Completing the Wainwrights with odds and sods.

Wainwrights: Allen Crags, Base Brown, Caw Fell, Froswick, Green Gable, Haycock, Starling Dodd, Thornthwaite Crag
Hewitts: Allen Crags, Base Brown, Froswick, Green Gable, Haycock, Starling Dodd, Thornthwaite Crag

Date walked: 07/09/2023

I had booked a week each month this year to complete the Wainwrights, and this was to be four hills on the westernmost extremity of the lake District. However, extreme heat in June and extreme wet in July had left me with three others, so I tacked three more days onto the beginning of the week. I could have done with more and more rest days but other stuff made it impossible.

Sept 7th. Froswick

I got up early and had instant porridge in the hotel, as I thought this might be a long day, and drove to Hartsop. A farmer showed me where the track started and told me to go to the pail and just follow the track up to the screes. He’d heard of Thornthwaite Crag, but not Froswick, where I guess he never had occasion to go

I turned the corner and followed the Pasture Beck to the bealach


By the time the sun had struggled over the rim of the valley, cloud had appeared.
I turned left and hit the screes on Thorrnthwaite Crag. I hate scree

I sat and chatted for a while at the summit casing the route ahead, and a guy took my photo

ImageF9 by Margaret Squires, on Flickr

Another guy took my photo on the summit of Froswick. He seemed too young to be getting married in a few weeks time. He was holding out against a Scottish grandad who wanted him to wear a kilt. “So garish” I showed him a pure grey kilt worn by a piper in my phone, which he admitted was stylish, but doubted if he would be allowed to wear it. I didn’t know enough to reassure him, but suspect it was a generic lowland kilt worn by wedding pipers who had no clan of their own.

I returned the same way

Below, Pasture Beck

I drove round to Borrowdale with two nights booked there.

Sept 8th. Base Brown
I had picked up my Kindle charger by mistake so went on a wild goose chase in Keswick. Eventually two hotels in which I stayed loaned me cables that had been left behind. This meant that on the hottest day of the holiday I didn’t start until 11 a.m. I staggered up the waterfall path behind Seathwaite Farm making for Base Brown. I had come to do it in July, but looking up saw two parallel waterfalls, one where the path was, so had chickened out. It was mostly engineered stone staircase, but there were some huge boulders which I had difficulty surmounting and began to worry about getting back over.

Below, part of Base Brown on the left,

Below, waterfall

Below, I walked round to the back of Base Brown and began to climb again

Below, summit

As I was descending, I met two women and told them I didn’t fancy going back via the route of ascent. One had done it and said it was horrible. I asked about climbing Green Gable and dropping down via Windy Gap when one had a brainwave. Why didn’t I join them climbing Green Gable and dropping back to Honister where they had a car and would drive me back to Seathwaite. Brilliant.

Below, my saviours

I was beginning to feel a bit blurred by then myself, but anything was better than the horrible boulders

Sept 9th Allen Crags
I parked at Seathwaite Farm again. They haad just gathered the sheep and today were dipping.

I set out towards Stockley Bridge, which I crossed

And turned left

As it is a main route to Scafell Pike, as soon as the path started rising it was reinforced with stone slabs

Below. Looking backImage

At the bealach I turned left

Then left again for the short climb to the summit

A Scot took my photo, here he is

Below, views from the summit



Turning to descend, I saw Sprinkling Tarn, which I had really intended to visit, but was too tired.
Below, the path down

Below, a mini ravine

Below, a better photo of the bridge

As I reached the path home, I met three young lads setting out to climb Scafell Pike at 4 o’clock. They did not take kindly to my query as to whether they had head torches. I hate never knowing the end to stories like this. They had one small rucksack between them, so I don;t think they were camping. The sheep were all being driven back on the hill.

I transferred that evening to Calder Bridge

Sept 11th. Rest Day
I had always planned a rest day. Although I didn’t particularly enjoy the thunderstorms and torrential rain, I felt very smug at having planned to visit an unknown remote cousin. She showed me some family photos of where our lines merged, most of which I had seen, and I had a lovely day. I never thought that being energetic descended from my father’s side, but maybe it did, as her 7 year old grandson had just cycled 105 miles from his house to hers in York
https://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/23769160.7-year-old-cycles-105-miles-kendal-york/ I enjoyed seeing the photo of his dad having won the “Dog who looks most like his owner” contest. Dog was a border collie and it helped that they were both wearing sunglasses.

