Date - 26th May 2010 Distance - 8 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL5 Start point - Car park, Glenridding (NY 387169)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Birkhouse Moor 2536 718 NY 3634 1597
Catstycam 2919 890 NY 3481 1582



Tetley and Shaun with Little Eric perched on his back as usual, were sitting quietly reading Dad's interesting book about the origin of place names in the Lake District. Their peace was shattered when Allen came bounding into the room, with a wide smile on his face.

"What's going on?", said Tetley, looking up in surprise.

"I have heard Dad talking to Uncle Eric, and despite the weather being a bit unsettled, we are walking on Wednesday."

"That's great", said Shaun, "but why have you got that large grin on your face."

"Because the two summits we are to climb, are two of my outstanding Wainwrights", said Allen.

"Which ones?", said Grizzly, who had just wandered in.

"Birkhouse Moor and Catstycam", replied Allen.

"That means we will be walking from Glenridding", said Shaun.

"That's just great", interjected Little Eric, "as I will bag them too."


The Walk

Not wanting to delay Dad, we were up early. We all lent a paw to get the picnic ready and stow it safely in Allen's rucksack. Then as we heard Dad putting his kit in the car.

"Come on pals", called out Allen, "time to settle in the car."

"Have a good time lads", said Uncle Brian, "and make sure your Dad takes care."

"We will", replied Tetley. "Enjoy your quiet day Uncle Brian."

Dad drove us to Uncle Eric's, where we decamped to his car for the remainder of the journey.

"Good morning, Uncle Eric, nice to be walking with you again", said Shaun on behalf of us all."

"Good to see you too lads."

We headed out on the road towards Windermere, but at Ings, we took the narrow road right to Troutbeck, and then on up the Kirkstone Pass. Away to the right the ridge of the Kentmere Horseshoe dominated the scene, and we could see north to south, Thornthwaite Crag, Froswick, Ill Bell & Yoke.

"That's Troutbeck Tongue, nestling below the Kentmere ridge. It was November 2008 when we all last climbed that", remarked Tetley.

At the top of the pass Red Screes dominates the scene and Grizzly remarked, "I recall us huddling by the trig point in the snow for our picture. That was December of the same year."

Once down the to the valley we passed Brothers Water and Hartsop. Here fells ring the road. "Ah", said Shaun. "Scenes of more past adventures."

Soon we came to Patterdale, and then shortly to Glenridding, our start point.

The weather was dry and quite bright, so we hoped that this would set the tone for the day. However as you will see later this was not to be the case.

While Dad and Uncle Eric got ready we snuggled down in the rucksack ready for the off.

From the car park we crossed Glenridding Beck, where a clear sign indicated the direction we should take.

We strolled along the lane by the beck, passing Gillside Farm campsite.

"That's Sheffield Pike over to the right, if I remember rightly", said Little Eric.

"You are correct", replied Tetley. "We climbed it in November 2008. I recall we met two couples at the Birkett summit Heron Pike. They thought it was great fun Dad taking us on the walks, and one gentleman went so far as to say he would remember Heron Pike as STAG Pike."

After Gillside the road ended, and coming to a junction, Shaun said, "we go left, then very soon at the next take the path right."

The path reached a wall and went round it right. Here Shaun said, "we go through the gate left in the facing wall."

From here we were to start the rather steep and arduous climb by Mires Beck and through an area called Little Cove. We paused to look back at the scene to Glenridding.

"I'm going to take a picture, Eric", said Dad.

"Ok, I'll press on, as you are faster than me and will soon catch up."

"That is Place Fell on the far side of Ullswater", said Allen. "One we will have to repeat, to do all the associated Birkett tops."

So steeply upwards, to come to a marker cairn adjacent to a substantial stone wall. "We are about halfway to Birkhouse Moor", commented Tetley, looking up from the map. "We keep by the wall and follow it round to the summit."

The ascent was still quite steep but the gradient finally eased at the wall corner, and rounding this it was only a short distance to the summit marked by an untidy pile of stones. By now it was raining, but we never flinch from hopping out to have our summit picture taken, Allen calling out, "great, another of my Wainwrights ticked off."

