Eskdale – Climbing Crags Exploration & Muncaster Fell

9 10 2019

Back in springtime (when I had money to go away with!)

This was a mini-break Richard and I had to Boot in Eskdale where I have an hotel I’m particularly fond of – especially their food! Eskdale is also just about my favourite Lakeland valley…

All photos my Zenith manual film camera except where labelled

On the evening we arrived we set out for a stroll… Now I have a healthy hip I like to go for a ‘quick flip’ of an evening – as usual, Richard and I had differing ambitions. He just wanted a stroll along the river and I wanted to go exploring…

It is a beautiful river…

Doctor Bridge – our splitting-up point

I’d always been fascinated by Goat Crags – a very bare-looking set of crags sticking up above the other lumps and bumps near the head of the valley. I was also interested in the crags by the roadside near Wha House Farm (and parking) which looked like good climbing (Hare Crags). A later google showed both to be excellent climbing sites – I just need a leader – any volunteers? ๐Ÿ™‚

I managed to find a path heading to Hare Crags and saw there were various exciting looking grassy rakes across the middle of them. I selected one and, on gaining enough height on the path, branched off towards it. The rake was nothing like as exciting as it looked but gave a good close-up of the great slab climbing there and took me up above the crags with ease.

From the top of Hare Crags I could see my next objective – Goat Crags. Unfortunately, first I had to negotiate a wall – there were no stiles whatsoever so I had to climb over…

Goat Crags – all the climbing is on the left-hand side

Goat Crags are in two sections (which I didn’t realise until I’d completed the first section and saw I had a long way to go!). As I was on my own, obviously climbing was out – I don’t generally solo climbs! But there was some really excellent and grippy scrambling varying from small grassy gullies to wide aretes.

The only problem I was having was with the wind! it was really strong and was blowing along the face of the crag and kept trying to pluck me off the rock! It was even blowing my coat up over my head when it could – and it was fastened up! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

When I reached the summit there were various easy routes back down to the grass behind – something else I like on a climbing crag.

It was now pretty late and near evening mealtime and I knew Richard would be hopping about angrily soon! I had various options for my return but, being me, had to go for the longest and most ambitious. I had a yen to see Stony Tarn once more…

As I set off up the fellside opposite, a lovely light hit Goat Crags’ climbing face – Harter Fell is behind…

Superb climbing crags!

Stony Tarn was further away than I reckoned on and higher up so I was a bit out of puff but pretty relieved when I saw it below me…

I quickly descended to it and crossed the outflow to the track down to Eel Tarn where I got another quick photo before hurrying on down…

I was back at the hotel by 1840 and showered and ready for tea by 1850! Richard wasn’t cross or worried fortunately…

The next day the weather forecast was dubious so we just set out for my favourite walk in the area – that to Burnmoor Tarn. I do this walk every time I go to Eskdale and never tire of it. Instead of going straight up the bridleway zig-zags to the old peat huts, this time we decided to include Blea Tarn. This is up a really great old track…

We heard one of the little trains coming along the miniature railway, “La’al Ratty” (Ravenglass & Eskdale railway) and Richard snapped a digi-photo of it…

I took some photos on reaching Blea Tarn but then put the camera away for the rest of the day as it went very dull and gloomy…

Just as we approached Boot again, the weather came out lovely and sunny. We were asked by a group of lads here whether the track would take them to Scafell. I said it would – eventually… but informed them it was probably the least pleasant route to Scafell ever. I was horrified to wonder, after they’d gone, whether they actually meant Scafell Pike – as that’s the highest English peak, most are heading for that. Of course, that is past Scafell from Eskdale, it was late in the day, and the lads didn’t look too experienced.

I’d told them they had to cross one of the worst bogs in the area past Burnmoor Tarn and pointed out that the guy who was wearing white socks and low-level shoes was definitely going to give them a good christening! We saw them later at teatime in the hotel and I was right!

As it was a nice evening and we felt we hadn’t walked enough, we took a walk out to Stanley Ghyll to see the waterfall…

The next day wasn’t a great forecast either (although it turned out quite nice) so we just took ‘La’al Ratty’ down to Muncaster Mill station and walked back over Muncaster Fell – a fell I haven’t done for literally years!

After ascending through the woods to Muncaster Castle, there is a nice lane up to a private tarn…

There is then a nice path through wild rhododendrons (of which there are a very great many on the fellside) – as the bushes clear, the summit hoves into view…

The summit is soon and easily reached where there are views to the estuary…

There are paths literally all over the fell and it gets quite confusing. There are also a lot of bogs. We did a lot of crossing the fell from one path to another…

looking back to summits

a very chewed hawthorn bush…

We nearly missed Ross’s camp as it was behind us on another path by the time we realised…


Spot my little mascot bunny, Teeny, on the slab! ๐Ÿ˜‰

We then left the fell top for the long and pleasant descent – the tracks went down from multiple to single here at last!

