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3 posts • Page 1 of 1
A short starter of two by three, for E.
by trailmasher » Sun Jun 21, 2020 4:26 pm
Wainwrights included on this walk: Raise, White Side
Hewitts included on this walk: Raise, White Side
Date walked: 01/06/2020
Time taken: 3.34
Distance: 9.84 km
Ascent: 771m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
The Covid-19 rules had been relaxed somewhat, now allowing up to six people to get together, albeit maintaining the 2 metre distance rule but this is not conducive to getting out with a group of walkers due to many practical reasons, using too many cars and trying to keep to the 2 metre rule being just two of them. However, once permission had been granted to do a bit more mingling E decided that she would like to embark on a ‘proper’ walk again as not like me who has been getting out and about a bit with Martin she had confined herself to short local walks along the River Eden and the nearby local lanes. So now was the time she thought that she would like to get ‘up there’ again and after having a chat and a look at past walks she decided that the one that she would like to do was a walk that we did with friends a good few years ago on a less than good weather day so with the sunny weather that we had been having at this time of deciding we set up the walk with Martin.
Two cars were to be used with E and I travelling together, Martin going solo with the 2 metre rule being applied when out of the cars as it has been whilst Martin and I have been walking together since rules allowed meeting up with other persons.
The day, as had been usual over the past few days, dawned bright and sunny with very few, if any, clouds to break up the blue of the sky as we travelled down to Legburthwaite where we parked on a patch of old road now car park that sits at the junction of the A591 and B5322, situated quite conveniently at the foot of Sticks Pass Grid Ref – NY31781 18951 – and is a section of the old road left behind after the new road was constructed. There are parking spaces at the village hall – a small fee required - just across the B5322 at the bottom of the lane but is, as most places are just now, closed for business.
There were no other cars parked as we arrived so we took advantage of the shade of the row of trees whilst we were away walking. The lane from the B5322 passes by a few houses and is shaded by trees in its lower reaches and once past these we were now on the tree lined path that passes through Stanah…
Unnamed crag below Watson's Dodd
and follows the course of Sty Beck first of all on its north side and then crossing the footbridge to the south from where the beck soon becomes Stanah Gill as it tumbles and cascades down the rocks after passing through a deep rocky gorge. From the footbridge the path steepens considerably and at this fairly early hour it was hot going under the heat of the sun in a near cloudless sky.
E seemed full of energy on this her first day out on the fells in almost 3 months and was near bounding up the steep path despite the heat and she soon left Martin and I behind but I know that she’ll run out of steam before the end of the day. That’s the trouble with young ‘uns today, they’re too tempestuous, always in a rush. Within a few minutes of climbing the views opened up considerably giving us a great view along the valley towards Skiddaw and Lonscale Fell.
High Rigg with Skiddaw behind
The deep rocky gulley was just below us guarded by a wire fence that prevented us from peering right into the gill itself although it would have been a dangerous undertaking to cross over the fence for a better view. At about the 300 metre contour the path begins to turn away from the gill and we decided to stop to take in the views, an excuse for a quick breather as the heat of the sun even at this early hour was taking its toll.
Taking a moment on the steep Sticks Pass
We also had a glimpse of Thirlmere fronting the line of the Central Fells.
Thirlmere now in view
As we progressed up the steep fellside the crags above Stanah Gill came into view before us with Raven Crag and others behind but it would be another 20 minutes of steady going with more talking than walking going on before we reached the old sheepfold at the 470 metre contour.
Crags above Stanah Gill
Raven Crag behind Great How with High Seat on the skyline
Sticks Pass goes over the far hump
It’s been years since I had last used this route to gain the ridge and I remember this sheepfold being just about down to the ground although the last time that I did come this way it had been rebuilt and still looks in remarkable condition. And it was here that we had our first break to replenish the fluids that we had lost on our way up to here. Of course during this break and others, as well as in between when walking we put the world to rights, sorted out all that was wrong, brought in new rules and laws, we were in fact talking like barrack room lawyers, taking on the role of the government with ease. But of course we’re in the real world not a perfect one, and all our home solutions are just the ramblings of what we would do to make it so, ramblings no doubt echoed by thousands of other likewise ordinary people throughout the world. It’s maybe best to leave such changes to those who think that they know better in this fast changing world.
