Wainwright bagging with the Duke.

Wainwrights: Birks, Dove Crag, Fairfield, Great Dodd, Hart Crag, High Hartsop Dodd, Little Hart Crag, Raise, St Sunday Crag, Stybarrow Dodd, Watson's Dodd
Hewitts: Dove Crag, Fairfield, Great Dodd, Hart Crag, Little Hart Crag, Raise, St Sunday Crag, Stybarrow Dodd

Date walked: 13/04/2018

Rudolph and I were helping to supervise DofE gold practice expeditions in the Lakes. We had a group each to look after, along with another two groups and as part of a team of six adults altogether.
Despite living in Yorkshire for all but seven years of my life, I have never done a lot of walking in the Lakes. Too busy, too many people, why get in the car when you can walk from home, and why drive to the Lakes when Scotland is so much better???? Don't answer that question!

Day 1, Great Dodd, Watson's Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd, Raise.
We all arrived by minibus, car and van at High Row at ten in the morning setting off in various directions. My group had decided that they wanted to hit the ridge and bag summits. It was a very foggy damp day, not really raining but you got wet anyway. But it wasn't windy.

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We set off in the direction of Great Dodd and soon discovered that the hills in the Lake District are quite a bit bigger than the North York Moors! It was very wet underfoot but route finding was easy as there was a nice clear line of squidge going straight uphill with heathery moor on either side. The general idea was that I should walk with the group initially and as time went on withdraw to remote supervision but actually the visibility was so poor that there was not much option but to stick together. It was excellent weather for practising navigation by pacing, timing and compass work.
Our first checkpoint was the little outcrop at Randerside where there is a cairn. There were some nice rocks to sit on here so we stopped for our first lunch. We discovered here the importance of putting extra layers on when you stop. From here it was not too far to the summit of Great Dodd. Sorry no picture at the top of here
The original plan was to go to Little Dodd and then double back and head south down the ridge towards Helvellyn, but the group decided wisely that there was a risk of getting lost in the mist with this idea, and it made sense to miss this little detour out. The next bit of navigation was interesting as there was no path straight off the top of Great Dodd the way we wanted to go, so we took a bearing and were pleased to find ourselves on the correct bit of ridge as we had hoped, with a downhill slope to left and right.
The group decided they were not in the mood for Wainwright Bagging, but I wasn't going to be up there and miss out a summit, especially since the climb to the top of Watson's Dodd is only 9 metres! So while the group wandered off along the path that missed out the summit, I took a brisk detour to the top of Watson's Dodd, arriving at the path junction between Watson's and Stybarrow out of breath and nicely warm, hoping I had reached the spot before the rest of the team as visibility at this point could not have been more than about ten metres.
top of Watson's Dodd. Lovely view of my right foot

I waited and waited... I heard two male voices speaking and thought that might be them coming but it was two lads on bikes. They reassured me that they had just passed a team of five people with enormous rucksacks so I waited some more. After about a day and a half (ok well about ten minutes) I heard voices coming along and about ten minutes later my team appeared out of the murk. They had found a patch of snow to play on.
We continued on past the top of Stybarrow Dodd where I took another detour of a mere 50 paces each way to reach the summit, and successfully navigated ourselves down the ridge towards Sticks Pass.
top of Stybarrow Dodd, this time a lovely view of my left foot

The original route plan had continued to the summit of Helvellyn and down Swirral Edge but we had been told on no account were we to go onto Helvellyn as there was still snow there and Swirral Edge was out of bounds. DofE is a summer expedition and we are not allowed to take the participants onto snow which is very sensible. The young folk had also realised that all those orange lines on the map with big packs were more like hard work than they had anticipated. They decided that they would head down hill from Sticks Pass towards their campsite at Gillside.
As we came downhill towards Sticks Pass we heard a strange animal noise and then some more but it quickly became apparent that this was not a rabid grouse but a large group of lads on another DofE expedition who were having a brew at Sticks Pass. We joined them for our second lunch and a chat. Unfortunately I left my trusty turboflame lighter behind so if anyone finds it I hope it still works for you!
At this point it was really time to let my team get a bit ahead so obviously the best way to do that was for me to take a wee detour up Raise. There was a band of snow about ten metres wide across the path but it was soft and easily negotiated. It gave them a head start of about three quarters of an hour.
top of Raise, nice view of my left hand!

Coming down hill into the valley of Sticks Gill and out of the mist was very pleasant. This is a lovely hanging valley the bottom part of which is heavily affected by old mine workings making a lunar landscape. I discovered my team sitting near a very strange tree having their third lunch.
strange landscape of old quarrying works

I followed them down the steep zigzag path into Glenridding where I was lucky enough to meet some of the other adults with a minibus, from whom I gratefully accepted a lift, but the young folk had to walk all the way to the campsite.
A lovely day was had by me but not really a very photogenic one

Day 2. Fairfield and a few others. a beautiful day.

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My group's plan was to walk up Grisedale to Hause Gap, up the back of Fairfield, across Hart Crag and down Dovedale to their second campsite at Sykeside. I was confident of their navigation so we agreed I would meet them on the top of Fairfield at 2.30pm to see how they were doing. My plan was to drop Rudolph off in Patterdale and park at the hotel car park, setting off up Birks and St Sunday Crag. Unfortunately the car park in Patterdale was full and after a great deal of faffing about I eventually ended up parking back at the campsite in Gillside and walking from there, not setting off till 10.45! This did not leave me all that much time to get up to Fairfield but I consoled myself with the fact that the group had set off later than they had planned.
Saturday was really a lovely day and a real treat! I enjoyed the walk across to Grisedale via Lanty's tarn, chatted to some sheep and lambs in Grisedale and set off up the steep side of Thornhow End, stopping for a snack of nuts just across the stile at 385153.
Grisedale and the cloud base lifting all the time

time to stop for a snack before going up here

I found the path that wound up through the steep rocky crag and up onto the spacious summit of Birks, which looks like most people miss out. It's a pity as it was a very pleasant bit of moor.
Catstye Cam sticking up with the path that heads towards Striding Edge.

