3 Loweswater Wainwrights

30 03 2016

Mon 14 Mar 2016
Richard and I really hit the good weather for our latest trip to Braithwaite near Keswick – it was superb, especially on this, our first day out to the Loweswater Fells to bag Richard some more of his final Wainwrights.

Carling Knott from Maggie's Bridge lane

Click on photos for full size/resolution – Richard’s digi-photos as marked

After our porridge (mine with cream πŸ™‚ ), we set off for the short drive over the Whinlatter Pass to the Vale of Lorton and Loweswater. I knew my friend had said there was somewhere free to park and thought he’d said “Maggie’s Bridge” but wasn’t sure. We’d asked our hoteliers before setting off though and they’d suggested a small triangle by the Kirkstile Inn turnoff – we parked up there. Of course, after around half a mile, we came across the much nearer parking which was at Maggie’s Bridge after all. Never mind, we’d warmed our legs up nicely by now…

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Gavel Fell (R Wood)

Just before setting off to the Lakes I’d finally succumbed to everyone else’s chest infection. I’d given it a couple of days to clear but decided on the day before we set off that I should really start my emergency Prednisolone supply (cortico-steroids). These usually sort out the gunge in my chest within a day or so.

My chest capacity was fairly rubbish but I decided we could do these three easy fells – well, actually four fells in our case as I always include the lovely ridge to Carling Knott which isn’t a Wainwright for some reason.

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Carling Knott (R Wood)

Hencombe start
Hencombe (my photo)

I struggled along the slightly rising track hoping I’d have no problems on the initial ascent to Gavel Fell up its fairly steep north-eastern ridge. I found though that, when I reached the start of the steeper climb, a quick command to my now superbly-strong leg muscles (especially my glutes) and my legs did all the work and my chest capacity wasn’t needed.

Mining Area under Blake Fell

Back of Blake Fell
Back of Blake Fell

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Carling Knott (R Wood)

Anyway, the views behind were so superb we couldn’t help but stop every few yards to enthuse and take photos. What a stunning day it was – the best I’ve been out in for ages.

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Grasmoor both photos R Wood
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Mellbreak End across Hencombe

Hencombe, Mellbreak & Grasmoor

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Richard again

I was finding it amusing that I kept exclaiming ‘What a beautiful day’ or ‘What a beautiful view’ every couple of minutes – amusing to me as that’s the very words a relative said when out on a walk with us as an old man. He’d just sat down in the sun to admire the view, exclaimed how lovely it all was and then he was dead! What a great way to go! I did keep wondering whether it was my turn what with the dodgy chest an’ all πŸ˜‰

We eventually reached the summit of Gavel Fell after an intermediate summit which was cairned and had Richard fooled for a minute… I knew it wasn’t the summit as I knew it should be lined up with the ridgeline to the next two fells and this wasn’t yet.

There was a bit of a boggy intermission between the two summits but that is unsurprising after the horrifically wet winter we had – the fells around Loweswater are noted for their bogginess anyway, especially the ones near the Floutern Pass. The best way to deal with unavoidable bogs are to run across them lightly – of course I couldn’t really do that with a chest infection.

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Hencombe and Buttermere Fells (R Wood)

Approaching the summit of Gavel Fell you start to see the shapeliness of my favourite fell on this route – Blake Fell. Surprisingly, I’ve only ever done Blake Fell once but I’ve wanted to re-do it for years ever since.

Blake Fell
Blake Fell

Gavel Fell Tarn to Buttermere Fells
Buttermere Fells from Gavel Fell

Grasmoor Group across Carling Knott

It was an easy romp to Blake Fell and we were amused by a singing fence during the ascent. The top wire of the fence was vibrating so hard in the wind that you could feel really strong vibrations when you got hold of it – it was almost electrified! Strangely, two walkers coming the other way didn’t appear to notice and probably wondered why I kept grabbing the top strand and grinning.

