Sunday, 20 April 2014

All the northern Wainwrights

It seemed annoying to drive back down the M6 but we needed to do it. Then once things were all sorted and the forecast was good we were able to drive back again. I did toy with the idea of asking for a late entry for the Viking Ultra but it would have been a rush and it will still be there next year.
When Bob texted Darren to keep him up to date with progress a joke was made about doing all the Wainwrights rather than just a big day from each book....... ummmm , maybe.
It was Bank Hol weekend so we needed somewhere quiet. By Fri late morning we were free to travel. A plan was hatched- to finish the northern book. Souther Fell and a some repeats in the afternoon. Binsey in the evening and the rest on Saturday.

We parked at Mungrisdale in glorious sunshine, crossed the river by the pub and we were off. The fellside was incredibly dry as we headed up through the dead bracken.In no time at all we were on the summit and sitting in the sun admiring the views. It seemed a scandal to drop back to the van so early so we continued round to the col above Mousthwaite and up the valley below Scales Tarn. It have us great views of Sharp Edge and we met very few people.

 Bob wanted to go to Bannerdale Crags again and admire the edge and then it was a wonderful run down the easy path on the side of Tongue. We had a pint in the pub and sat in the sun for a while to let the afternoon traffic disappear. then we drove round to the Uldale area and had an evening stroll up Binsey.

 It was bigger than it looked and gave great views back into the Skiddaw range. We had two overnight parking places in mind and were lucky to find both deserted. We parked near Longlands, cooked and went to bed. The lane was very quiet and I did not hear a single car until we were up in the morning.

A route to include all the tops that were left was going to involve a couple of out and backs but it was new to us and we didn't mind. In fact I want to go back and run on the area which was grassy like the Howgills. We started off along the quad bike track and headed for Great Cockup. I went direct whereas Bob would have looped round by the track. It was warm in the sun and we were soon shedding layers. Then we dropped down and up to gain Meal Fell, a funny little lump that stands out in its own.

We split to go up Great Sca Fell as I went direct and Bob followed a path to the col and then up the side. Now we were exposed to the wind it was chilly and some of the layers went back on. The next bit was unclear. Should we go up Knott and then east to pick up the Cumbria Way or just go east via Iron Crag? There was no obvious trod but it was downhill and we/I headed for iron Crag and just before it we picked up a trod over the summit and towards Great Lingy Hill. The trod vanished every now and again (how does it do that?)  but the heather was short.

The Cumbria Way was huge and led us easily up High Pike to the big cairn and stone seat. Shame it was too cold to stop long. We also met our first fellow walkers of the day here. It was busier than this area generally gets but much quieter than much of the lakes as we only saw 12 people close enough to talk to the whole time we were out. We reversed our steps down High Pike and then set off over Mitton Hill and Carrock Fell. I am glad it has been dry because this must be a bog fest most of the time.

Carrock Fell itself is an interesting lump with lots of rock and the earth remains of a fort. I was freezing now though and not keen to stop.  We headed back west in search of some warmth and shelter to stop and eat. By iron Crag it was more sheltered and I sat in the heather for a picnic. Then it was try to follow a trod and return to Great Sca Fell. Once there we found more paths than we needed and it was an easy jaunt over Little Sca and out to Brae Fell.  There are more paths on the ground than on our map so it was a happy surprise to find a path contouring the head of Charleton Beck and leading nicely over Lowthwaite Fell and Longlands Fell and back down to the van. After a quick drink and rest we set off to capture the last two Wainwrights in this book.

 The only issue was finding somewhere to park the van. As we drove every lay by and verge space was full, it didn't bode well. Our free parking was all taken but we got a space at the Osprey / Dodd Wood site.

The undulating path at the edge of the forest kept us safely off the road and we were soon flogging up the hill side behind the Ravenstone Hotel. Most people were coming down after their day out but we didn't meet more than a dozen. The Edge is a wonderful ridge but after our morning walk it was hard work. After about an hour and a half we were on Ullock Pike.

One Wainwright left.  We carried on up the ridge and repeated Long Side and Carl Side before descending down and down to the forest tracks at the back of Dodd. The path wandered a bit but the felling was a bonus as the views were fantastic- Bassenthwaite, Derwent water, all the Grisedale/ Grasmoor tops, Cat Bells to Robinson and the Helvellyn ridge.

We sat and congratulated ourselves on a job well done before and easy walk into the woods and down to the van. The cafe had just closed but we made our own and sat in the sun as the car park gradually emptied.

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