Showing posts with label dollywagon pike. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dollywagon pike. 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 ....

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Helvellyn via Striding Edge

Date : 2nd June 2010
Start/End : Patterdale
Wainwrights : Helvellyn, Nethermost Pike, Dollywaggon Pike, White Side, Raise.
Distance : 12.6 Miles
Height Gained : 4210 feet

The route : clockwise from Patterdale

This walk is essentially the typical route up Helvellyn from Patterdale and via Striding Edge. The typical return is then via Swirral Edge and Catstye Cam (that route is described here). However, today I wanted to extend the walk further and so from Helvellyn, continued northwards and returned via Sticks Pass. 

The walk starts along the single track road in the lower Grisedale valley before bearing off right to ascend the southern flanks of Birkhouse Moor.

The road from Patterdale down the Grisedale valley

The path ahead climbing up to Birkhouse Moor

Looking up the Grisedale valley to Dollywaggon (left, pointy summit) and Nethermost Pikes

Grisedale valley with St Sunday Crag left

Looking back to Patterdale

Catstye Cam and Swirral Edge from the Hole-in-the-wall

 Anticipating the usual traffic on Striding Edge I had left at first light and thankfully reaped the benefits, by having the whole glorious arĂȘte to myself.

Red Tarn

Striding Edge looking formidable

Helvellyn momentarily out of cloud

Red Tarn and Catstye Cam

The start of the Striding Edge arĂȘte

The Robert Dixon memorial 1858

Looking back

The Gough memorial 1980 - Helvellyn

 When I got to the summit of Helvellyn it was under cloud, but the forecast was for this to lift and so I headed leisurely down to Nethermost and Dollywaggon Pikes to have some lunch and watch others hikers slowly picking their way across the now crowded Striding Edge.

Striding Edge southern face

Striding Edge from near Nethermost Pike

How many people on there now ?!

 As forecast, the cloud lifted from Helvellyn about an hour later and so I headed on back to enjoy the now clear views.  

Helvellyn summit

Looking over Catstye Cam towards Ullswater

Looking over Swirral Edge towards Raise, and the onwards path

 From Helvellyn it's easy going on a good path over Lower Man, White Side and then Raise before the terrain dips a little to the col at Sticks Pass. Here, I headed back down to Ullswater and Patterdale.

Catstye Cam & Keppel Cove from Helvellyn Lower Man

Helvellyn from its 'Lower Man'

Thirlmere from Helvellyn Lower Man

The northwards path to White Side

Raise summit

The panorama back southwards from Raise

Sticks Pass from Raise

Looking along Sticks Pass to Sheffield Pike