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Ladyside Pike to Grasmoor from Hopebeck

11.16.14

Posted by paul  |  8 Comments »

I guess preparation was held back for this walk, when I say preparation I don’t mean the route although that did alter slightly, what I mean is the little things, like forgetting my breakfast & dare I say forgetting to take a last minute look at the forecast which can be put down to the three hours stood in traffic the previous evening which only saw me arrive home from work close to 9pm after leaving the house at 6:30am that morning which kind of knocked my little axis out.

I arrived home come 9pm & after the greeting of a lifetime from Holly I prepared for a little down time involving an evening meal followed by a couple of beers, Paula told me she had made my sandwiches’ for the walk only for me to say that I’d already bought the cast off’s from the local garage whilst  filling the car up a little over half an hour ago, I got lucky though…deep filled BLT for a quid – all of which might seem insignificant right now but it will all tie in towards the end of the walk so please, keep reading.

I went to bed early about 10.30 after myself & Holly had polished off the sandwiches Paula had made me, between now & my 5.30am alarm clock would pass literally within a blink of an eye.

In my semi awake mode I ran through the check list in my head, all that was left was to throw the gear into the back of my car not forgetting my all important travel cup of coffee (I think I would move heaven & earth if it meant I left the house without my morning cup of coffee!) So there I was waiting to leave the house with my hands & shoulders full of gear as I walked to the front door Holly bounced in front of it as if to say hey, you ain’t going nowhere before you’ve took me for our routine (before you head up the lakes you have to take me out for a walk) dogs just don’t forget do they.

I looked at my watch & thought okay Holly, I have spare quick ten minutes, I’ll take you out, down goes the gear out comes the dog lead; I’m guessing this was the point I forgot to eat breakfast which I’m putting down to a combination of rushing & the fact that I polished off two meals only seven hours ago.

It’s fair to say I’m an organised person especially when it comes to preparation which somehow had been thrown out the window this morning, I’m hoping the two hour drive to Whinlatter will help to calm things a little.

This is Grasmoor from Hope Beck.

 

ASCENT: 4,288 Feet 1,307 Meters

WAINWRIGHTS: 4, Hopegill Head – Grisedale Pike – Grasmoor – Whiteside

SUMMITS VISITED: 6, Hopegill Head – Grisedale Pike – Grasmoor – Sand Hill – Hopegill Head – Whiteside

WEATHER: Overcast To Start With Low Cloud Across The Tops, Feeling Cold. Highs Of 10°C Lows Of 8°C Feels

PARKING: Roadside Parking, Hope Beck Lorton Vale

AREA: North Western

MILES: 10.6

WALKING WITH: On My Own

ORDNANCE SURVEY: OL4

TIME TAKEN: 6 Hours 10 Minutes

ROUTE: Hopebeck – Ladyside Pike North Ridge – Ladyside Pike – Hopegill Head – Grisedale Pike – Coledale Hause – Grasmoor – Coledale Hause – Hopegill Head – Sand Hill – Whiteside – Hopebeck

Wainwright Guide Book Six

Book 6

North Western Fells

 

-Hopegill Head

A high mountain ridge leaps high like a rainbow from the woods and fields of Brackenthwaite and acres through the sky for five miles to the east, where the descending curve comes down to the village of Braithwaite. This ridge has three main summits, of which the central one (and the finest, but not the highest) is known locally as Hobcarton Pike and to the mapmakers as Hopegill Head. The supporting fell stretches far to the north, having roots in Whinlatter and the Vale of Lorton, whence the heathery flanks of Swinside rise to form the main ridge to the top peak, passing over the subsidiary Ladyside Pike (formerly Lady’s Seat)

Alfred Wainwright

Map 1Map 2Map 3

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Car parking spaces close to High Swinside Farm, Whinlatter 08:05am 8°C

I was a little behind schedule by the time I turned off the Whinlatter Pass due to a quick rest break at the Whinlatter Visitor Centre, not having been here before I hadn’t realised that the narrow lane was blocked off by two metal gates designed to keep the sheep in & any unwanted visitors out which also set me back, once High Swinside Farm had been passed I soon found the car parking spaces close to the second gate, which I didn’t have to pass through.