We then surveyed the scene behind us. Grizzly said, "we can see the tall cone of Catstycam, our next objective. On the left is Striding Edge leading up to Helvellyn."

The weather was pretty poor now, so we quickly snuggled down in the rucksack, and then Dad and Uncle Eric ploughed on. The path led to what is called 'Hole in the Wall'.

Shaun said, "as we can see it is actually a stile over the wall, where if you have climbed from Patterdale or via Lanty Tarn below Keldas, Helvellyn first comes into view."

The path divided here. Ahead it led to Striding Edge, but we turned right. After a short uphill section it was mainly level as it followed the contours to Red Tarn. By now the weather had improved significantly, the rain was off and the sky had brightened. From the tarn the path climbed steadily below the slopes of Catstycam, on its way to Swirral Edge and Helvellyn.

As we approached the col, Shaun pointed, "there's our ascent path to Catstycam".

Grizzly said, "according to Diana Whaley's book on Lake District Place Names, Catstycam probably means the cat's (wild) steep path."

"We came down off Helvellyn via Swirral Edge, when we climbed it before, if I remember correctly", said Tetley. "We can see the cairn denoting where the descent from Helvellyn starts."

"That's right", replied Dad. "It is pretty steep and care is necessary as the rocks have been worn smooth by the passage of innumerable walkers. On that day it felt even steeper, but we had done a long round." [The picture was actually taken after we had climbed to and then descended from Catstycam.]

Uncle Eric said, "we had better get on up to the summit while the weather holds."

How prophetic that was to turn out! So, off we went and soon we were there. It is a true peak having a small shapely summit, Wainwright saying it is the finest in the eastern fells. "Come on pals", said Little Eric, "let's perch on the cairn for our picture."

All had been quite clear when we arrived but as can be seen by the time had sat on the cairn the mist was swirling all around and Helvellyn was nearly obscured. Ullswater was in view, but just seconds after Dad took this picture it disappeared completely.

A number of other walkers arrived, while we were there, and Dad and Uncle Eric chatted to them. For one lady this was her first Wainwright. Dad stayed tight lipped about having climbed them all.

Ready for the off again, Shaun said, "we just return via the ascent route, and then go right along the path towards Red Tarn."

Along here Uncle Eric said, "these rocks are a convenient place to sit for lunch."

"Oh yes", cheered Allen. "I'm hungry."

"No surprise there", laughed Little Eric.

We had a superb views with Helvellyn towering up to the right, and ahead Striding Edge across Red Tarn.

Settled, we were all merrily munching away at our sandwiches, when Shaun remarked, "the sky seems to be darkening again."

Just then there was a loud clap of thunder, followed a minute later by another.

Dad said to Uncle Eric, "perhaps we had better hurry and finish lunch."

We made our way again under the slopes of Catstycam, to where Red Tarn Beck forms the outfall from the tarn."

"We take the path down by the beck", said Shaun.

It started to rain again, so Dad kindly covered us up inside the rucksack. We were very glad, as the rain was to persist for most of the descent, that brought us back to the gate where we had paused to look over Glenridding.

The coats kept Dad and Uncle Eric dry, except for Dad's trousers. "I could literally wring them out", he said. Eventually the rain did stop for the last part of the walk, so by the time we arrived at the car park Uncle Eric and Dad had dried out a bit.

It had been cold coming down, so after changing, a warming cup of tea and cake was the order of the day. For this they went to Fellbites Cafe, that is just a few yards away across the car park. We had a warming drink from the flask we had stowed in Uncle Eric's car this morning.

Then it was off home. "Despite the weather that was an enjoyable adventure", said Little Eric.

"Yes", agreed Allen. "And now I have just 6 Wainwights to go."

We found out later that over in Buttermere the storm had been much worse and a number of people had been hit by lightening.

"Phew", said Tetley. "That is awful. We were very fortunate to only experience those two claps of thunder."


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