dithery than usual, and I was still standing in the queue watching a leaking milk catastrophe as the 9.30 drove off. So I decided I might as well get a local day ticket and wander down - open topped bus to Grange and a prowl around and a look at the local history display in the church, and then on to Seatoller where the toilets are free to finally pick up the next 77A to Buttermere.

The start of the route was the same way that I started up in August and then dropped out because of the wind, up through trees from the church to come out on the hillside and up to the col with Rannerdale Knotts. Ironically, the wind today might even have been stronger than it was that time, but if it wasn't bothering me then it didn't matter, although I couldn't particularly work out what was different - maybe the start of the weekend with time in hand, or a different direction, or a steadier wind without gusts.

Whiteless Breast

Beyond that I had a definite feeling of having done this before, on Whiteside further along the valley - straight up towards a low top, and then along a joining ridge to the real summit, while a deep valley dropped off to the right - it made me wonder whether the odd name meant 'the hill that's a bit like Whiteside, but not'! But there was a lot less scrambling on this hill - none at all on the lower part, and only one mild bit near the top.

Whiteless Pike

This seemed to be the hill of the solo walkers, for some reason - about three people strung out ahead of me, and three behind, all seemed to be alone, as well as one coming down - the only people in a group were eight descending mountain bikers finding either the slope or the wind a bit more than they'd expected.

As with Whiteside, the summit arrives quite quickly once you've got up the steep bit - no trailing back across endless flatter places. It was a lovely morning to look at, sunny and clear, and ridge after ridge stretched away - I was especially pleased to see Catstycam back in the view, because that was the first landmark I learnt to recognise in a lake district view, long ago.

Whiteless Pike summit

A little cluster of southern hills were gathered together beyond Buttermere - from the far east Mickledore is the really distinctive feature, and the second landmark I remember, but at least from here Scafell was looking distinctively spiky.

Southern hills

Wandope up above me looked like twins, except that one ridge climbed gently again to the top I'd left, and one plunged down roughly to nowhere in particular.

Twin ridges

In spite of the wind, it was an easy walk along the ridge to the cairn at Third Gill Man, and an even easier walk across the slope to the summit of Wandope.


It's not a particularly exciting summit, but a good setting, right on the edge of a drop, and the view stretched away to Cross Fell, where I would be in about a week's time.

Wandope summit

A narrow path led on round the very edge of Addacomb Hole. The wind was even stronger now - blowing away from the drop, and steadily enough that I wasn't being blown about by gusts, but it was just tiring to keep on against it, and at one point on the climb up again it strengthened enough that I did just sit down to try to wait it out.

Round Addacomb Hole

Eel Crag has a surprisingly flat summit, a bare stony expanse, but it does at least have a trig point for a change.

Eel Crag summit

It could have done with a wind shelter too - I thought if I dropped down a bit on the far side I might get out of the wind enough to eat my lunch, which kind of half worked - I ended up lying down on the grass to rest for a while, to the amusement of some people passing, but when I sat up again to eat the wind sneaked round and tried to blow my bag away.

The next section was the narrow ridge down to Sail which had been the part worrying me the last time - it was quite narrow, but the wind was blowing more up than across, and quite steadily for the moment. From the top it just looked like a descending walk, but the two little scrambly bits mentioned by Wainwright were hiding nearer the bottom - nothing difficult, but steep enough that my hands went down naturally.

The ridge to Sail

There was a good view back out through the valley of Sail Beck, with the smooth sides of Knott Rigg cut by little streams.

Along Sail Beck

Sail from this side didn't seem like much of a separate hill, and had probably the least exciting summit yet, with a cairn that the path didn't even bother to pass.

Sail summit

From Sail down to the pass and up again to Scar Crags the path seems to have been scribbled on the hillside, and possibly scribbled over a faint older line - apart from looking peculiar it's quite odd to walk on, as it's built up definitely above the ground, with a kind of lip on either side.

Scribbled path

From just above the pass on the climb up Scar Crags it was easier to see what the builders were trying to do - because of the way the path is built up, it's amazingly obvious from above and almost invisible from below, which presumably makes it less visible from e.g. Keswick than the old broad scar.

Vanishing zigzags

The summit of Scar Crags isn't all that much further up - a long flat top and competing cairns. It's higher than Causey Pike, but a bit in the shadow of the more distinctive summit just the same.

