Walk : Gray Crag (2,286 ft) and Thorthwaite Crag (2,569 ft) from Hartsop

Date : 3rd August 2019

Weather : Extremely hot @ 25C high humidity

 

Distance : 7 miles round trip

Time Taken : 1 hour 50 mins to first summit (Gray Crag)

 

Which part of Lakeland is this walk situated

 

Terrain Overview

 

Overview

 

A day trip up to Lakeland to revisit the fells available from Hartsop. Todays walk up Gray Crag was in extreme heat and humidity which made for slow

progress. The route we took basically was the one recommended by Wainwright that climbs very steeply on at times pathless grass up the north facing

nose of the fell to gain the ridge line just beyond a prominent set of crags that can be bypassed to the left. Once past these a more prominent track

can be followed all the way up to the summit

 

 

 

From Windermere, take the Kirkstone Pass (A592) towards Ullswater and eventually make a right turn at the signpost for Hartsop.

The car park in Hartsop Village is free to use. There is an honesty box just before the intake road and you are invited to make a donation

 

 

The honesty box with an instruction to not leave your doggy mess bags on site J

 

 

Gray Crag straight ahead, Jones the Bastard leads the way

 

 

Through the first hand gate and looking right across to Threshthwaite Mouth (see in closer detail later) at the head of the Pasture Beck valley. This was to be our return route

 

 

From the gate next to the cattle grid take the path that drops to the right which leads to Hayeswater Reservoir

 

 

The path climbs steadily as it crosses Pasture Beck to follow a stone track that skirts the base of Gray Crag

 

 

The point at which you decide to veer off the path to the right is subject to debate but for me having had to back track a little the easiest (and least steep) option is to just

cut in right after this prominent boulder and head diagonally to the left to pick up the faintest of paths

 

 

Wainwright suggested in his guide book to just climb directly following the wide grass break in the rock line but its far easier (still steep though) to aim towards the tree that you

can see sticking up from the left shoulder of the crags. Also via this route you eventually pick up a more well defined stone path

 

 

The lone tree from the stone path

 

 

The track zig zags a little as it rounds the rock outcrop, but once past it you get your first close up view of Gray Crag

 

 

Looking left down on Hayeswater Reservoir from the track

 

 

The track to the summit winds round right to climb the eastern face of the ridge line. Jones starting to feel the heat a little

 

 

On the upper reaches of the summit track and we pause to look back to the village of Hartsop

 

 

At this height now the views start to open up across the Reservoir towards The Knott, Rest Dodd and the High Street range of fells

 

 

After the best part of 1 hour and 45 minutes of toil the most welcome sight of the summit cairn on Gray Crag

 

 

Made it now lunch and fluid. The top itself is most pleasant with great views and a place certainly worth staying a while to take in the stunning scenery

 

Click here for a 360 degree view from the summit of Gray Crag https://youtu.be/9AEelECnU38

 

 

Team shot on the summit of Gray Crag

 

 

Looking west towards Helvellyn

 

 

Why does he always come to scrounge my dinner ???

 

 

After a good half an hour or more we set off south to follow the ridge line to Thornthwaite Crag. The path leading to High Street from there sweeping off left

 

 

In the very faint distance you can just see Windermere picture framed by Threshthwaite Mouth at the head of the valley we walked past earlier. The second objective of the day

Thornthwaite Crag rising prominently on the left. Its impossible to get lost following this track

 

 

Looking back to Gray Crag just under a mile and a half away

 

 

The summit cairn on Thornthwaite Crag and in my opinion one of the finest in the region

 

 

Looking south towards to the ridge path seen connecting the peaks of Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke all fells that make up part of the Kentmere Horseshoe

 

 

The return journey to Hartsop takes the very steep descent to the bottom of Pasture Valley on the right

 

 

Pasture Valley leading back to Hartsop from the descent path

 

 

The descent path is not only steep but across loose scree so a little care is required

 

 

Mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun. Even madder ones decide is a good idea to carry 40lbs worth of Mountain Bike on your shoulders in the name of fun ???

JtB is non too impressed

 

 

Off the majority of the loose scree now and closer to the valley floor. Very pleasant walking

 

 

Sue feeling very happy to have got down in one piece. Now its time for re-hydration therapy in The Lily Bar in Ambleside !!!

 

 

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