Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ard Crags & Knott Rigg

Ard Crags and Knott Rigg are two Wainwright fells that are somewhat difficult to fit into a nice horseshoe route. They sit to the side of the various natural Coledale Horseshoe options.  A route taking in Robinson might have been an option but this would have meant crossing the soggy Buttermere Moss.

My alternative plan was to Park at Rowling End, take in Ard Crags and Knott Rigg, then meet up with Jonathan at the top of Newlands Pass where he would be waiting in his car to take us down to Rannerdale for a run along the wonderful southern side of the Coledale Horseshoe, back to my car.  It didn't quite pan out like that but here is the plan.  My first run in red and the second run with Jonathan in blue:

the spacing of the arrows on a route (red) indicate speed.  I think therhe is an arrow every five minutes.  You can see the slow climb up Aiken Knott and the, realtively, faster run along the tops and down the other side.

I estimated that the run over Ard Crags and Knott Rigg would take me an hour so I set off about 9am with a plan to meet Jonathan at 10am.  It was a cold day, I had sat in my car for ten minutes, allowing the fan to melt the ice on the windscreen rather than getting back out to scrape.

setting off on the path along Rigg Beck, looking back to Cat Bells

The paths were worn and muddy but today the mud was frozen hard.  I had one, "woah!" moment earlier on, slipping on an icy puddle but apart from this, the going was good to firm.

Aiken Knott and Ard Crags up ahead

After some nice, level(ish) path along Rigg Beck, I saw an opportunity to cross the beck so ran down the steep grassy sides, hopped over the beck and then began the trudge up to Aiken Knott.

crossing the beck

Aiken Knott and Ard Crags (Knott Rigg is hidden by Aiken Knott).

looking back down Birk Rigg.  Cat Bells in silhouette.  Clough Head and the Dodds behind.  Great Mell Fell is the little bump, 1/4 of the way along the horizon from the left before the round profile of Clough Head. 

in the other direction, the climb up to Aiken Knott

Once across the beck and the, what would definitely be soggy if it wasn't frozen, grassy slopes heading up to the ridge path, the climbing starts properly.  A steep, winding, rocky ascent is in order.

from Aiken Knott, looking ahead at Keskadale Edge.  Ard Crags up to the right and the High Stile Range comes into view over Buttermere Moss.

wider view showing the route over Ard Crags on the right and along to Knott Rigg.  Robinson is the big fell on the left.

in the other direction, Causey Pike is the brown fell immediately front left with Blencathra behind.  Following the horizon to the right from Blencathra you come to Great Mell Fell, Clough Head and Great Dodd.  Derwent Water is just visible in the middle between the slope of Rowling End coming off Causey Pike and the start of Skelgill Bank, leading up to Cat Bells.  In between Cat Bells and the Dodds is Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell leading up to High Seat.

looking up to the controversial Fix the Fells path on Sail.

From Aiken Knott along to Ard Crags was a lovely little ridge run.

summit of Ard Crags looking north to Wandope, Addacomb Hole, Eel Crag, Sail and Scar Crags

continuing on Sail again leading to Causey Pike.  The ridge from Aiken Knott visible on the right

further around to the east Skiddaw and Little Man pop up above Scar Crags

looking back to Aiken Knott

path along the ridge to Knott Rigg.  I think Pillar is peeking over High Crag on the left

approaching Knott Rigg.  The High Stile Range on the other side of Buttermere is more prominent here.  Left to right on the horizon is High Crag (with Pillar behind), High Stile and Red Pike, then Starling Dodd and Great Bourne

from the summit of Knott Rigg in the same direction.  The cleft of Sourmilk Gill can be seen coming down through the trees from Bleaberry Tarn under Red Pike.

in the other direction

From the summit of Knott Rigg, the ridge run continues down across a really well defined, clear path.  It makes for some really good running.

continuing on, Moss Force coming off Robinson points to my pick up point

I can see the car from here!

