High Pike & Roughton Gill Exploration

4 05 2014

March 2014
On our March trip to the Lakes, we couldn’t get into our first choice of Broughton-in-Furness and Richard’s favourite pub there – apparently they have contractors staying at the moment ๐Ÿ˜ฆ – so we decided to go to Braithwaite instead. As we are now ‘bagging Wainwrights’ for Richard, that left plenty of little ones to pick from. As the weather wasn’t great, with mainly very high winds, they were ideal for the conditions. The first day out we’d decided to do High Pike which I previously thought was a very boring hill – I was about to change my mind…

As the weather was rubbish, and the clag was down nearly to ground level, I left my camera in the car so all photos on the High Pike walk are with Richard’s digi-camera.

Both Richard and I are struggling with groin strains at the moment (we didn’t get them together, honest ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) – I’ve had mine for 6 months now with no real improvement – apparently the docs think my leg/musculature is perfect though! Richard’s is caused by the fact that he’s getting arthritis in his hip and he walks funny! (the physio and the doctor said that, not me – although I agree with them). We’re both struggling downhill a bit, are fine uphill and mine is really playing me up on flat, hard surfaces (not a favourite of my legs anyway). I’m okay though so long as I never stop walking ๐Ÿ˜‰ if I do, it stiffens up horribly.

To start the walk, we parked on the tiny road across the lovely little common round the back of Carrock Fell after squeezing past a broken-down coach which had been bearing schoolchildren. Amazingly, the kids had actually got out of the coach and were exploring amongst the boulders below Carrock Fell – I was surprised they weren’t just sat around playing on their phones!

We set off along the path which follows Carrock Beck under West Fell and rises gently to the fold between West Fell and High Pike. At this point the path steepens up the side of a gill where there are many old mine workings and spoil heaps. There are notices everywhere at the start of the route telling you that it’s illegal to pick up any ‘samples’ here but they’re pretty much ‘worked out’ anyway nowadays and we didn’t see any interesting ones to bag ๐Ÿ˜‰

I noticed that, as we started to climb, Richard got further and further behind and leaned more heavily on his single walking pole – he didn’t look comfortable. Luckily, at this point, the cloud had started to rise and the views were becoming more interesting so I didn’t mind waiting around. Eventually his leg pretty much seized up and he had to sit for a while. Fortunately, mine was behaving itself at the time.

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Looking back down gill (above) and top of gill (below)
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After a short rest while we admired the mine area and Richard rested, we set off again up to where a sort-of collapsed trough crossed our path just above the top of the gill – it went a long way in each direction. A good vehicle-sized path followed the edge of this going left to the col before Lingy Hill and right over the shoulder of West Fell.

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We followed the track left along the side of the collapsed trough for a while as we could see a sign ahead which we hoped was a mine shaft – it was… We had a roam around the fence looking down into it as best we could while I, being taller, took a photo down into it.

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We’d just passed a track heading straight up for the summit of High Pike which had, by now, obligingly cleared of clag, so we headed back to it and off up it. It was a great track which plodded steadily up a few more hundred feet to the summit. Even when I thought I didn’t like High Pike much, previously classing it as a boring fell, I always admired the summit furniture! There’s the summit trig, a cairn, also a stone bench and I think there also used to be a stone table. It was pretty windy and cold up there though so we rambled over to another cairn overlooking the northern view and then set off back to head down to the Lingy Hill col.

I’d have liked to visit Lingy Hill’s hut/shelter but we decided it was way too windy and cold to bother. Luckily, once we hit the vehicle-track again, we ended up dropping out of the wind and into sunshine for the rest of the walk ๐Ÿ™‚

There are loads of interesting gills around this area and down the front of High Pike – we crossed the head of this one before heading towards Carrock Fell (in the distance in the photo). I’m pretty sure we rejoined the same gill further down when we headed down a track back to Carrock Beck.

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Looking back to High Pike

We followed a good track round left to head towards Carrock Fell but decided we’d be pushing our luck legs-wise to include that today, although Richard was now walking quite a bit better and had loosened up. I was very sad to turn away from Carrock as I haven’t been on it for ages and it’s an interesting fell with an ancient hill fort at the summit.

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Carrock Fell – temptingly near!

Still, our route down alongside the gill was very easy and pretty ๐Ÿ™‚

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The gill descent yielded good views of the extensive gills across the front of High Pike…

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As we crossed Carrock Beck back to our outward path we got another nice view back to High Pike…

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As we reached the road, both limping slightly after our descent, I found this roadside tree and old wall attractive – not sure what the pile of stones around the tree is?

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As it had been a short day, we weren’t completely lame, and we were in the area, we decided to head around to Roughton Gill for an exploration of it as we’d heard much about it and the old mine workings there. As we parked up and got out of the car at Fell Side, we found it had turned absolutely freezing and the sun had now gone. This meant that our walk up the first part of the gill had to be very brisk indeed before we froze to death!
(my photos now except where marked)

Roughton Gill Track

It’s a couple of miles along the good track until you reach the old mine workings. At one point, before the path crossed the main beck over a wooden bridge, we were fascinated to see the round base of an old chimney amongst some of the old mine ruins.

