The Highest Thirty Three Wainwright’s Ticked Off!
Published 24 July 2016
It has been a busy week with extremes of weather. Last Friday it rained from dawn to dusk, Tuesday saw the hottest day so far and Wednesday morning brought the loudest of thunder storms.
Fortunately, in between the weather was ideal on Saturday afternoon for a garden party. Jill opened her home, serving tea and scones to dozens of friends and neighbours. She has a lovely home with wonderful views and two of her neighbours gardens were also open.
I spent most of the time buttering scones and piling on the cream, jam and fruit. In total £500 was raised which was split between our Church and the Motor Neurone Association. It is great to be able to get involved with the local community in this way.
We also had guests this week. When we returned home on Tuesday I noticed that there were a lot of bees going into the shed. A swarm of wild honey bees had nested in a bag of compost. Fortunately a delightful man called Gordon removed the problem for us the next morning before we were stung although Gordon took at least one ‘for the team’.
18 July; Raise, Stybarrow Dodd, Watson’s Dodd and Great Dodd
My table of completed Wainwrights had just three gaps in the highest thirty fells: Raise at 12th highest, Great Dodd 19th and Stybarrow Dodd 21st. All three are close together along the Helvellyn Range. I drove to Stanah which is near Thirlmere and followed a twisty path through the bracken to reach Sticks Pass. As I climbed I could hear the water tumbling down Fisherplace Gill but I could not see it because the high fence prevented me getting close enough.
From Sticks Pass I turned south to climb Raise which gave me some views but when I returned to the Pass to walk north to the three ‘Dodds’ the mist set in and visibility was less than 100 metres until I descended that afternoon.
The ridge along that section is broad and grassy with only gentle rise and fall between each top. Indeed, most of the time I was following tracks that could be driven along. With no views and no climbing this was not a stunning walk but I have now climbed the highest thirty three fells.
19 July; Glenridding, Ullswater and Patterdale
Tuesday was forecast to be a very hot day so we looked for something lazy to do. We thought about a walk to the coast but settled on a drive to Glenridding with a view to taking a steamer trip around Ullswater.
We have had several lovely holidays in the Patterdale Hotel so it was great to return to the area. It also gave us a chance to see the progress that has been made on rebuilding their buildings and the banks of the beck following the devastation of the December floods.
Instead of a boat trip we decided to walk around to the other side of the lake where we found a little beach area to have a quick paddle. After a short climb we walked back on a higher path which gave us some wonderful photo opportunities. The ‘lazy’ day consisted of a three and a half hour walk in hot sun so our lunch in the Patterdale Hotel was well earned.
21 July; Eagle Crag, Sergeant’s Crag, High Raise and Ullscarf
I really enjoyed my recent climb of Rosthwaite and Glaramara from Stonethwaite so I searched for something similar and found a walk on the WalkLakes website for Eagle Crag, Sergeant’s Crag and Ullscarf:
Climbing Eagle Crag was an absolute delight. To the west and to the north-east there are impenetrable near-vertical rock faces but in between there are a series of very pretty heather and bilberry covered terraces separated by large rocks. There are some faint paths but at other times it was a case of picking your own route. This is not a climb for people unfamiliar with the fells but if you have some experience or a good guide then I highly recommend it.
After Eagle Crag there was a short ridge along and up to Sergeant’s Crag where I made the decision to extend the walk to include High Raise, the summit of which was in full view. I could not see a direct path so it was a case of tramping steadily upwards on marshy ground to make the summit. The highest of the central fells were in dark cloud but I got an atmospheric picture of the Langdale Pikes under a heavy sky.
From High Raise it was a rocky and at times boggy path down to Greenup Edge and up to Ullscarf. The summit is just a slight rise on a wide boggy plateau so there are no significant views down. I continued on the path for a few hundred yards to get better views of Borrowdale and considered a cross country descent to Dock Tarn from where I knew there was a good path back to Stonethwaite. Time was getting on and I had already extended a nine mile walk to twelve miles so I went for the certainty of the recommended route which was back to Greenup Edge and down the well-used path to Stonethwaite. I was not disappointed because the walk down Lining Crag was pleasant with several good waterfalls.
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