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Published: April 28th 2012
After yesterday's wet walking, I opted for a more exciting walk offering great views across Buttermere and Ennerdale, particularly as the weather was clear ... and forecast to stay clear (albeit with heavy showers in the afternoon!)
Set off in the early morning sunshine, blue sky above, golden rays striking the mountain tops, taking the lake walk towards Gatesgarth Farm. The views were very picturesque along the lake shore in the early light, particularly after the earlier rain.
Stopping outside Gatesgarth Farm to remove an outer layer, I concluded that, although the temperature was only 6°C, walking in the sun’s rays was making me warmer than intended.
Continuing beyond the farm gates, I veered through a gate and began to follow the track used previously by slate miners. On their ascent, the miners, like me, would pass below Low Raven Crag, though would probably not stop to photograph the view across Buttermere!
With the relatively easy stretch of track behind me, I arrived at the footbridge across Warnscale Beck, where, rather than crossing, I was faced with a wall of rock with seemingly no exit. Naturally, the only way is up and, unsurprisingly, the only way was
up … and up … and up! The miners would have made this journey every day and unsurprisingly, the relentless climb took its toll on my water bottle! Finally, having climbed about 360m (1100’), I made to the bothy in Dubs Quarry where, in the (now) cooler air, another water break was required.
Leaving the bothy, I headed up the old tram track towards the ruins of the Drum House. There, whilst admiring the view, a couple of RAF trainers flew towards and below, straight down Honister Pass! Having been surprised by the sight of planes passing below, I turned onto the old smuggler’s track which, by its nature, was rather indistinct in places. The straight path headed up towards Grey Knotts, before veering South West and becoming slightly damp underfoot and indistinct. A little compass work was required in order to reach the point where the smuggler’s path crossed the fence line and the relative flatness of the plateau below Green Gable and Great Gable.
Whilst eating lunch below the imposing face of Great Gable and admiring the view down Ennerdale, I watched a number of rather intrepid walkers making their ascent of Kirk Fell opposite, below
The Last Tree
View towards Buttermere from Warnscale Bottom - just before the serious business of climbing began!
which was the traverse I would soon be taking.
Rucksack packed and map in hand, I descended below Gable Crag and began the slow climb up to Beck Head where, pausing for photographs of Wastwater, the long traverse around Kirk Fell beckoned. From the opposite side of the valley, the path appeared very narrow with a drop of some 220m (750’) to the river below, so I was certainly wary of following that path, which, though boggy in places was mostly easy to follow. I wish the descent down Black Sail Pass was as straightforward as indicated on the map; unfortunately it was rocky, wet and very indistinct.
Crossing the footbridge over the River Liza, the path became a track and continued passed the Black Sail Hut (YHA) where a group of fellow walkers was taking advantage of the watering facilities.
Slowly but steadily, the 170m (500’) climb up to Scarth Gap would have been a walk in the park compared to the earlier ascents, had it not been for the fact that it was coming to the end of the day and the end of the walk. However, the prospect of being able to admire the
Half Way Up!
View over Buttermere from the miners' track.
views over Buttermere and the draw of tea and cake resulted in a concerted push across the saddle between Haystacks and High Crag before beginning the final, long descent across Buttermere Fell to Peggy's Bridge and cake.
The final treat of the day came when walking through a field of new born lambs, where one, probably one of a triplet, was wearing the pelt of a dead lamb in an effort for it to be fostered … seemingly successfully.
A good end to a superb couple of day’s walking!
Tot: 0.086s; Tpl: 0.051s; cc: 7; qc: 26; dbt: 0.014s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.3mb