Roughton Gill - near mine workings
Old Mine Workings

Roughton Gill - After Bridge

Roughten Gill

When we reached the foot of Roughton Gill, I found I was pretty determined to try to get as far up it as I could and led Richard up a lovely grassy mine path to the right of the gill (second gill from the right on the photo below).

Roughton Gill Mine Tracks

This petered out at quite a narrow and awkward section above the gill but we clambered round it. I decided to scrabble up the loose stuff the other side of the gill (easily hopped over at this point) but Richard decided it was too loose and went back down to the buildings below.

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Me heading off for my exploration (Richard’s photo, above) Looking back down (below)
Roughton Gill - Looking Down

I managed to scrabble up to the path at the other side of the gill and headed on upwards.

Roughton Gill Waterfall

There was a bit of mild scrambling here and there and the route was very interesting indeed. I got to one section where I would have had to do a small amount of rock climbing or head upwards on very steep loose stuff indeed. As I was on my own, unfortunately discretion got the better part of any valour I have and I ended up jumping back across the beck for easier grassy ground to circumvent that bit – I was pretty disappointed though.

Shortly after the grassy section, I decided to cross back over but found my way pretty much blocked ahead from what I could see. I had a choice of going up the beck (which looked possible), rising steeply on grass from where I’d crossed back over – but that looked to become increasingly dangerous, or scrabble up more steep, loose stuff to another path high above the gill. In the end, I decided to give up for the day and return to Richard on a nice path which cut back across the face of the fell below quite a few other interesting gills.

Roughton Gill - as far as I got
Where I gave up for the day

Next Gill to Roughten
The next gill further left
Head of Roughten Gill Valley

The route was pretty nice and I got to see many more gills but knew Richard would be wondering where the hell I’d got to so, at the furthest gill, I descended quickly back to the side of Roughton Gill and the path I’d come up on.

Roughton Gill Head
Heading back to Roughton Gill

I’d really like to continue up the gill again another time if I can get someone else to come up with me…

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Richard’s photo again

Luckily, by the next day we could still walk normally but the weather was absolutely dire so we just bagged Ling Fell and I ran all the way back around a lovely track which joined the Old Corpse Road as it was good going – Richard just went back down the same route we went up. I was pleased to find my leg bore the running okay.

The day after that we headed off back home but I insisted Richard bagged Great Mell Fell on the way back. I couldn’t really remember much about the fell but found I really liked it as the trees were absolutely beautiful on the hill – unfortunately I hadn’t taken my camera again as it was horrifically windy and we’d just gone for a very quick ‘bag’ of it. I’ll certainly go up it again with my camera on a nicer day though.

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12 responses

19 05 2014
bentehaarstad

Nice landscapes.

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19 05 2014
mountaincoward

The English Lake District, where these are, is great as there is so much variety ๐Ÿ™‚

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7 05 2014
McEff

Hi Carol. Another great walk. That’s a fascinating area of the Lakes, chock full of history. I’m not all that familiar with the Caldbeck fells, but it’s a great place to ramble in and I must get myself back there.
It’s very tempting to offer advice on groin strains but it seems a bit inappropriate. So I won’t. Just keep off the racing bike for a while.
All the best, Alen

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7 05 2014
mountaincoward

Funnily enough, talking of keeping off the racing bike – I actually slipped while climbing a metal gate the other day (taking an illegal shortcut) and landed groin-first on top of the gate – to say it was painful was an understatement. Good job I’m not a bloke! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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7 05 2014
McEff

Ouch. I felt it anyway.

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7 05 2014
mountaincoward

Good job no-one was about or they’d have heard it!

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5 05 2014
fedup

Great area of the Lakes, not as quiet as it used to be unfortunately.
It’s a shame you turned back at those rocks as they are virtually the last hurdle!!

Cheers SImon

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6 05 2014
mountaincoward

I’ll certainly be having another go. I think it was more that Richard was waiting around at the bottom and it was cold…

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5 05 2014
chrissiedixie

I’ve not explored that area of the Lakes, but keep meaning to. It always looks nice on blogs – and it always looks less busy than the rest of the Lakes, too!

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6 05 2014
mountaincoward

It certainly wasn’t busy up Roughton Gill – we didn’t see a soul! There weren’t many on High Pike either. They’re definitely quieter than the main Lakeland hills and a totally different character.

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5 05 2014
bob

Looks an empty quarter that area. Old age never comes alone. Just recently I’ve had pains in both wrists which is either down to writing too much or arthritis starting up. Olbas Oil rubbed in helps as it puts a good heat in them but it’s not going away. “Age shall not wither them”- Yeah right! What clueless idiot said that? Oh, to be 30 again!

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5 05 2014
mountaincoward

It is a quiet part of the Lakes – High Pike is Chris Bonington’s local hill by the way…

Never thought of using Olbas Oil like that – great idea ๐Ÿ™‚ So far as I know, as I have osteoporosis, I shouldn’t get arthritis – but you never know of course!

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