Friday, 8 December 2017

Far Eastern Fells part 3

The Shap Fells

1,/9,2017 this mission will explore the valleys along the A6 from Longsleddale to Wet Sleddale, this area is still in the national park of the Lake District but only this year the national park boundaries have been extended and I have one walk planned to take in this new area.
Alfred Wainwright did not class the Shap fells has Lakeland but classed it as the part of the Pennines because the transition of the rocky landscape of Lakeland is sudden and the moorlands of the Pennines starts, this area of upland is covered by grassy fells and heather and bogs, a wild and desolate area with very little rights of way through this landscape and an area what is not explored much by the visitor to Lakeland.

1; Grey Crag
2; Tarn Crag
3; Capplebarrow
4; White Howe
5; Lords Seat
6; Great Yarlside
7; Wasdale Pike
8; Seat Roberts
9; High Weather Howe

A; Longsleddale
B; Bannisdale
C; Borrowdale
D; Crookdale
E; Wasdale
F; Wet Sleddale
G; Swindale
H; Mossedale

The 1st of September and I woke up in the back of the van with my companion Sam the dog and got out to a beautiful sunny morning in Longsledale across from the church, time for breakfast and to start planning my day.

Tarn Crag and Grey Crag

8.45 am I was walking from the church to Sadgill following a bridleway along the valley bottom, at Sadgill I started the steady climb out of the valley passing Buckbarrow Crag, as I left the valley and ground started to level out I came to my first bridge and stopped to have rest and to check the map.
The track splits one going for Gatescarth Pass and the one I want, was the track for Wet Sleddale, I was not on it for long till I reached the fence line what I was going to follow up the hill to Tarn Crag.

I left the fence has the ground started to level out and the sight of a stone pillar came in view, so I walked to the pillar to have a closer look, this unusual pillar is one of the survey pillars erected during the construction of the  Haweswater aqueduct during the 1930's.

Not far from the survey pillar is the summit of Tarn Crag so I head for it, it was from the summit I could see my next destination Grey Crag, I laughed to myself because back in May when I got lost in the low cloud and  I could not find Tarn Crag.

Tarn Crag.

Today with good views I walked to the summit of Grey Crag enjoying the views of the fells I was going to explore over the next few days. From the summit of Grey Crag, it was downhill to head back into the valley of Longsledale and the end of the walk back at the church.

Bannisdale Horseshoe

12 miles, 2/9/17
This walk is a circuit of the valley of Bannisdale and follows the watershed around it crossing large areas of grassy prairies and peat bogs with no rights of way so pathless, and gates to climb and fences. So on a lovely sunny morning, I set off for Moser Farm along a nice track passing the farm till I came open country and my first gate where lifted Sam over and headed for the summit of Whiteside Pike.

Whiteside Pike

Pure blue skies and good views from Whiteside Pike so on I went enjoying this grassy grassland crossing walls and climbing to my next summit of Todd Fell, from Todd Fell you could see down into Longsledale and the fells of Kentmere, from Todd Fell it was the climb to Capplebarrow following the fence line to the top of Capplebarrow and time for a rest.


                                                                                                1; Yoke 
         2; Rainsbarrow Crag
         3; Ill Bell        
         4; Froswick 
         5; Caudale Moor
         6; Thornthwaite Crag
         7; Shipman Knotts
         8; Kentmere Pike
         9; Harter Fell
The weather was still good with plenty of sunshine as I took the views in from Capplebarrow, the next section of the walk was to go around the head of the watershed of Bannisdale  first climb another gate and pick Sam so I could get him over and then carry on following the fence line and an old broken wall with views down into Bannisdale  valley and then pull away from the boundaries and aim for Long Crag

I made it to Long Crag and had a nice long dinner break and not seen anyone on this walk till now as I seen another walker in the distance navigating around the headland. It was time to move on and climb to White Howe through more peat bogs and heather to find the trig point of White Howe and that walker who I had seen had now caught up with me and it was a woman we had a brief chat and then I moved on while she rested.

White Howe
I now could see across the valley to Capplebarrow and Todd Fell as I headed for Lamb Pasture and was bypassed by the woman walker, now the last part of the walk took me off the fells and into the valley through trees and sheep pasture to finish off  this walk and what a walk all thanks to having great weather has made it a good walk.

The Whinfell Ridge Walk

This walk came about because this year the Lake District National Park had extended its borders in some areas and one area is Borrowdale, not the Borrowdale of Keswick but another one. Also, the national park was celebrating getting World Heritage Status, so to celebrate this I have  included this walk from Alfred Wainwrights Howgills Fells book that this walk is now in the national park, and was a walk from the A6 across the Whinfell ridge to the M6 and back along the valley of Borrowdale to the finish.
This morning was a damp grey day after my night in the car park at Wet Sleddale, a new weather front had moved in overnight, at least it was not raining so all packed up for a days walking I was back on the A6 and over Shap Summit to a layby in the Borrowdale Valley. Huck's Bridge and parked up.
It was only a short walk along the A6 and we were climbing Ashstead Fell and there was a low cloud over the distant fells as we reached the heather top of Ashstead Fell 455m/1493ft, but still decent views for a grey day.

Ashstead Fell
And now the ridge walk along a faint path to  Mabbin Crag, as I reach the summit of Mabbin Crag 482m/1581ft, and moved through some lovely undulating landscape of heather to reach Castle Fell and then Whinfell Beacon 472m/1549ft, The beacon was in ruins and was once a 15th-century fire beacon. I had a short rest while enjoying the good views. 472m/ 1549ft4.

