Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Glaramara & Great Gable from Seatoller

Date : June 29th 2011
Start/Finish : Seatoller
Wainwrights : Glaramara, Allen Crags, Great Gable, Green Gable, Brandreth, Grey Knotts
Distance : 10.5 Miles
Height Gained : 4400 feet

The route : anticlockwise from Seatoller
This is a great circular route which weaves its way around some of the most impressive Lakeland scenery before culminating at Great Gable (2949 feet), the ultimate vantage point from which to survey the very best of the Cumbrian fells. 

The walks starts at Seatoller, a small village at the head of the Borrowdale valley and the foot of the Honister Pass. The route heads up Glaramara along a good path which reveals ever more impressive views with every step towards the summit.

Views back over the Borrowdale Valley

The glacial hanging valley at Combe Head

Looking over Base Brown to Fleetwith Pike & Dale Head

 The summit of Glaramara is a long rocky plateau with a few small tarns dotted along the wide ridge. It occupies a great position overlooking the Seathwaite and Langstrath valleys with spectacular views east towards the Langdale Pikes, west to Great Gable and south towards Bowfell & Great End.

Glaramara summit panorama west

Glaramara summit panorama east

Lincomb Tarn with Bowfell and Esk Pike behind

Great Gable & Green Gable

Glaramara then morphs into Allen Crags which is really just a rocky pimple between Glaramara itself and Esk Hause. It is one of those fells which has questionable merits to justify its inclusion into the 214 although it does undoubtedly occupy prime position from where to admire Great End.

The aptly named 'Great End' from Allen Crags

Esk Hause

Great Gable and Sprinkling Tarn complete with wild campers

As usual, there was the usual smattering of tents beside Sprinkling Tarn. These folk obviously forgot about the wild camping etiquette of 'pitching only when the last of the day hikers are off the fells and pack up before they return'.  

The mighty Great Gable

Piers Gill and Lingmell from Sty Head

Broad Crag and Scafell Pike from Sty Head

Styhead Tarn from the ascent path up Great Gable

The path up to Great Gable is a steep slog but the effort is well worth it. Great Gable summit views are just stunning in all directions.

Great Gable summit panorama east

Great Gable summit panorama west

Kirk Fell & Pillar from Great Gable

The Scafells from Great Gable

Haystacks, High Crag and Crummock Water from Great Gable

Allen Crags over Sprinkling Tarn from Great Gable

Views down to Wastwater from the Westmoreland Cairn

After spending 45 minutes exploring the summit it was time to move on. The steep decent to Windy Gap is an awkward affair on loose stone. There is a path of sorts but it is in poor condition and is no doubt on the radar of the 'fix the fells' team. 

Green Gable summit panorama west

Green Gable summit panorama east

Great Gable from Green Gable

The Ennerdale valley from Green Gable

Buttermere & Crummock Water over Haystacks, from Green Gable

Pillar & glimpses of Ennerdale Water from Brandreth

Grey Knotts summit panorama west

Grey Knotts summit panorama east

Final look back at Great Gable before descending to the Honister Slate Quarry

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Langdale Pikes from New Dungeon Ghyll

Date : 10th April 2011
Start/Finish : New Dungeon Ghyll
Wainwrights : Pavey Ark (2297 ft), Harrison Stickle (2415 ft)
Distance : 3.5 Miles
Height Gained : 2074 feet

The route : anticlockwise from the New Hotel

For this short but exhilarating walk I had the company of my 12 year old cousin. Having proved himself more than competent in the fells on previous hikes we decided to tackle the 'Jacks Rake' route on Pavey Ark. It was perfect weather as we set off from the New Dungeon Ghyll car park. The first section of the walk, up to Stickle tarn, is steep but on a good path with plenty of scenic interest along the way.

The iconic Langdale Pikes from the drive in

The initial steep ascent path
As the top of this first section is reached the view suddenly opens up in spectacular fashion over Stickle Tarn towards the imposing face of Pavey Ark, the largest uninterrupted rock face in the Lake District, and Harrison Stickle, the highest of the Langdale Pikes. Its an impressive vista with a knack of making you feel quite small.

Harrison Stickle

Pavey Ark over Stickle Tarn

 The shore of Stickle Tarn is a great spot to rest from the previous hour of uphill labour and then to ponder the options for further upwards progress. The are easy paths up onto Pavey Ark from both right and left of the above picture but the connoisseurs route is straight up the face along the infamous Jacks Rake. This diagonal gouge into the rockface can be seen sloping steeply upwards from right to left across the main face of the crag. It is not a route for bad weather but on a day like this it is a surprisingly straight forward scramble well within the capabilities of most fit fell walkers, despite its savage appearance from below.

Looking up towards Jacks Rake

Stickle Tarn

Jacks Rake with many tiny hikers visible along the route
The start of the Rake

Me, halfway up, by the tree

Rock climbers on the main face

Steep, but not as exposed as it looks from below ... so far

Hands & feet required

The hardest section is right at the end

Views back over Stickle Tarn

The final push before ...

... the Summit !

Pavey Ark summit panorama West

Pavey Ark summit panorama East

It was then an easy hike up to Harrison Stickle, the true summit of the Langdale Pikes and a place worth lingering for a while as the views are up there with very best in Lakeland.

Harrison Stickle summit

Harrison Stickle summit panorama West

Harrison Stickle summit panorama East

Views over Pike of Stickle towards Bowfell and Crinkle Crags

A popular spot for paragliders

Looking back over to Pavey Ark

Views over towards Blea Tarn

Views of Windermere from the descent path

The obligatory post hike paddle in the cool waters of Dungeon Ghyll

A last look back at the Langdale Pikes from near Blea Tarn