There is a final bump or hillock at the end of the ridge which we didn’t bother going up. The only reason I didn’t go up was that I just loved the old made track around it. At this point, Richard was going sooo fast he was just a red blur! ๐Ÿ˜‰

looking back to the main fell

The good track then descended back to Eskdale Green – this was a particularly pretty section…

A great half day’s walk whatever the weather – and the weather was fine in the end despite the forecast!

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24 responses

17 11 2019
myplaidheart

I love the name of your blog. ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks like such a wonderful hike. Gorgeous scenery and I really like that packhorse bridge!

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17 11 2019
mountaincoward

Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

Eskdale is my favourite Lake District valley – the only one with no lake but the prettiest and with the best walking in my view. There’s a lot of those packhorse bridges in the Lakes…

Liked by 1 person

13 10 2019
tessapark1969

Some nice views there. Never been to Eskdale – needs rectified really.

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13 10 2019
mountaincoward

The only valley without a lake but really, really pretty. Also lots of nice non-hill walking for the bad-weather days

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10 10 2019
Blue Sky Scotland

Good photographs. I’ve never rock climbed in Eskdale. Have you got your free bus pass yet? Do you get one down there? Richard sounds more like me, happy with the lush valleys and farmlands.

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10 10 2019
mountaincoward

Have I b*ll*cks got my free bus pass! WE won’t get one – it’ll be stopped well before then! England does have one at the moment but it’s due to be stopped shortly, along with free TV licence for over 75s (already stopped in fact) and the winter heating allowance for low-income pensioners. They’re also planning to not give me my pension now until I’m 75!

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10 10 2019
John Bainbridge

Grand pictures indeed.

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10 10 2019
mountaincoward

Thanks John. Despite the dire forecasts for both days, the weather turned out pretty well ๐Ÿ™‚

Liked by 1 person

11 10 2019
John Bainbridge

The forecasting seems really bad. In advance they said our recent foray into the Trossachs was going to be abominable. Instead we had some grand weather and the odd modest shower.

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11 10 2019
mountaincoward

Well, so long as they get it wrong in that direction, it’s not so bad. It’s worse when they say it will be nice and then it turns ‘orrid!

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12 10 2019
John Bainbridge

I’m just baffled how with all the technology they get it wrong at all. I find MWIS the most accurate,

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12 10 2019
mountaincoward

MWIS are good – and they give you the essential weather – that on the tops! I’m not finding the BBC online weather too bad – apart from this morning. It said it would be gloriously sunny all day so I set off to work, noticing it was actually raining. By the time I got to work, I had soaking wet feet all day and wet trousers for a good part of the morning – I was frozen! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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9 10 2019
Alli Templeton

A river with rocks in! My favourite. That, like everywhere else you ventured, looks absolutely gorgeous. I’m not surprised you were late back on your first night with crags and tarns like that all around. Hope tea lived up to expectations.

Glad the weather was better than was forecast on day two, and well done on some great adventures and another fab crop of winning photos. ๐Ÿ™‚

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10 10 2019
mountaincoward

Thanks Alli. The grub in that hotel is really superb – especially for vegetarians – they have at least 3 choices most days and all wonderful. They also do a superb blackcurrant pie which I eat heaps of – I have to have at least 2 portions of it a day – it’s gorgeous – not oversweetened and plenty of fruit!

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10 10 2019
Alli Templeton

Sounds fantastic, Carol. A hotel that’s geared up for vegetarians. We need to check it out when we’re next up that way.
If you’re doing all that walking and climbing, you can afford two portions of blackcurrant pie!

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11 10 2019
mountaincoward

That’s exactly how I look at it. It used to be 3 portions of pud but then age caught up with me a bit and I had to start being careful unfortunately.

The hotel is Brooke House Hotel in Boot down Eskdale.

Liked by 1 person

11 10 2019
Alli Templeton

I’d have to be careful too – but three portions of that pie sounds fair either way! Thanks for letting me know the hotel. I’ll have a look and favourite it, especially as they’re so good with veggies. ๐Ÿ™‚

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11 10 2019
mountaincoward

If I have 3 puds, I generally have 3 different ones. Always amusing to see the face of the waitress when I say they’re all for me!

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11 10 2019
Alli Templeton

Wonderful – I’d pay to see that! ๐Ÿ™‚

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11 10 2019
mountaincoward

There’s a photo Richard took of me tackling 2 puds somewhere

Liked by 1 person

11 10 2019
Alli Templeton

I’d love to see it. I’m sure it would fit well into one of your posts ๐Ÿ˜€

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12 10 2019
mountaincoward

Richard actually suggested I had a separate blog – all about food. He calls me ‘Greedie Edie’ and said I should call it something like ‘Greedie Edie presents’ or suchlike. I’ll try to include the photo in a post somehow…

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12 10 2019
Alli Templeton

Cool! Sounds like a great idea! ๐Ÿ™‚

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13 10 2019
mountaincoward

Well you never know – I might find the time to run a second blog yet. Can’t see me giving up this one until I can’t walk any more though…

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