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A Bank Holiday Swindle

A Bank Holiday Swindle


Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:09 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Branstree, Grey Crag, Selside Pike, Tarn Crag (Far Eastern Fells)

Hewitts included on this walk: Branstree, Grey Crag, Selside Pike, Tarn Crag

Date walked: 26/08/2019

Time taken: 6.2

Distance: 21.3 km

Ascent: 870m

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Bank Holiday Monday in the Lake District is not a phrase that fills lovers of space and solitude with hope if I'm honest. Certainly, any of the honey pot fells and locations are best avoided, in fact some would say avoid the national park entirely. Even on what was, given a decent forecast, sure to be one of the busiest weekends of the year there are still corners to be explored which may not be overwhelmed.

One such place is the Far Eastern valley of Swindale, a place so removed from the general hustle and bustle of every day life the sat nav has little idea of how to get you there. :? According to google maps you simply can't get here without travelling on private roads which I'm sure has caused issues in the past but fortunately using the old fashioned method of looking at a map gets you trundling along the narrow road to Swindale without risking any landowners wrath.

Once on the road you eventually have to leave your wheels around a mile and a half before Swindale Head as no parking is possible beyond this point. Arriving here at just before eight I was the first car of the day with the only other people being a van next to a tent where somebody had spent the night.

It was a blissful morning with a little mist still drifting around and Hughie and I were soon heading off along the road to Swindale Head. Having never visited this valley before it was nice to be able to walk along taking in new sights without worrying about your footing but soon the gentle perambulations had to come to an end and the climbing begin at Swindale Head.

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End of the road, for the car at least

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Swindale mists

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On the road to Swindale Head

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Approaching the dam in Swindale Beck

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Through the Gate to Swindale Head

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Back lit tree

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Wonderful Swindale morning

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Over the wall to Swindale Head

The property at Swindale Head has apparently been uninhabited for a while but there a signs of renovation work being done so some lucky individual with deep pockets will once again call it home. As I set of up the Old Corpse Road I noticed mist starting to spill from Moasdale into Swindale Head, this provided a fine sight as I made my way up the initial reaches of the path before I struck off on a narrow trod in the general direction of Selside. The views along the valley and of the constantly moving mists were quite mesmerising and I had many pauses to take photos or simply admire the spectacle as it unfolded.
It wasn't until I saw similar cloud starting to engulf the High Street fells that a sense of dejavou started to envelop me. A few years back I'd set off on a glorious morning to do the Kentmere horseshoe only to end up in clag from Kentmere Pike onward. Still, it was gloriously sunny for the time being so we stopped for breakfast in the shelter on Selside summit knowing there was nothing to be done anyway, the day would bring what it will.

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First sight of the clag as I start to climb

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On the Old Corpse Road

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Flowing mists

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Beneath the veil

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Sky fall

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Swindale Panorama

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Clag incoming on the High Street range as well

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Looking back on the way up Selside

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Mist poring in from Mosedale

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Shelter on Selside

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Hughie in the shelter

Breakfast over i headed for the next target of the rather unglamorous Birkett of Branstree North top, one I'd missed previously. As we made the gentle climb the clag took us up in its wake leaving us with nothing to see. A visit to Artle Crag on the way to Branstree did yield a glimpse of Haweswater, but optimism was waning badly as we visited Lakeland's highest dog drinking bowl (AKA Branstree) before the long descent down Selside Brow.

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High Street

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Haweswater Panorama

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Clag starting to come in

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Branstree North Top

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Trig Pillar on Branstree

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Glimpse of Haweswater from Artle Crag

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Hughie on Artle Crag Pike

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Lakelands highest dog drinking bowl

By the time we arrived at the head of Moasdale it was very gloomy but with occasional flashes of sunshine way down the valley. The ground underfoot also takes a turn here, becoming distinctly wetter as we squelched up to Tarn Crag and then across a surprisingly amenable Greycrag Tarn (it's not a tarn at all but a bog) and on to Grey Crag itself. Very little had been seen for quite some time at this point and that included people, I had neither crossed paths with, or seen anybody at a distance since setting off, visibility being poor no doubt helped but still it was a little surprising even here on the outer fringes of the National Park.

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Dreary at Mosedale Head

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A shred on optimism along Moasdale

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Not much optimism on Tarn Crag

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Lifting a bit on the way to Sleddale Fell

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Dank and dirty on Grey Crag

I decide to have lunch on Harrop Pike which at least provided a few distant views of sunshine and contemplated the long walk back to the car.

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A sighting of sun from Harrop Pike

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Harrop Pike

There wasn't really any real signs of a path continuing from Harrop Pike and this proved to be the case as we made our way down open fellside to Little Moasdale beck which contained some nice waterfalls. At this point, as luck would have it, the skies looked to be clearing over the fells I'd just visited, :roll: oh well, I certainly wasn't going to go back and have a look :lol:
By the time we reached Moasdale Beck I realised I was on the wrong side of the beck but crossing wasn't to much bother and onward we squelched in improving conditions to Swindale Head.