Ahead & beyond High Swinside lay the Whinlatter Fells here looking towards the mass of Greystones subsidiary summit of Kirk Fell.

The morning air is light with not a breath of wind down here at valley level, so much so I even wonder about throwing my jacket on which I did in the end. With the car locked I retrace my way back towards High Swinside Farm while on the look out for a break between the bracken & a path that will lead me onto Ladyside Pike north ridge.

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That’s Dodd (Whinlatter) in the foreground with the Whiteside ridge in the distance.

All of which are included into todays itinerary, but, before all that I need to find this path. Before long I start to pass High Swinside Farm, everything looks sleepy but looks could be deceiving, a track allows access to the farm to my left it was here besides a hollowed out bank to my right did I spot a path heading directly up the fell side.

I was about to give my legs & lungs the shock of their lives.

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The Loweswater Fells over Lorton Vale from my steep ascent with Low Fell & Fellbarrow to the right & Mellbreak to the left.

My track; wide at first followed a direct route up towards the ridge, at times the path would disappear beneath the heather where I would then have to pick my own route while at the same time trying to avoid the retreating bracken that snagged at my boots.

Thereafter I would pick the path back up while at the same time catching my breath in what seemed after only short distances, I had already passed what I would describe as piles of stones which could have been route markers I wasn’t quite sure, what I was sure of was that I was suffering & a mental adjustment had to be made to keep focused & stop these silly unscheduled rest stops.

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Looking down the fell side as it falls away steeply over High Swinside Farm.

I soon found a common denominator in the form of sheep tracks that lay horizontal across the fell side, these tracks were roughly spread out about 50ft about in terms of ascent. For anyone who’s done a bit of running & used the term ‘Till the next lamppost’ this was how I would use the sheep tracks which worked out really well – once I had gained them I would walk them for roughly twenty feet before heading back up the fell side until I reached the top of the ridge.

I can’t ever remember struggling so much so early into a walk, what doesn’t help is the fact at times my car, & High Swinside never seemed to getting any further away, this was the point I stopped looking back until I saw this beautiful sunlit cloud formation behind me…

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I named it, The Anvil.

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Ladyside Pike north ridge with Hopegill Head summit under cloud.

Once the ridge had been gained I knew all the hard work would quickly be forgotten which was exactly what happened once I the fantastic ridge walk ahead of me. Ladyside Pike was clear even in the now fading light but Hopegill Head battled with the low cloud which seemed to form as a barrier behind the Whiteside ridge.

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Ladyside Pike beckons.

My map told me to follow the path left of the wall which I had the opportunity to do while passing a break in the wall further back, I did consider it as two prominent paths lead up towards the summit, but in the end I decided to go against the flow & stick with my singular track, more options arose to cross the stone wall a further up the ridge too.

Although that steep ascent had long been forgotten I was now at the mercy of a biting wind that blew in from the summit directly at me, it’s quite difficult to describe just how good it feels when you can’t feel your face or the time you start to lose the feeling in the hands, it was all very nostalgic & is part & parcel of fell walking in the cold months of Autumn & indeed winter, my nose streamed like a tap as did my eyes but I put up with it until I reached the summit of Hopegill Head, but all that is in a little while, this truly is one fantastic ridge.

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The views back along the ridge were just stunning.

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My only problem was…

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Which one did I like the best.

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Hopegill Head beyond the pinnacle.

Shafts of light paraded over Hobcarton Valley sometimes exposing Grisedale Pike through gaps in the the cloud which took away summit time while at Ladyside Pike.

Ahead lay the spectacular slabs of almost vertical rock that form Hopegill Head summit northern aspect, the rock slab here bears resemblance to immense forced pressures leaving the naked rock feeling bare & must be treated with respect in all weathers.

