Swirl How and Grey Friar from Three Shire Stone

Harter Fell, Hard Knott, Little Stand and the River Duddon 

Another early start, although not quite so early as of late: it was long after sunrise when I left the car at the top of the Wrynose Pass, but early enough for most sensible people to still be in their beds on a Sunday morning.

Grey Friar Map

I was aiming to be home for lunch again, so had chosen this route since it’s fairly short and has a nice, high start. The route: up to Wet Side Edge, over Hell Gill Pike, Little Carrs, Great Carrs to Swirl How, across to Grey Friar and then a contouring route back round to Little Carrs and hence back to the top of the pass.

Swirl How, Great Carrs, Little Carrs 

Initially the cloud was high and the views good. The sun was shining on Harter Fell and on the West Cumbrian Coast beyond. On the horizon, the Isle of Mann lurked, dark and slightly hazy.

Scafells, Little Stand, Crinkles, Bowfell, Cold Pike 

On Little Carrs I chatted to a chap who was only 20 off finishing the Birketts. Pillar Rock would be his last, with a Guide: “It’s easy apparently, with a rope.”

I’ll take his word for it.

He had come up the same way as me, and was on his way to Great How, then back to his car and off to bag Holme Fell and Black Fell above Little Langdale. He was, it almost goes without saying, moving faster than me, and I met him again, on his way down, as I left Swirl How for Grey Friar.

Swirl How, Great Carrs 

By then the weather had deteriorated and from then on there were intermittent snow showers and visibility varied considerably depending on the weather.


The ground was once again frozen solid. The snow too was hard and compacted, but just about took an edge. I was pleased with how my fabric boots coped, although on the way down I found some harder patches where I struggled. Fortunately the snow patches were less continuous than some of the photos might suggest, and I generally found ways to skirt them fairly easily when I needed to.

Swirl How, Coniston Old Man, Dow Crag 

This deterioration in the weather was as I’d been expecting, since it chimed exactly with the forecasts I’d read.

Grey Frair, Harter Fell (Isle of Mann?) 

What they hadn’t predicted was that when I got back to the car, the snowfall would have stopped and blue rents in the clouds would be beginning to appear.

Langdale Pikes 

In fact, the afternoon was somewhat brighter than the morning.


I suppose that I met have felt a little cheated; maybe an afternoon walk would have been a better bet than a morning one.

Swirl How Summit Cairn 

But, d’you know what – I was happy with what I’d had. A grey day on Grey Friar will do me just fine thanks. I enjoyed the swirling cloud and the views of white streaked mountains under leaden skies.

Harter Fell disappears from view


Swirl How and Grey Friar from Three Shire Stone

12 thoughts on “Swirl How and Grey Friar from Three Shire Stone

  1. I walked up that way and back over Wetherlam a few years back. I’ve always had a fondness for the Coniston fells. I’m guessing this was last weekend. Me and D were out on the Sunday and it was as cold as I can remember for many a year. I’m behind with the blog as you can tell

    Next? The Southern Highlands!

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      You’re absolutely right. I haven’t seen ice as thick as I saw it last weekend for quite some time.

      I noticed that you were behind. TBH was asking what you’d been up to and I could only report that you’d been adding photos to flickr but were well behind with your blog.

      “Next? The Southern Highlands!”

      Well, not quite, at least as far as the blog is concerned, I’m a little bit behind too: I was out again briefly last Sunday for a local walk and TBH and I were out in the Lakes again yesterday, although that was also a short walk because we ran out of light (don’t know if you’ve noticed but TBH lacks a sense of urgency in the mornings).

      1. Southern Highlands next weekend matey, Suie Lodge gathering and all that. TBH tardy in the morning, I hadn’t noticed,

        Cracking day in the Elan Valley hills yesterday but a long time till I get around to blogging it

        1. beatingthebounds says:

          Well, yes, I know that obviously. Forecast not looking too promising at present. Still – what do they know? Are you going up early?

          I’m assuming that you have a number of blog posts overdue?

  2. I hadn’t noticed that either of you were behind on your blogs!
    Now, I don’t know TBH, but from what I’ve noticed in some of your posts, could it not be you who maybe likes to get up and about disproportionately early……..?

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Andy’s always behind, I’m nearly always behind. But at the moment I’m not far behind.
      I did used to be renowned for being annoyingly chipper and chatty first thing in the morning, but I’ll let you judge TBH’s tardiness when I catch up and post our ‘almost High Street’ walk.

  3. Great pics. Just cannot bring myself to EVER leave my nice warm bed that early but as long as there’s someone sharing great pics of their early starts then it feels like I’m [almost] there ^_^

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I’m usually pretty good at getting up when there’s a walk to be had, although on this occasion I did try to go back to sleep before I finally admitted defeat and got up (the old grey matter was running through potential walks and refused to stand down).

  4. Your “Greenburn” picture is simply gorgeous. Well done, Sir. These snatched walks are inspirational. keep it up – a it more of it and I will finally get my arse into gear and get out for an early one. It’ll have to be on my own though, As Andy Walker & Phil don’t know what 7:30 am looks like.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Thanks Alan. It being a grey day, the light wasn’t ideal for photos, but that was my favourite of the bunch too. It doesn’t suit everyone obviously, but I find that there’s something very satisfying to be finishing a walk just as everyone else is starting and to still have a good part of the day ahead. I blame my Dad, he always like to make an early start for a day’s walking.

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