Great Borne & Starling Dodd from Ennerdale

16 11 2014

Wed 29 Oct 2014
Unfortunately, I forgot my film camera for this walk – and the weather was perfect! 😐 So, these are all taken with Richard’s digital – while they’ve all come out great, I can’t help thinking how nice they’d have been with the film SLR.

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(Some photos taken by me, most by Richard – click on for full size/resolution)
Ennerdale Lake was a beautiful flat calm and the forest was turning a beautiful gold…

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After crossing the second river bridge, we headed off left up a forest road to ascend our hills. The track followed the beck and we branched off right on a little path just after a junction in the tracks and just before a river bridge. This little path passes lots of old settlements and ruins and is very interesting. As it had had no sun though, it was very cold through this section and there was very heavy, white dew on the grass…

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We then reached a river crossing without a bridge and the beck was quite full. Richard doesn’t do river crossings with a lot of water in them! He decided to turn back and walk all the way back through the settlements to the forest track and cross via the river bridge. I did my usual – boots and socks off, boots tied together and hung around neck, wade across – simple! Unfortunately for me, after my wade, the far bank was so wet, shady and cold, there was no way I was going to dry my feet again easily. There was nothing for it but to continue in bare feet on the little path through the forest.

Pretty soon, I still hadn’t found anywhere dry, warm and sunny to sit but I had bumped into a whole herd of sheep. I thought they were just grazing in the forest so headed along one side of them. Pretty soon, I came across a sheepdog and then the farmer. He looked a bit surprised and then he asked me if I really thought my current footwear (or lack of) was suitable for forest walking? I’m quite often in a state of undress on the hill but it’s rare I get told off for it! πŸ˜‰

I briefly explained I’d had to wade the river and continued on past him barefoot… It was as well I hadn’t put my boots and socks back on as I soon came across another beck that it would be easier to wade. Just after that, I could see a sunny area ahead at last. In the sunny patch was another ruin – perfect – lovely dry stone seats to sit on while I dried my feet and got dressed again.

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As I was drying my feet with the top of my thick socks, I heard another voice and looked up to find Richard stood behind me. He’d found a crossing place after all. I was glad as I wasn’t sure how we were going to meet up again when we finally left the forest in two widely different places.

Shortly after, we left the forest and set off steeply uphill on sketchy paths for the col between Great Borne & Starling Dodd. There were great views across the valley to Pillar’s White Pike route which was in the sun…

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Soon, we split up to follow two different paths – Richard’s was going straight up the steep fellside and mine was heading more gently round into the valley leading up to the col.

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We could see what Richard calls ‘a Coach Party’ on the summit of Starling Dodd…

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Just before I reached the col, I turned steeply up a dry streambed to reach the top of the ridge. Richard was nowhere in sight – I felt sure that, with my longer route, he must be most of the way up the hill by now – I had quite a way to go to reach the foot of it…

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By the time I reached the foot of the climb, I could see Richard was nowhere on it – where had he got to? I sat down to wait… While I was sitting, I could see one solitary sheep left over from the round-up. The poor thing was stuck in a fenced enclosure and going back and forth along the fenceline desperately trying to find a way out to go and join her mates. She’d have a horrible winter stuck up there completely alone on the fell in the wild weather. 😦

Eventually, Richard hove into view plodding over the horizon – he’d taken longer on his climb than me. When he caught up he looked pretty tired and said it had been a terrible slog. We continued steeply to the summit where there were two cairns – an artistic one complete with fenceposts and the main one.

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Red Pike & High Stile Range from Summit

We then set off back down for Great Borne…

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Two of my favourite views up there – the first across Robinson to Clough Head…

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and out past Hen Comb to Kirkstile and Loweswater…

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We re-crossed the col, noting that the poor sheep had at least escaped its enclosure and was now loose on the fell – at least she could now go lower and get more shelter. Strangely though, she set off down towards Buttermere – I must admit it’s a much less desolate valley so probably more tempting!

The climb up Great Borne is much gentler and easier than the climb to Starling Dodd. Looking across to the Grasmoor range gave great views…

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Looking back to Starling Dodd looked nice too…

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We visited the main summit first…

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Richard then said he’d read that the summit across the fence was higher so we went over to have a look. We had to say that, when we reached it, we definitely didn’t think it was higher.

We then followed the path over the fell towards the descent to the Floutern Pass. Now, I knew how steep the fells were above the pass as I’d descended in that area before so I wanted to go to the end of Herdus and descend the nose of that – I’d seen it earlier in the day and it looked a lovely route. The large cairn at the end of the Herdus ridge looked a long way across heather however. I assumed a path would head that way…

When I reached a split in the paths and a faint one headed off left for Herdus, I set off along it. Richard immediately objected – he said it looked a long way across heathery ground and he thought the other path was the main one. I said it probably was the main one but was horribly steep. Nonetheless, we went along the main path to check out the descent down the fenceline. When we got there, it looked horrible. It was exceedingly steep to a bulge and then the path disappeared over the bulge even more steeply.

