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A stroll to Ritson's Bar via Illgill Head.

A stroll to Ritson's Bar via Illgill Head.


Postby trailmasher » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:57 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Illgill Head

Date walked: 23/05/2019

Time taken: 4.02

Distance: 13.21 km

Ascent: 623m

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Illgill Head.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



It's Thursday morning, 7am, and I'm feeling a bit rough again, caused of course by my forced daily intake of anti-biotic tablets that appear to do nothing for me apart from liquidise the contents of my stomach better than any Kenwood Chef could ever do, not as there's been much in it these last few days anyway. And I've woken up feeling better after a full shift on the ale than I do this morning. Looking out of the window the day and the world looks in a much better condition than I am just now with a cloudy sky but with lots of blue areas allowing the sun to throw spotlights of bright sunshine across the fells, a most delectable scene.

Chris is outside with Sonny so I traipse down the stairs and check out the day for real and find that it gives a well needed boost to my somewhat sickly demeanour. As we had planned on climbing the middling heights of Illgill Head and Whin Rigg today Chris is giving it the once over from where are sat at a picnic table at the farm. He had sore legs yesterday after the Great End walk and I selfishly hope that they're sufficiently knackered enough today and he just wants a rest day, but the signs are all there that he's about to take revenge on my last year's walk up to Sty Head when I dragged him reluctantly along the Moses Trod Path in the pouring rain and strong winds.

Eight 'o clock and it's time for breakfast, a meal that is said to be the most important one of the day. It fills one full of energy, fortifies the body ready for the rigours of the day and everyone is tucking into their full English, apart from me who is still struggling with a few beans on a slice of toast, but at least they are quality beans and not those 'own brand Home Bargains' ones that are pale in colour and floating around in a thin and tasteless 'sauce'.

Breakfast is over and we discuss tactics of which I am convinced that mine is the best option, a stroll along the valley bottom along to the shores of Wast Water and maybe a short wander onto the screes. Chris appears to think that this is a good idea, taking into consideration the state of his legs and my temporary setback, so off we set down the lane from the farm to pass the small St Olaf's church where many a victim of unfortunate accidents in the surrounding mountains have been laid to rest.

Passing through the NT car park we were soon at the path junction from where you can either bear left and take the path to continue on towards Lingmell Gill and then either the initially northeast steep climb up to Lingmell or the not as steep climb up to Scafell Pike or its slightly lower neighbour, Scafell. This is also the start of the track that crosses over Eskdale Moor as it passes close by Burnmoor Tarn on its way over to Miterdale and Eskdale.

ImageTrack to Mitredale

We could see the track stretched out before us, good and wide as it disappeared behind the trees of Fence Wood. We continued on through the fields of Down in the Dale and I'm feeling a little better for being out walking, but then again who wouldn't feel well when spending time in a place such as Wasdale with its towering mountains and overlooking the long stretch of Wast Water.

A few minutes later we had reached Lingmell Beck where we were surprised to come across a wide bed of shingle washed clean by the torrent of water that flows after a deluge of rain and with a backdrop of Kirk Fell and the yellow flowered gorse it made for an impressive view.

ImageKirk Fell

It's not a bad day, a bit dull just now with the clouds hanging on the tops of the highest mountains and as we continued across the shingle we could see that Illgill Head was clear of cloud and that the sky was increasing in its blueness with a scattering of sunny areas across the fells.

ImageIllgill Head from Lingmell Beck

We left the shingle to enter onto a narrow but well made path that was enclosed by small trees and yellow flowered but prickly gorse on the approach to the NT Wasdale Campsite that is set in a lovely position amongst the trees of the small woodland area. We didn't linger as some of the campers were quite close to the path and we didn't want to disturb their peace as some of them were either cooking or eating breakfast.

It was only when we got to Lingmell Gill that we caught our first glimpse of Wast Water and near the point where I thought that we were going to leave the Miterdale track and continue on to the screes…

ImageFirst glimpse of Wast Water

but Chris obviously had other ideas as when we arrived at the spot where Lingmell Beck and Lingmell Gill meet…

ImageWhere Lingmell Beck meets Lingmell Gill

we turned to the left to remain on the Miterdale track instead of going on to the screes and as we approached the small woodland area of Brackenclose we had a hazy view of some of England's finest before us.

