Tarn & Grey Crags, Longsleddale

6 03 2016

Mon 15 Feb 2016
Back in the Lakes at last after a month off in January. This time we were staying first at Kendal and then our favourite posh hotel in Grasmere, the Grasmere Hotel. As Longsleddale is just north of Kendal, I thought it was high time Richard did his two outstanding Wainwrights up the dale – besides, I hadn’t been up there myself since I did them about twenty years ago.

Tarn Crag
Tarn Crag from Goat Scar

click on photos for full size/resolution – Richard’s digi-photos are labelled

I had a quick walk up The Helm above Oxenholme on the drive up to Kendal – a lovely little hill and great weather to boot. Richard stayed at the pub while I walked – I think he really missed out!

The Helm Approach

The Helm's Glorious Ridge

The Helm & Dogwalker

The next morning was very cold but sunny so we didn’t rush off too early preferring to wait until it warmed up a bit – it isn’t a long walk anyway. We were very unfortunate to enter Longsleddale just behind a farm delivery lorry. He was pretty bad-mannered and kept us behind him for the next four miles or so up the valley despite passing several wide spots where he could easily have paused for a second and let us past. Cue several long waits as he tried to sort out how to pass oncoming cars… I was pretty furious when he eventually reached the farm he was delivering to and we eventually got past.

Longsleddale from Goat Scar
Longsleddale – a long way to stick behind a lorry and see nowt!

On getting out of the car at the end of the Gatesgarth Pass we were met with an exceedingly bitter north wind. We booted up very quickly and set off up the icy track. Two mountain bikers also set off at the same time but couldn’t get away from us as it was too windy to cycle on such a rough surface against the strong wind.

Longsleddale from Sadgill

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
R Wood

Goat Scar from Longsleddale
Goat Scar – the back of the Kentmere Round

We took a short break while I changed a film and we admired Rainsborrow Crag – quite fancy a crack at that – wonder if that’s what Richard’s thinking? 🙂

Rainsborrow Crag-Richard Admiring

Mighty Rainsborrow Crag

Probably not but he took a nice zoom of it for me – I was in awe of the huge gap in the ridge after the slabs!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
R Wood

Luckily, as we reached where the path climbs up the pass, we became more sheltered from the icy blast.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
both R Wood
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shortly afterwards we took a short break at the top of the first rise where there was a sheltering wall and a gate. I had a study of the map and gave Richard two choices. We could either go into Mosedale and head back south up the fell with the wind behind us (my choice), or we could just head up the beckside through the gate. He elected to follow the immediate beckside so we set off. Actually the wind wasn’t particularly bad up here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
both R Wood
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looking back during our snowy climb, we saw interesting-looking quarry or mine workings on the lower slopes of Harter Fell opposite and took quite a few photos. There looked to be a large group of people milling around there for some reason.

Gatesgarth Quarry & Snowy Harter Fell

Tarn Crag to Haweswater Fells
Looking through to Haweswater Fells

As we left the beckside, the snow got softer and a bit deeper and Richard started to lag and look fed-up.

Peat Hag Icicles
Soft snow but cold enough for icicles

Luckily, it wasn’t too far to the ridge-top where it flattened out a bit and a path of trodden-down snow headed off for our first summit, Tarn Crag. We romped off along the path on the firmer snow, Richard now looking happier and keeping up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
R Wood – taking photos again now he was happier! (Note the famous digi-camera snow-scene blue-tinge – the real colours below from my film camera)

Tarn Crag Water Survey Tower

We were soon at the summit where there is a small tarn, an old water board survey tower and the summit cairn. We wandered around taking photos from different angles but it was absolutely freezing just there. Predictably, Richard’s digi-camera needed a battery change which I had to assist with – luckily I didn’t have to take my gloves off but he did and suffered for it.

Tarn Crag Tower & pool
We both took more or less the same photo – mine above, his below
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The summit looking to Harrop Pike (L) and Grey Crag (R) (R Wood)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Grey Crag (R Wood)

Despite the scenic viewpoint, we had to leave as soon as we could as it was way too cold to hang around. I pointed out Grey Crag to Richard and we set off back to the fenceline on another trodden path. We then followed the fence down to the col where it was lovely and warm again – we were back in full sun and out of the wind.

Tarn Crag from descent
Looking back up to Grey Crag

I’d been eyeing Harrop Pike again as I’d done it last time and it was sat just off to our left looking great.

Harrop Pike

Harrop Pike from Tarn Crag Descent

In the end, I told Richard to go back to the sheltered sunny area about 50 yards back while I nipped up it (I knew he wouldn’t want to do it as he was suffering badly with a cold). He refused to backtrack slightly to the sunny area and said he’d look for somewhere after he’d summited Grey Crag – I hoped he found somewhere out of the wind and hurried off.

Rushing to Harrop Pike
Proper purple snowclouds above Harrop Pike – but it didn’t snow

Harrop Pike (snow)

I went as fast as I could across the flat ground to Harrop Pike and was soon there.

Haweswater Fells from Harrop Pike Summit

After taking a couple of photos and briefly visiting the summit cairn, I ran back along the path until the rise to the start of Grey Crag (I can’t run uphill).