We had a peer over the steep cairned viewpoint for Cogra Moss and Knock Murton – places I have yet to visit – but decided it was too cold for a break at this point and headed down for Carling Knott.

Knock Murton & Cogra Moss

Cogra Moss from Blake Fell Viewpoint

Blake Fell tarn to Lorton Vale

Buttermere Fells from Blake Fell

Blake Fell to Grasmoor across Mellbreak
nice tarn on Blake Fell – photo comparison – film above, Richard’s digi below
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We had a wonderful time crossing the ridgeline to Carling Knott’s end as the views along here are even better and there are interesting bits of crags as foregrounds for your photos. Even Richard was enthusing wildly now and he’s generally pretty quiet.

Carling Knott to Grasmoor

Carling Knott to Buttermere Fells

Carling Knott to Gavel Pike gills

We sat out of the wind not far from the end and had a break for a coffee and biscuits and watched as the more braindead of the bagging species plodded along the ridgeline and ignored Carling Knott and its splendid promenade – all because it doesn’t have Wainwright status! Even Richard was calling them idiots and asking where they were going…

Crummock Water end from Carling Knott

After a good look around the end of the fell at the views down to Loweswater and taking many more photos, we set off on another track which took us towards the almost unnoticeable dip to our final peak, Burnbank Fell. This is pretty much a non-entity from the ridge (although more interesting from below) and we couldn’t understand why Wainwright had picked this shoulder rather than the more interesting other ridges of Blake Fell.

We’d had to do a bit of fence-crossing on this walk and found ourselves the wrong side of the fence yet again. Mind you, you could put the cairn anywhere around where it sits and it would be the same height I think – not a distinctive summit.

Last time I was on the fell, years ago now, I’d descended into the deep gill between the two peaks but this time we chose to descend the end of the fell. We decided that, if we did it again, we’d actually do the gill descent in preference to the end as our route was exceedingly steep.

Me & Richard looking down to Loweswater
Not often you see me and Richard together on a photo!

Carling Knott end from Burnbank
Carling Knott from Burnbank Fell

Just as we descended the final exceedingly steep section towards a bridleway promenading high above Loweswater on the fellside, I saw some lovely ponies. I had to go and get a photo of them and approached them slowly in order not to upset them. Just before I reached them I found the scattered skeleton of one of them – a long jawbone… a tiny hoof at the end of a folded leg… an open ribcage. Very sad to see but I’m sure it must happen a lot for ponies living semi-wild high on the fells. The tiny hoof seemed particularly poignant somehow.

semi-wild ponies on Burnbank

Initially, on reaching the bridleway promenade, we took a too-high path which petered out. It wasn’t far to descend to the lower, correct track so that was soon rectified. We were by now in the shade for the first time that day and found it was a pretty cold north-eastern wind.

Loweswater Panorama Path

Loweswater & Grasmoor Group from Burnbank

I’d originally been going to follow the promenading path around to our starting path but, as it was so cold along there, soon decided to use my previous diagonal route down through Holme Wood to the lake shore. Just before we set off down into the woodland, we came across a re-entrant with a lovely sheltered bridge over the beck – in full sun and peaceful and warm. Time for another break – I think I only ever take more than one break in the Lakes – it’s just so relaxing there…

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both R Wood
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We descended the path to the Lakeshore – short but steep, and I went to take more photos of the calm and beautiful lake and two swans peacefully gliding thereon. It was then just a short walk back along a good track to the car.

Loweswater

Loweswater Reflections

Loweswater & Holme Wood

Loweswater Tree

Richard saw a fox on the way back (his photo and his imagination)

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We passed on calling in at the Kirkstile Inn (although I’m sure Richard would have liked to) as I wanted to shop for cough pastilles. I’d coughed loudly all the night before and must have woken everyone in the hotel. We made a bad decision and called at Cockermouth where we don’t know the layout very well, don’t know where the parking is and found it was schools-out time – chaos! If we’d gone to Keswick things would have been much easier but we wanted to give Cockermouth the trade as they’ve had a few bad years with the floods.