Sept. 12th. I still had not heard from the friend who had said he could possibly come and walk with me for the final hills. If he came, it would be for the 13th and 14th and today had been forecast to be raining on and off. I went to have a look at where the path from Wasdale up to Haycock starts, though I suspected we would be doing it from Ennerdale. A couple were just starting up it with camping packs. I knew there was reception here from putting up Weather Watcher pictures earlier,

I tried the forecast again. Much better than the previous night. Now it wasn’t expected to rain until the mid afternoon, so on the spur of the moment, I set off. I had to go carefully along the beginning of the track as it was very stony, and not in an organised way

Below, Waterfall

Below. I thought this would be an artistic shot of Haycock, but (a) it isn’t artistic (b) it isn’t Haycock which is round the corner.

Bracken turned

Turning the corner

Below, it was much easier walking here

Below, climbing

Below, more climbing

I eventually reached a marker cairn and a wall, which meant I had to turn left
ImageH10 by Margaret Squires, on Flickr

Below, into the clag

Cairn and grumpy selfie. Grumpy because I had just realised that the plan had been to be eating lunch in the pub, and I wasn’t sure there was anything left over from two days ago.

Lunch. A very old tangerine.


It had taken four hours to get up, and took another three hours down.

At the bottom I had a Whatsapp message from my friend saying he wouldn’t be able to join me. Secretly I had very much doubted if he would on a week day when he had just taken on an extra job. Last time he came, I had thought he would just drive up from London, but discovered he had taken a train to an Edinburgh aunt where he keeps his sleeping van, and then driven down to the Lakes, and repeated it backwards, which I consider above and beyond the calls of friendship. Moreover, I had insulted him. People kept asking me if I minded telling them how old I was, and eventually I cracked and said “Well, he’s 83 and I’m 47.” I was quite pleased not to have to think whether I would tell him I had already climbed Haycock, or pretend I hadn’t and drag myself up there all over again from Ennerdale.

Sept 12th Caw Fell

I drove over the Calder Bridge to Ennerdale Road looking for the path that Vuirich had said would take me, at length but with less climbing across the moor to Caw Fell, but wasn’t exactly sure which of three candidates to take. I had asked Chat gpt “How do I climb Caw Fell?” and got the very unsatisfactory answer “Research all the routes on the internet and choose one suitable for your abilities.” So when Bing had popped up with another form of AI, I had tried a more specific question “How should an 84 year woman climb Cawfell?” and got all sorts of warnings together with the route from Wasdale and the route from Ennerdale.

I parked in the Ennerdale car park, and set off along the side of the lake.

Crossed at the end
And found this notice

Actually, it had never occurred to me to wonder why a specific fence was, or was not here. I just assumed they wanted to keep something in (livestock?) or out (?wolves?)
Interesting that beavers may be here soon.

Below, another bridge

And below, the start of the path through the forest. It crossed another bridge, but the photo was too dark

Below, marker cairn

Below, Higher up. Although the track on the main map went towards Haycock, and what looked like a minro track towards Caw Fell, I couldn’t see anything branching off on my right, and was pleased to find the track I was on went directly to caw Fell.

Below, Summit cairn with Haycock behind. Here I was joined by an interesting guy whose job was to bench mark anything that was used by the NHS from sticking plasters to dialysis machines and make sure (with his team) that they were fit for purpose.

Below, looking west at the moor I had intended to cross

Below, looking back, sorry about the finger

Set 13th. A rest day. I went for a ride on the wee train from Ravensglass

Sept 14th Great Borne and Starling Dodd

I hadn’t planned for these two to be the last ones, it was just how things had turned out. I made for the Ennerdale car park again and was attempting to get a valid ticket out, as was a tall guy who had said it had worked last time he was there. I asked where he was going and he too was to climb these fells, and they would be his penultimate ones (Apologies Richard, I don’t remember the name of your last fell to be climbed in October). I told him I had hope to climb with a friend who wasn’t able to come, and it would be my final fell, so he suggested we join forces. What a gent. “I don;’t want you struggling to keep up, you go at your own pace, and I’ll match it.” A couple we met in the car park had been following my journey on face book “Aren’t you the old lady who is just about to finish?” They took our photo before we set off

The path back along the road and over the stile looked a bit rough.

It took us up a steep track which included a long stretch of steep rock down which water was oozing. I honestly think I would have turned back and tried another route another day had I not had company cheerfully chatting about University Challenge and our daughters. Below, the fox trap near the top

Below, looking back down

Below, a double selfie. I’m looking a bit sad, because I had hoped to be here with husband. He left me with 40 Wainwrights to do, so they are all in his memory.