On arrival at the pick up point (at exactly 10am).  Jonathan told me that his life threatening foot injury had worsened to the point where he had needed to go and purchase some new Innov8 Mudclaws.  I discussed the plan of running over the ridge to my car and he was up for it.  We parked up at Rannerdale and probably ran about 100m before a check of the ongoing foot saga revealed that he wasn't up for the run so we turned around and headed to Keswick for a coffee.

the turnaround point on the second run

one last shot of Knott Rigg from the car window on the way back over Newlands Pass.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Far Eastern Fells

After a family day yesterday, I really didn't know what I wanted to do today.  I should really have done a long fell run but didn't really have a lot of energy.  I had considered having a go at Wrynose and Hardknott passes on my bike.  Eventually, I decided to head to Pooley Bridge for a walk.

Here is the route:

The walk started with a wander along the shore of Ullswater from Pooley Bridge.  I set off quite late and the sun was already high.  The water was really still which made for some beautiful reflection shots.

looking west from the north end of Ullswater

I really hadn't considered the route I was going to take.  I wanted to head up towards Arthur's Pike so I climbed up through Park Foot Caravan/Camp Site until a path lead off along the right hand (west) side of Aik Beck.

Looking back down Aik Beck.  The path goes along the side of the wall in between the wall and the beck

At the corner of the wall, the path splits.  I headed south-west, not quite on the path of the Roman road, crossing Barton Fell to the multi-cairned summit of Arthur's Pike.

corner of the wall

heading up to Barton Fell

the climb to Barton Fell with a view over Ullswater

Barton Fell summit

From Barton Fell, the track continues to Arthur's Pike.  There are three cairns on Arthur's Pike.  The views over Ullswater were just getting better and better.

Arthur's Pike cairn and Beacon

and the other cairn (I think this is the top)

On to Bonscale Pike and the two towers.

According to Wainwright, the bottom tower is "The work of a craftsman" and the higher one is "The effort of amateurs"

Bonscale Towers

summit of Bonscale Pike (Hallin Fell behind)

From Bonscale Pike, I did some planning and decided to head up to Load Pot Hill.  The track crosses grassy land, going across the Roman road.

up to Load Pot Hill

looking towards the Eastern Fells

trig column on Load Pot Hill

looking back to the summit.  Directly in front is a boundary stone with an L on it,
maybe it stood for Lowther after the Lowther Estate.

There are lots of ancient stones, stone circles, cairns etc around here.  A bit further south from the picture above are the remains of Lowther House, an old hunting lodge.  When Wainwright wrote book two in the late fifties, there was a complete chimney there (what a great place it would have been for a wild camp!) now it is little more than a pile of stones.

remains of Lowther House

Wether Hill

Further along, across the muddy top, to the cairn of Wether Hill.  I then took a path off the summit ridge west to head towards Steel Knotts.

The ridge of Steel Knotts.  My route goes more or less along the wall

heading to Steel Knotts

Ullswater along Fusedale valley

The Nab

along to Steel Knotts

looking back from Steel Knotts

Steel Knotts summit

cairn at the north of Steel Knotts

From here, there was a steep descent to St Peter's Church and then straight back up to Hallin Fell.

Hallin Fell.  St Peter's Church centre

climbing up Hallin Fell, looking back

summit of Hallin Fell

Hallin Fell does occupy a pretty special place overlooking Ullswater.  It seems like a popular thing to do was to park at the church and head straight up and down.  There were plenty of people who were doing this.

I headed down from Hallin Fell, heading around the steep craggy parts.  Soon enough I was in Howtown and looking at a long flat walk along the shore.


But then, as I was walking past the pick up point for the Ullswater Steamers, I had an idea...

I got to the pick up point, just as one of the steamers were coming.  I decided it was meant to be!

Relaxing now on the steamer, I finished my drink and enjoyed the scenery, looking back at the route I had just taken.

The Sharrow Bay Hotel, where Paul McCartney proposed to Heather Mills