During the slight descent from Ladyside Pike I experienced just how slippy this rock can be as I took a slight tumble before righting myself over a hilt of rock, looking back I saw what caused my slip, it was nothing more that a narrow length of wet rock that my walking boots could do nothing about, on any other day my boots would have coped well under such rock, but not here, this rock is as old as its neighbour, Skiddaw itself.

In the back of my mind this is where my walk route would change but all that will be revealed a little later on, so for now I enjoy my views as they came & went in anticipation of the climb ahead.

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Whiteside seen with the Dodd ridge towering over the Hopegill Valley.

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Minutes later, the cloud rolled back in limiting views along the Whiteside Ridge.

Which view was a great memory I took away from the whole walk.

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The rock slabs beneath Hopegill Head summit.

I didn’t think I needed another test on how slippery the wet rock was here today but I got one anyway as I intentionally let my boot slide over another hilt of rock, my boot slid with precision as if I was sliding it over ice which quickly made up my mind to find the alternative path around which heads away across the right of the rock slab.

I was soon picking my alternative way up towards the summit using the slate path that lead over rock spurs, after more tests I wasn’t going to take my chances so I eyed my route by using the grassy outcrops as they provided a much firmer grip than the wet rock, after negotiating these outcrops I soon found myself at the summit which howled a biting wind.

It was here I downed pack just short of the summit cairn in a sheltered position where I adapted my hat & gloves while all around me the cloud was being pushed high above my head only every now & again it would reveal a darker kind of light through gaps in the cloud.

Hopegill Head fell away to my left flank as I took the path that divided it between Grisedale Pike & Sand Hill where I got the briefest of views.

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Crossing the col over the Hobcarton Valley towards Grisedale Pike.

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Grisedale Pike summit.

I continued with my ascent on Grisedale Pike through thick & sometimes fleeting cloud which never revealed anything more than forty feet ahead of me. Now the wind was hitting me side on which was a lighter alternative than full on which I had experienced while over on my Ladyside Pike ascent.

It was while on this ascent I passed my first two walkers, a fellow with his wife who had battened down their hatches so I could just see a slit through their peaks only revealing their eyes.

Morning!

At the summit I was met by three friends who had a dog with them who posed for photos before making their own way off towards Hopegill Head.

This then was followed by two more groups of three, the first of which were three lads possibly in their thirties closely followed by the second group who looked to be in their retirements but enjoying the fells in full conversation non the less.

Me, I ducked down beneath the summit to retrieve a Marathon bar, or to anyone under the age of thirty, a Snickers Bar.

I bought it to eat after my sandwiches but seeing as I had forgotten my breakfast I needed something inside me & quick. I soon left the summit with the left side of my face bearing the brunt from the wind – I was in my element as I soon caught the groups up only to take the left shortcut down to Coledale Hause, their voices becoming fainter & fainter until it was just me, the wind and my Marathon Bar.

Heaven.

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Coledale Hause.

The wind at times had an element of rain it carried along by the gust, I of course already knew that my would be plans of a direct ascent on Eel Crag (Crag Hill) was surely out of the window given my lack of views & the slippery conditions, the fact that I couldn’t see Eel Crag let alone Grasmoor nailed my Eel Crag ascent, at this point I wondered across the Hause thinking one of two things.

Eel Crag (Crag Hill) or Grasmoor?

An ascent on Eel Crag (Crag Hill) would now effectively have to be done via the main summit path found about half a mile ahead thus making my ascent & descent by the same way, however if I choose to make an ascent on Grasmoor via the north east ridge I might be able to retrieve more highlights from the walk as it is a route I hadn’t used previously before.

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Grasmoor north east ridge.

After crossing Coledale Hause my mind had been made up to make an ascent on Grasmoor via the north east ridge which can be found after a short haul from the Hause just above a series of waterfalls.

I had soon crossed the beck which was in full spate, the sound from the waterfalls growing distant as I made my ascent, down below I heard a loud dog whistle then the sound of a dogs name which I couldn’t make out, all I knew was it seemed the dog had ran off, I remember thinking I hope it had returned to its owners after recent Lakeland events.

