Walk                       : A Coledale Round

                                                  Date                       : 11th August 2012

                                                  Weather                 : Hot and humid around 20° C   

                                                  Route Details          : Braithwaite, Kinn, Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Coledale Hause, Eel Crag, Sail, Scar

                                                                                                   Crags, Outerside, Stile End, Barrow Door, Barrow, Braithwaite

                                                  Distance                 : 10.2 miles

 

                                                            Click here to see which part of Lakeland this walk is situated ….

 

                                                 Overview

                                                 Well, at long last, summer decided to rear its head again for a least a couple of days and I had been weather watching quite patiently

                                                                         for days leading up to this weekend and today was just perfect. The Coledale valley itself is quiet and does not attract that many visitors

                                                                         as it has nothing to offer in the way of features and attractions, just an old mine road leading to the works at the head of the valley at

                                                                         Coledale Hause. However its surrounding fells are absolutely spectacular and offer, when sufficient height is gained some of the most

                                                                         amazing views of Northern and Central Lakeland, it was also an opportunity to add another 7 Wainwright peaks to my collection.

 

 

 

Early morning and travelling down the A66 I just could not resist stopping the car and taking this quick shot of the mighty Blencathra and

for once not shrouded in mist or cloud

 

 

On with the walk though. I arrived into Braithwaite and parked in front of the village school not far from the Royal Oak pub. From there you

take the road to Whinlatter which veers off to the right as you approach the pub. There were plenty of cars parked up where ever they could

get – and this was an indication that today’s walk was the popular choice of many.

 

 

As you travel up the road a small and indistinct path opposite this entrance to Greengarth is the start point for the walk.

                                                                       

 

After a little navigation through thick heather bushes, the path becomes more distinct and gives and indication that some

seriously hard leg work is about to start.

 

 

Once the fence is crossed all in front becomes apparent.

 

 

Even at this early point in the walk, sufficient height is gained to look across to the imposing Skiddaw range

 

 

Further up the path toward Kinn and the skies look promising

 

 

And now the first objective of the day, Grisedale Pike comes into view. The path to the summit is unmistakable – no need for any cairns along this track

 

 

The views really starting to open up now, here looking across the Coledale valley to what will form the return leg of the horseshoe, Eel Crag and Sail

 

 

Looking down to the valley floor and the old mine road

 

 

This section of the path is very pleasant to walk along, but as you can see, things are going to get a whole lot steeper pretty soon

 

  

 

I’m on the ridge at Sleet How and the tussle against gravity is UNBELIEVABLE, this is a really steep section – a lung buster in fact. I passed several people who were decked out having a breather.

I stopped to take this picture and only later on back home did I realise that Wainwright himself drew the exact same view in the Grisedale Pike section of Book Six. This I can assure you was more

good luck than any planning on my behalf!!

 

 

Looking across to the head of the valley, the Force Crag Mine works is dwarfed by Eel Crag and Sail

 

 

                                                       At last the summit at 2,593 feet, not much of a cairn to boast about after such a strenuous effort to get there, but the views make up for that

 

 

Not a soul around until I started to tuck in to my butties, and then suddenly I had company ….. not a cat in hell’s chance my friend, do one!

 

 

                                                                        Is it possible to get any better? –  lunch at two and a half thousand feet overlooking over Derwent Water and Keswick

 

 

and in the opposite direction Hopegill Head (the second fell of the day) above the imposing Hobcarton Crags

 

 

and due south looking over Hindscarth and Robinson, it’s very tempting to just stay here!!!

 

 

                                                Just absolutely UNBELIEVABLE!!!! – how he got up there and even more so …. How the hell does he get down???? – every credit to the guy – awesome

 

 

On the move again now and once more – no cairns necessary to mark the way up to Hopegill Head

 

 

Approaching the imposing Hobcarton Crags – the path skirts very close to the edge

 

  

 

Two views from the same spot – one looking back and one looking down

 

                                                                                   

Hopegill Head summit

 

 

From Hopegill Head summit I dropped down towards Coledale Hause, and along the way a brief glimpse of Crummock water in front of Mellbreak

 

 

The path to the next summit in the round (Eel Crag) takes you at first past Gasgale Gill and there was a strong temptation to shed the boots for a quick paddle

 

 

Keeping parallel with the Gill a good footpath leads up to a “cross roads” at the head of the valley and the path to the left carries on up to the summit of Eel Crag

 

   

 

                                                                    As you approach the trig point magnificent views of Blencathra and the Skiddaw range overlooking Keswick are to be had

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                    And looking behind over to the Scafells – wow!!!

 

 

Looking at what’s in store ahead though and here you can see Scar Crags and Causey Pike to the right and Outerside and Barrow centrally and down

to the left of centre is the start point of the day at Braithwaite

 

 

Looking down the valley and an indication the steepness of climb from Braithwaite.

 

 

The ridge path down to Sail is quite an adventurous one; you get a sense of being on an edge, but what follows next …. I will let you decide!!

 

 

I believe it’s called …. “Fix the fells” – but it does lead up to the next summit of the day – Scar Crags, and I’m sure Alfred Wainwright would lend his full approval to such

“natural” beauty. They certainly did a cracking job, but perhaps next time lay off the Coniston Bluebird Bitter before coming to work eh lads!!!!

 

 

After my quick detour up to Scar Crags – I doubled back to the cross roads that can be seen in the previous shot to take the path to Outerside and my

sixth fell of the day

 

 

At the head of the valley the Force Crag mine

 

   

 

The path to the summit is at times indistinct but considering it’s so grassy on top someone took the trouble to mark it with this mini cairn

 

   

 

On the path down to Barrow Door and the last fell of the day Barrow, I passed Causey Pike which if time had permitted I could have continued on to

after the Scar Crags excursion

 

 

A last glance back and the end of yet another absolutely fantastic day out on the Lakeland Fells.

 

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