Thursday, 8 January 2009


Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 08 January 2009
Walkers - Steve Smith
Accommodation - Penrith Travelodge
Start Point - Blencathra Centre public car park (GR NY30231 25641)
Start Time - 10:48
Finish Point - Blencathra Centre public car park (GR NY30231 25641)
Finish Time - 14:25
Duration - 3hrs 37mins
Average pace - 1.20mph
Distance Walked - 4.34miles
Height Ascended - 653.06metres

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (253)
Blencathra - Gategill Fell Top (19)
Blencathra - Hallsfell Top (20)
Hewitts (178)
Blencathra - Hallsfell Top (14)
Marilyns (176)
Blencathra - Hallsfell Top (7)
Wainwrights (214)
Blencathra - Hallsfell Top (8)
Birketts (541)
Blencathra [Knowe Crags][Blease Fell] (12)
Blencathra - Gategill Fell Top (13)
Blencathra - Hallsfell Top (14)
HuMPs (444)
Blencathra - Hallsfell Top (9)



Click on photograph to view slide-show
Walk Description
It still looked foggy with ice and snow, similar conditions to yesterday, when I could not walk. However as I drove along the A66 to Keswick the fog cleared, sun came out and slippery snow melted on the lower slopes. As I drove west I had the first sight of Blencathra range whose peak was shrouded in cloud. Hopefully this will clear. Planned peaks to Bag:- Know Crag, Gategill Fell Top, Blencathra, Atkinson Pike, Doddick Fell & Scales Fell.
Parked in public car park near Blencathra Centre with a plan to follow the public right of way up Blease Fell (marked on  map by the green dotted line) to Know Crags. Ignoring various turn offs to the north later found when the path fizzled out I should have taken one of these  paths marked by a black dotted line as they turned out to be very well established and led direct to Know Crags.
The early lesson here in my hill walking career was that the green dotted lines on OS 1:25000 (red on OS 1:50000) are not necessarily physical paths on the ground.
I ended up on lower slopes of Know Crags overlooking Gategill Fell having to scramble north to find established path just to the east of Know Crag summit. All is explained on with specific information on the "Rights of Way" paragraphs
Various cairns on path had to guess Knowe Crag summit cairn which seemed to be the highest as no GPS or able to take bearings due to low cloud.
Progressed onto Gategill Fell Top where more frozen snow and thicker freezing cloud.
From Gategill Fell Top followed path to Blencathra. More frozen snow and less visibility in thickening cloud.
Reached Blencathra (Hallsfell Top) with memorial to Ian Hamilton and trig station.
As it had taken me longer to get here than anticipated I decided not to go on to Atkinson Pike, Doddick Fell and Scales Fell. It was already 1pm, so with the shorter January days common sense dictated that I should cut my losses and return via the ascent route to follow established path back to Blencathra Centre. I could also determine the route I should have taken on the way up. In those days I did not publish planned walks so until I was on the hill had not considered alternative routes and exit plans. More information on route planning can be found on along with specific information about alternative and escape routes.
As cloud cleared at about 600m I got great views of Clough Head and the peaks towards Keswick & Derwent Water.
I also found the path had been improved with loose shale and placed rocks. Mid way through the descent to the most westerly point I got great views of Lonscale Pike & Lonscale Fell across Glenderaterra Beck with Sale How further west and Skidaw beyond. As I descended path to public footpath I noted cairn to turn on trodden path if ever return this way. Still need to bag Atkinson Pike, Doddick Fell & Scales Fell but think will approach from east. In fact I would not return to the Northern Fells for nearly another three years but managed to include the two northerly tops of Bowscale and Bannerdale Crags as well as Atkinson Pike.
As the saying goes - "...the hill will always be there another day." Not only that I would have had to return for the other two summits anyway.
Finally the early return to The Blencathra Centre car park meant I was back with good light remaining and opportunity to head home for an early pint. Always a good incentive.

Planning your route
Alternative and escape routes
Rights of Way
Blencathra from Mungrisedale via Bannerdal Crags and Atkinson Pike
Blencathra - The Hard Way and not via Sharp Edge. Alternative route up Blencathra taken by The Cumbrian Rambler

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you have visited any of the peaks, places or areas mentioned on this page/post and have photo albums, routes, blog or web page please put the URL here.
I will then include link on this page.
The aim is to provide alternative routes for all visitors (be they new or regular visitors) giving information about places of interest or features to look out for whilst out on the hill.
Like-wise if you have a similar facility on your page I would appreciate a link to this page.