The climb was superb offering short zig zags over steep ground before arriving at the vast summit shoulder of Grasmoor, it was here I had momentary views back over Gasgale Gill, Whiteside & even Grasmoor’s Dove Crag arête.

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Following the ridge towards Grasmoor summit.

I followed the line of the ridge yet although my views were hampered by the cloud it was still nice to hug the rim of the ridge whilst trying not to be blown over it. After more height gained I couldn’t follow the rim any longer & made straight for the summit itself where it seems…

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The cloud was about to clear.

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Grasmoor summit shelter.

I arrived shortly after this chap seen in the photo who oddly enough made a point of walking around the summit shelter before heading back the way he came, as we crossed paths we passed on our good mornings.

The summit shelter was occupied by a couple eating lunch, maybe this was the reason the guy did full circle I don’t know…

The summit shelter is made up into two smaller shelters so I took residence & sat out of the wind for a while before spotting a break in the cloud & taking this next photo.

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Here, over looking Crummock Water seen with Mellbreak, Starling Dodd & Great Borne in the distance, in the left of the photo is Red Pike (Buttermere) who’s summit is under cloud, meanwhile down below is Rannerdale Knotts.

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‘Your the first person who hasn’t ignored me’

I seemed to dip back in the cloud during my descent from Grasmoor summit, I was heading for the crossroads linking Grasmoor, Eel Crag with Wandope.

It was here I would pass more groups of people all heading for the summit, some of whom didn’t even lift there heads to acknowledge me, I’m pretty thick skinned when it comes to stuff like that & these days I try not to let it bother me.

I soon passed this fellow with a fleeting ‘morning’ who replied with ‘your the first person who hasn’t ignored me!’ I wasn’t that surprised & told him of my own encounters.

All that was quickly forgotten as I studied the gent during conversation, it was obvious we shared a passion for fell walking & walking in all weathers, I later found out that his name was Roger & he owned Foulsyke Cottage which is found directly below Low Fell.

We spoke about our routes & as it turned out Roger had set off from Hopebeck too, only to use the path all the way around to Whin Ben & Whiteside, considering he was well into retirement age his route was arduous & I only had admiration for him, ‘ you’ve got to while you still can’ Roger went on to say, one day you wont be able too & that’s when you’ll have the regrets.

No truer word I thought…

What’s your route back Roger asked? I told him I would descend Grasmoor before making my way back over Sand Hill & Hopegill Head, then onto Whiteside I explained. Roger then held out his hand while at the same time cupping my elbow.

Roger smiled & replied, stay safe Paul, it’s slippery.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen total camaraderie from a total stranger like that in all my time on the fells, what a truly nice fellow.

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Back at Coledale Hause.

I soon found myself back at Coledale Hause where a desolate calm had taken over, the wind had tapered to almost nothing & with the crowds now behind me making their ascents on Eel Crag (Crag Hill) & Grasmoor I seemed to have the whole place to myself, well for now anyway.

I crossed the Hause only to have my attention diverted from a group of walkers who had come up from Gasgale, the voices didn’t last long as I started to make an ascent on the lower reaches of Sand Hill.

I’ve descended Sand Hill many many times as The Coledale Horseshoe ranks high amongst my favourites, what I hadn’t realised is just how steep it is going the other way! My legs tell me to pause as my walking poles waver by my side, a sure indication that I’m getting tired.

Through the cloud a large group appears, two kids are skidding down the slopes not much older than ten years of age, I get an all-reet from one of them to which I reply ah lad. Behind the parents follow mixed within a larger group, pleasantries are passed with exceptions of one guy who clocked my camera round my neck ‘yer not gonna get much use of that’ in a rather sarcastic way.

I choose to ignore him with a vacant stare, I say vacant I think my eyebrows crossed in the middle.

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My second visit to Hopegill Head summit.

My calf’s ached as I crossed the smooth grassy plateau of Sand Hill followed by the short haul towards Hopegill Head summit.

