These are a difficult group of fells to link together in a single hike, mainly because Binsey is sat out on its own as the most northern of the wainwrights. I therefore decided to take the camper van and tackle Binsey on its own and then move closer to the other 6 fells which can be climbed easily as a group.
Day 1 Route up and down Binsey
I set off straight after work and arrived at the foot of Binsey at about 18:30. It's a short climb with the summit reached in just 30 minutes. The summit has lovely uninterrupted views north and west towards Scotland and the Isle of Man.
Binsey overlooking Over Water
Binsey Summit View over Bassenthwaite Lake
It would be great place to watch the sunset but I was about 2 hours too early so I headed down and then moved the van to a nice spot close to the start of tomorrows walk.
Day 2 Route
After a nice quiet night in the camper I set off up Bakestall at 5am, mindful of the weather forecast which had thundery showers heading my way in the early afternoon. The path heads up grassy tussocks on the right side of dead crags. The summit was reached almost exactly an hour after leaving the van.
From Bakestall I headed down a path on the northern side of the fell picking up the Cumbria Way at Dash Falls and then heading westwards under dead crags before veering off north towards Dash Farm and then up onto Great Cockup. A cuckoo, the first I've heard this year, kept me company for most of the 2 hours between fell tops.
The Fells on the route ahead from the descent from Bakestall
A good path then leads on towards Meal Fell, then Great Sca Fell, Brae Fell and finally Longlands Fell. The whole of this region is a series of grassy mounds reminiscent of the Howgills. This section of walk was populated mainly be skylarks. I didn't see another person until descending off Longlands Fell.
Longlands Fell summit view towards Over Water and Binsey
This trip took the Wainwright count to 194. Just 20 to go.
Start/Finish: Millbeck Farm Wainwrights: Dodd (1612ft) , Carl Side (2420ft), Long Side (2405ft), Ullock Pike (2230ft), Skiddaw (3053ft), Little Man (2837ft), Lonscale Fell (2344ft), Latrigg (1203ft)
Distance: 14 miles
Total Ascent: 4117ft Time Taken: 8 hours
The Route : Clockwise from Millbeck
I'm finally back in the fells! It's certainly been a while since my last Lakeland Hike. The Wainwright count has been stalled on 179 for the past 2 years. It was time to restart the campaign.
A video of the hike
My focus for the next few hikes is going to be on the Northern Fells. I've plotted routes to complete them all in 4 day hikes. Today was the first such route and was centred around the Skiddaw group of fells. The northern fells are not a particularly easy group to link together efficiently and so I used routes based on those suggested by Stuart Marshall in his book, 'Walking the Wainwrights'.
Views towards the Newlands and Coledale Valleys from Millbeck
I started at Millbeck on a lovely spring morning and headed up Skiddaw Dodd along the meandering forestry paths which traverse the fell. There are many route options. A map helps but it's really just a case of heading upwards at every route choice until the summit is reached.
The views get better with height
Early morning mist over Derwent Water
Forestry path leading up to Dodd
Dodd summit view west over Bassenthwaite Lake ...
... and south towards Derwent Water ...
... and finally north towards Ullock Pike and Long Side
Postcard view of the Coledale Fells
The summit view from Dodd is really quite something and far in excess of what could be expected from just one hour of fairly minimal effort. The next objective of Carl Side looms ominously to the north and involves a 10 minute retracing of steps before a path branches off downwards towards White Stones. Unfortunately about 400 feet of height is lost before the ascent returns with fury. An hour of hard labour results in the conquest of Carl Side which is a fairly unimpressive mound with a tiny cairn to denote the summit.
Looking back to Dodd from the path up to Carl Side
Carl Side summit looking towards Skiddaw
Long Side looms to the west and an obvious path takes a direct course to its summit. A further narrow path continues towards Ullock Pike. The views down to Bassenthwaite Lake are stunning along the whole ridge.
Ullock Pike view of Bassenthwaite Lake
From Ullock Pike, the route is retraced back over Long Side before a wide path veers off towards the ascent of Skiddaw.
Long Side and Carl Side from the ascent path to Skiddaw
From the col at Carlside Tarn the route then steers north-eastwards up a steep shale path which eventually emerges onto a broad ridge leading gently up to Skiddaw summit. Of course the expected summit slugs were sat on the trig point enjoying their lunch. For the life of me I don't understand why people do this. Why sit on the very busiest point of a mountain, where everyone else wants to get to, surely knowing that your presence there is so obviously unwanted. Maybe they have no sense of self awareness ?
Summit Slugs on Skiddaw
Little Man is the next objective and in clear view over to the south east. The summit is lovely place with fantastic views. A little grassy terrace a few steps down on the Keswick side is a great place for 10 minutes R&R.
The path to Little Man
Little Man summit view over Derwent Water
Little Man summit view back to Skiddaw
Little Man summit towards Lonscale Fell with Blencathra beyond
Lonscale Fell is clearly visible to the east and involves a fairly dreary trudge towards this expansive grassy plateau where the summit is marked by a small pile of stones.
Lonscale Fell summit view west back towards Skiddaw
Lonscale Fell summit view east towards Blencathra
It was now time to head downwards, initially re-tracing steps for 5 minutes before heading along a good path due south towards the car park on the Cumbria Way. From there, a path skirts Latrigg on the western side before looping round and approaching the summit from the south. Lovely views over Keswick towards Derwent Water and the Newlands Valley are ample reward from this last fell, the lowest of the day but perhaps the best viewpoint of them all.
Views of Keswick from the descent path
Looking back along the descent path from the Hawell memorial
Looking back along the route taken from the flanks of Latrigg
Latrigg summit view of Keswick and Derwent Water
It was then a case of picking a route back to the car by the avoidance of road walking as much as possible.
Next up, the fells north of Skiddaw, or perhaps the Blencathra Group. Hopefully not too long off.