Causey Pike to Grisedale Pike: a Coledale Round

Wainwrights: Causey Pike, Eel Crag, Grasmoor, Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Sail, Scar Crags, Whiteside
Hewitts: Causey Pike, Crag Hill (Eel Crag), Grasmoor, Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Sail, Scar Crags, Whiteside

Date walked: 13/09/2019

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 23.3km

Ascent: 1869m

The long-planned extended weekend with brother Frank in the Lake District had at last come around. The biggest issue proved to be getting accommodation - which we left until a bit late in the day, on the (false!) presumption that with kids back at school there would be less pressure on B&Bs and pubs! However, we managed after much searching to get a B&B in Crosthwaite for the Thursday and Friday nights (Skiddaw Grove Guesthouse) - which was really excellent.

In the run up to the event I'd worked out a number of possible routes, some of which I realised rather belatedly were a bit optimistic, given my continuing AF problem. But the route we went for on the first day certainly looked doable, and the start point was only a 5 minute car ride from our B&B. It would also have the benefit of closing some unfinished business from March 2018 that I had with Whiteside to Grisedale Pike!
( https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=78847 ).

It involved walking up the low-level track on the northwest side of the Coledale valley as far as Coledale Hause, then heading up to Hopegill Head, from where we could summit Whiteside and Grisedale Pike. In the event we extended the route somewhat, and this is the route we ended up taking.

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The weather forecast looked good, after the pretty daunting weather we had experienced driving up on the Thursday - not too much sun, but clear...

After a solid English breakfast we drove round the corner to Braithwaite, parked up, and were on our way by 09.00.

Image20190913_092017 (2) The view up Coledale was most encouraging.

Shortly after I took this pic, a couple of km up the track, we began to realise that, if we stuck to the original plan, it would be a very short day at the rate we were progressing.

Rapid change of plan: include the Causey Pike to Grasmoor ridge to give a complete ridge round. Fortunately, at the point at which we made this decision, we descried in the valley bottom a hanging fence panel crossing Coledale Beck, which solved what might have been a bit of a challenge.
Image20190913_094308 (2)

Image20190913_094324 (2) View up Coledale looking south west towards the head of the valley.

Although from a distance the ascent up to a formal path looked like it would be quite a bracken-bash, it turned out in fact to be not too bad at all: about 10 minutes of boggy climb (but not boggy enough for me to get my feet wet in spite of only wearing non-waterproof approach shoes), followed by a further 10 minutes in low-growing bracken.

Image20190913_1005122 (2). On hitting the ascent path, this was the view back towards Skiddaw/Blencathra. Not bad :D .

Image20190913_1102902(2) Making rapid progress along the broad path, this was the view as we hit the watershed. Outerside ahead, centre pic; and the path up the Rigg Beck valley (no name shown on the map) that we were heading for (about a third of the way in from the LHS, and half-way up the pic).

Image20190913_112154 (2) In no time at all, it seemed, we were on the top of Causey Pike. Once again the eyes were drawn to Skiddaw and Blencathra in the East... We took umpteen pics of this view...hard to resist :roll:

Image20190913_112259 (2) ... and this view is looking West from the summit along the ridge we were about to follow, Sail and Grasmoor showing in the background.

Image20190913_113030 (2) Dr Frank didn't want to hang around....(it must have been the Malky all-season gear he was wearing - ie shorts!!!)

Image20190913_114326 (2) Looking down from the ridge, the old Force Crag mine workings are clearly visible, and from the appearance of the separating building, it looks like it didn't stop working until the latter part of the 20th century.

Image20190913_114628 (2). Looking back East towards Causey Pike, it's clear what a fine ridge walk this is. :thumbup:

Image20190913_114927 (2). Whereas ahead we have the Sail snake motorway...
I was pretty appalled when I first saw this a couple of years ago, but the extent to which it's weathered, the sides now transitioning more irregularly into the grass, is pleasantly surprising. I wouldn't be too amazed if it looked quite reasonable in another 10 years or so.

Image20190913_121555. Looking back towards Causey Pike again, Blencathra in the distance just left of centre.

Image20190913_124008. It's a short hop to Crag Hill. Here Dr Frank was recording the view of Grasmoor for posterity - there was some (justified) concern that it might be clag-bound when we got there!

Image20190913_130340. As we walked towards it, the mist began slowly to close in...

Image20190913_131534. ...until by the time we arrived it was fully representative of that universally beloved view, the clag-bound summit.

Image20190913_132633. We were both peckish by now, and so paused for a bit of grub. Dr Frank is doing his bit for hill safety here, by adding some rocks to the shelter wall...

Then it was onwards to Hopegill Hause. The first part of the route we took ran almost parallel to the path we approached on, and with the cloud having lifted a tad...