Through the cloud I could hear voices & was met at the summit by a fellow sporting a beard & two young woman sheltering close by, with pleasantries passed once more I top out on Hopegill Head for the second time today.

The wind had picked up again only not as strong as it was this morning, with this I turn my tail west & head for the Whiteside Ridge all the while mentally preparing for a slippery descent.

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The mini arête found along the ridge just beneath Hopegill Head summit.

Once I had tested the rock I found that it wasn’t as slippery as first anticipated which paved the way for a heart thumping eerie descent where I would link up with the main ridge.

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The ridge to nowhere.

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Whiteside Summit appears through the cloud.

It was with a little sadness that I had to cross the Whiteside ridge without seeing what was ahead of me as this particular ridge ranks high amongst the best in Lakeland.

I couldn’t do nothing about my conditions so rather than work against them I worked with them & enjoyed the peace & quiet of my eerie ridge crossing in almost perfect silence.

Somewhere along the ridge I would have crossed the start of my descent route down the Dodd ridge, this was checked against my GPS which told me I had to back track along the ridge around three hundred meters before arriving at a small cairn where I found a narrow grassy path that lead away through the mist.

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Descending the Dodd ridge shortly after leaving the Whiteside ridge.

The Dodd ridge starts as a grassy plateau before quickly falling away rather steeply via a narrow path, my views had now started to open up with the more height I descended. Below the ridge Dodd summit had been in today’s plans but as time is now against me I will have to return another day, perhaps when the weather is more clearer.

Before Dodd is reached the ridge descends steeply into narrow col lined with slate & stone, before I reached the bottom of the col I took a steep slide in the mud but managed to hold it without toppling over only to look back at the section I had just skidded through feeling mighty proud that I managed to stay upright.

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Hope Gill with Ladyside Pike & Hopegill Head still lost in cloud.

After reluctantly missing out on Dodd I headed down into the frequently less visited valley of Hope Gill where I pass an old ruined sheep fold before making my way through more colourful retreating bracken to where Hope Beck flows through the centre of the valley.

By now the afternoon was turning quite pleasant as I glanced back towards a long distant view of the Whiteside ridge It was there I spotted a walker heading towards Hopegill Head blissfully unaware that up until an hour ago they wouldn’t have seen thirty foot in front of them, I paused while at the same time I think my heart just sank a little.

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Hope Beck.

I picked myself up & dusted myself down before making my way to a clearing where I would hope to cross Hope Beck, down stream looked better but this was such a nice spot I decided to take it in a while sitting down beside the bank.

I was in danger of becoming mesmerised by the flow of the water, sitting there just watching & taking the peacefulness of the valley in. By now it was almost 2pm & besides my Marathon Bar earlier I still hadn’t had anything proper to eat.

Once more I reluctantly left the scene deciding to eat my sandwiches back at the car while enjoying a hot cup of coffee that I had stored away in a flask in the boot of the my car.

I crossed Hope Beck with a stride through the water allowing it to rise to almost angle level before stretching to the opposite bank.

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It was then a matter of following the stone wall a few hundred yards back to where I had left my car that morning.

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Bobs getaway.

I soon arrived back at the car where I de-shouldered pack & started to pack my things away, it was only after my gear was back in the car would I start on lunch.

I unscrewed my flask leaving the cars boot open I strode away to a dry spot where I sat down to a small mug of coffee, over the space of five minutes I heard the sound of a Quad Bike getting nearer & nearer before long it had reached the gate beside the car park ‘stay there I’ll open the gate’ I said to the old woman riding the Quad Bike.

She smiled & seemed pleased she didn’t have to get off the Quad, her dog also who didn’t budge until I had opened the gate & let them through. The old woman was a local farmer & was just checking if the top gate hadn’t been left open & to give Bob, her farm dog a run out. We soon struck up conversation mainly about the weather as she went onto explain that her washing had nearly took off this morning in that wind, she had been more worried however about how dry it had been of late & how thankful she was to see some rain at last.