After using sign-language to get my cough pastilles – I literally had no voice whatsoever with the lurgy I’d got and could only squeak (all the verbal enthusing on the walk probably didn’t help) – we called in at one of Richard’s favourite pubs. This is a multi-storey pub in a very old building and, the further you ascend, the more interesting and comfortable it gets. Unfortunately, the two intermediate levels had been converted for dining not drinking and our favourite, the top floor, had a private party so we didn’t stay long. As I’d already started a cough pastille I couldn’t have a drink anyway 😦

Stats: 7.5 miles, 5 hours (but lots of loitering for views and photos)

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21 responses

17 04 2016
fedup

A fine set of underated hills πŸ™‚ The approach from the other side starting from near the old mineral line near Kelton/Knockmurton fell is worth a go – I think you have a bit of a leg up height wise too πŸ˜‰

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17 04 2016
mountaincoward

I’m pretty sure I will go up onto Blake Fell at least when I visit Knock Murton

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18 04 2016
fedup

Descend over Sharp Knott, after the forest tracks you can pick up the path to the dam and loop around Cogra Moss.

Liked by 1 person

8 04 2016
Simon Howlett

Richard will soon have the Wainwrights completed with only 9 left to do, a wonderful achievement. I’ve not managed to complete any so far this year and still have 99 on my list! I’ll get there eventually πŸ™‚

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10 04 2016
mountaincoward

Well he’s just about to try for some more very soon! Mind you, I’ll be competing with him as I’d also like to do some of my Outlying Wainwrights and we can’t do both!

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2 04 2016
tessapark1969

That looked lovely. So how many more has Richard got left?

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3 04 2016
mountaincoward

Just 9 I think…

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2 04 2016
surfnslide

A group of hills I never knew existed till I followed your route on the map. Very fine indeed πŸ™‚

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3 04 2016
mountaincoward

Needs good weather though – would be a plod in bad weather and quite tedious.

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1 04 2016
underswansea

Very fine read Carol! Sounds like a wonderful day. Glad you didn’t end up like your old relative. I hope you are feeling better. I enjoyed the photos, it looks like spectacular country. Bob

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1 04 2016
mountaincoward

I’m not actually. I have a day where I feel better and then the next I’m back to square one 😦

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31 03 2016
Mark

Interesting account of a few hills I’ve yet to do. Think I’ll be seeking this post out when the time comes. Until then I’ve got the small matter of the Grahams, Donalds and New Donalds to sort out………….

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31 03 2016
mountaincoward

The Lakes will be far nicer than a lot of those I’m sure! πŸ™‚

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31 03 2016
smackedpentax

Just superb Carol – stunning photos and a walk I have done once many many years ago. You certainly had the weather…hows the limbs holding up?

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31 03 2016
mountaincoward

My limbs are doing fine – just I’ve had a ‘lurgy’ (which is going around) for a month now and I’m not getting better from that – it’s making me very weak and pathetic! 😦

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31 03 2016
smackedpentax

I had something similar, but mine came with a hacking cough… hope you get better soon 😊

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31 03 2016
mountaincoward

I’ve had the cough too – a bit of everything really but mainly weakness and a recurring sore throat

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31 03 2016
smackedpentax

Winter bugs…hopefully they will all die with the Spring weather πŸ˜‰

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31 03 2016
mountaincoward

I’m hoping they die before I do!

Liked by 1 person

30 03 2016
Blue Sky Scotland

Smashing photos. Glad you got a perfect day for it. Must be something going around. I’ve been on penicillin then steroids for well over a month now and ended up with two inhalers for a severe chest infection but it seems to be going away now, hopefully. Cant beat good weather and Doctor Sunshine as a tonic and a cure.

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31 03 2016
mountaincoward

Couldn’t agree more about the sunshine – it’s the cold which makes me susceptible to these bugs – I don’t get stuff like this in warm weather! 😦 And it is going around… countrywide! Everyone’s is lasting at least 3 weeks and everyone is really weak with it.

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