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Third Time Lucky

Third Time Lucky


Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:01 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Barrow, Causey Pike, Eel Crag, Grisedale Pike, Sail, Scar Crags

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

Date walked: 04/12/2019

Time taken: 6.15

Distance: 15.5 km

Ascent: 1291m

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And so to the final outing of the year. Unfortunately December was once again bereft of proper hills as it seems to be so often for me but this was a memorable way to round off the years hill walking. This was possibly my favourite day of 2019 with only perhaps a glorious April day on Seathwaite Fell and Great End challenging it.

I parked up by the church in the lovely village of Braithwaite and headed, with Hughie in tow, through the streets just as the sun was rising. Perhaps it was the distracting sight of the warm morning rays illuminating both the Skiddaw Massif and Griesdale Pike that saw me, immediately upon reaching open fell side, go in the wrong direction :? :oops: Embarrassment aside this did mean another walker who had set off a similar time to me could get going so we both could walk alone.

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Grisedale Pike with a golden glow

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Morning light on Skiddaw

The sights on the beautiful, largely grassy path up Barrow were sublime. Frosted fields, warm light setting the decaying bracken alight, clear skies, wisps of smoke from the dwelling on Derwent Isle all adding up to make this a memorable morning. Upon reaching the top, and bringing my next target of Causey Pike into view we stopped and had breakfast in the morning sun, never have overnight oats tasted so good. :D

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Vale of Keswick

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Heading up Barrow

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Another look back at Skiddaw, still looking magnificent

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Braithwaite and Bassenthwaite beyond

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Frosty Fields

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Another look towards Keswick

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Last pull up Barrow

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Looking back close to the summit of Barrow

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Across Derwent water towards Great Mell Fell

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Grisedale Pike from near the summit of Barrow

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Causey Pike from the summit of Barrow

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Cat Bells Silhouette

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Hughie on Barrow Summit

If we were doing a true Coledale round Outerside would have been next up, but having made several visits in the past we left it to preserve a little energy for later, and headed up Stonycroft Gill until we reached the path cutting back and traversing up the hillside towards Causey Pike. This is one of my favourite tops and having bagged it twice before wasn't going to prevent me from visiting on a glorious day such as this.

There are times in the hills when everything seems perfect and pristine and when lost in the moment you can feel quite emotional, an advantage of walking alone I suppose. (Hughie doesn't say much if I'm honest :wink: ) Atop Causey Pike on this day was one of those moments, stood in perfect stillness and silence it was hard not to be moved. Just why does a landscape have such an effect on your emotions? As an atheist I don't even have the old "feeling closer to god" line to fall back upon but there is certainly something spiritual and intrinsically ingrained in the human psyche that causes feelings of bliss and elation when presented with such a scene. Certainly images and words are a clumsy way to put this across but what else do I have?

The spell was broken by the arrival of another walker so following exchanging a few words extolling the virtues of the day I left him to it and headed back along the ridge to Scar Crags.

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Looking down Stonycroft Gill

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Good Morning Mrs Robinson

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Along to Scarr Crags, Causey Pike first however

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Pure Bliss on Causey Pike

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Hughie shares the moment

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Another from Causey Pike, Rowling End in the foreground

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The way ahead, Scar Crags, Sail and Crag Hill

Scar Crags is a bit lost on this round as it doesn't seem to much more than a higher point of the ridge but it does look quite steep and inviting as you close in on the summit. My only concern at this point was if the final pull up to Crag Hill had too much ice on it. I've twice been on the top of Crag Hill and seen no further than about 10 yards so I was very keen to make it third time lucky for the views.

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Winter Light

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Another of Causey Pike's Cairns

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Close to the summit of Scar Crags

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Causey Pike

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Scar Crags Summit

For all the wonderful scenery on this round one part does cause some consternation with walkers and that's the zig zags up Sail. I can't ever see it bedding in totally and becoming part of the landscape and even if it does, many seem to ignore it as another eroded scar is forming alongside it as walkers take a more direct route. I was a good boy however :angel: as can be seen from my GPS trail.