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Fence without a path, a lakeland rarity

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Clag breaking but to late for me

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Sunshine on Little Mosedale Beck

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Little Mosedale Beck

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Waterfall in Little Mosedale Beck

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Mosedale Beck

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Bridge over Mosedale Beck

By the time we got to the end of Moasdale the sun was shining brightly once again and the views down the valley I'd left several hours earlier were superb. It was while taking the well graded but vague in places path down to Swindale that I noticed my first other people of the day, several hundred meters away exploring Forces Falls. I had considered visiting these falls on the way back but I was quite tired by this point so left them for another day.

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Swindale

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Nabs Crag

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First people of the day at Forces Falls

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Swindale Beck

I first crossed paths with other walkers/cyclists etc when back on the road, some going for bank holiday Monday in the Lakes. :shock: and certainly a first for me. In spite of the forecast not quite living up to it's billing for much of the walk, it had still been a good day out with plenty of ground covered with much of it new to myself. Swindale is a beautiful place and I can imagine it gives a little sense of what neighbouring Mardale may have been like prior to the reservoir. The fact that the accessible fells around these parts are more Pennine in character, lacking in crags and excitement means that it will remain lonely and largely ignored for the most part, but one thing it won't be, is unloved.

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Gouther Crag

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Road back to the car


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johnkaysleftleg
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Re: A Bank Holiday Swindle

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:58 pm

I love the highest dog drinking bowl in England :D .

I'd never heard of Swindale, and it was great to take the tour with you - the usual exhibition standard photos make this area look like one of the most appealing in the country. Definitely marked down as one for the future.

Beggars belief that you saw noone until almost the end of the walk :shock: :?: :?: :?: :?:
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Re: A Bank Holiday Swindle

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:42 pm

Wonderful photos of classic Lakeland scenery (without the crowds) and gorgeous late-summer colours in the valleys.

What a great idea to visit this little known valley. These scenes show what typical Lake District valleys were probably all like, before the impact of modern times.

Tim
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Re: A Bank Holiday Swindle

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:05 pm

Alteknacker wrote:I love the highest dog drinking bowl in England :D .

I'd never heard of Swindale, and it was great to take the tour with you - the usual exhibition standard photos make this area look like one of the most appealing in the country. Definitely marked down as one for the future.

Beggars belief that you saw noone until almost the end of the walk :shock: :?: :?: :?: :?:


HalfManHalfTitanium wrote:Wonderful photos of classic Lakeland scenery (without the crowds) and gorgeous late-summer colours in the valleys.

What a great idea to visit this little known valley. These scenes show what typical Lake District valleys were probably all like, before the impact of modern times.

Tim


Thanks guys. I've had Swindale in mind for quite some time, probably since I saw it used in the Nuttals book as a starting point for these fells. It didn't disappoint and there is certainly a few more possible wanders from here.
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Re: A Bank Holiday Swindle

Postby trailmasher » Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:31 pm

Nice one JK as usual :clap: great photos of a grand walk through a very beautiful dale and one that I have visited a few times in the past, sometimes passing straight along Mosedale and resting up at the Mosedale Cottage before continuing on to either Sadgill or Mardale Head. Pity about the clag though as the views from the tops are great, but you already know that being there before :) 8)
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Re: A Bank Holiday Swindle

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:02 pm

trailmasher wrote:Nice one JK as usual :clap: great photos of a grand walk through a very beautiful dale and one that I have visited a few times in the past, sometimes passing straight along Mosedale and resting up at the Mosedale Cottage before continuing on to either Sadgill or Mardale Head. Pity about the clag though as the views from the tops are great, but you already know that being there before :) 8)


Cheers TM, I certainly mind not getting a view less when I've already had the pleasure. There are a select band of fells where multiple visits have yielded nothing but a grey blanket of clag. now that irks me. :wink:
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Re: A Bank Holiday Swindle

Postby past my sell by date » Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:48 pm

Surprised it wasn't busier - Gouther crag is quite a popular climbing destination - renowned for Fang a *** MVS and a number of other good routes in the lower grades. Good cairns on those Eastern hills - i remember the one on Tarn Crag when i did it from Longsleddale :D
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Re: A Bank Holiday Swindle

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:39 am

past my sell by date wrote:Surprised it wasn't busier - Gouther crag is quite a popular climbing destination - renowned for Fang a *** MVS and a number of other good routes in the lower grades. Good cairns on those Eastern hills - i remember the one on Tarn Crag when i did it from Longsleddale :D


The Ground was by in large very wet, I suspect the rock may not have been in the best of condition. Good job it does have some good cairns, not a lot else to see for the most part :lol:
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Re: A Bank Holiday Swindle