A view west from the 470 metre contour
The full ridge of the Central Fells can be seen and although it’s a beautiful day the heat haze is softening the far distant views as we look beyond the Central Fells to the Western Fells. Down in the valley bottom the route of the new United Utilities pipeline is plain to see as it’s like a big pale coloured snake winding its way through the pastures.
From the sheepfold the going is a lot easier with sensible inclines from where we could see into the head of Stanah Gill as it branches out towards Watson’s Dodd and Stybarrow Dodd with the main feeder rising up to Stanahgill Head directly between the two Dodds.
Looking into Stanahgill Head with Watson's Dodd to the left
Having reached the 610 metre mark the views were wide open and outstanding and we could now see beyond Skiddaw to Bassenthwaite Lake and the high fells behind it.
Northwest from the 610 metre contour
And to the west once again.
A mountainous western skyline
Onwards we climbed following the well beaten path up and across the west ridge of Stybarrow Dodd...
And onwards we climbed to the top of the pass
to reach the wide stony track that is the last easy stretch before the top of Sticks Pass is reached.
The rocky top of Raise to the right
A few minutes after the last photo was taken we arrived at the top of the pass directly between Stybarrow Dodd and Raise with their paths looking like pale operation scars as they run up the fellside splitting the green and browns of the grass in two.
Stybarrow Dodd from the top of Sticks Pass
Raise from the top of Sticks Pass
Stybarrow Dodd is a vast dome of grass with a ridge running north that carries that grass all the way to the summit of Clough Head whilst Raise, although of a similar stature and for the most part grass covered is also crowned with a head of rock and sparse grass scattered with an abundance of small rocks and stones.
The higher northern slope of Raise
The walk to the summit of Raise is fairly long and easy and the summit cairn was soon reached where the regulation photos were duly taken.
The last time that I was here everything was white with snow and the cairn was covered in a thick coating of ice, what a contrast to today with blue skies and sweltering temperatures and this seemed an appropriate place to stop and linger whilst we fuelled up and enjoyed the views in every direction. Snow covered or sun bathed, it makes no difference, the landscape and views are vast, beautiful and crying out to be digitally recorded, taken home to be enjoyed and times remembered during those days when going out is just not an option. Life is good.
We saw only five other walkers all day, with two of those at a distance, and it just goes to show how Covid-19 has slowed down the tramp of boots over and around the countryside no matter what area one lives in.
Although the skies were clear the far distance was a tad hazy and just softening up the far skylines.
A Scafell Pike to Pillar skyline from Raise
The ridge to Brown Crag and Thirlmere
North towards Stybarrow Dodd-Blencathra and Skiddaw
Northwest from Raise
A Western and Central Fells view
After soaking up the views for quite some time we decided that we needed to move on so now began to make our way to the southwest and White Side with only 20 metres of height difference between the two. A fairly steep and dry slippery slope down was to be done before the roughly 36 metre climb to the next summit and as we passed over the top of Red Screes the fantastic views of Catstycam, Helvellyn, and Little Man, though not forgetting Swirral Edge as it splits Brown Cove from Red Tarn below the east side of Helvellyn came into view with a great view into the bowl of Brown Cove and the home of the disused dam. The path up the north ridge of Catstycam although not shown on the OS Map was plain to see from our path.
Catstycam - Helvellyn - Little Man
From the south slopes of White Side the path junction was like a great letter Y as our path met up with the one rising up Glenridding Common and across the top of Red Screes.
Pillar - Great Gable - the Scafells etc
Little Man ridge to Helvellyn
Fifteen minutes after leaving Raise we were at the summit of White Side.