ImageLingmell - Broad Crag - Scafell Pike

We passed through the lovely little area of bluebell covered woodland with its burnt out building of Brackenclose awaiting repair, evidence of which can be seen by the refuse skip and security fencing that surrounds the damaged building. What a beautiful location for a house, just a cock stride away from one of the iconic lakes in the LD and backed up by England's highest outside your back door.

ImageThe fire damaged Brackenclose

After we had lingered awhile in this peaceful spot we set off once again and I was hoping that Chris was too leg weary to start the climb up to Illgill Head and that we would take the path off to the right that would take us down to the shoreline path, but, no such luck. He was going to exact his revenge on me come what may, no matter that his legs are hurting we were going uphill for quite some way yet.

I took this next photo as we passed my last chance of getting to the screes.

ImageWast Water and Middle Fell

After a deep sigh and a last longing look at the easy option for a short walk I resigned myself to the fact that we were going up come what may. Today Chris has no heart, a cold soul, but he does have a lot of determination so we kept walking. I didn't complain - pointless anyway - and just got on with it. There aren't many days that I don't feel like walking whatever the weather or how I feel but with the combination of the constant feeling of having a gippy stomach and not eating properly this is one of those days.

Despite how I feel it's a wonderful day to be out with lots of new lambs about either lying around in the warm sunlight or doing their little stiff four legged jumps as they gambolled about in small groups. The air is full of birdsong with the sound of a cuckoo reaching us from somewhere in the small copse of trees of Fence Wood. A dwindling spring visitor arriving on our shores looking for a mate I oft times feel sorry for this parasitic bird that leaves its eggs in other birds' nests and absconds itself from all parental duties leaving its smaller counterparts to feed the ever voracious appetite of the giant amongst their midst that throws any egg or other fledgling of the true parents out of the nest so that it is all about it. Why do I sometimes feel sorry? just think about the thousands of miles it flies to get here only to find that it can't find a mate, its one in a year chance of having a wild, abandoned act of copulation only to miss out because it's the only cuckoo in town. I think after a couple of trips of no activity I'd stop coming over and look nearer to home.

Not too long after leaving Brackenclose behind we began the easy climb along the track as it passed behind Fence Wood with Illgill Head getting slowly larger in our sights but not looking any nearer just yet.

ImageWell graded track to Mitredale and Illgill Head

The fells across the still waters of Wast Water are opening up as we ascend with Yewbarrow being the most prominent just yet and Middle Fell was still blocking most of Seatallan and Buckbarrow from view.

ImageWast Water and Middle Fell

ImageYewbarrow

I'm not moving at my best and I'm just ambling along enjoying the views and I'm glad that this is a really steady incline and it is a joy to walk along it. We soon arrive at that duo of tiny bridges, a bit like something out of a Lilliputian or Lord of the Rings landscape, a delectable construction in stone whose skilled builder's names will be lost in the annals of Wasdale history. This work of art forms two small arched bridges over Hollow Gill and Groove Gill and I would like to thank whoever put those two gills close enough together to necessitate the building of this beautiful little bridge on the course of the Old Corpse Road.

ImageOld footbridge over Hollow Gill and Groove Gill

And even the views are marvellous from this spot.

ImageYewbarrow from Groove Gill

Just before we left Fence Wood behind we stopped at the site of three old stone built buildings and wondered if they were the remains of peat huts where the peat was left to dry after being taken from the higher fells.

ImageLingmell with Kirk Fell and Great Gable behind

Once past the old buildings we left the Old Corpse Road and followed the wide path that runs along the north side of the wall that itself traces the route of Straighthead Gill.

ImageNow follow the wall

Scafell was just about clearing its head of cloud.

ImageScafell

From this point the path is good all the way to the summit and well graded apart from one fairly steep short section, but after that all is easy going. I'm running on slow today and Chris despite his tired legs is plodding on and slowly leaving me behind but we are in touch with each other as we pass a couple of old quarries that I presume were worked to get the material for the dry stone that we are following.