Looking back to Patterdale

me on top of Birks looking a bit overheated

Keeping going up St Sunday Crag I stopped to say hello to lots of nice friendly people, and the little scramble of Cofa Pike was very pleasant indeed although I was really pushing myself by this time as it was already 2.30pm!
top of St Sunday Crag.

Fairfield on the left, Seat Sandal in the middle behind Grisedale Tarn, Dollywaggon pike on the right

The summit of Fairfield has many cairns and at least two shelter cairns, and I found my team sitting in one of these shelters, some of them admitting to feeling quite surprised that they had made it to the top! They were very polite and said they had not been there long.
Corvid on the top of Fairfield

After some chat the team set off towards Hart Crag and I settled down for a brew and a belated lunch. I was joined by a group of four and asked them if they had any idea which cairn was the actual summit. they replied they had been here several times and went to a different cairn each time!
Feeling rested I set off myself towards Hart Crag and met one of the other groups coming in the opposite direction. I caught up with my group at the head of Dovedale, well enough to give them a wave anyway.
top of Hart Crag

top of Dove Crag

I had decided that I would continue over Dove Crag, Little Hart Crag and High Hartsop Dodd, well why wouldn't I? I had run out of water by Hart Crag and was pleased to find a spring where I could fill up - this had been part of my cunning plan. Little Hart Crag was very nice. It looked from a distance like it was going to be a good climb but actually was very small.
Little Hart Crag

Lovely ridge

High Hartsop Dodd was just a cairn at the end of a lovely descending shoulder, from which I could make out my group coming down the track on the opposite side of Dovedale.
High Hartsop Dodd - the cairn just marks the point at which the descent becomes brutal!

It was neck and neck who was going to reach the campsite first, but the descent from High Hartsop Dodd was pretty brutal, and really slowed me down. They beat me to it by about a hundred metres in the end.
Lovely view in the evening sunshine towards Brothers Water

interesting reflections of sheep and trees in the puddles

we woz ere

After a quick debrief I abandoned the team and was picked up by the minibus to go back to the other campsite where the leaders were staying.
This was the first proper weekend out in the hills since last September and I was pretty tired and ready for a brew!!

Day 3. For me this was a gentler day. No Wainwright bagging for me today!

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Rudolph dropped me at Patterdale this morning where I walked to Crookabeck to wait for my group. It was of course nothing to do with there being a farm Wool Shop there, oh no. (It wasn't actually open anyway). I sat on a handily placed bench watching some tiny new black lambs with their mums and knitting a sock. CWH now a Vet student was doing her last day of her lambing placement today at home. After about an hour the team came past and they all looked happy and in good spirits. I gave them a bit of a head start by finishing the next couple of rounds on my sock and soon caught up with them at Patterdale. I managed to get ahead of them by going the higher path to the East of Silver Crag while they took the water side path. This was a lovely path along the shore of Ullswater and I met up with Rudolph coming the other way to meet me near Scalehow Wood.
interesting fungus on a rotting log

classic view from 404190 back towards Helvellyn

We stopped and waited at Sandwick and had a brew and lunch, soon being joined by the other leaders. This was the end of my walk for the day but the teams had a bit further to go.
We'll be back in July for the assessed expeditions and I am hoping to be a bit fitter by then!

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Comments: 2

Lonely Lovely Lammermuirs

Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Meikle Says Law, Spartleton
Date walked: 13/03/2018
Distance: 15.2km
Ascent: 574m
Comments: 3
Views: 282

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Attachment(s) Date walked: 05/11/2017
Distance: 6km
Ascent: 200m
Comments: 7
Views: 2017

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Attachment(s) Munros: Stob Coire Sgreamhach
Date walked: 26/09/2017
Distance: 11km
Ascent: 1168m
Comments: 11
Views: 715

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Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn a'Chochuill, Beinn Eunaich
Date walked: 24/09/2017
Distance: 15.7km
Ascent: 1360m
Comments: 2
Views: 320

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Attachment(s) Munros: Meall Greigh
Date walked: 23/09/2017
Distance: 12.7km
Ascent: 900m
Comments: 11
Views: 813

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Attachment(s) Munros: A' Chailleach (Monadhliath), Carn Dearg (Monadhliath), Carn Sgulain
Date walked: 13/09/2017
Distance: 26km
Ascent: 1100m
Comments: 7
Views: 521

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Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn a'Chaorainn (Glen Spean), Beinn Teallach, Carn Liath (Creag Meagaidh), Creag Meagaidh, Stob Poite Coire Ardair
Date walked: 12/09/2017
Distance: 28.9km
Ascent: 1869m
Comments: 11
Views: 650

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Attachment(s) Munros: Geal Charn (Monadhliath)
Date walked: 11/09/2017
Distance: 13km
Ascent: 658m
Views: 235

Mayar and Dreish with a high camp

Attachment(s) Munros: Driesh, Mayar
Date walked: 02/08/2017
Comments: 3
Views: 591


User avatar
Location: north yorkshire moors
Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: just gimme a cup of tea
Place: Everywhere
Gear: the Map
Ideal day out: waking up in a tent in the middle of nowhere and then doing 2 or 3 munros followed by a hot bath
Ambition: Lots more hills

Munros: 205
Corbetts: 10
Grahams: 3
Wainwrights: 36
Hewitts: 41
Sub 2000: 9

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Joined: Jul 18, 2011
Last visited: Apr 22, 2018
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