Grike, Crag Fell & Lank Rigg

18 01 2015

Mon 29 Sep 2014
This was Richard and my first day back in the Lakes after my Scottish Tops and, boy, was it great to be back ๐Ÿ™‚ Most people consider these fells boring but we had a great day…

(all photos with Richard’s digital but I took many of them – click on for full size/resolution)
We drove along the Cold Fell road, the high road which cuts across the end of Ennerdale Valley from Calder Bridge, and parked in a little quarry hole on Blakeley Moss just short of the stone circle. From near there, a bridleway sets off east for Grike. There used to be thick forest here but it’s all been felled now. It was in thick mist here when I last walked these fells that I heard a lone piper in the forest – very beautiful and atmospheric – and pretty unusual in England! ๐Ÿ™‚

It was quite sunny as we set off and I asked Richard to take this photo behind us of Flat Fell & Dent which we walked in snow a few years ago…

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The vehicle-width bridleway passed through the clearfelled forests and wound between Heckbarley and Blakeley gaining height easily all the way. In around a mile, the ascent of Grike hove into view…

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It was an easy enough climb up Grike and we plodded steadily up. I told Richard that the worst thing about this ascent was that we couldn’t see the interesting, northern, side of the hill. This side is riven by gills and gullies and looks pretty exciting from across Ennerdale Lake.

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The same can be said of the next hill, Crag Fell – this ascent hides the interesting Anglers Crag on its north side too. We didn’t linger on Grike but set off for the slightly boggy walk (would be bad at another time of year) to Crag Fell.

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The path passes a comms mast (Lank Rigg behind)…

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The ascent of Crag Fell is exceedingly easy and the views from it are great!

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Across Ennerdale Water to Blake Fell and Knock Murton

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Great Borne, Herdus & Bowness Knotts – it was looking across at Great Borne from here which encouraged us to walk that and Starling Dodd from Ennerdale instead of Buttermere

There was an interesting little tarn amongst the summit humps so we took some photos of it while we went to explore every hump. I was hoping to see the north side of Grike but we didn’t manage…

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Looking towards Pillar
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You can see from the last photo what a steep north side these hills have above the lake – I quite fancy trying to find a route up this side via Anglers Crag sometime. We had a last look across Ennerdale and then set off for Whoap and the route to Lank Rigg.

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There were more good views to Pillar and Steeple which had not long cleared the mist…

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We plodded up the shoulder of Whoap following the wall and turned off on the track which sets off through the grass to cross the fell in a south-westerly direction for the Lank Rigg col. This was where I got horribly lost in the mist the first time I tried to do these fells early in my Wainwrighting days…

I tried to find a ‘summit’ on Whoap but not sure there is one really. We then cut off from the track as it was heading west for the nose of Whoap. There was a short descent to the Lank Rigg col where I took the camera from Richard to get some photos of what I consider to be about the only wilderness area in the Lakes. This photo is looking to Caw Fell across the distant Worm Gill (not sure why its called that as it doesn’t really wriggle about).

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Looking back across Whoap to Grike and the clearfelled forests…

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and looking out down our return valley – another remote and unfrequented spot…

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All the way round, I’d been enthusing about what a grand day we were having and what a grand walk it was. The ascent of Lank Rigg shut me up for a while as it’s pretty steep and Richard pulled well ahead…

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We reached the first summit where we saw there was a dip across to another summit – I’m pretty sure this first one is the main summit but you’ve got to visit both while you’re there really…

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On the way across there is a little tarn and a sheep and lamb were posing by the edge. I had the camera at the time so was quite a while catching Richard up on the second summit as I clicked away getting various views of the sheep across the tarn…

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I liked the mossy lumps around one end of the tarn too…
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From the second summit there is a stone shelter which had a raven sat atop it – unfortunately, it flew off as I messed with the camera zoom… More wilderness behind this shot

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Unfortunately, you can see Sellafield/Calder Hall nuclear power station on the horizon on this shot. You can pretty much see Sellafield from many of the western fells though. I prefer windfarms to huge nuclear power station blocks and towers personally and I also worry about where we’re going to store all that everlasting and lethal waste. I also worry about a Cumbrian Chernobyl (there have been incidents at Sellafield in the past anyway).

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We headed back to the first summit for a hot drink and a shortcake biscuit…

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and then started the re-descent to the col before Whoap to take the track back from the col to the Cold Fell road.

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The path follows Red Gill and Whoap Beck – a pretty good path rakes down the head of the first gill…

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Looking back at the valley head we’d just descended…

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The valley return isn’t much to look at but, where the valley bends, our route was over the shoulder of another small hill – this lends an enclosed and remote feel to the walk out. When I first did this route I hated the solitude – I’d left Richard in the car and just wanted to get back there. Now I love it and really enjoyed the walk out and would have loved it just as much if I’d been on my own this time. Just shows how we change over the years!

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Looking back wistfully before we climb out of the valley…

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Okay, we’ve crossed the gills and now we’re really leaving – just one more look back…

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I felt like turning and running back up the valley at this point. I resisted and led Richard along the bridleway as it rose between Lankrigg Moss and White Esk. The path then falls back to the Cold Fell road on the opposite side of Blakeley to our outward route.