Below, my Donald completion on Tarmangie Hill

We carried on an easy rise to Starling Dodd. My final Waimwright. Very appropriate, since this was the hill where Wainwright had done his final drawing of the Lakeland Fells

Richard on Starling Dodd

Below, views



Below, Red Pike from Starling Dodd

Below, Haycock and Caw Fell

We angled down towards the larger descent path from Red Pike

Eventually we hit the track and the Youth Hostel. Here Richard was shocked to hear, that not only had I forgotten my head torch, but I had not revealed I was an asthmatic until now, possibly lumbering him with an unforeseen emergency. I explained that I always took my medication, and so had never had an attack since it was diagnosed.

A large vehicle approached and two young farmers and their dogs gave us a lift back to the car-park. I only hope Richard doesn’t feel he has to go back and walk those hills again for completeness sake. I don’t.

Richard had asked if I would be emotional when I had completed. I looked back on my former completions, and didn’t think I would.

The Munro completion on Sgurr nan Eag had been dominated by the leg stretching difficulties on Sgurr Dubh Mor, so the feeling was of relief

The Corbett completion on Sgurr Innse had a Schrodiger’s Cat feel about it, as I wasn’t sure I would have completed until they had re measured Buidhe Beinn and decided if it was or was not the Corbett along the double headed ridge. We went the next day and climbed that, but R had been wiped out by it, so it wasn’t particularly joyful. Then I discovered much later that I had indeed completed on Buidhe Beinn, but always like to think I had finished on Sgurr Innse.

The Graham completion was minus R whose dodgy knee by then would not allow him up the rock scramble before the summit of Stac Pollaidh,so I had hired a guide to help me up it.

The Donald completion was very fraught, as we got to around the summit of Tarmangie hill and dived in the rucksack for the Garmin Etrex just to check we were on the right place, to find it wasn’t there, I had remembered using it on top of Whitelees hill, so it meant going back. Then we saw a woman we had stopped and chatted to on the way running back with it. “How did you know it was ours?” “I just thought ‘They’re old, they’ll have all the safety gear’ She was training for the Three Peaks which she was using to raise money for Doddy Weir’s Charity together with his sisters.

Then we had got as near completing the Marilyns on Uisinis as was poossible.(We couldn’t do the five St. Kilda sea stacks) . R by then was ill, and we felt tremendously worried about getting him back to the boat man who kept phoning us all the way down. We would give him co-ordinate “Ach, I can’t be bothered with them, have you reached the yellow rock yet?”

Finally they re-measured Beinn Dearg on Cape Wrath, so we almost completed on that as well. We got off the tourist bus to be told we must be back at 3 p.m. No way could we manage that as we had trouble getting back from the nearer Fashven in time. We turned round immediately and when I had got R over the burn and th barbed wire, I RAN, or as near possible towards the road, to find it was 3.50 p.m. and the driver was waiting as he could see no R. He had got a third group to go to the lighthouse, and we needn’t have bee back until 6 p.m. No elation, just anxiety, and then fury.

So did I feel elation at the Wainwrights? To a certain extent, but mostly just sadness that despite Richard’s kindness and humour, I was completing with the wrong bloke.

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Comments: 20

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User avatar
Location: Fife
Activity: Munro compleatist
Mountain: Last one climbed
Place: Home
Gear: Headtorch
Member: MCofS, NT, RHB
Camera: Panasonic Lumix TZ90
Ideal day out: A few new hills in (mostly) sunshine in (mostly) good company...and an eagle or two.
Ambition: Lifelong hill walking.

Munros: 282
Tops: 100
Corbetts: 222
Fionas: 219
Donalds: 89+52
Wainwrights: 214
Hewitts: 172
Sub 2000: 569
Islands: 58
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way   

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Trips: 7
Distance: 24.63 km
Ascent: 1040m
Sub2000s: 7
Hewitts: 17
Wainwrights 29


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Distance: 15.5 km
Hewitts: 9
Wainwrights 16


Trips: 3
Distance: 23.5 km
Ascent: 1175m
Fionas: 1
Donalds: 1
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Distance: 23.5 km
Ascent: 1175m
Sub2000s: 10


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Distance: 47.6 km
Ascent: 2500m
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Distance: 33.2 km
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Distance: 26.9 km
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Sub2000s: 7


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Trips: 2
Sub2000s: 6


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Ascent: 2370m
Fionas: 2
Sub2000s: 5


Trips: 1
Fionas: 1
Sub2000s: 1


Trips: 1
Fionas: 2


Trips: 7
Distance: 92.6 km
Ascent: 2893m
Corbetts: 6
Fionas: 4
Sub2000s: 2


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Distance: 20 km
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Corbetts: 8
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