Raise from Whiteside
Our way from the summit was to be down the northwest ridge in a more or less direct line down to Brown Crag with just one slight swerve where the path steepens over rough ground for a short distance. The way down is good with a few cairns at appropriate spots marking the path that in the higher reaches is difficult to see but nonetheless it is a good and safe, although long way down to the valley bottom and the Kings Head Hotel, when it’s open in better times than we are in just now.
Looking back to Whiteside from the northwest ridge
Raise from Whitesides northwest ridge
And over to the north.
Stybarrow Dodd - Watson's Dodd - Great Dodd
Looking forward we could see the Central Fells from Bleaberry Fell to High Tove and the lower north slopes of Ullscarf with a fair array of mountains lined up on the skyline.
Thirlmere and a western view
It’s a long drop off from the summit of White Side to Brown Crag and the heat of the day made it a worthwhile exercise to stop and linger as we had a short break on the summit of Brown Crag that gave us great views along both ends of the valley bottom.
The pastures below were a variety of greens with some of them decorated with perfectly set out lines of cut grass. Raven Crag and The Benn sits behind Great How with High Rigg pointing the way to St John’s in the Vale and the mighty Blencathra and Skiddaw respectively.
High Rigg with Skiddaw behind
A quick look back to the face of Brown Crag belies the true size and ruggedness of this 610 metre high Birkett.
The face of Brown Crag
From Brown Crag the path drops quite steeply in places and it was still a long way down until we regained the lower reaches of Sticks Pass again although the open views were more than adequate enough to take one’s mind off the ever increasing heat as we got ever more closed in the lower we got.
E was storming ahead as we reached the footbridge over Sticks Gill with the cold clear water looking ever so enticing as it tumbled down in numerous cascades to land in a large clear pool at the base of them.
Footbridge over Sticks Gill
Cascades on Sticks Gill
There wasn’t much further to go now as we followed the path along the 270 metre contour maintaining this height more or less all the way back until we joined up with Sticks Pass again. Just after leaving the footbridge we met this stony faced crone, an ogre guarding the valley below.
A stony faced look along the valley to Blencathra and Skiddaw
We finally met up with Sticks Pass again just above Stybeck Farm from where we just retraced our outward route back to the car.
Nearly back on Sticks Pass
It’s good to revisit past walks and this, the one that E chose, has been as good as ever, if not better in some ways as like others on WH it feels like you’re cheating, breaking the Covid rules, sneaking one in so to speak, but we weren’t, it just felt that way. A question that we get asked is “Don’t you get fed up with walking the same fells on a regular basis?” The reply is always the same, “No we don’t. Each visit to a familiar fell or mountain is different with the weather conditions, light etc.” And of course there are many miles of paths and tracks, thousands of hills, fells etc to go at so no need at all to get bored with the LD. Obviously the high fells are very quiet and I feel a selfish desire for it to remain that way without the hordes of summit baggers hogging the cairns and unnecessary yelling and shouting between themselves, and rubbish senselessly discarded on the fells is a pet hate of mine, empty plastic bottles, sandwich packaging, paper hankies, chocolate wrappers etc. They carried it up there so why not take it back with them, it’s lighter than when they set off.
There was no chance of going to the pub for a drink so we settled for a bottle or two at Martin’s spread out on the front drive letting the neighbours know that we were sticking to the rules of proximity.
by johnkaysleftleg » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:15 pm
Wonderful blue sky day to enjoy the delights of Lakeland. I can confirm from my visit to Troutbeck last weekend to bag a few of the local fells that numbers are returning to more normal levels, didn't detract from my return to the Lakes one bit however.
by trailmasher » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:49 pm
johnkaysleftleg wrote:Wonderful blue sky day to enjoy the delights of Lakeland. I can confirm from my visit to Troutbeck last weekend to bag a few of the local fells that numbers are returning to more normal levels, didn't detract from my return to the Lakes one bit however.
Thanks JK for your comments and I was out Thursday 25th June and it was absolutely bouncing around Stonethwaite. Many cars wrongly parked and police getting involved as we left at 3:30pm. From Black Moss Pot to Stonethwaite there must have been 200 people decorating the river banks
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