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Ice Detail

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Towards the High Stile Ridge

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Keep up at the back

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Hughie on Sail Summit

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Crag Hill from Sail

I'd never been beyond the summit of Sail on this ridge before, so The Scar as it is known, was an unknown quantity. Far from the artificial route to get to Sail this is a normal hill path with an nice airy feel. Fortunately the sun had been shining on the side where most of the path is, so ice wasn't a factor and following an enjoyable climb we topped out onto the sparkling, hoar frosted top of Crag Hill. The wait was worth it with the summit views being superb, especially looking back the way we had came. We sat down in the small summit shelter, close to the edge of the crags and had lunch. It was also a repast not plagued by a starving dog as Hughie's lunch of partially frozen Jumbone kept him nicely occupied :lol: as I enjoyed my sarnies. :D

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Looking down to Sail Beck

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On the sunny side of the street

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Third Time Lucky

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Sunburst and Scafells

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Scafells close up

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Crag Hill Summit, with re-built trig point

Next up following a nice break was the Birkett top of Eel Crag which I had inexplicably missed when I climbed tower ridge on my last visit. This was a nice easy downhill stroll with a stop to look down the precipitous ridge I managed to a ascend in thick clag the last time I was here. I was left with a bit of a quandary at this point of whether to head for the main path down to Coledale Hause or continue a more direct approach following an obvious cairned path. I chose the latter and for the most part it was OK with only some verglass on the low crags close to the hause causing any issues. I found the frozen scree interesting however as it seemed to behave in an all together different way to the usual variety. :?

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Hughie in a winter wonderland

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Looking down Tower ridge

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Birkett top of Eel Crag.

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Looking towards Whiteside from Eel Crag

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Icicles on Eel Crag

When I got down to Coledale Hause I felt quite weary, perhaps it was the tension of dealing with the scree and icy crags, so I reluctantly decided to give Hopegill Head a miss and took the path raking up towards Grisedale Pike. A straight forward plod took us over Hobcarton Crag and up to the final top of the day. This was uneventful apart from a potentially nasty slip on the way down to the col when I fell quite heavily on my hip, no damage done thankfully, but I was a little shook up so I was happy to reach the summit, have a sit down for five minutes and reflect upon the day.

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Ahead to Grisedale Pike

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Hopegill Head

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Very clear view of the Galloway Hills over Ladyside Pike

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Hobcarton Panorama Click for big view

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Final stop of the day on Grisedale Pike

I took my time down the horribly eroded path off Grisedale Pike, I do find it rather odd that so much time has been invested in the path on Sail whereas just about no work has been done here. :? Once things levelled off it was the easiest strolls in the afternoon sunlight, so easy in fact that I ended up on the direct (closed) route down to Braithwaite due to not paying attention. :oops: The path deserves to be closed as it's not much more than a mud slide that gave a rather slithery end to the walk.

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Heading down to Sleet How

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Heading home

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Last look at Grisedale Pike

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Looking towards Keswick in afternoon light

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Trees in winter

A terrific day to round off the years hill walking and one I'll remember for many years to come. Onward to 2020 then!


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johnkaysleftleg
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Re: Third Time Lucky

Postby trailmasher » Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:56 pm

3rd time lucky indeed JK :) and with such a perfect day as that was, it was no wonder that you extolled the enchanting beauty of the LD. Great photos of a great day out :clap: and I'm in your camp regarding the path up Sail as it will never fit into the surrounding landscape no matter how many years go by :crazy: :?
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trailmasher
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Re: Third Time Lucky

Postby dav2930 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:30 pm

The perfect Lakeland round in what looked to be perfect weather! Superb. Love the silhouette of Catbells. :clap:

We did a very similar version of the Coledale round (in the opposite direction) on Saturday last week. The weather was nothing like as good as you had, but we still got some great views and very enjoyable walking. Definitely one of my favourites. :)
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dav2930
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Re: Third Time Lucky

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:51 pm

trailmasher wrote:3rd time lucky indeed JK :) and with such a perfect day as that was, it was no wonder that you extolled the enchanting beauty of the LD. Great photos of a great day out :clap: and I'm in your camp regarding the path up Sail as it will never fit into the surrounding landscape no matter how many years go by :crazy: :?


I've been blessed by some brilliant days in the Lakes but this one takes some beating, thanks for your kind words TM :thumbup:

dav2930 wrote:The perfect Lakeland round in what looked to be perfect weather! Superb. Love the silhouette of Catbells. :clap:

We did a very similar version of the Coledale round (in the opposite direction) on Saturday last week. The weather was nothing like as good as you had, but we still got some great views and very enjoyable walking. Definitely one of my favourites. :)


I do love the North West Fells and this route is as good as it gets, thanks for the kind words Dav :D
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johnkaysleftleg
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Posts: 3181
Munros:25   Corbetts:10
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Wainwrights:214   Islands:8
Joined: Jan 28, 2009
Location: County Durham

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