Posts tagged 'Hartsop'

A weekend based in Keswick – Jan 2013 – Part 2

Posted by on January 23rd 2013 in Great Escapes, YHA

Saturday morning and I was up way before sunrise. Predictably, Ella was reluctant to relinquish her duvet until I reminded her that she might miss breakfast. As we sat in the restaurant munching our fry-ups we watched the skies lighten and the light snow falling. A quick check of the MWIS forecast confirmed that we'd get high winds and some snow on the tops, with temperatures dipping to -5C and a significant wind-chill factor. The plan was to bag The Nab, a peat-hag-infested fell best attempted when the ground's either fully-frozen or dessicated due to drought.

After we'd filled the flasks we packed the gear in the car and headed off for Hartsop. The drive was a doddle (apart from the diversions set up in Keswick) as the roads were fairly snow-free without much frost. We parked up in the small car-park at the far end of Hartsop and stuffed some cash into the honesty-box  - none of yer National Trust Fund Cash-Extractor shenanigans in this neck of the woods. We kitted-up and headed for the path that rises across the breast of Brock Crags. While we'd stopped above the intake-wall to allow Ella to faff with hats and gloves I nabbed a few pics:

 

Ella in Blue Mode

 

Hartsop Dodd et al

 

We soon reached the open fellside and made for the gap in the wall where we had a tea-break and donned crampons - the snow wasn't deep but the grassy track was full of frozen run-off which made spikes a sensible option. A bit further on we got the first of our many sightings of deer, and Ella took a shine to some trees:

 

Deer

 

Looking towards Hayeswater

 

Tree in icy ground

 

Before long we'd reached another gap in another wall, this time at the col between Brock Crags and Satura Crag. By then the wind was picking up and the temperature had dropped to -7C. Time for a cuppa and some more pics:

 

Hayeswater from the col

 

Ella, in Yellow Mode, heading for the gateposts on Satura Crag

 

When we got to Satura Crag we got our first look at the route to The Nab. It wasn't far but didn't look very appealing:

 

The route to The Nab

 

We took stock of the situation... three miles there and back, three ups and three downs, temperature down to -8C, winds 25mph gusting 35mph throwing around plenty of ice, lowering cloud, conditions deteriorating. I knew that I wasn't fit enough after a year of having to take it easy, so I decided that carrying on wasn't worth the risk. We took a few pics while waiting to see if conditions improved:

 

Ella in Technicolor

 

Muggins looking down Bannerdale

 

Field-testing the beard

 

While waiting we met a couple of folk coming down from Rest Dodd way. Pleasantries were exchanged before they headed off, they said that they were bound for Angle Tarn. Conditions didn't improve so we decided that we too would have a look at the view over to the tarn. We stood for a while watching the wind whip up Whirling Dervishes of spindrift which raced each other across the fellsides:

 

Angle Tarn

 

From there we took the track towards Brock Crags. The two folk that we'd chatted to were already on the skyline as we started off, it seems that they'd either gone the wrong way or had changed their plan.

 

Brock Crags (true summit on the right)

 

Angle Tarn again

 

At the true top of Brock Crags the views were surprisingly good:

 

Looking back to Buck Crag, Satura Crag and Rest Dodd

 

Looking forwards to the Brock Crags cairn

 

On the way to the Brock Crags cairn Ella couldn't resist the lure of the frozen tarns:

 

Island Girl

 

Water Margin

 

Slab

 

At the cairn we sheltered from spindrift while having a cuppa and a snack. The view from there was impressive, the Eastern Fells looking particularly moody under snow-laden cloud:

 

Panorama from Brock Crags cairn

 

From the cairn we made a bee-line for the grassy track that we'd started up a few hours before. On the way Ella snagged a crampon while crossing a collapsed section of a wall, turning an ankle which made walking painful for a while. All the fuss attracted the attention of a herd of deer which we managed to get quite close to before they took flight:

 

More deer

 

We found the track without difficulty and trudged back to the car without further incident. It hadn't been a long walk but we'd enjoyed it. Ella was happy to have bagged another Wainwright, taking her total to 13, and was chuffed with her first walk in crampons. We didn't find enough snow for self-arrest practice but that's a good excuse for another weekend away.

Soon we were back at the hostel. After we'd got cleaned up and after checking that Ella's ankle was OK we headed into town for our evening meal. Our chosen pub was The Bank Tavern where the food and service were excellent:

 

 

 

Ella's steak pie , my game casserole

 

Back at the hostel we prepped for Sunday and then chilled out before another relatively early night.

