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Shattering the silence

Shattering the silence


Postby johnkaysleftleg » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:17 am

Wainwrights included on this walk: Eagle Crag, High Raise (Central Fells), Sergeant's Crag, Ullscarf

Hewitts included on this walk: High Raise (Central Fells), Ullscarf

Date walked: 05/02/2020

Time taken: 6.2

Distance: 14.8 km

Ascent: 958m

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Back when the mean wind speed wasn't around 45mph :roll: Hughie and I made our way to Stonethwaite in Borrowdale to close in on a second round of the Central Fells. Stonethwaite is a very charming place in a stunning location which really captures the essence of Lakeland. There was to be no glorious sunrise for this walk but I can hardly complain given my good fortune over the winter. It was quite a soft but atmospheric dawn as we made our way along the ever stony path towards the days first target.

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Soft morning light, hard stony path

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Looking behind along Borrowdale

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Eagle Crag

Part of me had hoped for a hard frost to freeze the bogs on the tops but also feared it as it might well hamper my planned route up Eagle Crag. Very little seemed frozen despite the temperature being close to zero so I assumed the little scrambles up this imposing looking fell would be fine. Once I made my way across the bridge and through a couple of fields the climb started in earnest. The gradient stops short of a turf clutching crawl but not by much and the heart was certainly pumping by the time we reached the fence which makes it's way up the nose of the fell before coming to an abrupt halt at the crags.

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Through the wall

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Looking down to Greenup Gill

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Reaching the skyline

Following (yet another) breather I made my way over the rather precarious feeling stile, especially given the very steep drop off behind you at this point, and found the broad gully that is the key to this ascent. The gully is fairly wet and would certainly be more difficult if icy but this morning it was nice and easy and a few short scrambles later we made it to the rocky terrace that takes you around to the right. I hadn't seen anybody else at this point and given the overcast and calm conditions the silence seemed quite profound.

That was until it wasn't.

A low rumble turned in a roar and then into deafening scream as the jets hurtled along Borowdale and up Langstrath. The noise as one banked at 90 degrees overhead, seemingly improbably close was terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure and for a few minutes we stood on the terraces in awe of this display of power and speed so at odds with the landscape we found ourselves in. As the last jet quickly made it's way over the horizon silence returned and I realised I hadn't even attempted to capture them with my camera.

Excitement over all was left was a few more short scrambles to reach the next terrace up and Eagle crags fine summit was attained. This must be one of the finest lower summits in the Lakes taking the form of an angled slab with fine views up two of the finest valleys in the district. We had breakfast enjoying the return of silence before the short walk to Sergeant's Crag.

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The start of the gully on the way up

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Along Langstrath from the terraces

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Sergeants's Crag

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Borrowdale from the summit of Eagle Crag

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Hughie on Eagle Crag

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Sergeant's Crag and Langstrath from Eagle Crag

Sergeant's Crag is another fine top but we didn't linger long before a short descent leads to a long pathless trudge upwards over largely easy ground towards the high point of the day. This route is probably steeper than it looks and is not the most exciting but getting my head down and ploughing onward was rewarded by attaining the fine Birkett top of Low White Stones. (Note: I had a bit of a GPS issue around this time hence the dead straight line on my trail) My rechargeable batteries are seemingly deteriorating and do not like the cold but a spare set got things working again.

Once here it seemed rude not to visit High Raise so off we trotted, passing the first other walkers of the day, over frozen ground to the fine high point of the fell. The wind chill was quite pronounced here but the summit shelter effective so we had lunch as I wondered just what delights Ullscarf would bring as it was probably going to be hit and miss from a frozen bog point of view.

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Looking back to Eagle Crag

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Sergeant's Crag

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Upper Langstrath from Sergeant's Crag

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Sergeant's and Eagle Crags from the trudge up High Raise

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The Start of the Low White Stones

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Summit of Low White Stones

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Hughie on Low White Stones

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High Raise

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Summit shelter, High Raise

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North from High Raise

We retraced our steps back to Low White Stones before continuing onward, vaguely along the line of the long gone fence, down to the coll and up towards Ullscarf summit. I must admit that I expected things to be far worse from a bog point of view, the ground was a best partially frozen and really quite wet but the worst was easily avoidable and we arrived at this most unremarkable of summits largely unmolested by boggage.

