Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Borrowdale Fells

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 18 January 2011
Start Point - Seatoller Farm NT car park (GR NY2456613798)
Start Time 10:10
Finish Point - Seatoller Farm NT car park (GR NY2456613798)
Finish Time 15:40
Duration 5hrs 30mins
Average pace - 1.31mph
Distance Walked 7.18miles
Height Ascended 771.66metres

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (253)
Combe Head (99) first visited 09/11/2009
Combe Door Top (156)
Dovenest Top [Dovenest Crag][Stonethwaite Fell] (157)
Rosthwaite Fell [Rosthwaite Cam] (158)
Hewitts (178)
Dovenest Top [Dovenest Crag][Stonethwaite Fell] (112)
Wainwrights (214)
Rosthwaite Fell - Bessyboot(162)
Birketts (541)
Thornythwaite Fell (137) first visited 09/11/2009
Combe Head (138) first visited 09/11/2009
Dovenest Top [Dovenest Crag][Stonethwaite Fell] (172)
Rosthwaite Fell [Rosthwaite Cam] (173)
Rosthwaite Fell - Bessyboot (174)
Deweys (185)
Rosthwaite Fell [Rosthwaite Cam] (27)



Click on photograph to view slide-show

Walk desription
We thought today should be a shorter walk expecially after the later finish than expected yesterday.I knew the car park near Seatoller Farm was NT owned so we were able to take advantage of my National Trust membership and benefit from free parking. It is not free really as you have to be a member of the NT and as this is the first time I have used any NT facility since joining, the parking was really £79 for the day.
Note for diary:- visit more NT properties before our membership runs out in June.
Having parked up we could see the first top of Thornythwaite Fell and a gentle walk east for ½ mile along the B5289 was a good chance to warm up and kick out any stiffness from the day before turning south at Strands bridge towards Thornythwaite Farm.
Taking 2nd left through the woods we soon came to the Combe Falls just after Combe Gill and Rottenstone Gill merge. Through the stile and following the path we soon came to Thornythwaite Fell Top. It is earlier than you expect and not as prominent as other craggy tops later but I guess its prominence makes it a worthy spot for the Birket rather than the more seemingly obvious crags higher up. Though the only definition is a fell over 1000ft without mention of prominence. Anyway walking along the whole ridge and stepping on every crag will make sure of bagging the top.
As you get closer to Combe Head the path disappears and you have to really concentrate to keep on track but as you crass the boggy area which really sources Combe Gill a path reappears and you make the final ascent to the col between Glaramara and Combe Head. This climb still had snow, not a lot but enough and on reaching the col we could see Glaramara shrouded in fog and the climb I made a 15 months earlier again covered in snow. I didn't suggest bagging Glaramara and we both headed to Combe Head which was itself covered in cloud but cleared enough for photos and for us to see the remaining 3 Nuttalls we intended to bag on the 2nd half of the walk.
Contouring around the back of Combe Head we still had to pick the best descent route down the down the west side of Combe Door, confirming Comb Door Top was the left peak on the other side of Comb Door, leaving an easy ascent between the frozen tarns to Combe Door Top.
Once again the descent from Combe Door Top was trickier than the ascent but looking head for clear ground covered with grass to the next level soon found the route down.
To avoid a steep climb straight up Dovenest Top we tended to the east then turned back on ourselves to the west ½ way up.
From the top to the north was Rosthwaite Cam the next and final 2000ft top of the day. It looked a bit craggy but the route up usually becomes more obvious and easier as you get closer.
This time the descent was more straight forward but what was not becoming clearer was a grassy path up the next top.
It still looked craggy as we got closer and although there was some grass it still involved a steep climb as we found ourselves ½ way up on the east side of Rossthwaite Cam.
From here it was a bit of a scramble to a wide rocky ledge to the south of the top revealing a craggy climb/scramble to the top. Fortunately there was not any steep drops and I was encouraged to continue and bag the top with the knowledge that the only 2000ft in England that could not be walked was Pillar Rock, though I think had this been one of the earlier tops in my peak bagging career I would not have had the confidence to take this one on.
Returning to the rocky ledge from the top was not so bad, not requiring me to turn and face the rock face, so maybe the ascent was not as hard as it looked.
Descending north along the east side of the top revealed Tarn at Leaves and Bessyboot beyond. The best descent to the Tarn was down a rocky gully which although was not marked on the explorer map is most likely the earlier stages of Rottenstone Gill. Quite a steep descent but we was soon down and on the west bank of Tarn at Leaves.
The final top was Bessyboot, a Wainwright, and after photos and some flapjack set off down Rottenstone Gill towards Combe Gill. Staying north of the Gill we searched for the footpath marked in green on the explorer map and as usual after leaving Tarn at Leaves became less obvious. The route down was therefore made up on the hoof contouring backwards and forwards heading for were we could see clear grass to he next level. This method of improvised descent is not always foolproof as it is still possible to find a dead end over a sheer drop, but careful plotting of the immediate stage with an eye for the next and subsequent stage should get you down to the valley floor. We reached the bottom on the east and wrong side of Combe Gill but even though there was more water than usual we was able to pick a way across boulders just above Combe Falls.
From here we joined the path we ascended Thorneythwaite Fell and going through the stile to the wood near Thorneythwaite Farm we felt we were home and dry but conscious of keeping alert. The last thing we wanted to do was do a hard walk and trip on a boulder on the easiest but las part of the walk.
In summary a great 2nd days walking, 4 Nuttalls, 1 Birkett and 1 Wainwright bagged and most importantly of all back in the car at Seatoller Farm car park eating our lunchtime sandwiches and pack up at 4pm well before dark.

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