Whinfell Beacon
Coming off Whinfell Beacon I was stopped by a heard of sheep blocking my exit and two farmers sorting them one by one through a sheep pen, I had good ten minutes of watching this till one farmer let me and Sam through.
Now time to look for a place to have a rest and have lunch. I had come to a road and the telecommunication station and no sign of shelter, I left the road behind and took the path over a wall and found my lunch spot and then it started to rain. 
By the time I had finished my lunch and I was ready to get going again the rain had stopped, so I set off again climbing up to the summit of Greyrigg Forest, the highest point on the walk at 494m/1,621ft at the trig point I reached.

Greyrigg Forest summit looking towards the Howgills Fells
From the summit the last part of the ridge walk was only a short distance away then it was down into the valley, I walked to the end of the ridge known as Greyrigg Pike and there I rested and enjoyed the all-around views, even the sight of the M6 did not spoil it.

Greyrigg Pike
I headed down into the valley with some difficulty because I lost my path and did not find again till I got to the valley bottom and picked the main track up what I was going to use to take me through the length of the Borrowdale valley.

I headed down into the valley with some difficulty because I lost my path and did not find again till I got to the valley bottom and picked the main track up what I was going to use to take me through the length of the Borrowdale valley.
It was only in the valley that day that I passed any others walkers has I followed the track up the valley passing through oak woodlands and then back into open countryside keeping close to the river and passing through a farm and on following the track till I came full circle and reached the A6 again and the end of the walk.

Shap village walk 

Another night in the car park at Wet Sleddale and a night of rain that continued into the morning. So I put off any hill walking today and planned a short history walk around the village of Shap.
So I set off and found a car parking space in the centre of Shap village and then set off on the walk on this damp grey late morning for Skellaw Hill by road out of the village up to a small hill, at the top of this hill and I looked over the wall, there is a small mound, this small mound is all that is left of a huge burial chamber from the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age, an excavation in the 19th Century found human remains and stone tools.

Skellaw Hill
Also of importance, while standing here on this hill with good views of the surrounding area is that this site is linked with by an avenue of stones that leads to a stone circle, Kemp Howe.My mission was to try to find any of these stone that makes up the avenue and then find the stone circle.
Looking at the map of the area there are several stones marked on the map some with names, and the first one I was going to look for was called Thunder Stone.
So I followed the road again till I came to the Thunder Stone no access to it but I could see it in the field this stone like the others I was looking for are erratics left over from the last Ice Age. I moved again to look for another stone, and I found another what was part of a wall now and then in the distance I could see a massive stone this must be the Goggleby Stone.

Goggleby Stone
I reached the Goggleby Stone and it stood about two meters high and I could see Skellaw Hill and another smaller stone aligned between the two marking the line of the avenue.
 As I headed towards the village looking for other stones found another two has I came back into the village and went back to the car and took it up the A6 to the stone circle.

Kemp Howe
And a field next to the railway line was Kemp Howe stone circle or what was left of it because the railway line had cut through it how sad and that was the end of this walk.

Wet Sleddale Horseshoe

Starting from the car park there is a good path along the reservoir after leaving that it is rough grass walking uphill till you come in sight the grouse butts and then you meet a track what takes you to the wooden Lunch House, its here I used the building to shelter against while it rained, the only shower of the day. from the Lunch House, the path deteriorated to bogs and heather as I made my way to the large rock known as the Grey Bull.

Grey Bull
From the Grey Bull and across more bogs and heather I came to Sleddale Pike and then on a compass bearing through heather and bogs on this pathless trudge to Wasdale Pike the only good thing about this walk was the long distant views I was getting as I sat having lunch.
From the pike more bogs and tough grasslands to cross to Great Saddle Crag and was on this summit I disturbed some red deer as they bolted off into the distant. I carried on not enjoying the walk because of hard work involved in crossing this tough landscape to next summit of Ulthwaite Rigg and then more rough walking and joy came I reached the bridleway and it was going to take me back to end of the walk.

So the last hour of this walk was good and relaxing now following the bridleway with good views down the valley to Wet Sleddale Reservoir.

Crookdale Horseshoe

This last walk of this mission is the Crookdale Horseshoe walk and this is also the last piece of the jigsaw for this area. The start of the walk was in a layby on the A6 Shap Summit. It was a cloudy morning as I and Sam out into the moorland following a faint track and a stone wall and working around peat bogs to get to Little Yarlside crossing Wasdale Mouth and then the climb to the summit of Little Yarlside and then another climb to Great Yarlside summit and a rest stop to admire the views back looking across vast areas of grassland and views down to Wet Sleddale.
The next section of the walk was to follow the fence line to Harrop Pike taking in the head of Crookdale, it was easy walking and more grassland and bogs with wide open views all around. 

Harrop Pike
So far I was really enjoying this walk, Wainwright seen this area as drab because of the lack of rocky scenery, but I was enjoying the big sky and the long distant views south and east, I took another break at Harrop Pike.
The views to the higher fells were poor because of the low cloud but I could see Tarn Crag. from Harrop Pike, I set off following another fence line downhill and near the bottom, I skirted away from the fence line to go around Buck Crags and on a compass bearing I headed for Lords Seat and picked up a faint track to the summit. From the summit of Lords Seat, I made my way to the summit of Robin Hood and stopped for a break this summit had a cairn and views into Borrowdale and I could see my last summit of High House Bank.

High House Bank
I made to the summit of High House Bank with good views around and the last part of the walk was down into Crookdale to Hause Foot and the climb to the A6 Shap Summit and back to the car and it's been a great walk.

And the end to another mission to the Lake District and this mission has been good but tough because of the little access there is to the Shap fells and a final word my camera has dust on the lens and has left black smudges on the photos. And my next mission should be a winter mission.