I had a decision to make here; either retrace my steps and return to Stonethwaite via Greenup Gill, or continue onward bagging a couple of Birketts :think:

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On the way back to Low White Stones

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Sun coming out on the way up Ullscarf

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Ullscarf Bogs

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Hughie on Ullscarf

As it was summit fever, :lol: and the sun coming out made my decision and I headed off into the partially unknown to bag the two tops of Coldbarrow Fell. High Saddle had some interesting rocks and a fine view of Blea Tarn but Low Saddle took the honours with a beautiful view of Watendlath and beyond. The going had been surprisingly good up to this point and we had a bit of a sit admiring the view in the lea of the cold wind.

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Green rocky Island on Ullscarf

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A confluence of fences

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Blea Tarn from Coldbarrow Fell

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High Saddle

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Across to Standing Crag

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Fine view from Low Saddle

Having committed to this route I now had about a mile of rough looking fellside before I could regain a recognised path. The route towards Dock Tarn, for it was there I was headed, was OK for the most part as I managed to find trods for about half of it but the final section wasn't the finest. This is the type of ground that looks largely flat and featureless on a map but is full of hummocks and mossy lumps in reality. This wouldn't be a great place in poor visibility but eventually I crested a small rise and saw Dock Tarn ahead.

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Breaking Light over Eagle Crag

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Rocky Tor on the way down

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A welcome sighting of Dock Tarn

From here it was a simple task of avoiding the worst wet patches before linking up with the path down Lingy End. I've been up and down this path a few times and I probably prefer up despite the steepness as I've never been a fan of picking my way down steep stone pitched paths which are generally slippy.

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Light along Langstrath - click for big version

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Classic view of Eagle Crag

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Steeply down Lingy End

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Wild Woodland creature

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A last look of Eagle Crag

This was a far better walk than I expected in all honesty, I wasn't looking forward to Ullscarf on round two but even in it's un-frozen state it really wasn't too bad. All in all a nice way to round up four more fells on my second round.


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johnkaysleftleg
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Re: Shattering the silence

Postby trailmasher » Fri Feb 28, 2020 4:06 pm

Oh! nice one Anthony, a lovely walk indeed with a great selection of pics describing the route and conditions :clap: I concur about the steepness of the Eagle Crag climb and the 'trudge' up to High Raise as it seems never ending at times :( and note that you picked off a few more Birkett's before the rough plod down to Dock Tarn. You must have quite a few under your belt by now :?: Well done on another good day out :clap:
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Re: Shattering the silence

Postby china88 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:21 pm

Lovely walk report together with beautiful photographs. Thank you for sharing
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Re: Shattering the silence

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:19 pm

I love that first photo - really atmospheric :clap: :clap: :clap:

Poor Hughie looked a bit windblown on top of Ullscarf!!

I recognise a little section of your walk from doing the C2C last June (leaving Borrowdale and then High Raise).

Looked like a really good route.
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Re: Shattering the silence

Postby Graeme D » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:00 pm

Seriously good photographs! Almost two years now since I trod Lakeland Fells - this really makes me want to get down there again! :clap:
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Re: Shattering the silence

Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:10 pm

Love this report, and there's so much movement in your photos. Somehow I couldn't hear your description of the jets over their deafening sound, and the roar was till ringing in my ears after they'd gone. HOWZAT for writing! :clap: :clap:
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Re: Shattering the silence

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sat Mar 14, 2020 5:23 pm

trailmasher wrote:Oh! nice one Anthony, a lovely walk indeed with a great selection of pics describing the route and conditions :clap: I concur about the steepness of the Eagle Crag climb and the 'trudge' up to High Raise as it seems never ending at times :( and note that you picked off a few more Birkett's before the rough plod down to Dock Tarn. You must have quite a few under your belt by now :?: Well done on another good day out :clap:


Thanks TM, Birketts are slowly building up (364) so who knows I may end up hiring somebody to drag me up Pillar rock some day. :shock:

china88 wrote:Lovely walk report together with beautiful photographs. Thank you for sharing


Many Thanks

Gordie12 wrote:I love that first photo - really atmospheric :clap: :clap: :clap:

Poor Hughie looked a bit windblown on top of Ullscarf!!

I recognise a little section of your walk from doing the C2C last June (leaving Borrowdale and then High Raise).

Looked like a really good route.


Many Thanks Gordie. The wind wasn't too bad but it certainly had a few teeth, this is a nice round with a good mix of terrain.

Graeme D wrote:Seriously good photographs! Almost two years now since I trod Lakeland Fells - this really makes me want to get down there again! :clap:


Many thanks, get your self back down here, still so much for you to explore!

EmmaKTunskeen wrote:Love this report, and there's so much movement in your photos. Somehow I couldn't hear your description of the jets over their deafening sound, and the roar was till ringing in my ears after they'd gone. HOWZAT for writing! :clap: :clap:


Thank you for your lovely comments. :D
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