Hindscarth via Far Tongue Gill

27 07 2019

Sat 22 June 2019
After having an interview for my new job in Keswick in the afternoon, I planned to go down Newlands – I’d been on the fells a few weeks before and I’d seen a gill…

All photos my Zenith manual film SLR

I’d been walking on High Spy with my friend and fellow blogger Tessa and I’d spotted a gill on the fellside below Dale Head and Hindscarth. We both commented on it – she said it looked awful – I said it looked superb! I’m very interested in exploring gills nowadays – not necessarily ‘gill scrambling’ – just exploring them to see if they’re doable. I love finding out what’s around the corner…

I looked the gill up when I got home and saw it was Far Tongue Gill and Wainwright had commented on it being spectacular but didn’t appear to have explored it – very unusual for Wainwright.

It was a red-hot day when I parked up at Newlands Church – luckily for free as the paying carpark was full. Within a couple of hundred yards from the car, one of my approach shoes started making a funny noise – I suspected a stone… When I looked down, I saw the front of the sole had fallen off and was flapping around merrily (we used to call it ‘laughing’).

I didn’t have any other walking shoes with me and didn’t want to give up on my mission – what to do? I knew there was a farm very soon along the path so decided to continue to the farmyard and hunt around for a handy bit of baling twine – there’s always some of that loose around farmyards. When I reached the farm, I was in for a disappointment – this farmer was particularly tidy and there didn’t appear to be anything.

I eventually saw a dried-up muddy puddle and saw a short length of really knackered, frayed old baling twine stuck in the mud. I dragged it out and shook off the dried mud. It would have to do. It took me a couple of goes to tie it on so it didn’t fall off – the secret was to tuck one end under part of the lacing before tying it to the other end. My shoe was secured – didn’t look very tidy but it worked again. I continued happily on my way (luckily I don’t bother at all about sartorial elegance on the hill!)

In order not to wear out the twine prematurely, I walked on grass as much as I could as I followed the path up Newlands Valley. After a slight hump in the otherwise flat track, I could see my path – an old miners’ track – setting off raking up the fellside across the beck. I crossed the beck easily and started off up it.

It was really hot work up the track as it is fairly steep – it was also out of the breeze. I sweltered on upwards and soon had a problem. I hadn’t brought a map as I know the fells pretty well but there were two gills – which was mine? The first gill had a fairly rough-looking bottom end but the top end of the second gill looked more like the one I’d seen. I had a feeling it was the second gill and continued on up the track as the lower half of it was just a normal beck down the grassy hillside.

Where the miners’ track crosses the gill, you reach the spectacular part of the gill. I had a good drink out of the beck, soaked my buff for my head and had a study – it looked very rough but fine from where I was. I set off up…

There was a fairly sheer wall on the left but the right-hand side was just slabby – plenty of scope for avoiding any bad bills in the gill bed. However, as I worked my way upwards on the rocks, although I had to change sides pretty often (as you do in gills), I never had to take to the slabs.

The gill was fairly low as it had been pretty dry recently so there was no need for wet feet. There was plenty to drink though and it was nice and cool in the shade of the sheer gill wall. The only ‘problem’ I had was that I met a sheep and lamb in the gill and there was no escape route for them. In the end, I went as far as I could to one side of the beck and waited to let them rush past on the other.

spot the sheep and lamb

As I gained height, the angle eased dramatically and the sides got much grassier. There was sun on one side of the gill so I took a couple of breaks to sit in the sun by the beck.

There were no insurmountable problems in the gill whatsoever and not really any scrambling – just a bit of clambering. I’m surprised more people don’t explore it but I couldn’t find any sign of anyone else ever going there – nor can I find anything on t’internet. I’d be interested to know if anyone else has been up it though?

I eventually came out into a coombe (corrie) and saw the gill split into two with a green tongue in between them. It looked a very short climb up to the ridgeline above. I could even see a faint path which I was glad to reach.

looking back into gill exit

Far (R) and Near (L) Tongue Gills

It was a much longer climb up to the ridge than it looked and, eventually, I turned left onto a sheep track to ease the climb. I came out more or less on the col between Dale Head and Hindscarth – at this point I was undecided which hill to go for. I could see it would have been pretty easy to go from the top of the gill across the face of Dale Head to reach the rest of the Miners’ Track if desired though.

In the end, bearing in mind the state of my shoe, I decided that the Hindscarth walk was shorter and, anyway, I hadn’t been on Scope End for years. I went to catch the breeze overlooking the Buttermere Valley, took a couple of photos, and then turned right for the gentle climb to Hindscarth.

