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, Shaun then instructing, it's right here to pass 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. Then pointing right said, "we also went on to climb Hallin Fell as well."

The road led towards Fusedale, but once over the cattle grid Shaun called out, "turn left here, over the beck and then on to that building called Mellguards."

Then for a short distance it was left along the path towards Pooley Bridge, before climbing steeply right up the fell. The path was not in doubt 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", remarked Grizzly as we paused to watch the spectacle.

Although not in the picture, Tetley said, "there's the straggle of walkers who have disembarked and set off on the popular walk below Hallin Fell to Sandwick, and then below Place Fell, on their way back to Glenridding."

From the cairn, Dad kept on ahead climbing a zig zag path to reach the ridge.

The path soon turned left, Shaun saying, "for the summit of Swarth Fell we have to leave the path and just go on ahead."

The route was trackless now, but soon the flat top of Swarth Fell was gained. This is a Birkett summit, which we all ticked off. There are a number of rocky outcrops, and Dad chose what he thought was the highest, where he took our picture.

The nearest fell immediately behind us is large bulk of Place Fell.

"What are those beyond?", asked Little Eric.,

"The Helvellyn Ridge", replied Allen. "From the left, Fairfield, St Sunday Crag, Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike and in the centre Helvellyn. Then, White Side, Raise and Stybarrow Dodd."

Tucked in he rucksack once more, Shaun said, "we just head on in a northerly direction."

So, fairly easy walking for about half mile brought us to the cairn marking the top of Bonscale Pike.

"Yippee", cheered Grizzly. "At last I have completed all the Wainwrights in Book 2."

"Then you deserve to have your picture taken on your own", said Dad.

We, of course, all had our picture taken, Tetley saying, "this place has a certain special feeling for me, being the first Wainwright summit I climbed on 14th February 2002."

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.

"It will be nice to include in the story a shot of the newer tower", said Grizzly. "Please take a picture Dad?"

Time to head down, Shaun saying, "a direct descent will bring us to a path crossing the fell. Turning left will then take us the cairn on the boulder once again, where we just reverse the outward route."

This completed safely, near to Howtown we passed this tiny stone clapper bridge over the beck beside the path. "It will make a pretty picture", said Allen.

At the road, Little Eric pointed, "look there's one of those wonderful wall post boxes, standing out brightly in the sunshine. It 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. Our way back took us through Pooley Bridge.

"Phew", said Tetley. "Unsurprisingly it is thronged. How lucky we were to have enjoyed the wonderful peace and tranquillity of the fells."

"Yes", agreed Grizzly. "We 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", said Grizzly, as we drove home.

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