Image20190913_133344. ...we had some excellent views of Crummock Water (which is why we'd stayed close to the approach path).

Image20190913_134042 (2). Looking down into Rannerdale to the East, just before we bore left to head directly to Hopegill Hause, Whiteless Pike showing centre pic.

Image20190913_134859 (2). I'm sure there was a path somewhere, but it was easy walking and we just headed across the grass. This is looking towards Hopegill Hause, with Grisedale Pike in the background.

Image20190913_134859 (2) labelled.

Image20190913_135415 (2).

Image20190913_135415 (2) labelled.

Image20190913_135608 (2). As we headed downhill, we were very struck by the steeply eroded mini-valleys on the south face of Whiteside. This pic also gives an excellent view of the ridge we were headed for.

Image20190913_141253. Fantastic view looking East to the Causey-Pike-to-Grasmoor ridge from Coledale Hause.

Then a (very slow!) ascent of Sand Hill and Hopegill Head, and then West along that superb ridge that leads to Whiteside.

Image20190913_151505. This is the view back East along the ridge, taken from Whiteside. What a place! What a day!

Image20190913_151550. And a panorama from the same spot - featuring on the RHS the wonderful (and amazingly, unnamed) cwm to the north east of Grasmoor.

Image20190913_151550. Labelled.

Image20190913_151703 (2). Looking south west towards the north face of Grasmoor that drops - as I discovered a couple of years ago - precipitously into Gasgale Gill.

Image20190913_151730. And wonderful views just South of West out towards Crummock Water.

Image20190913_152558 (2). Then - unfortunately - back the way we came towards Hopegill Head.

Image20190913_153400 (2). The geomorphology of the upper part of Gasgale Gill is pretty amazing: a perfect example of rapid water erosion. I wondered what made it suddenly accelerate and produce these features...

Image20190913_154844. Looking back West down into Gasgale Gill and along the ridge to Whiteside, taken shortly before summiting Hopegill Head.

Image20190913_160804. Looking East North East along the ridge to Grisedale Pike.

After a short breather, we headed on towards Grisedale Pike, which we reached in fairly short order on the wide ridge path.

Image20190913_162400 (3). Shortly before the summit, looking back West South West into the declining sun along the ridge towards Hopegill Head...

Image20190913_162713 (2). ...and so on to the summit itself. There really is a crazy amount of sun for mid-September - the hat isn't a fashion statement!

Image20190913_162914 (2). Dr Frank was in a hurry to get back, so off he went, me trailing in his wake. We'd seen some mountain bikers behind us and wondered how on earth they'd get down the steep boulder-strewn gravelly path without incident. But talking to them 10 minutes or so later when they passed us, it seems this is all part of the fun of mountain biking.

Image20190913_163741. Looking back up towards Hopegill Hause, with the settlement ponds of the old Force Crag mine clear in the late afternoon sun.

Image20190913_165513. View of the Causey Pike - Grasmoor ridge along which we started in the morning.

Image20190913_170243 (2). And we passed at high level the point where, in the morning, we had dropped off the low-level path and crossed the beck. The hanging fence we had used to avoid wet feet is just visible, almost exactly half-way up the picture, and just to the left of centre.

Shortly afterwards we were back in Braithwaite, where as a direct consequence of dehydration caused by the blazing sun in combination with our exertions, we were obliged to replenish liquid and minerals at an establishment of cultural, historical and architectural distinction...

Image3D view of route.

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Comments: 5

Tryfan with the grandkids and Maia

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Attachment(s) Hewitts: Tryfan
Date walked: 22/08/2019
Distance: 3km
Ascent: 671m
Views: 26

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Attachment(s) Corbetts: Sgurr a' Chaorachain
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Attachment(s) Date walked: 07/06/2019
Distance: 45.4km
Ascent: 1259m
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Attachment(s) Hewitts: Craig Cwm Silyn, Moel Hebog, Moel Lefn, Moel yr Ogof, Mynydd Drws-y-coed, Mynydd Tal-y-mignedd, Trum y Ddysgl
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Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Liath Mhor
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Attachment(s) Date walked: 06/04/2019
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Comments: 15
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Attachment(s) Munros: Moruisg
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Attachment(s) Date walked: 21/03/2019
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Ascent: 661m
Views: 87

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Attachment(s) Munros: Sgurr Mor (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)
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User avatar
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)
Activity: Scrambler
Pub: The Bell, Trysull
Mountain: Cuillin Ridge
Place: Glen Brittle
Gear: Compass
Member: None
Ideal day out: Heavy ridge walk with plenty of scrambling and height gain - eg Welsh 3000ers, Wastwater Circuit, Cuillin Ridge

Munros: 167
Corbetts: 29
Wainwrights: 78
Hewitts: 205

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