Even Richard baulked at the look of this descent and suggested we head off along the edge of the fell towards Herdus as I’d suggested. We’d have been better backtracking to the path junction as the pathless heather was hopeless – we were never going to get all the way to the end of Herdus across that! After a brief discussion, we decided we’d try the horrendously steep route by the fenceline after all…

The route goes down left just in front of the dark crag…

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Heading steeply down…

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The valley looks a long way below…

We finally reached the bottom (looking back up)

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The cute little peak of Flautern Cop…

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We headed off down the lovely, grassy Floutern Pass route, looking back at our hairy descent quite regularly…

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Pretty soon we reached the section of path opposite the beautiful end of Herdus – I was pretty upset we hadn’t gone that way as it looked great…

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Bowness Knotts from Flautern Pass

When we reached the foot of the pass and rejoined the road we had a couple of miles to walk back to the carpark. Bowness Knotts was looking great in the sinking sun…

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As we neared the car, we saw there had been a superb track all the way down below the end of the ridge-end of Herdus which would have saved us at least a mile of roadwalking – oh well – next time… We were glad to get back to the car as the sun was dropping very low and it was going very cold. On the high fell road from Ennerdale back to the main West Coast roads, we looked round to see a beautiful view back to Herdus and the rest of the Ennerdale peaks…

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16 responses

21 11 2014
McEff

Interesting that. I havn’t seen those ruins before but I notice the beck is called “Smithy” Beck, which suggests an industrial link.
I’ll tell you what though, Carol. You’re game for anything. I’d have blundered through the undergrowth to find a crossing place rather than get my feet wet at this time of year.
Cheers, Alen

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21 11 2014
mountaincoward

It wasn’t cold in the beck – and even if it is, it makes your circulation much quicker in your feet when you get back out and you have warm feet all day and night afterwards. That makes a nice change for me as my circulation is normally dreadful and my feet are usually freezing at night.

Simon (Fedup) think the ruins are a row of old mine working buildings – I have to say I think he’s right. It’s amazing how little I could find on Google about them though!
Carol.

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17 11 2014
bob

Really nice set of pictures I have to say. No surprise being an Olympus matched with a perfect day. Come… join us Carol…Embrace the lure and simplicity of digital :o)
Looks like a great day out. It’s been a good autumn this year with some excellent hill days in-between the storms.

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17 11 2014
mountaincoward

There’s no way I’m voluntarity going digital. The photos are very pretty but somehow lacking in detail on the water and the sky. It’s like the camera just says “Oh yes, that’s blue” and just paints it all one colour. It’s a shame I didn’t have the film SLR as then I could have put examples of both out and we could see the difference. The digital ones (certainly the point-and-shoot) do seem to ‘average everything out’ – as mine is totally manual, it can’t.

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17 11 2014
underswansea

The first few pictures of Ennerdale Lake could easily be mistaken for many of our lakes in the valley bottom. It sounds like a lovely hike, even partly travelled barefoot – I’m still trying to figure out what kind of coward you are : ) That looks like one hell of a steep fence line! Also, how old are the ruins? Take care. Bob

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17 11 2014
mountaincoward

I’m not sure about the ruins – I’ll have to have a google sometime I think – they looked pretty interesting and there was a long row of them plus some further ones scattered about further uphill. A bit like an old village. Before the forest was planted (it’s commercial forestry just there), it was probably a lovely, sunny and scenic spot to live!

I’m mainly a coward of steep and loose hills but have other fears in the hills too. But I’m not bad in our English Lake District as I’ve been walking there all my life and ‘trust it’…
Carol.

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17 11 2014
chrissiedixie

That looked like a really nice day, Carol!

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17 11 2014
mountaincoward

It was wonderful – it’s so nice to be back in the Lakes πŸ™‚

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16 11 2014
fedup

Fantastic Pictures πŸ˜€ The dry steambed is an odd place isn’t it? Near the top it looks like there are some oddly placed structures – not sure if you noticed these or it was just my imagination! Steel Edge is a steep descent but it is worse going up πŸ˜‰ There is a good route going up between Bowness Knott & Herdus that follows a steep gill with a few worthwhile waterfalls passing by an old fox trap.
Cheers Simon

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17 11 2014
mountaincoward

I looked at a kind of stony gill between Herdus & Bowness Knott and it looked interesting – but it looked very steep up from there. I’d seen our route across from Crag Fell a couple of months ago and thought it looked promising. When I saw the old settlements marked on the map, that made up my mind for me. I’m pretty sure we’d go up that way again and use some slightly different routes though – we had a great day πŸ™‚
Carol.

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16 11 2014
smackedpentax

A beautiful photoset Carol. You forget how gorgeous the Lakes are if you don’t go there much – actually I am there in a couple of weeks! It is years since I was in Ennerdale and it is time I paid another visit. Glad the sheep got out πŸ™‚

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17 11 2014
mountaincoward

I’m glad the sheep got out too – we were wondering what to do about her if she was still stuck when we came back off Starling Dodd. Hope she finds Buttermere more to her liking than Ennerdale πŸ˜‰

We’re due back in the Lakes another 3 times before Christmas – I’m delighted – it’s great to be back there πŸ™‚
Carol.

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16 11 2014
Tessa Park

Some nice pictures there. Hoping to be back in the Lakes before too long. Still not trying to tick Wainwrights though πŸ˜†

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17 11 2014
mountaincoward

I found it really enjoyable Wainwright-bagging – they’re pretty much all nice hills and some are so easy compared to the stuff I do in Scotland. That’s why I told Richard he was Wainwright-bagging now – just so I could have a great excuse to go back to all the stuff like these 2 that I’d only visited once before and somehow not got back to. The trouble with the Lakes is, there’s too many really nice hills! πŸ™‚
Carol.

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16 11 2014
stravaigerjohn

Haven’t done these yet.

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17 11 2014
mountaincoward

I’d recommend our route with one change – that of following the path through the heather to the end of Herdus and coming back down to the road from there…

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