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Good day on Grasmoor

Good day on Grasmoor

Postby The English Alpinist » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:27 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Ard Crags, Grasmoor, Knott Rigg, Rannerdale Knotts, Wandope, Whiteless Pike

Hewitts included on this walk: Grasmoor, Wandope, Whiteless Pike

Date walked: 27/02/2016

Time taken: 4.5

Distance: 16.4 km

Ascent: 1249m

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1 Grasmoor.JPG
The imposing bulk of Grasmoor.

Yo! I'm reporting back after a long absence. My mission to walk all the Wainwrights in one winter is not dead, not quite. Personal circumstances have made it difficult to get out there - namely, access to a car, and worse issues - but out there I have got, several times lately. This was my 27th walk in all, and I predict I will need 11 more to complete things by March 27th. That's when the clocks change, and that's the deadline. I'll post the previous 9 walks retrospectively (my last entry was 'The Lion in Winter', no.17).

2 starting point.JPG
The start, from Rannerdale.

3 Crummock.JPG
Crummock Water.

4 Buttermere.JPG
Buttermere, from the summit of Rannedale Knotts.

Basically I'm limited to Saturdays and Sundays to have the car, and this was one of those areas where I absolutely need it. No bus service into Buttermere at this time of year! The forecast was okay, and I was hoping to get out to Wasdale to do the mighty Pillar (and friends), but left way too late. A quick change of plan and I figured out I still had time to do this walk instead. At the ridiculous hour of 2 pm - my latest start so far - I began the walk from the tiny parking area beneath Rannerdale Knotts on the picturesque shores of Crummock Water. Fortunately, the days are getting longer, and at the moment there is light till at least 6 pm.

5 Rannerdale.JPG
Looking back on my route over Rannerdale Knotts.

6 me whiteless.JPG
On Whiteless Pike. Wandope looms behind.

7 Whiteless climb.JPG
Same view, 40 years earlier.

My spirits lifted by the supreme beauty of the views of Buttermere and Crummock Water, I gobbled up the short sharp ascent of Rannerdale Knotts. A midget in the scheme of things, but a magical little ridge walk. Conditions were dry and cold, and completely overcast, but overcast above all the tops. Visibility was perfect, and the higher objectives ahead were plain to see. Paths in these parts are well defined and I anticipated no repeat of my Lank Rigg fiasco [see 'Lost on Lank Rigg', coming soon]. Also, there were quite a few other folk out there, although every one of them was on the way down by now unlike me. Whiteless Pike from this direction is one of the Lake District's grandest ascents, and good dry trails don't half make a difference. I seemed to be making good time, so at this point I made the forthright decision to take in Grasmoor too (was going to do it with my Coledale Horshoe day later). I calculated it would only add an extra half hour.

8 plateau.JPG
Inspired, I decided to fit in Grasmoor.

9 snowtrack.JPG
Not a lot of snow on Grasmoor.

I found I had all of Grasmoor to myself, and the sense of peace and stillness was truly awesome. This was a place to contemplate life, the universe and everything. I did just that, for about 10 minutes. One thing it also was was cold, plus I did not want to get complacent about time, as this tends to incur punishments. For a moment, it looked like a menacing cloud front was creeping in from the north west, which briefly swallowed Grisedale Pike. Memories of Wetherlam came flooding back [see 'Weathered off on Wetherlam', coming soon]. After the satisfaction of zooming the camcorder in on my car 2791 feet below, and knowing I had accomplished the high point of the day, I respooled for Wandope.

10 summit sth.JPG
Summit looking south.

11 summit nth.JPG
Summit looking north.

12 car view.JPG
Could see all the way down to my car :-)

13 Grizedale.JPG
Weather started to look a bit threatening up there.

After such grandeur, Wandope felt like a mere appendage to proceedings, despite being a good height in itself. The path rises gradually to the summit, in itself nondescript but offering a stirring vantage point on the next part of the route: across to Ard Crags. This entailed a descent down a steep narrow spur, not one of the Lakes' most popular highways and by the look of it used mainly by sheep and the odd manic person contriving ways to bag Wainwright peaks in one trip. It was easy enough, but would have been Matterhornesque in the deep snow conditions of a few weeks ago, This brought me into the excellent valley of Sail Beck, and on reaching Sail Pass I had a convenient place to get up onto Ard Crags.

14 Wandope.JPG
The half-official route down from Wandope towards Ard Crags.

15 valley.JPG
Towards Ard Crags.

16 Ard summit.JPG
Ard Crags summit.

17 Ard to Knott.JPG
Same view, 40 years earlier.

18 ridge view.JPG
My route down from Wandope across the valley.

19 Wandope ridge.JPG
AW's drawing of the same.

The day (or afternoon, I should say) had gone like clockwork! I had plenty of light left to complete a splendid ridge walk, taking in the last 2 peaks of the day, Ard Crags and Knott Rigg. As I explained to a mountain biker, who I was meeting for the second time (saw him and companion on Whiteless Pike 3 hours earlier), I'd be well down on the road before nightfall. They were heading for Keswick, and he gushed enthusiasm for the quality of the trails and the weather. They were getting out there again in tomorrow's sun, as I too ought to have done. An opportunity missed, but never mind, today was a useful accomplishment. It brought up the 70% mark of Wainwrights done, and number 150. That's if I'm counting Dollywaggon Pike as done way back in December's whiteout ['The Snows of Helvellyn']. It wasn't. I missed the summit, and creature of conscience that I am, it probably demands a return trip.

20 last one.JPG
Knott Rigg, last of the day accomplished.

21 sheep ridge.JPG
Plenty of light left!

22 descent.JPG
AW explains where I was.

23 road down.JPG
Always good to be down on the road.

As is the custom, I reached the car in the fading light, but an excellent day had been had. I was pleased with myself, and feel I deserved a nice day :-) Fitting Grasmoor in had parcelled up the walk in a very satisfying way indeed. I have a feeling I will be glad of not having to do that 30 minutes as part of the Coledale walk. Let's see what the weather holds for March. As I write, there is a window of decency for the end of this week, where I hope to nail 3 or 4 walks on the bounce. if I manage that, I'm going to start believing I might just accomplish the whole campaign!

24 church.JPG
St Jame's church, Buttermere.

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Last edited by The English Alpinist on Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
The English Alpinist
Mountain Walker
Posts: 172
Munros:10   Corbetts:3
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:127
Joined: Oct 27, 2015
Location: Lancashire England.

Re: Good day on Grasmoor

Postby ChrisW » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:55 pm

Hey welcome back TEA, I thought you'd got sick of the constant miserable weather :lol: Sorry to hear you had some misery keeping you away, life sure has a way of throwing stuff up :roll: Anyway, great to see you out and about again and ticking off a few more....you can still do it mate :clap:
User avatar
Posts: 4940
Munros:18   Corbetts:5
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Jan 25, 2011
Location: Cochrane- Alberta - Canada

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