 

To be continued... 

Soloing from Patterdale

Posted by on December 15th 2011 in Great Escapes, Testing for review, YHA

After Friday's nightmare seven-hour drag up the M6 I was glad to be back on the familiar A591. The further I drove the deeper the surrounding snow was, and I was unsure as to whether the Kirkstone Pass would be navigable. In the end, after discussing the conditions with a few local folk, I decided to go for it and found that although the road-snow at the top hadn't iced over it was beginning to do so on the leeward side and that made the descent into Patterdale quite interesting.

After getting installed at the hostel the evening was spent planning routes, chatting with a Mary and Paul (a nice couple staying at the hostel) and going out into the frosty night to take some pics of the amazingly clear sky.

Saturday was cold and windy but dry with the odd bit of sunshine - perfect weather for taking in a few easy fells. I decided to nab Red Screes and Middle Dodd via Caiston Glen and the Scandale Pass. Not too far a journey, but walking into the wind and spindrift on the way up towards the Pass and then with a strong ice-laden side-wind on the pull up to Red Screes made it seem twice as far. I'll let the pics do the talking for a while...

 

The Red Screes and Middle Dodd route - about 4 miles and 2000ft of up and down.

Middle Dodd and High Hartsop Dodd from the Kirkstone Road.

A better view of Middle Dodd.

Looking back towards Hartsop.

Caiston Glen.

Little Hart Crag and High Hartsop Dodd from Broad Crag.

The wall above Broad Crag.

A wider view of Broad Crag and beyond.

Light over Morecambe Bay.

The Red Screes trig-point.

The Red Screes summit-cairn and shelter.

Looking down Smallthwaite Band towards Middle Dodd and Brotherswater.

 

Looking northwards from the upper cairn on Middle Dodd.

Red Screes from the upper cairn on Middle Dodd.

Westwards towards the Little Hart Crag and the Fairfield fells.

Eastwards - a glimpse of the Ill Bell ridge.

A better view of the lower cairn on Middle Dodd.

 

Steep ground on the descent.

 

As the descent got steeper, the views got better.

Moraines and fields.

A bit of blue sky above Little Hart Crag.

Sunlight on Angletarn Pikes.

The evening was spent much as before but without the photo-opportunities - rain had set in and cloud-cover was almost total. After a fine hostel meal and hours of chin-wagging with Mary and Paul I turned in for the night.

Sunday morning was different again - full of incessant driving rain and low clouds. Looking out from the hostel during breakfast I had half a mind to bail to the shops of Ambleside and Windermere, but managed to summon enough gumption for a quick slog up to Shipman Knotts. Another minor walk, but the clag, the wind and the abundant run-off made it quite an ordeal. There was still plenty of deep snow up there but sorry, there are hardly any pics from this walk - for most of the time the conditions were just too wet to risk soaking the camera. Here's what you get:

The Shipman Knotts route - about 4.5 miles and 1250ft of up and down.

 

Plenty of water in Stile End Beck.

A clagged-in Shipman Knotts from near Stile End Farm.

In spate - the Kent in Staveley.

And that's about it. I negotiated the A591/M6/A5 and was home in time for tea and a long session of sorting/washing/drying the gear. Job done.

Summary:

Wainwright tops reached: Red Screes (2541 ft), Middle Dodd (2106 ft), Shipman Knotts (1926 ft). All first-ascents for me.
Number of Wainwrights still to do: 9

On Saturday I was expecting that the overnight freeze would mean that the tops would be more icy than snowy, so I carried crampons. My expectations were wrong, though, and I didn't need them. I really should have taken the snooshows and the clackysticks instead - they would have saved a lot of post-holing in the seriously-deep drifts. The axe saved me several times on the steepest bits of the descent of Middle Dodd. On Sunday I took no such metalwork, I'd have been better-off taking a diving-suit and flippers!

Regarding gear taken for test-and-review... I took one item supplied by Adam Smith representing Go Outdoors. Yes, I actually got around to properly using that Montane Lite-Speed H2O jacket that I've had for months! Conditions on Sunday's walk were so wet and windy that I decided to use it as a shell over my Rab VR Climb jacket as an extra layer of defence. It kept out most of the driven rain and the hood worked well underneath my L.A. Mountain Cap. My only gripe with it is that because there are no pockets in the Lite-Speed I had to resort to gloves, and the cuffs of the jacket aren't glove-friendly. On the plus side, it kept me warm and dry and I didn't have to walk around with pockets full of water!

I was also trying out some base-layer stuff, but more about that later.

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