ImageThere a couple of old quarries on this route

I've been on this ridge a few times but never before by this route and I am finding it by far the easiest way to gain this summit.

ImageSteady climb alongside the wall

Either Chris has picked up speed or I am struggling with this easy climb. No, I am having a hard time of it today of that there is no doubt and Chris is fast disappearing into the distance.

ImageHey! wait for me

Fifteen minutes after the last photo and I had the summit in my sights.

ImageThe tops in sight

I stopped for a breather and looked back over Wasdale to see the cloud covered mountain tops and although it's a tad hazy it's still a wonderful view.

ImageLooking back into Wasdale

Finally arriving at the top I found Chris and Sonny residing in the shelter where I promptly dropped myself and my bag and proceeded to refuel on water and an energy bar. A few walkers passed us by and all were arriving from the Whin Rigg end of the ridge and apart from one couple none lingered and even by-passed the actual summit.

Chris wanted to cart on to Whin Rigg but after we had walked along the ridge for a few metres and its summit came into view in the distance his steps faltered and he came to a halt and with a rapid change of mind decided that he had done enough for one day. Well, it's not as though he hasn't been here before, albeit it was foggy with no available views but most of those can be seen today. I gave silent thanks as we turned around to return to Illgill Head summit.

ImageLooking back to the summit of Illgill Head

ImageChris and Sonny at the summit of Illgill Head

After the summit photo shoot we set off back along the northeast ridge from where at the 580 metre contour I took another few photo of the mountains around Wasdale…

ImageAnother view into Wasdale from Illgill Head

ImageYewbarrow - High Fell - Middle Fell

ImageClouds over the Scafells

ImageBurnmoor Tarn and Great How

before continuing down and then turning east to pick up the Old Corpse Road and retrace our outward journey, a return journey that suffered from a slight deviation as due to the rise in temperature - that in its turn gave rise to a raging thirst - we consulted Sonny and he quite rightly recommended a quick visit to Ritson's Bar where we could all cool down and once inside quickly convinced me that in spite of my tender demeanour just now, what I needed was flushing through with a pint or two of Wasdale Head Inn's finest ale before returning back to base for a shower and a doss before evening meal time comes around, again at Ritson's Bar.

The evening meal was a write off due to me not feeling up to it. We went back to Ritson's Bar where steak pie and a pint was ordered but unfortunately I was unable to face it so I left Chris and his faithful friend to eat alone whilst I wandered back to the farm where I was in my bed for 8:15pm.

Friday morning on our way home we had planned to walk the fells north of Crummock Water and Loweswater - Loweswater Fell, Low Fell plus Birkett's - but Chris also had had enough so we took our time and had a steady drive back to our home bases from where we shall no doubt plan our next outing in the fells when work and holidays permit.

Three great days walking despite the niggles of body malfunctions in what was decent weather that took many a walker into the fells this week with the line of people heading for Scafell Pike and other high fells endorsing that.
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trailmasher
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Re: A stroll to Ritson's Bar via Illgill Head.

Postby past my sell by date » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:33 pm

Nice - lovely bluebells at Brackenclose :D - shame about the fire :( . I traversed Illgill a while ago by taking the ratty and walking back to the Wasdale head - we had two cars - always makes things easier :lol:
Nearly 60 years ago I also walked round to the foot of the two gullies on the Screes and found about 10ft of hemp rope - maybe OG had been attached to it at one time who knows? but a mass of climbing history there
past my sell by date
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Re: A stroll to Ritson's Bar via Illgill Head.

Postby trailmasher » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:41 pm

past my sell by date wrote:Nice - lovely bluebells at Brackenclose :D - shame about the fire :( . I traversed Illgill a while ago by taking the ratty and walking back to the Wasdale head - we had two cars - always makes things easier :lol:
Nearly 60 years ago I also walked round to the foot of the two gullies on the Screes and found about 10ft of hemp rope - maybe OG had been attached to it at one time who knows? but a mass of climbing history there


Thanks for your comments p to d :) and yes it is sometimes a lot more practical to use two cars for sure :thumbup: I'd like to think that this post stirred up past memories of your walk in Wasdale when things would have been a lot quieter then than now 60 years later 8) That rope was quite a find and I wonder, do you still have it :?: as a memento of your day on the Wasdale Screes 8) Again, thanks for your comments and a little trip back in time :clap:
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trailmasher
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Re: A stroll to Ritson's Bar via Illgill Head.

