A Milestone in Peak Bagging
Published 05 June 2016
Last time I said I would probably write today about clothing but this week has seen a small milestone so I have postponed clothing until next time.
How often do you start something without realising what you have started? On 19th March Julie and I set out on our first fell walk of the year. We chose a walk from the Cold Fell Road to Grike and Crag Fell because they were close to home and a gentle walk to ease ourselves in.
A few days later I received copies of several of Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides from my elder son. I did not come up to Cumbria to deliberately bag Wainwrights but they are a feature of walks and a measure of achievement. After a few weeks I realised that I had climbed over half of the 33 Wainwrights in the Western Fells book so I concentrated my walks on the rest.
Grike had been our first Wainwright from that book and when I wrote my last blog I had just two left to scale; the daunting Yewbarrow and the famous Pillar which by then I had viewed from all directions but never from its summit.
27 May; Yewbarrow
Yewbarrow sits proudly to the north of Wast Water and has been described as looking like the upturned hull of a boat. At 627m it is not the highest mountain but with steep scree on both sides and steep rocky ends it is one of the hardest to climb. Back in April I walked from Overbeck Bridge to Dore Head to get an idea of what was involved; it did not encourage me.
The 27th May was warm and there was very little air giving wonderful reflections from the lake. In the picture Yewbarrow is on the left.
I followed the steep path up the scree between Bell Rib and Dropping Crag to the Great Door. It was loose underfoot with one or two big rock steps. At the top a narrow grassy ridge led me to an easier path to the summit.
There were two routes down; a stony path across the scree on the western side or a rock climb down Stirrup Crag to Dore Head. I checked the start of the scree path and then went looking for the Stirrup Crag path. The day was warm and still and I sat at the top eating my lunch and listening to the test match, wondering if I was up to the hairy looking descent.
After lunch I decided to give it a go, telling myself I could always turn round. No chance. It was a safe but exhilarating climb down in such good conditions.
Just Pillar to go…
30 May; Pillar and Kirk Fell
Spring bank holiday Monday and the weather was again glorious. No apologies to my friends in the South who had rain, your turn will come. The car park at Wasdale Head was filling up as I set off before 9am.
This was the fourth time that I had walked to the Black Sail pass so there were no surprises. As I approached the summit of Pillar I kept close to the Northern edge for wonderful views of the cliffs below. At the top I found myself alone and I sat for some time taking in the views which included virtually all of the 32 other peaks from the book that I had already scaled.
I returned to Black Sail Pass and encouraged by my climbing of Yewbarrow I did the rocky climb to Kirk Fell with a teenage boy and his 40 something father. The boy and I shot up until we found that the dad was lagging behind. I am retired, the boy is young and I was tempted to ask the dad for his excuse when I realised they were camping that night and dad was carrying the tent, food, cooking gear etc.
Suitably humbled, I left them at the top and descended to Wasdale Head by the most direct route which is straight down a long scree then a long steep grassy slope.
01 June; Hen Comb
A chance for Julie to walk the Floutern path from Ennerdale and to reach the summit of this pleasant little fell.
02 June; Cleator pie walk
Not a fell walk but one that we had been promising ourselves for a while. We often drive through the old mining village of Cleator where there is a village shop with a changeable PIES/NO PIES sign on the pavement. Usually the PIES sign is showing on weekday mornings but only for a couple of hours.
The car was being serviced so we walked from Egremont to Cleator along the Ehen River and round Longlands Lake, arriving at the shop at 10am. The shop is small, it is no different to walking into a cottage front room but there was a plentiful selection of hot meat pies and quiches, all at £1.50 each. Julie chose meat and potato, I chose steak and kidney.
We walked past Cleator Cricket Club (National Village Cup winners 2013) and along the old railway cycle path towards Keekle. The smell of warm meat pies coming from our rucksacks was so tempting that by 10.30 we had stopped and were eating our lunch. Oh, they were so good. Next time we will not have breakfast beforehand.
Maybe next week I will talk about clothing and a circular walk based on Grasmoor.