Postby dav2930 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:16 pm

Fantastic views of the mist pouring over the fells. Swindale is a lovely valley isn't it? It's one of my local haunts, handy enough to escape to after work on a fine summer evening. Last time I went there was at Easter weekend with a climbing friend from work. We chose Gouther Crag because we thought it would be quieter than the crags in Langdale or Borrowdale. Unfortunately lots of other folk had the same idea, including a big party from New Zealand, complete with baby, who were celebrating something or other. So much for Swindale being a 'secret' valley :roll: :lol:

As past-my-sell-by-date says, Gouther Crag is quite popular with climbers and sports some fine climbs from VDiff to E8. The Fang is probably the classic, as pictured below with some of the New Zealanders having a go at it.

P1030029.JPG
New Zealanders sampling the delights of The Fang (MVS).
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Re: A Bank Holiday Swindle

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:40 pm

dav2930 wrote:Fantastic views of the mist pouring over the fells. Swindale is a lovely valley isn't it? It's one of my local haunts, handy enough to escape to after work on a fine summer evening. Last time I went there was at Easter weekend with a climbing friend from work. We chose Gouther Crag because we thought it would be quieter than the crags in Langdale or Borrowdale. Unfortunately lots of other folk had the same idea, including a big party from New Zealand, complete with baby, who were celebrating something or other. So much for Swindale being a 'secret' valley :roll: :lol:

As past-my-sell-by-date says, Gouther Crag is quite popular with climbers and sports some fine climbs from VDiff to E8. The Fang is probably the classic, as pictured below with some of the New Zealanders having a go at it.

P1030029.JPG


Yep Swindale is a bit special, even by Lake District standards. It does make you wonder just how a group from New Zealand end up on a crag in a relatively unknown valley in Cumbria :? Also makes you think labelling something quiet or largely ignored will always have the opposite effect in time.
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Re: A Bank Holiday Swindle

Postby past my sell by date » Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:42 pm

dav2930 wrote:Fantastic views of the mist pouring over the fells. Swindale is a lovely valley isn't it? It's one of my local haunts, handy enough to escape to after work on a fine summer evening. Last time I went there was at Easter weekend with a climbing friend from work. We chose Gouther Crag because we thought it would be quieter than the crags in Langdale or Borrowdale. Unfortunately lots of other folk had the same idea, including a big party from New Zealand, complete with baby, who were celebrating something or other. So much for Swindale being a 'secret' valley :roll: :lol:

As past-my-sell-by-date says, Gouther Crag is quite popular with climbers and sports some fine climbs from VDiff to E8. The Fang is probably the classic, as pictured below with some of the New Zealanders having a go at it.

P1030029.JPG

Yes The Fang is great, :D :D but aren't the KIwis on Fang direct? The runner placements would suggest so.
Kennel wall and the one just L of it are nice Balance climbs on small holds and further down to the L there is a nice HVS with a hard and athletic start whose name I forget.
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Re: A Bank Holiday Swindle

Postby dav2930 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 11:34 pm

past my sell by date wrote:
dav2930 wrote:Fantastic views of the mist pouring over the fells. Swindale is a lovely valley isn't it? It's one of my local haunts, handy enough to escape to after work on a fine summer evening. Last time I went there was at Easter weekend with a climbing friend from work. We chose Gouther Crag because we thought it would be quieter than the crags in Langdale or Borrowdale. Unfortunately lots of other folk had the same idea, including a big party from New Zealand, complete with baby, who were celebrating something or other. So much for Swindale being a 'secret' valley :roll: :lol:

As past-my-sell-by-date says, Gouther Crag is quite popular with climbers and sports some fine climbs from VDiff to E8. The Fang is probably the classic, as pictured below with some of the New Zealanders having a go at it.

P1030029.JPG

Yes The Fang is great, :D :D but aren't the KIwis on Fang direct? The runner placements would suggest so.
Kennel wall and the one just L of it are nice Balance climbs on small holds and further down to the L there is a nice HVS with a hard and athletic start whose name I forget.

Hi Tony.
The Kiwis are on The Fang - the line of the ropes shows where the route goes (it looks quite intimidating for a MVS). We did it immediately after them. Fang Direct, which I've also done a few times, starts up the groove just left of The Fang, crosses the latter half way up and finishes up an unprotected scoop just right of the steep crack of Fang. The HVS down to the L is Sostenuto, which I did some years ago now. As I say, Gouther is one of my local crags and I know it quite well.
Dave
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Re: A Bank Holiday Swindle

Postby David Hickson » Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:11 pm

I did this walk yesterday, and it’s a long way round certainly. My personal tip is to bring your bike (road or mountain) with the car if you’re able, and cycle from the car park described to the bottom of the Old Corpse Road. Saves at least an hour and much easier particularly at end of a long day.
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