Grey Crag Summit in snow

After reaching the summit of Grey Crag, I couldn’t see Richard so shouted a few times as he could have been in any direction. In the end, I headed off in the direction I thought he’d be hiding and heard a very curious noise. It was a bird-like piping – a bit like a demented lapwing.

After a few minutes of puzzled peering around, I saw a human figure – it was Richard blowing on some kind of whistle. When I reached him, I found it was actually just the end part of a Christmas party blower – pretty amusing thing to find being blown on a hill. I told him I hoped it wasn’t his emergency whistle!

It was really nice and warm where he’d been sitting so I stopped for a hot coffee and some of his flapjack. We couldn’t see the best descent from there – I was wanting to go left and head down the tongue heading back to Stockdale between the becks. Richard said he’d prefer to go right as he thought that was what Wainwright had said. I couldn’t remember the route I’d done last time when I’d ascended the hill to do the round in the opposite direction.

In the end, we went left for the tongue but ended up diverting down the beck instead. We had to climb a few fences and broken walls but were treated to some beautiful icy crystals and frozen waterfalls in the beck so took a few more photos.

Ice Crystals in Waterfall

Ice Waterfall (final Crop)
Both cameras handled this shot slightly differently – my film above and Richard’s digi below
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Richard’s again

Eventually, we found a very wet path heading down towards Stockdale. Luckily, this eventually turned into a good path just above the highest farm. We were soon going down a lane back to the road where we had around half a mile round the corner to Sadgill.

Longsleddale from Stockdale

Stockgill to Sadgill lane

It was now lovely and warm at Sadgill – the north wind must have changed direction. Unfortunately for my poor Sunny, when I went to unlock the back hatch, I found the strut arm had fallen off just as I shut it and ended up getting trapped when I slammed it shut. There didn’t look to be too much damage apart from a nick in the paintwork fortunately.

Stats: 8 miles, 1780 feet of ascent

Advertisements

Actions

Information

18 responses

17 03 2016
Mark

Surprised this is your first visit to Longsleddale😳 More Pennine in nature than the fells of Kentmere but I’ve always enjoyed my trips here. Mostly I’ve been there on route to the bothy of Mosedale Cottage.

Like

17 03 2016
mountaincoward

I’ve been there before but only once and not for about 20 years. It was nicer than I remembered and I was glad I’d revisited. I’m enjoying bagging Richard’s Wainwrights! 😉

Like

10 03 2016
fedup

Postman Pat Country 🙂 Surprisingly with no single track ‘Passing Place’ signs, I find 99.9% drivers North of the border are more thoughtful on single track roads then those in England! Great pics of some under rated hills 😀

Cheers Si

Like

12 03 2016
mountaincoward

We saw the lorry driver was from Burnley – we both said that explained everything!

I’m looking forward to the Bannisdale Horseshoe outlyings after seeing them as we came off Grey Crag – looks a great round 🙂

Like

10 03 2016
surfnslide

Only done these hills once, coincidentally the same weekend when I went to Tarn How’s on the cloud. It was a much nicer day! Some great photos, been so long since I used a film camera I’d forgotten how different the end results are

Like

10 03 2016
mountaincoward

Grey Crag definitely needs snow!

Like

8 03 2016
chrissiedixie

Wonderful contrast between the weather on the tops and the weather low down!

Like

8 03 2016
mountaincoward

I was glad there was some snow on the tops as it made what would have been quite a boring grassy plod much more interesting 🙂

Like

7 03 2016
tessapark1969

Looks a lovely day for it. I’m yet to do many of the Far Eastern fells.

Like

8 03 2016
mountaincoward

I think those two must be the least interesting of the Far Easterns – pick a snowy day!

Like

7 03 2016
McEff

I like walking those fells. Once out of Sleddale you hardly ever see another soul. And with ice and snow the boggy parts (and there are many of them) are usually not so boggy.
Great pictures, Carol. Very clear and crisp. It’s interesting to note the difference between digital and film.
Cheers, Alen

Like

8 03 2016
mountaincoward

I can’t get over the blueness of digital – I do think it looks good on snowscenes though – just less honest somehow…

Liked by 1 person

7 03 2016
Blue Sky Scotland

My kind of weather. Nice to see snow in the Lakes as that is a novelty for us. Great photos. I find it funny you seem to be getting into scrambling long after folk that took up scrambling in their youth have packed it in. What kind of pills are you taking? I pull a muscle just taking off my boots these days :o)

Like

7 03 2016
mountaincoward

Getting into scrambling doesn’t mean the same as ‘good at it’! 😉

Like

6 03 2016
underswansea

Looked like a fantastic day. You even had blue sky. Very fine report and photos. Bob

Like

7 03 2016
mountaincoward

It was a lovely day out – just a bit bitter at the start. We soon warmed up though 🙂

Like

6 03 2016
Gaslight Crime

Looks magnificent, John B.

Like

7 03 2016
mountaincoward

It was pretty good – and the snow topping made it even better 🙂 Grey Crag can be a boring trudge without.

Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: