Friday 5 November 2010

Walk 35
Coledale Horseshoe North Western Fells 5th November 2010
10.8 miles / 4450ft ascent
Average walk speed 2.3 mph Overall walk speed (with stops) 1.6 mph

Phil G4OBK (solo)

Grisedale Pike LDW-040 (LD-015) seen from the flank of Barrow LDW-188
124. Grisedale Pike LDW-040 2595 ft
125. Hopegill Head LDW-053 2526 ft
126. Eel Crag (Crag Hill) LDW-024 2753 ft
127. Sail LDW-050 2536 ft
128. Scar Crags LDW-101 2205 ft
129. Outerside LDW-142 1864 ft
130. Barrow LDW-188 1493 ft
Route taken 5th November 2010
After an almost three month lay-off when we finally completed Wainwrights Coast to Coast walk I got a chance to travel back to Keswick. I still yearn to climb Blencathra and its surrounding summits via Sharp Edge but Friday 5th November was not the day for it due to anticipated 50 mph gusts, which proved correct.  I decided late afternoon the previous day that the MWIS forecast was just about acceptable to make a trip over worthwhile and so I poured over the map and books I have to pick out a circuit that would allow me to bag several more summits which would fit in with a shorter day. "Fellwalking with Wainwright" was a large page book that AW wrote in 1984 in conjunction with the professional photographer Derry Brabbs, and from it I picked out the Coledale Horseshoe which took in seven summits if you included Hopegill Head. 
Profile of Route
I left Pickering at 0550Z and was walking from an empty car park north of Braithwaite at 0815Z. The free car park used at grid ref NY227237 is well off the road and has room for around ten vehicles. The unrelenting climb of almost 2200 feet for just over 2 miles  via Sleet How to the top of Grisedale Pike (LDW-040/LD-015)  took me 75 minutes.  The grey day meant that I lost what view I had at around the 2000 feet level. It was around this point that I had a deja vu feeling as I realised I had climbed Grisedale Pike on a school trip over 40 years previously but strangely this only came to mind as I was climbing it.  I set my gear up on the summit top rather than the slightly lower shelter and it was here that I realised that I was right to think that this was a good day not to climb Blencathra as the gusts of wind almost took me off my feet.
Flooded shelter on Grisedale Pike
The VX-170 handheld was deployed with the usual J Pole half wave rucksac special antenna and nine contacts were logged. The first station being Mike GW0DSP in Connahs Quay and then his neighbour Steve  GW7AAV, both SOTA chasers - Grisedale Pike is also LD-015. These contacts were the best DX and GD0LQE in Laxey was also worked, along with the regulars. Now in mist I swiftly moved off turning right at the useful cairn at NY 19287 21988 to reach Hopegill Head LDW-053. I was to remain in mist until I decended after my lunch to Outerside. Hopegill Head was an extra and one which could have been done another time from the Crummock Water side of the hill with Grasmoor, however I was enjoying the walk, it hadn't yet started raining and I was feeling pretty good.  Hopegill Head produced seven QSOs and I descended back down to Coledale Hause which AW describes as a "confusing place" as most Hauses in the Lake District can be! Boredale Hause in the Far Eastern Fells is another one.  I did not locate the path (if there was one) as I walked across the slate ridden terrain, which explains why mountain climbers keep away from Hopegill Head - the rock is too flaky to climb safely here.  I came out of mist briefly at the Hause and found a sheltered spot to drink my flask of mulligatawny soup. I then made my way south climbing up alongside the waterfalls, made more spectacular due to the 6 inches of rain which had fallen the previous day:

Waterfall coursing down into Coledale Hause
The next summit which AW referred to as Eel Crag is really Crag Hill. Eel Crag can be seen in this picture above and lies well below the highest point. The corner apparently can be cut here and the climb commenced earlier but the slate makes walking difficult and Wainwright advises that patience is a virtue and to continue on. I chose to follow his advice in "Fellwalking with Wainwright" and continued to the footpath crossroads at spot height 722 (grid reference 186201) before I turned east on the well graded path up to LDW-024 "Eel Crag" which was the highest point of my walk. 

Eel Crag (Crag Hill) Trig point LDW-024
Unusually this was one walk where the one SOTA summit of Grisedale Pike, is lower by almost 200 feet than the higher WOTA summit of Crag Hill which was reached at 1130z. Seven QSOs were completed - the best DX was with Brian G4ZRP in Ellesmere Port. After this the summits came quickly as did several rain and hail showers - it was now time for some "instant gratification" after a lay-off of almost three months from climbing the Wainwrights.  Eel Pike (LDW-024), Sail (LDW-050), Scar Crags (LDW-101) were all activated inside 50 minutes before I made my way down High Moss to Outerside LDW-142 and finally (thankfully out of the mist) via Low Moss and Stile End where Barrow Door was reached before the easy climb to Barrow itself (LDW-188) for the final  four QSOs.  Barrow is a lowly fell surrounded by bigger mountains so I was pleased to work Colin G4UXH in Milnthorpe and Tony G1OAE in Workington from here. Colin had done the same walk two weeks previously.  Penrith contacts of course are usually guaranteed, and the regular stations of John G0TDM and Geoff G4WHA (who leads the WOTA chasers at present) completed the day by working me on all seven summits I had activated.  I had planned to return via Braithwaite Lodge, however now that I could see the tracks below me down in Barrow Gill they looked more interesting, so I ventured down to High Coledale, a ruined building, to join a footpath which turned into a track at the reservoir and which took me past the Coledale Inn and into the village. 

Outerside LDW-142 from High Moss

Seven Summits worked:
G0TDM John Penrith
G4WHA/M Geoff Penrith

Four Summits worked:
G1OHH Sue Lancaster
G1OAE Tony Workington

Three Summits worked:
G4ILO Julian Cockermouth
G4UXH Colin Milnethorpe

I made 41 contacts on the Coledale Horseshoe and was back at my car in Braithwaite by 1450z where the car park was now full.  I had enjoyed getting back out on what would have been a superb walk on a clearer day. This is one walk which I must do again another year when the day is not grey.
I made my way back to Pickering and surprisingly was home in good time for the evening news at 6.00pm and my dinner.  Now I must work out what summits I can activate when I am in Keswick with my family in around a week's time. 

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