Meanwhile Bob had sheepily snook off peering towards the back of my car, I paid this no attention as we carried on our conversation, it was only then did I realise that my sandwich packet was now on the ground behind my car, Bob must have jumped into the boot & eaten them!

I just didn’t have the heart to tell him off & kept what I had seen to myself, what’s he doing behind your car the woman laughs while at the same time spotting the red sandwich packet on the ground behind my car.

Bob come here!

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We need to check that top gate hasn’t been left open.

You just couldn’t make it up could you.

Aira Force, Gowbarrow Fell & Little Mell Fell

11.08.14

Posted by paul  |  12 Comments »

I’m sure David would agree if I said we were both rather saddened at having to shelve our original walk today due to the bad weather which required a blue sky day & plenty of daylight hours. We both had been keeping an eye on the weather with a hint of hope but as todays walk suggests our hopes had been dashed.

Then came Friday evening during a phone call on where to walk or if to walk at all looking just how wet the day looked. David then suggested a walk from Parkgate Farm to visit Aira Force waterfalls fittingly after a period of wet weather the district had experienced this week which seemed a belting idea, from Aira Force we then could add onto the route depending on the weather, it turned out we managed to stay dry right until the latter stages of the walk which was a mile away from what the forecast had predicted.

 

ASCENT: 1,942 Feet 592 Meters

WAINWRIGHTS: 2, Gowbarrow Fell – Little Mell Fell

SUMMITS VISITED: 3, Gowbarrow Fell – Great Meldrum – Little Mell Fell

WEATHER: Overcast With Showers, Fresh Across The Summits, Highs Of 10°C Lows Of 9°C Feels

PARKING: Car park, Aira Force, Parkgate Farm

AREA: Eastern

MILES: 8.8

WALKING WITH: David Hall

ORDNANCE SURVEY: OL5

TIME TAKEN: 5 Hours 40 Minutes

ROUTE: Park Brow – High force – Aira Force – Gowbarrow Fell – Great Meldrum – The Hause – Little Mell Fell – Swinburn’s Park – Shooting Lodge – Gowbarrow Park – Aira Force – High Force – Park Brow

Wainwright Guide Book One

Book 1

The Eastern Fells

 

-Gowbarrow Fell

The delightful lower slopes here are beautifully wooded, but low crags and bracken in abundance make them rather difficult of access except where they are traversed by the many pleasant green paths which add so much to Gowbarrow’s charm.

Alfred Wainwright

Map 1Map 2

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Sunrise, Parkgate 08:00am 9°C

David was already parked up by the time I arrived at the large car park found at the top of Park Brow. We were first to arrive at the car park which meant parking was easy as I reversed my car up besides David’s. We greeted with a handshake & of course commented on how we both expected to be kitting up under a barrage of heavy rain.

Low cloud blanketed views over towards Hart Side which then stretched beyond Patterdale towards the Kirkstone Fells, views, or lack of them were pretty grim to say the least. Looking north east we had hints of blue skies which at least showed a little promise.

After kitting up in full waterproof gear we locked the cars before heading through the wooden gate found at the corner of the car park, it’s fair to say we could definitely hear the sound of the waterfalls well before actually seeing them.

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Aira Force upper falls.

Our path lead us directly besides Aira Beck where we was met by a thundering roar from the many waterfalls that cascade towards Aira Force itself, it most certainly took a little time for the ears to adjust as we followed the path down towards the upper bridge & viewing platform.

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Arriving at the upper Bridge.

Before long we had arrived at the upper bridge, the roar from the waterfalls had changed to what can only be described as a boom that was difficult to talk over. We stood on the bridge just gazing down watching the water crash all the way down to the pool below. I stood with my camera pointing down towards the falls when I realised one of two things, I seem to be top heavy peering down over the packhorse bridge & two; what if I dropped the camera, needless to say I quickly retreated.

We could have crossed the bridge & gone ahead with our journey towards Gowbarrow but we decided to take the short trip to the lower viewing point by means of going up & over the other side rather than straight down, it was only a little excursion & the views of Aira Force where equally impressive.

