Showing posts with label Grisedale Tarn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grisedale Tarn. Show all posts

Friday, June 19, 2015

Mopping up the Eastern Fells

Date: 19th June 2015
Start/Finnish: Patterdale
Wainwrights: Arnison Crag, Birks, St Sunday Crag, Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn,
   Catstye Cam.
Height Gained: 5224 feet
Distance: 12 Miles
Time Taken: 9 hours

The route - Clockwise from Patterdale

I had 3 Eastern Fells left to climb; Arnison Crag and Birks (simple enough), and then Catstye Cam (another 2 valleys away). It was going to take a long walk to link them all up. After parting with £4.50 to park at the Patterdale Hotel I headed up the steep path to Arnison Crag. My lack of fell time this year became obvious within about 20 minutes and I quickly realised it was going to be a long, tough day.

Arnison Crag view over Ullswater

Arnison Crag view up to Birks

Arnison Crag summit panorama east

Arnison Crag summit panorama west

From Birks I could see that St Sunday Crag was moving in and out of cloud but all the high fells around Helvellyn were fully shrouded. When I got up onto St Sunday Crag it was under cloud and there was a fierce wind. I headed over to a sheltered spot overlooking the Deepdale valley for a bite to eat and to wait and see if the summit cleared. The last time I was up here visibility was appalling and so I wasn't about to give up too easily. Luckily patience paid off and I was rewarded with a few fleeting views over both neighbouring valleys although all the higher fells remained under cloud. Satisfied, I headed off to Grisedale Tarn.

St Sunday Crag from Birks

St Sunday Crag summit just below the cloud base

Fleeting views over the Deepdale valley

The onwards path

Grisedale Tarn comes into view

Looking down the Deepdale valley

Seat Sandal, Grisedale Tarn and Dollywagon Pike

The path from Grisedale Tarn up onto Dollywagon Pike is a zig-zag upwards slog and it was near the top of this path that the cloud base was reached and visibility reduced to about 50 feet. After small deviations from the main path to bag Dollywagon and Nethermost Pikes I headed on up to Helvellyn. It was not pleasant up there. The wind was a steady 30mph and bitingly cold with occasional drizzle thrown in for good measure. It felt like November rather than June.

Seat Sandal over Grisedale Tarn

Fairfield making a momentary appearance

The last of the views for the next few hours

The stone tablet on Helvellyn summit commemorating the first plane landing on a mountain in 1926

The summit shelter

Helvellyn summit - nothing to see today

I carefully picked my way down onto Swirral edge with the wind showing no mercy. This was new territory for me and the ridge demanded full concentration. It is the equal of striding edge but seemed a lot shorter, but that could be deceiving as I could see nothing further than about 20 feet. I headed off up the short climb onto Catstye Cam but didn't linger as it was obvious that views would not be forthcoming and the wind was relentless.   

The uninviting way down onto Swirral Edge from the summit plateau

Somewhere on Swirral Edge

Somewhere else on Swirral Edge

Catstye Cam summit - imagination required

It was here that I made my mistake. Without checking the compass I followed the only obvious path down in the opposite direction to the one I came up. I inadvertently took the northern path down towards the steep northeast ridge. The path I intended to take was southeast from the summit and I obviously didn't notice it. It was only when I got under the cloud that I realised my mistake. I tried to skirt around the mountain to pick up the correct path but the crags soon became too steep and so I carefully picked my way down the rocky terrain. Ah well. It made for an interesting detour which my knees just managed to survive. It also added a good hour to an already long walk. 

Finally emerging from cloud and realising I'm on the wrong side of the mountain

Ah well, unexpected views of Keppel Cove Dam

Looking down the valley to Sheffield Pike and Glenridding

Heading back into cloud on the other side of Catstye Cam

Finally, the 'hole-in-the-wall'

The homeward path

Views over Grisedale valley to St Sunday Crag ...

... and Birks

Looking back up the Grisedale Valley ...

.... and back over to Arnison Crag, where I was 8 hours earlier

It was a weary hiker that plodded back to the car 9 hours after leaving. That was about the limit of my capabilities for a day hike. It will be a nice, easy stroll next time ....

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fairfield & Seat Sandal

Date : 30th May 2009
Wainwrights : Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Fairfield, Seat Sandal
Distance : 6.7 miles (10.8km)
Height Gained : 3168 feet (966 meters)
Time Taken : About 4 hours

The Route : anticlockwise from Grasmere

So far Fairfield had not been kind to me. I had stood on the summit twice in the last few months and seen diddly squat both times. This time I was taking no chances. The forecast was perfect and it was shorts and T-Shirt temperatures. I also had company today in the form of my 11 year cousin-in-law. I wanted to take him on a familiar route which was not too far or too difficult. I also desperately wanted to see a view from Fairfield summit so decided to repeat the walk from a few months ago and maybe tag Seat Sandal on at the end if the little lad could manage it. 

Grasmere from the path up to Stone Arthur

Looking over Stone Arthur to Grasmere

Glimpses of Grisedale Tarn with Seat Sandal left and Helvellyn right

 Despite it being essentially the same route as last time it felt completely different in the bright sunshine. It certainly makes a difference when you can see where you are going! The views I was denied previously on Fairfield summit were now laid out in all directions. Third time lucky.

Fairfield summit view over the Deepdale valley towards St Sunday Crag

Fairfield summit view towards Helvellyn

Glimpses of Ullswater down the Grisedale valley

Great Rigg and views back to Grasmere

Looking over to Seat Sandal

At Grisedale Hause we had a quick debate as to weather Seat Sandal was manageable. He felt fine so on we went up the steep ascent following the tumble down dry stone wall. The summit of Seat Sandal is largely a flat grassy plateau with superb views down the length of Grasmere and over Helm Crag to the Langdales. It would make a great wild camping spot.

Grisedale Tarn

Yours truly on Seat Sandal summit

A distant view of Easedale Tarn from Seat Sandal

Grasmere from Seat Sandal

Thirlmere from Seat Sandal

On the descent path - the little un did good

Wainwright count = 10/214

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Deepdale Horseshoe from Patterdale

Date : 21st April 2009
Wainwrights : Hartsop Above How, Hart Crag, Fairfield, St Sunday Crag
Distance : 8.9 miles (14.4km)
Height Gained : 3377 feet (1029 meters)
Time Taken : about 5 hours (due to dismal visibility)

The route : anticlockwise from Patterdale

 Having been denied a view on Fairfield last month I decided I might have more luck tackling it from the other side. I didn't. Its a shame because this looked like a great route around one of the quietest and prettiest valleys in the region. Unfortunately though, I walked into clag at about 500 feet on the way up Hartsop Above How and didn't see more than about 50 feet in any direction until halfway down St Sunday Crag 5 hours later. I didn't take a single picture. At this stage I was not yet a Wainwright bagger and so walked right past Birks without even visiting the summit, which is a great excuse to do this walk again in better weather.  

Wainmwright Count : 9/214