BONSCALE PIKE & SWARTH FELL (ULLSWATER) from HOWTOWN

Grizzly completes Wainwright Book 2 - Far Eastern Fells


Summary

Date - 27th July 2008 Distance - 4 miles
Map - OL5 Start point - Parking area just beyond cattle grid on road to Martindale (NY 439194)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Swarth Fell (Ullswater) 1788 545 NY 4540 1954
Bonscale Pike 1718 524 NY 4534 2008

 

Preface

"What a dreadful summer we are having", mused Shaun miserably.

"Yes, it is a wonder that we are managing to get out walking", agreed Tetley.

Just then Allen and Grizzly rushed in.

Breathlessly Allen cried,"it's a good forecast for tomorrow and Dad has told us that we are off for a walk".

"Yes", agreed Grizzly excitedly. "We are walking above Ullswater and will be climbing Bonscale Pike, so I will finally complete Book 2, and that will just leave three Wainwright summits that I have to climb." He continued, "of course you Allen and Little Eric will tick this off too"

"Coincidentally that was my first Wainwright, which I climbed in February 2002, so it will be a nostalgic return", said Tetley.

 

The Walk

It was one of the few summer days this year with hot warming sunshine. We were up early and having got our picnic ready, dashed out and settled in the car, when we heard Dad loading his gear. From Pooley Bridge at the north end of Ullswater, Dad drove us along the narrow road on the east side of the lake coming to the hamlet of Howtown. The boats that ply the lake call here, and it is a popular place where walkers disembark, for the walk below Hallin Fell and Place Fell, and on to Glenridding where they probably boarded the boat. Dad continued along the road that after a while climbs steeply to Martindale and just beyond the cattle grid there was an area to park. We hopped into the rucksack and off we went, descending the road, then along the path leading to the Howtown Hotel.

"What's that fell over there", asked Little Eric. "It is rather distinctive, and will make a good picture."

"Steel Knotts and its summit is known as Pikeawassa", replied Shaun.

"We climbed it on 5th October 2005 in the company of Uncle Eric" added Tetley, "and we also went on to climb Hallin Fell as well."

This was in view too, so Dad obligingly snapped it.

Continuing, we walked along the road towards Fusedale, and once over the cattle grid went left to cross the beck and walk to the building called Mellguards. For a short distance we now went left along the path towards Pooley Bridge, before climbing steeply right up the fell. It was a clear path and eventually led to a cairn on a boulder.

As we were climbing Allen suddenly called out "look there are two of the passenger boats passing by one another".

"One has just left Howtown on its way to Pooley Bridge", and the other is about to stop at Howtown", added Shaun.

We all watched the spectacle for a while, and Dad snapped the action too. We could see too, the straggle of walkers who had disembarked as they set off on the popular walk below Hallin Fell and Place Fell.

From the cairn, Dad kept on ahead climbing a zig zag path to reach the ridge. When the path turned left, he walked on ahead over trackless ground to soon reach the flat top of Swarth Fell, one of the Birkett summits that we all ticked off. There are a number of rocky outcrops, and Dad chose what he thought was the highest, for the summit, where he took our picture.

The nearest fell immediately behind us is large bulk of Place Fell, and the high mountains beyond form the Helvellyn Ridge.

Onwards over fairly easy ground in a northerly direction for about half mile we reached the cairn marking the top of Bonscale Pike. Grizzly let out a cheer at his final completion of Book 2, and Dad photographed him on his own (we all had our picture taken too of course).

Nearby are two stone towers. Bonscale Tower is the oldest having survived over half a century, and commands a fine view over Ullswater.

Here is the stupendous and uninterrupted view.

And looking south this wonderful panorama of the Helvellyn range, with Hallin Fell immediately below and to its left Place Fell.

"Those views are just breathtaking", said Little Eric.

"Absolutely!", we all replied in unison.

Just the matter of the descent now. From the tower, Dad descended directly to a path that went across the fell, to reach the cairn on the boulder once again. From here it was just the reverse of the outward route. Near to Howtown we passed this tiny stone clapper bridge over the beck beside the path.

Then at the road, set in the wall was another of those wonderful wall post boxes, standing out brightly in the sunshine. This one dates from the reign of Queen Victoria.

It had been a short walk by our standards, and we were down by 13.30, so missing the real heat of the day. On our way back Dad drove again through Pooley Bridge - it was thronged and thankfully Dad was not stopping here for his tea and cake. We thought how lucky we were to have enjoyed the peace and tranquillity of the fells, where we had only met two other people. Tea time now. Dad went to one of his favourite places, Greystone House at Stainton. A good pot of tea with extra hot water and cake recharged him, and before leaving he bought some produce from the farmshop.

"Thanks Dad for a lovely walk as always, and for taking me to my final summit in Book 2", says Grizzly.

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