From there it was but a short walk back to the car and we sat in the sun for a while to finish our flasks and the biscuits. A wonderful day out and we both thoroughly enjoyed it! ๐Ÿ™‚

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21 responses

25 01 2015
fedup

Did you not search Lank Rigg’s summit cairn for treasure, there’s usually a few coins left under the stones! I usually do those three with Ennerdale Fell visiting the Sabre wreckage – I think that should have been included by AW! You do know a new nuclear power station has been mooted, although I think you need to be more worried about the huge underground repository Copeland are desperate to get despite sound scientific advice against it!! Cheers Simon

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26 01 2015
mountaincoward

Well the waste-burial is one of my main concerns – that and it doing a ‘Fukushima’ or ‘Chernobyl’!

No, we didn’t have a look in the cairn. I know Wainwright said he put something like a shilling or a two-bob bit in the cairn but I have quite a few of those ๐Ÿ™‚
Carol.

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27 01 2015
fedup

In which case you want to be either as close to it as possible (quick-death) or as far away as possible (no effect at all)!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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28 01 2015
mountaincoward

Hmmm – not sure about that. It might be the quickest death next to it but, bearing in mind how really horrible it would be, I don’t think it could ever be quick enough!

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19 01 2015
bob

Looks an empty quarter for the Lakes. IMHO that’s the best and only way to appreciate the pipes…., from a distance when the drone gets filtered and the beauty of the notes sing out clearly. Too close and it’s just noise which is why I prefer the Irish Pipes for indoor performances.

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19 01 2015
mountaincoward

I’m sure you’re right about the pipes. It really was a wonderful experience drifting out of the forest in the mist!

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19 01 2015
chrissiedixie

That looked just like my kind of country! Great weather you had too. Love those sheep ๐Ÿ˜€

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19 01 2015
mountaincoward

It does look a bit like some of the places around your way where you go camping…

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19 01 2015
underswansea

Wonderful account. It looks like lovely country with great views. Are the sheep wild? I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your travels. I feel like I’m discovering something from my past

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19 01 2015
mountaincoward

The sheep aren’t wild. They’re gathered in once or twice a year for various ‘tasks’, especially shearing. But the rest of the time they’re left to wander the felltops. Some of them evade capture in the round-ups and become wild. You can always tell those as their fleeces are tatty and hanging off in summer where they’ve tried to scratch it away as they haven’t been sheared for the hot weather.

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18 01 2015
McEff

Hi Carol. That looks like a thoroughly enjoyable day out. I must get myself over to the western fells sometime because it’s years since I’ve walked there.
At the risk of stoking up a debate, I will just add that I, too, prefer wind farms to nuclear plants. I lived in a village next to a wind farm once and had no problem with it at all. But I would draw the line at living in the shadow of a nuclear plant.
Great pictures, as usual.
Cheers, Alen

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19 01 2015
mountaincoward

I’m considering moving to NW Cumbria when I retire and keep trying to calculate whether I’m a safe distance from Sellafield in case it has more problems!

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19 01 2015
McEff

I was exactly a year old in October 1957 when a fire at Windscale caused Britainโ€™s worst ever nuclear accident. It was huge issue locally and lots of people were terrified. It caused more radioactive contamination than the incident at Three Mile Island โ€“ so if I suddenly peg out you know what to blame.

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19 01 2015
mountaincoward

As it’s probably a few years ago for you now, I think you can probably safely say you’ve survived that one! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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19 01 2015
McEff

Ah, but only just . . .

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20 01 2015
EchoohcE

I was on top of Scafell Pike some years ago in thick mist with a south-west wind, and suddenly just for a few seconds, I swear I could smell iodine… my immediate thought was ‘Sellafield’…
On the other hand it could have been someone using an antiseptic wipe ten yards away, but I don’t think so ๐Ÿ˜‰

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20 01 2015
mountaincoward

I wouldn’t be at all surprised at smelling Sellafield from a great distance and way up in the hills with a ‘favourable’ wind…

Mind you, talking of strange mountain smells, I smelt a distinct smell of brimstone while descending the back of Ben Starav last summer. I have absolutely no explanation for that. If there’d been a recent rockfall, I’m sure I’d have heard it!

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18 01 2015
mbc1955

A nicely nostalgic account, your route having followed, pretty near step by step, the round I followed when collecting these fells for my own set of Wainwrights. Except that the forests were still uncleared on my visit. The fells of the Western Margins, as I tend to call them, can often feel like private country.

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18 01 2015
mountaincoward

I think they’ve only just felled the forests. It was better when they were there as it lent a more private feel to the whole walk from the off.
Carol.

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18 01 2015
EchoohcE

Hi Carol, thanks for a wonderful day out; with the great photo’s and descriptive narrative it almost really felt like being there. I have never trod these hills, in fact most of the western fells apart from the bigger more obvious ‘targets’. I shall definitely be making amends – these quiet unspoilt fells and upland valleys do look remote – I can understand why you were reluctant to leave. After the edge of the clear-felled forest I couldn’t see any walls or fences on your photo’s, which encourages the feeling of wilderness, if you don’t look too far to the west!
Cheers, Mike

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18 01 2015
mountaincoward

I honestly can’t understand why Lank Rigg gets such a bad press. It’s totally in the middle of nowhere and has a lovely remote feel which you don’t often get in Lakeland.

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