Honister Crag

Hindscarth Edge to Dale Head

I stuck to the edge of the coombe above my gill to take more photos – it looked truly spectacular from up here. The evening light made everything stand out beautifully too…

Gill exit and Dale Head’s Gable Crag with the Miner’s Track continuation above it

I even sat down and stuck my bound-up shoe into one of the photos for further interest – I couldn’t waste a film shot on that alone… Not even a completely knackered shoe puts me off my explorations! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tied on shoe – spoiling the view!

Gill running right across photo! a proper rift valley!

I had a very brief break at the summit of Hindscarth and took some more photos across to the North-Western fells, then I set off for the long ridge to Scope End.

I took lots of photos of my descent to Scope End via High Crags…

Hindscarth casts an interesting evening shadow

As the Scope End descent is in rocky steps all the way, I checked my shoe was still tied on before each rocky section – I’d have looked a bit silly falling headlong down one! I kept having to pull the twine back onto my toe properly at each step as the twine was starting to loosen.

A final look back at the end of the day!

I was soon back down and back at the sweltering car – what a superb day out! ๐Ÿ™‚

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24 responses

10 08 2019
tessapark1969

No idea how I missed this post but it looks as though you had a great walk!

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11 08 2019
mountaincoward

It was superb – going to take Richard on it next ๐Ÿ™‚

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29 07 2019
George

That looks superb. I must try that. I love Newlands. What a dilemma at the top though: Dale Head or Hindscarth/Scope End is a tough choice! The good thing is you canโ€™t go wrong as either rewards richly.

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30 07 2019
mountaincoward

the shoe was the decider!

Liked by 1 person

28 07 2019
treksandtors

I haven’t yet completed the 214 so being this far from the Lakes I hardly ever stray to these sorts of places. I guess now you have moved local that these sorts of walks are very accessible to you, which I’m very jealous of

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28 07 2019
mountaincoward

I’ve pretty much wanted to move to the Lakes all my life. Was only really possible in my line of work by retiring (I’m in IT)

Liked by 1 person

28 07 2019
treksandtors

I’ve been in IT for 20 years but left after the place I worked no longer was the place I loved. Thankfully I’ve managed to move into the National Trust and I, like you, will one day move to the Lakes. Hope you find (or have found) a job suited to yourself up there.

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28 07 2019
mountaincoward

I like my new part-time job – trouble is, I haven’t managed to leave my fulltime job yet so am working full-time as well as part-time and commuting 100 miles each way to the fulltime job (but then I’ve been doing that commute for 2.5 years now)

Liked by 1 person

28 07 2019
treksandtors

That just sounds like hard work. Surprised you have the time to get on on walks like this!!

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28 07 2019
mountaincoward

I don’t really have time but I sure make time! I’m here to live not work ๐Ÿ™‚

Liked by 1 person

28 07 2019
Jim R

A gorgeous set of photos. I like that you still use a film camera. What model is it?

You use many terms to describe the land that I am unfamiliar with. I guess as to their meaning. Gill, fell, etc. Is there a handy reference you could point me to for definitions?

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28 07 2019
mountaincoward

Sorry – all northern-speak. A gill is a mountain stream or the gorge enclosing it. A fell is old norse ‘fjell’ – meaning a peak or mountain. google is probably your best source – probably prefixing whichever word with British or something.

My camera is a really old Zenith Zenit 11 manual SLR and I love it. I don’t want to change to a digital SLR at all – one reason is because I’d have to completely re-learn everything I know! I don’t think they have much in common…

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29 07 2019
Jim R

Thanks for the info.

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28 07 2019
chrissiedixie

Looked a great day out!

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28 07 2019
mountaincoward

It was superb! I’m dragging Richard up it soon if it stays dry enough – he won’t want wet feet!

Liked by 1 person

28 07 2019
John Bainbridge

Impressive looking corner of the district.

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28 07 2019
mountaincoward

I’ve seen a few more exciting-looking gills in the vicinity now I’ve turned my attention to the subject

Liked by 1 person

27 07 2019
Blue Sky Scotland

You are certainly in a great part of the world there. Best of luck with the job.

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28 07 2019
mountaincoward

I’m actually enjoying the new job – not enjoying working full and part-time for 2 months until my notice expires though!

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27 07 2019
underswansea

Very fine post! Sounds like a great day with good views in all directions. Perhaps with your new job you can reward yourself with new boots. I wouldn’t trust finding baling twine on every hike. ๐Ÿ™‚ Take care.

Liked by 1 person

28 07 2019
mountaincoward

well I’ve had to bin those boots. But, as I’m only going to be working part-time and I’ll be retired, I’m going to be too poor for new boots without saving extensively first.

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27 07 2019
simplywendi

you hike in the most beautiful places! ๐Ÿ™‚

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28 07 2019
mountaincoward

The English Lake District is probably the most beautiful place in Britain – which is why I’ve moved here ๐Ÿ™‚

Liked by 1 person

28 07 2019
simplywendi

i can see why you moved there ๐Ÿ™‚

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