TARN CRAG, HARROP PIKE, GREY CRAG, & GREAT HOWE
from SADGILL BRIDGE, LONGSLEDDALE

 


Summary

Date - 19th July 2009 Distance - 7 miles
Map - OL7 Start point - Longsleddale, Sadgill Bridge (NY 483057)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Tarn Crag on Sleddale Fell 2178 664 NY 4885 0785
Harrop Pike 2090 637 NY 5007 0781
Grey Crag (Longsleddale) 2093 638 NY 4971 0717
Great Howe (Longsleddale) 1621 494 NY 4888 0639

 

Preface

"There seems to be a good forecast for tomorrow", said Shaun. "But after the incorrect one last Thursday, when Dad got soaked, I wonder if we will be walking".

"I'll go and see", volunteered Tetley.

He was soon back, and full of excitement.

"You'll be pleased Allen, as yes we are going, and Dad is taking us to Longsleddale again to climb a few tops, including Tarn Crag, which is one of your outstanding Wainwrights."

"That's great" cried Allen. "I can't wait."

 

The Walk

Sunday dawned and we were up early. Dad got his kit together, and when we heard him taking it to the car, we rushed out and settled on the front seat, eager to be off. Shaun had been right about the weather, which for once was glorious with plenty of sunny periods, but a cool wind at times.

Through Kendal, we headed north along the A6, the old road to Scotland, then once again took the narrow road signed Longsleddale. The road is single track for most of its length to where it ends at Sadgill Bridge, some 5.5 miles. Part way, Dad had to stop at the conveniences. Had this had not been necessary, it is likely that he would not have then met the farmer in the landrover, nor the farmer with the tractor and muck spreader!! There was no option but for Dad to reverse some distance in each case, until it was possible to pass. Sadgill was our start point once again and when we arrived there was just one other car parked. Instead of crossing the bridge, we this time headed along the track seen here stretching away into the distance below Buckbarrow Crag. This leads to the Gatesgarth Pass and eventually down into Mardale & Haweswater.

From the start the views were spectacular. The air was very clear, so the fells were picked out in high definition - you can't beat the real thing! Immediately ahead on the left were the steep slopes of Goat Scar.

Allen then called out, "isn't that view back to Sadgill Bridge nice?"

"Yes", concurred Grizzly, "I think you should take it Dad."

As we strolled on, Dad met two gentlemen, who it turned out owned the other car parked at the start. They were from Birmingham, and had been overnighting at the bothy, Mosedale Cottage in Mosedale, which we had seen on that snowy walk last February with Uncle Eric from Swindale. He stopped and chatted to them for a few minutes. When Dad said we were from Morecambe, they asked about the Midland Hotel, which has just been completely restored. Dad's not been so he was not really in a position to give an informed view. Continuing we passed another group of walkers, as the path climbed, from where Dad got a nice shot of the waterfalls.

After this steeper climb the track levelled and once through the gate we reached the junction of paths. If we had continued ahead a further two miles, it would have brought us to Mardale Head and Haweswater Reservoir. However our route was right crossing the stream and on the bridleway that leads eventually through lonely Mosedale and then down to Swindale.

It had been dry so far underfoot, but now this rather indistinct path was rather wet and boggy. At one point a sheep barred (what an awful pun!) Dad's way, but because it looked so comfortable, he took pity, and walked in a small circle to avoid disturbing it.

The path climbed gently to come to the fence with its gate and stile. Here we left the bridleway and climbed steeply right on a narrow path parallel to the fence. Eventually, when the fence turned away left, Dad kept on along the path to the summit of Tarn Crag.

"Hooray", shouted Allen, "that's another Wainwright ticked off."

"Me too", called out Little Eric.

This odd looking structure stands just a 100 yards from the actual summit.

It is in fact an old survey tower, used by the engineers of Manchester Corporation, when constructing the Longsleddale tunnel conveying the Haweswater Aqueduct south. At the nearby summit cairn, we leapt out and settled for our picture.

Descending we rejoined the fence, following it down into the boggy hollow of Greycrag Tarn, although actually there is not in fact a tarn, just bog. Near the path these pretty yellow flowers were in bloom (we are sorry but we do not know what they are called).

A little further on was a large area of cotton grass.

At the fence corner we followed it left, Dad splashing through the boggy terrain towards Harrop Pike. This shot taken a little later on the return, shows the area to be crossed.

As you can see its summit is a broad rocky knoll, topped by an impressive cairn.

"Ooh that's very tall" said Little Eric.

"No problem", said Allen, getting the rope he carries with him.

He slung it up around a protruding stone, secured it, and then we were able to climb up for our picture.

Whilst up there we enjoyed the superb views of the Shap Fells, all of which we had climbed, and the distant Pennines. Safely down, Allen stowed his rope, then we retraced our route to the fence corner.

Now along the clear path to Grey Crag and its summit cairn. Again there were great views from here, non more so than that of Longsleddale, that we had driven along this morning.

From Grey Crag a clear path was taken that meandered over the grass and through the rocky outcrops to a stile in the fence. Once over, we continued along the path, which swung left along the spur of Great Howe. It was here that we met the only other walker today, a lady from Yorkshire. Dad chatted, as he does, and she mentioned that it had been pouring with rain when she set off, so we were in the best place today. Walking on at a brisk pace Dad soon reached Great Howe, a grassy knoll just right of the path being the summit, where Dad took our final picture of the day. You can see a loop of Allen's rope behind his left shoulder.

All that now remained was the at times rough and steep descent to Sadgill. In the words of Wallace and Gromit it had been another "Grand Day Out". All the tops are now climbed in this area, so we guess it is unlikely we will be here again for a while. To Dad's relief the drive back along the valley was clear, only meeting a farmer on his quad bike near Garnett Bridge.

And finally the summit tally today - Allen bagged Tarn Crag & Great Howe, while Little Eric bagged them all.

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