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Looking down on the lower bridge from the upper Bridge.

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Here’s  a close up of taken from the upper Bridge looking directly onto the falls, the sound of which was deafening.

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The Memorial Plaque found on the upper Bridge.

It reads: This Bridge Was Built By friends In Memory Of Steven Edward Spring Rice CB

He Would Have Liked His Brother Gerald Who After 14 Years After Him Also Gave His Life For His Country, To Be Commemorated On This Spot

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Aira Force from the upper level path.

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And from the lower bridge.

The sound was amazing, trying to have a conversation down here was simply impossible. We were lucky enough to still have the place to ourselves whilst at the same time being covered in a fine mist, it was here David told me whilst back in 2009 himself & Jennifer had seen a dead cow back at High Force which feeds down towards Aira Force, David went onto explain that the water & the sound here today wasn’t a touch on how bad it was after the floods which saw the path we had just walked on almost get washed away. I mean what must a Cow weight to get washed away? as best to my knowledge a full grown Cow can weight upto 1 Ton.

Amazing, but sadly not for the cow.

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Evidence of Landslip found in the lower falls.

David went onto explain that a Landslip had occurred here below a section of path that we had just travelled down just over two years ago causing this tree to come crashing down into the lower section of the falls, I guess it isn’t doing any harm but we did wonder just how long it would take mother nature & the force from the water to take care of it.

Time to move on.

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The area around Aira Force is getting ready for winter as only a few trees remain with the plumage on.

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Gowbarrow Fell seen shortly after leaving High Force behind.

We had soon left the falls behind & could now hear ourselves talk again. Our path underfoot is wet as water from the fellside pours over it as we make our way towards the stone wall from where we would take on the short ascent towards the summit.

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Limited views over towards Birkett Fell & Dowthwaitehead.

Clough Head can be seen enjoying a cloud free moment seen over on the right.

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Gowbarrow Fell summit seen with a section of our return journey through Swinburn’s Park; that’s the tree covered bit over on the right.

We were soon at the summit whilst at the same time enjoying a rain free morning although spits of rain were most definitely in the air, but for now it wasn’t causing us any issues.

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Views over towards Boredale & Rampsgill.

Beyond Gowbarrow & Ullswater the cloud dramatics common to Autumn here in Lakeland continued over Sandwick & into the Boredale valley on the opposite side of Ullswater, here illuminating the Beda Fell ridge.

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Great Meldrum & Little Mell Fell from Gowbarrow Fell.

Even though we hadn’t gained much height the wind had a cold chill to it, had we have been walking any higher or staying in the open for much longer the hat & gloves most certainly would have come out.

Here our route can be seen as we would first head over Great Meldrum seen in the foreground from where we had to negotiate a little bog hopping before arriving at The Hause at the foot of Little Mell Fell, but, all that is a little while off as we enjoy the light displays over our heads.

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Beda Fell with low cloud limiting views over towards the Rampsgill valley, while on the left, Hallin Fell.

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Beda Fell & Sleet How seen with a glimpse of Ullswater seen as we cross towards Great Meldrum.

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Here, looking back on Gowbarrow Fell from the short ascent on Great Meldrum.

It’s only when you see Gowbarrow Fell summit from Great Meldrum is it realised just how prominent the top actually is giving the hill a real summit look something of which is hardly distinguished when viewing from Ullswater or even from the approach to the summit itself.

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Great Mell Fell enjoys a brief hint of sun seen from Great Meldrum.

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Our route towards Little Mell Fell.

The morning was turning out to be mild & pleasant as we left Great Meldrum behind, here our route can be seen as we make a direct line for the corner of the trees seen in the left of the photo although the path we used to descend Great Meldrum by did try to take us towards the right before we corrected ourselves.

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Just follow the wall.

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Here, looking back towards Gowbarrow Fell.

