This was the day after my Holme Fell and Black Fell outing with TBH. After that modest affair this was much more ambitious. I think I was frustrated that the first week of the Easter holidays had only yielded three Wainwrights. In my defence, the weather hadn’t been much cop and we had also been decorating our living room. I say ‘we’, but in honesty TBH had been decorating the living room and I had been ferrying the boys about to give her the time to do that. I did put a coat of paint on the ceiling I suppose. I had to really, I’d told the kids that anyone who didn’t contribute would lose their TV privileges. Anyway, over the next three days I made an effort to make up the deficit (of Wainwrights bagged, not decorating).
I parked by the ‘new’ church, below Hallin Fell, dropped down to Howtown and then climbed steeply towards White Knotts.
I don’t know who made the path, or why, but it was very cleverly done.
Having hit the ‘ridge’ – it’s neither a ridge, nor a plateau, so I’m not sure what to call it – I had to descend slightly to reach Bonscale Pike. From Easter onwards (and quite often in the winter) I habitually wear shorts. It was very windy and very cold this day and I wondered at times whether I would have to turn back, but I found that by layering up on my top half, with a couple of fleeces, hat, gloves and at times my cag too, my legs didn’t seem to be an issue.
Bonscale Pike has lots of humps and hollows – thinking, quite rightly as it turned out – that shelter would be at a premium, I stopped for a cuppa.
From Bonscale Pike the route drops into a hollow and then climbs out to Arthur’s Pike.
From there, it’s a long series of very gradual ascents, over Loadpot Hill, Wether Hill, Red Crag, and Raven Howe to my high point for the day High Raise.
Clearly the showers we’d watched the day before shrouding the long ridge from the Dodds down to Fairfield had fallen as snow on the higher parts of the range.
I had my eye on the wall in the photo above from quite some distance away. It looked like it might offer some shelter. It did, and it was most welcome. I sat behind the wall here for quite some time, ate my lunch and had another hot drink (Pink Grapefruit squash – a tip from old friend the Hairy Oatcake).
It seemed to take a long time, but I was gradually reeling High Raise in.
I didn’t have high hopes for the little stone shelter, but in the event it wasn’t too bad. I finished off the Grapefruit cordial and enjoyed the views over the Eden Valley.
There’s a high ‘ticks to effort’ ratio here, with not much energy expended to grab Kidsty Pike, Rampsgill Head and The Knott.
Rest Dodd is not such a push-over, with a steepish re-ascent to be overcome.
It looked like frequent showers were tracking south along Patterdale and I thought it was only a matter of time before I got a drubbing, but aside from a few flurries of snow, they never materialised.
The ground between Rest Dodd and The Nab looked like it would be very heavy going, but although there was a fair bit of bog and some big peat hags, it was surprisingly easy to circumvent.
I knew, from a previous visit, that there’s a superb path which spirals down the western flank of The Nab. Again, I don’t know who made it or why, but it’s a great bit of work. In places the slope is extremely steep, but the path, narrow at times, keeps on contouring and descending very gently. Perfect.
“Constructed in 1910 as a shooting lodge for Hugh Lowther, Earl of Lonsdale, in a colonial style to host a visit from the German Kaiser”
Nowadays, it’s self-catering accommodation, sleeping 10, so the likes of you and I can rent it out and see what kind of luxury was laid on for ol’ Wilhelm.
The long walk down the valley on the road was…well, long. I was getting a bit worn out by now.
But then the sun came out and I was quite tempted to tag on Hallin Fell. It was already pretty late however, so I decided to leave that for another day.
Some hike stats: MapMyWalk gives 14½ miles and 980m of ascent (which is bit of an underestimate I think).
Wainwrights: Bonscale Pike, Arthur’s Pike, Loadpot Hill, Wether Hill, High Raise, Kidsty Pike, Rampsgill Head, The Knott, Rest Dodd, The Nab.
Birketts: those ten, plus Red Crag. I could, and should, have revisited the top of Swarth Fell while I was at it. But I didn’t. Never mind.