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October 2002


4 October

A Ramblers weekend. I wangled the Friday off work and begged a lift up to Grasmere, leaving my car for Beryl to drive up with Ros who likewise had to work.

I then decided that Iíd go off on my own rather than walk with the group. The weather was clear, although not particularly warm, and I really fancied going up Jackís Rake again Ė it was 6 years since I had done it.

I set off across the fields from the hotel via concessionary paths and the new millennium bridge into Grasmere. Then up Easedale to the Tarn. This was the route we followed when we did Jackís Rake previously. There was a bit less water in the falls than there was before. I reached the tarn in about an hour. I was intending to take the path off to the left that leads up to Blea Rigg. Just remember that I hadnít actually got the map out; I missed it because it came sooner than I remembered.

This meant that I continued to the far end off the lake and then did the climb up by Codale Tarn emerging near Sargeant Man. This is a good climb with lots off scrambly bits on a dried up water course. It does go on a bit and the knowledge that you shortly lose much of this height does not inspire. This is because you go straight over and down the far side of the ridge to get to Stickle Tarn However you do get your first view of the Langdale Pikes and the high mountains of western lakeland Ė much of which was under cloud.

At Stickle Tarn you are faced by the great rock slab of Pavey Ark. Running up the on a bottom left/top right diagonal is Jackís Rake. It is a top scramble route. Wainwright takes two pages to describe it. Sadly Iíve put on far too much weight since my last encounter with it and it was much harder work. The rock was also a bit wetter. But it was still exhilarating! The bottom section is very steep and the foot holds can be far apaprt. Itís a real advantage to have long legs but even with these there was one point where I needed to use my knees to force myself up. At least where it is steep it is well protected. Where it is less steep it tends to be exposed. And about three-quarters of the way up it twists for a while and can be tricky to follow (I was totally alone on the climb)  I lost it for a little way, having a difficult pull up on to one very exposed bit of rock. Then I realised that I should have been about three foot further over in comparative safety.

Having achieved my main objective I took stock on where to go next. I decided to go via Thurnacar Knott to High Raise, which was easy walking, and then drop down on to the Coast-to-Coast route at Greenup Edge and follow it all the way down Far Easedale to Grasmere. Simple navigating but still good walking. Just over 11 miles

Map                Photos

5 October

Alan led todayís walk. A simple design: walk out of Grasmere and up the long southern approach to Steel Fell. From there you can only really go in one direction around the U-shaped ridge taking in Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag.

Iíd done most of the walk before; it was the afternoon section of a walk, having done part of the Fairfield Horseshoe and Seat Sandal in the morning. We had to climb Steel Fell from Dunmail Raise which is a vicious thousand foot ascent (Head-banging days Ė I stayed overnight and did the Loweswater Fells on the next day. I was truly knackered going up Hen Comb)

Todayís ascend of Steel Fell was much gentler even though there was more feet of climbing. The weather was lovely and we didnít rush. Superb views all round at the top but there was cloud on the higher peaks and the wind was starting to grow teeth. In fact things got progressively worse even though there were  regular bursts of sunshine. Very strange.

At the top of Calf Crag we had to shelter in the rocks to get out of the wind. We watched the cloud descending all around but we stayed out of it even though it was into the valleys on both sides. It obscured my view of yesterdayís walk down Far Easedale.

It did catch us eventually and we had a shower too. This made the Lion on top of Helm Crag very slippery and I didnít climb it. Steep drop from there to Grasmere but we were back in time to go gear shopping.

Historic note:

The best bit of gear I ever bought has been my first fleece. I sat this even though I was hard-up at the time and it cost serious money. It is a Karrimor Canna which is in Polartec 300. I love it and itís distinctive plum colour is part of my walking persona. It is 10 years old and sadly is becoming threadbare so I have known for a while that I need to replace it.

I do have other fleeces Ė a windblock one in a combination of red-and-black that makes me look a bit like a Star Trek officer and a sleeveless one. But neither has quite entered the folk lore like the original one.

Well I have finally replaced it. We were looking in the gear shops in Ambleside and Beryl spotted this one going cheap (well 25% off). It is a Lowe Alpine jacket in Polartec Thermalpro; this is lighter than the 300 series but I tend to wear warmer base layers nowadays. I didnít want a technical fleece either because I want to wear it off the hills too and they donít look right in the streets. The good thing is that the colour is slightly unusual (without being odd!) so it can become my trademark Ė blue-grey with a navy blue collar

Map                Photos

6 October

Iím not quite sure what to make of todayís walk.

Part of me says that it was very short for a Ramblers A walk and it failed to make the most of a gorgeous day. Another part says that it was absolutely beautiful; the Lakes at their stunning best. Also we finished early and as a result didnít have to face horrendous traffic on the motorway.

The walk started at the National Trust car park at Rydal and went up Loughrigg. The weather was superb Ė good enough for June Ė and both Grasmere and Rydalwater glowed in it. We went between the two of them and then contoured around Loughrigg towards Ambleside. Then it was a sharp climb upwards into the central bowl of the fell. We had coffee there: I couldnít understand why most people sat by the small pond when they could walk 50 yards on and get super views to the south.

The way to the top is over a series of bumps with dips between them. Beryl and I did this path when we were on honeymoon Ė the difference was that it was under cloud, cold and I wasnít confident that we were heading in the right direction.  What a contrast with today!

The top was quite busy and groaning under the weight of the dogs there. We didnít stop long before starting to descend. We stopped for lunch about a quarter of the way down. This was on a bit of an outcrop overlooking Grasmere. Unbelievably beautiful with tremendous views also to the west and south on to the high lakeland fells. It doesnít get better than that round here.

I suppose that we could have gone up Fairfield but Iíve been there before in reasonable weather. We didnít get these views at all on my previous trip up Loughrigg and seeing them was much more fulfilling than Fairfield would have been.

Map                Photos

13 October

A fairly dull day. I was out with the Ramblers walking from Longnor. We walked northwards to Hollinsclough and then went to the top end of Crome hill and took the concessionary path to the top; that was new - I'd always bypassed it before. Down again and over to Earl Sterndale and back to Crowdicpote before climbing over the ridge back to Longnor. Five hours, 10 miles


20021013b bridge.jpg (142775 bytes) 20021013c cromehill.jpg (148866 bytes)
Bridge over theD ove Crome Hill




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