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:59 am

Well done for still making the effort to get to a top, hopefully those tablets will be finished soon and you can return to normal service, so to speak.
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Re: A stroll to Ritson's Bar via Illgill Head.

Postby trailmasher » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:08 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Well done for still making the effort to get to a top, hopefully those tablets will be finished soon and you can return to normal service, so to speak.


Body now back to 'normal service' thanks very much Anthony :D and it was a bit of a tussle getting up to Whin Rigg top :roll:
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trailmasher
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Re: A stroll to Ritson's Bar via Illgill Head.

Postby past my sell by date » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:39 pm

trailmasher wrote:
past my sell by date wrote:Nice - lovely bluebells at Brackenclose :D - shame about the fire :( . I traversed Illgill a while ago by taking the ratty and walking back to the Wasdale head - we had two cars - always makes things easier :lol:
Nearly 60 years ago I also walked round to the foot of the two gullies on the Screes and found about 10ft of hemp rope - maybe OG had been attached to it at one time who knows? but a mass of climbing history there


Thanks for your comments p to d :) and yes it is sometimes a lot more practical to use two cars for sure :thumbup: I'd like to think that this post stirred up past memories of your walk in Wasdale when things would have been a lot quieter then than now 60 years later 8) That rope was quite a find and I wonder, do you still have it :?: as a memento of your day on the Wasdale Screes 8) Again, thanks for your comments and a little trip back in time :clap:


I'm afraid I left the rope where it was - in those days hawser laid ropes were the norm - though nylon :lol:
I know Wasdale all too well - the fact that it's a long journey to get there means it's far less crowded than the Eastern Lakes :D :D . From the late 70's to mid 90's I went to the Wasdale show every year - always 2nd Sat in October - I remember staggering out of the Wasdale Head, pitching a tent in the field opposite in total darkness and waking up with a sore head and all covered in mud :lol: :lol: :lol:
Then the beer tent - which blew down one year - stopped having barrels of ale, but cans instead :( :( - some f***ing EU regulation) and it went downhill from there - but great memories
past my sell by date
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Re: A stroll to Ritson's Bar via Illgill Head.

Postby trailmasher » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:08 pm

past my sell by date wrote:
trailmasher wrote:
past my sell by date wrote:Nice - lovely bluebells at Brackenclose :D - shame about the fire :( . I traversed Illgill a while ago by taking the ratty and walking back to the Wasdale head - we had two cars - always makes things easier :lol:
Nearly 60 years ago I also walked round to the foot of the two gullies on the Screes and found about 10ft of hemp rope - maybe OG had been attached to it at one time who knows? but a mass of climbing history there


Thanks for your comments p to d :) and yes it is sometimes a lot more practical to use two cars for sure :thumbup: I'd like to think that this post stirred up past memories of your walk in Wasdale when things would have been a lot quieter then than now 60 years later 8) That rope was quite a find and I wonder, do you still have it :?: as a memento of your day on the Wasdale Screes 8) Again, thanks for your comments and a little trip back in time :clap:


I'm afraid I left the rope where it was - in those days hawser laid ropes were the norm - though nylon :lol:
I know Wasdale all too well - the fact that it's a long journey to get there means it's far less crowded than the Eastern Lakes :D :D . From the late 70's to mid 90's I went to the Wasdale show every year - always 2nd Sat in October - I remember staggering out of the Wasdale Head, pitching a tent in the field opposite in total darkness and waking up with a sore head and all covered in mud :lol: :lol: :lol:
Then the beer tent - which blew down one year - stopped having barrels of ale, but cans instead :( :( - some f***ing EU regulation) and it went downhill from there - but great memories


A bit wild back in the day then and I bet you've flattened some grass in your time :lol: :lol: Thanks for the tales of daring do :clap: :clap:
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