Having already visited Castle Crag and Rannerdale Knotts, two relatively straightforward walks, it was time to look at something a little longer in distance and height. Before leaving home I had looked at a walk from the nearby village of Braithwaite which took in three “Wainwrights” in close proximity. There is no set definition of a “Wainwright” save for this description on Wikipedia: Wainwrights are the 214 English peaks or fells, described in Alfred Wainwright’s seven-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells (1955–66). They all lie within the boundary of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, and all but one (Castle Crag) are over 1,000 feet (304.8 m) in height.
We were joined on our walk by our good friend Geoff. The weather was fair, with scattered cloud as we departed from Braithwaite heading for the path that would take us around the side of Stile End to our first target fell, Outerside. The views to the neighbouring fells and our eventual destination Causey Pike were outstanding, what a great day to be out on the fells; dry and clear but cool!
L: View from Outerside; C: Causey Pike from Outerside: R: Outerside from the trail with Causey Pike in the distance
Panorama from Outerside
We paused for coffee before descending the other side and heading on to Sail, the next point on our walk. The map shows two paths to the summit of Sail, however when we got there it was clear there was only one and it had been improved in recent years, to a zigzag to make it slightly easier to ascend. Geoff said he remembered that the old path used to go straight up, and there is faded evidence of the old path to the left of the new one.
Clockwise from top left: Selfie on Sail; Lyn and Geoff with Causey Pike in the background; Geoff admires the view; Me and Geoff on Outerside.
Top: Summit of Sail looking towards Grasmoor; Centre: Panorama from Sail; Bottom: Derwent Water from Sail
Once on Sail there is only one way down, follow the path you came up, which we did, then climbing up to cross Scar Crags before ascending Causey Pike which is known as “The Knuckles” locally. (So called as its silhouette resembles knuckles on a clenched fist). As with all fells, once you get to the top, the next challenge is getting down! Many are okay, however the route down from the top of Causey Pike is a little more challenging, with some rock scrambling and small but precipitous drops. Lyn looked over the edge from the top and decided that we would retrace our steps and head down a side path leading us onto Barrow and eventually back to Braithwaite. In the words of Wallace and Gromit, a grand day out!
Clockwise from top left: Causey Pike from Scar Crags; The summit of Causey Pike; Lyn on the summit; Looking back – The path up from Scar Crags
Lyn’s Yoga celebration on top of Causey Pike
Overnight, the weather turned and we woke to a dull and wet morning so we decided to delay our walk to the afternoon, when we planned a route following Coledale Beck to Force Crag Mine (extinct, although some of the workings are still in place), before picking up a low path back below the summit of Outerside and Stile End to the start point. Thankfully, the rain stayed away and we had an enjoyable afternoon walk.
Top Row: L: En-route to Force Crag Mine; C: Stile End; Outerside. Bottom Row: Outerside from Coledale Beck; Birdlife – not sure what it is though; Us with Coledale Hause in the background.
Top: Views of Force Crag Mine; Bottom: We cross Coledale Beck
Different viewpoints of Coledale Hause
L: Looking back down the valley. R: Braithwaite village with Keswick in the distance
Our evening was spent with Geoff and June in a lovely restaurant in Keswick called Fellpack. As we walked down the main street, we noticed how deserted Keswick was, a rare opportunity for a photo!
Me with Geoff and June after our evening out. Lyn was behind the camera
Looming large over Keswick is Skiddaw, at 931m, one of the higher peaks in the Lakes. I had long promised Lyn I would take her up to the summit and we had earmarked a day on this trip. Once again the cloud had descended and although not raining, the forecast was not helpful, quoting patchy rain in places.
Skiddaw is close to Keswick so can be reached without resorting to a car and As we walked into town we noted that the summit of Skiddaw was covered in cloud. Not a problem in itself as the path up and down is wide and distinct, thanks to the number of people who use it.
Clockwise from top left: North end of Derwent Water with Borrowdale behind; Another lakeland view; Looking toward Skiddaw and Little Man; Here comes the rain!
We walked out of the town and quickly found the path to the first way mark point at the base of the fell. The temperature, never very high, we noted was dropping and looking to the north west, Bassenthwaite Lake was slowly being covered in mist and this clung to the hillside.
En route we passed a memorial to Edward Hawell and his son Joseph, which told us that they were noted breeders of the Herdwick sheep, popular among lakeland sheep farmers and noted for their robust health, their ability to live solely on forage, and their tendency to be territorial, and not to stray over the difficult upland terrain of the Lake District. Useful traits in a Lakeland sheep.
Clockwise from top left: Us before the rain; On the path to Little Man; Me at the Memorial; Memorial to Edward and Joseph Hawell;
A “Herdy” – Herdwick Sheep,
As the path got steeper so it started to rain more persistently and the summit of Skiddaw, Little Man beside it, and the whole of Bassenthaite lake had disappeared in a heavy mist and rain, so with deep reluctance and heavy hearts we turned about and headed home, telling ourselves it was pointless going to the top when the view from half way up was also obscured by cloud.
By late afternoon the rain had stopped and I headed out for a couple of hours to photograph Castle Crag for my Wainwrights project. (See the Landscapes section of this blog). The light was now quite good and, although it was getting cooler, the bad weather stayed away.
A wonderful week so far. We were due to be joined by our friends Tim and Jo on Friday evening for a weekend’s walking, over some routes we had previously talked about being “must do’s.” However, by the time they arrived I had been in severe pain for 24 hours or so from a shoulder injury sustained a couple of days earlier. This meant that I had severely restricted movement in my left arm and would not be able to carry a rucksack. What would the weekend hold for us?