After leaving the pines behind we crested a gentle hill before passing over a wire fence where The Hause was only a moments walk away. Earlier we had spotted a couple with their dog making an ascent on Little Mell Fell, other than those people we again seemed to have the place to ourselves.

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Here looking back over The Hause with Gowbarrow partially hidden behind Underwood.

We left our grassy path seen in the right of the photo before crossing The Hause from where we picked up the direct path that would lead us all the way towards Little Mell summit, underfoot our path is steep & wet, on the upside it’s a very short ascent which is over relatively quickly.

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Little Mell Fell summit Trig Point.

We soon arrived at the summit where again we were met by a brisk wind casing my nose to run & my hands to feel the chill, quashing this I schoolboy-like warm them in my trouser pockets. Here David & I strike up conversation about many things as I add that the last time I was here it was the week before I completed my Wainwrights back in November 2011, almost three years to the weekend.

After our chat I decide to take my hands out of my pockets! before descending the way we had just come back down towards The Hause.

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Taking in the lane towards Watermillock.

Besides a few cars passing we walked the narrow lane down the centre only allowing a couple of dare devil cyclist’s as they pass at full speed, we could only look on as they took the lines of the lane on their narrow tyres under wet conditions, my hat went off to them.

Soon we would pass Cove Caravan Park where we were surprised to still see it still quite busy given the time of year, ahead we would continue for a couple of hundred yards or so before taking a right turn through a wooden gate signposted Swinburn’s Park.

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Entering the Woods through Swinburn’s Park.

Our path first lead us below Priest Crag before entering the woods which ascended sharply across two sections, up ahead we spotted a large group of walkers split into two, we soon caught them up one of whom asked us was this the right way for Aira Force.

After passing on our good mornings we continued & entered the woods which was something that I had been looking forward to as many of my walks don’t always involve walking through woodland.

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At times it was eerie quite other than myself & David talking.

Both of us commented just how much ‘teeming with wildlife’ this area must get come dusk time although I don’t think I’d like to go of the path looking just how steep the sides are.

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Looking back over Swinburn’s Park & the woods we had just walked through.

By the time we had left the woods behind the predicted showers had caught up with us causing David to reach for his jacket whilst we stopped to admire a waterfall not far from the Shooting Lodge found close to the path. It was also here we would be over taken by more walkers, I guess we couldn’t walk & talk at the same time which just shows despite the rain, what a great time we were having.

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Hallin Fell seen during a respite in the rain showers.

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Place Fell & Ullswater seen with the last of the Autumn colours from the fell side.

Our path would now descend back towards Aira Force as we took in the grand views over Ullswater which despite the gloomy mood still managed to spread some Autumn magic as the light slowly started to fade.

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Lyulphs Tower seen with Place Fell.

What started off as a shower had become more persistent as by the looks of things the rains had moved in for the remainder of the day.

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Place Fell from Gowbarrow Park.

We press towards Aira Force wondering just how busy it will be, we soon got our answer as we spotted quite a lot of people on both the lower & upper bridges all snapping photos of the falls.

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The view down on Aira Force from the upper bridge.

We arrived back at Aira Force to see the falls one more time before we headed back to the cars & even though we had been here only hours earlier the sound & the sight of Aira Force was still enough to take the breath away, we were soon joined by a large group of people all wanting their own look down on the falls which I guess was our queue to exit.

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Aira Beck.

We start to retrace our steps from this morning still in awe at the power of the water just yards to our flanks, ahead & on the other side of Aira Beck groups of walkers undeterred by the weather spend the afternoon much the same as David & myself have, by not letting a rainy day spoil what Lakeland has to offer.

As we leave the tree lined path behind the rains gets much heavier which causes in my case, the hood to go up, all that is left is a short haul back to the cars as I take in the remaining views of Ullswater as a grey murk descends about the place, we both expected to see a busy car park when we returned but was surprised to see that only one other car had parked there.

Two walkers walk past looking drenched to the core as I switch my engine on ready to warm up the car & with all our wet gear packed into the boots of our cars we bid farewell until next time.