Scar Crags summit

Beyond a shallow descent a series of bumps leads to the top of Causey Pike.

To Causey Pike

The summit is the last bump, with a good view over Derwent Water to the northern hills and the Pennines beyond - I had come a long way from the southern views of the morning in a relatively short distance.

Causey Pike summit

Although I'd come essentially the full length of the ridge, I still had two more hills to go, on a little subsidiary ridge of their own, so I turned back the way I'd come. From here you see much more of the real shape of Scar Crags, not just the flat top above it.

Along Scar Crags

The little path which cuts down from the dip between Causey Pike and Scar Crags to High Moss isn't marked on the OS map, but it's on the Wainwright sketch map, and clear enough on the ground - a good quick way down, although I seemed to have been descending quickly ever since leaving Eel Crag, which now loomed well above.

The path down

The end of the path doesn't meet very well with the start of the path climbing up Outerside, and I crossed an unexpectedly boggy bit taking a shortcut between them. The path curls round the hill and gets bigger when it meets another little path which cuts off from the Sail Pass path - it wasn't much of a climb, but it was my seventh hill of the day and it felt a bit longer than it really was.

This summit is further back from Derwent Water, but looking straight over to the Northern fells.

Outerside summit

I'd been working my way down ever since Eel Crag, and Barrow was down below me again, beyond the bump of Stile End - I went for the 'true' traverse, over the summit of Stile End first, and found myself descending a bit more steeply than expected to Barrow Door.

Stile End and Barrow

One more short climb brought me to the last summit of the day, with a good view over Keswick. It had been very quiet most of the day, and especially on this side of the hills, but just as I got to the summit a crowd arrived and started shouting to each other, which seemed to me like a bit of a waste of the nice peace!

Barrow summit

A long gentle slope leads down, heading now for Braithwaite, although I turned off at Braithwaite Lodge to come out on the road to Little Braithwaite.

The way down

I still had to walk back into Keswick, down to a junction at the foot of Swinside, and then around to Ullock and across fields of geese to come out through houses into Portinscale.


From there I followed the Cumbria Way into Keswick, up part of what must once have been the main road, as a stranded milestone announces that it's 12 miles to Cockermouth, and then along a good path to the main road - more people walking here than anywhere else.

One last bit of excitement was still to come - I went back to the hostel meaning to change and leave some of my stuff before going out to find some dinner, but before I had got up the stairs the fire alarm went off, so as nothing really seemed to be burning I just walked out again and off to the pub. By the time I came back everything was fine!

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Posts: 1602
Munros:19   Corbetts:9
Grahams:7   Donalds:26
Sub 2000:55   Hewitts:133
Wainwrights:214   Islands:34
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Location: Edinburgh

Re: From Whiteless Pike to Barrow

Postby dav2930 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:12 pm

Nice report. Some great photos there. That's one of my favourite ridge walks in the Lakes (Whiteless Pike to Causey Pike), despite the scribbly path :lol:

Surely there'll be plenty of excuses to keep visiting the Lakes? Different routes up old favourites, different seasons, etc. - bagging them all is just the beginning! :)
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Location: Cumbria

Re: From Whiteless Pike to Barrow

Postby nigheandonn » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:22 pm

It was a good day for pictures - they don't show the fierce wind!

I know, but there's so much in Scotland, and so much in the Dales and elsewhere - I've been giving a steady four weekends a year to the lakes, and other weekends away have had to squeeze in anywhere, and I'm actually really looking forward to seeing more of other places. But I will miss it badly too!
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Munros:19   Corbetts:9
Grahams:7   Donalds:26
Sub 2000:55   Hewitts:133
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Location: Edinburgh

Re: From Whiteless Pike to Barrow

Postby trailmasher » Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:29 pm

Good report and pics of a great route :clap: and who would not want to come back after viewing such scenery as you did on this walkabout :wink:
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Re: From Whiteless Pike to Barrow

Postby nigheandonn » Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:41 pm

Of course I want to come back. But I want to go everywhere else too!
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Munros:19   Corbetts:9
Grahams:7   Donalds:26
Sub 2000:55   Hewitts:133
Wainwrights:214   Islands:34
Joined: Jul 7, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

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