Allen completes Wainwright Book 1 - The Eastern Fells


Date - 13th July 2010 Distance - 8.5 miles
Ascent -
3100 ft
Map - OL5 Start point - Stanah (NY 318 189)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Brown Crag 2001 610 NY 3275 1764
Helvellyn Lower Man 3033 925 NY 3374 1554
Helvellyn 3118 950 NY 3424 1511
White Side 2832 863 NY 3378 1666
Raise 2897 883 NY 3428 1741



Shaun with Little Eric riding on his back, trotted into the room to find Allen, Grizzly and Tetley huddled over a map.

"What are you looking at pals", asked Little Eric.

Looking up, Tetley said, "we are tracing the route of one of the walks from the Birkett book."

Noticing Shaun had brought the flasks, Allen said, "we'll tell you more, but first lets have tea", as got the mugs.

He then lent a paw to help Shaun fill them and pass them out. "Thank you pal", said Shaun.

Grizzly had got the biscuit tin and we dug into that.

There was quiet for a few minutes then Shaun said, "so, what's the plan?"

"Well", said Grizzly, "this particular walk from Bill Birkett's book is perfect in two senses. First it will enable Allen to tick off two of his four remaining Wainwrights, and the route also takes in another outstanding Birkett summit."

Allen enthused, "I will tick off White Side and Raise on the Helvellyn Ridge. This will mean that I just have Great Calva and Grisedale Pike to climb to finish the Wainwrights. Also the route takes in Helvellyn Lower Man that Little Eric and I will bag too."

"What is the Birkett summit?", asked Shaun.

"Brown Crag", replied Tetley. "The route takes in Helvellyn too"

"That's great", cheered Little Eric. "I have never been there before. In fact I will bag all five summits."

Grizzly went on, "we know too that Uncle Eric has still to do Helvellyn, Raise and White Side, so we are hoping he will be agreeable to use this route and take in Brown Crag."

"We need to see what Dad thinks, then he can talk to Uncle Eric", said Shaun.

"As it will be of most benefit to me, I'll go and tell him", replied Allen. Then as he trotted out of the door, he called out, "can you refill my mug, please."

"Ok", replied Shaun. "That will be his fourth."

"He truly is a tea belly just like Dad", laughed Shaun.

Allen soon returned. "Dad likes the suggestion and will see if Uncle Eric is happy with it when they speak tomorrow."

The next evening, Dad came to see us. "Uncle Eric is happy with the suggestion. However we have decided to do it the opposite way round to Birkett. This is to avoid having to ascend via the very steep Sticks Pass. Instead we will descend that at the end of the walk."

"That's fine", agreed Allen. "It will still mean all the summits are reached."

"When are we going?", asked Little Eric.



The Walk

We were up early and all lent a paw to make the picnic and then stow it safely in Allen's rucksack. The plan was to get to Uncle Eric's around 09:15, where we decamped to his car for the rest of the journey.

"Good morning Uncle Eric", called out Tetley. "We are in for an exciting day."

"Hello lads, nice to see you. Yes I will make good progress ticking off three Wainwrights."

We took the main A591 first to Windermere then on through Ambleside, and over Dunmail Raise to come beside Thirlmere, where Helvellyn towers up to the right.

Shaun advised, "our start point is at Stanah. We should turn off onto the B5322 St John's in the Vale road. There is a small car park by the telephone box, immediately after the junction."

The day started bright, sunny and summery, but gradually cloud increased with strong gusty winds on the higher summits, and a consequent drop in temperatures, so feeling more like winter.

As Dad and Uncle Eric got ready, we settled in Dad's rucksack.

Shaun issued instructions, "we walk up the lane then climb the stile over the wall."

Beyond we passed through a gate to then cross the bridge over the water conduit.

"What is this for?", asked Little Eric.

"It channels water that will ultimately run into Thirlmere Reservoir", replied Tetley, knowledgeably.

A further bridge crossed Stanah Gill, and then through another gate we were on open fell.

Clearly ahead we could see the see the Sticks Pass. "That's our return route", commented Grizzly.

Shaun now said, "we go right along the path signed to Swirls."

This crossed Fisherplace Gill, Allen commenting, "it is unsurprisingly flowing quite fast after the recent rain."

Quite soon the path joined that coming up from Thirlspot.

Consulting the map and Wainwright Book 1, Shaun advised, "go left, effectively backtracking a short way, to cross the gill, and then find the path climbing right."

The climb was steep through bracken, and after a while the path forked. "Which way?", said Grizzly.

"Right", replied Shaun.

Beyond a wall the bracken gave way to grassy terrain, as the path wound on towards the bulk of Brown Crag our first objective.

The views had now opened out, Allen calling out, "wow there's a terrific view of the Skiddaw group with High Rigg above St John's in the Vale in the foreground." He then went on, "from the left is Ullock Pike and Carl Side, then Skiddaw itself, with Lower Man in front, and falling right to Jenkin Hill and then Lonscale Fell with the pointed east top at its right end."

"Breathtaking", agreed Little Eric.

Looking more right Tetley said, "there's Blencathra, with Great Calva behind to the left."

"Great Calva is likely to be my 213th Wainwright", said Allen. "I can't wait to tick it off."

"I have that to climb too", said Uncle Eric. "Let's make it our next walk together."

"That will be lovely", said Little Eric.

Our route skirted left, and having gained most of the height, we then struck right to quickly reach the summit rocky outcrop of Brown Crag.

"Great to finally get this Birkett done", cried Tetley, "it is the last in the Helvellyn Group."

Walking on we climbed towards White Side, Shaun saying, "we want the path right along the slopes."

This rounded the mountain above Helvellyn Gill with the dramatic Browncove Crags across the valley.

A final steepish pull brought us to the col on the ridge.

"That's Catstycam", over to the left", pointed Little Eric. "We climbed that with you Uncle Eric about 6 weeks ago."

"There's our second summit, Helvellyn Lower Man", said Allen pointing right. "A Birkett catch-up for Little Eric and I."

A steep, but relatively short ascent followed, to attain the cairn. "Picture time", called out Little Eric.

Settled once more, it was now just a short stroll to Helvellyn itself. Tetley said, "we can see the trig point, and the cairn marks the start of the descent down Swirral Edge."

As we approached the trig point, Little Eric was ready to jump out, but Shaun said, "the trig point is not actually the highest point. That untidy cairn just a little further is the summit."

Unsurprisingly it was busy here, but we took the opportunity to bag the cairn for a short time, as Dad took our picture with Uncle Eric.

Returning along the summit area, Tetley said, "that will make a nice shot of Red Tarn. The right hand path is the one we used on the ascent from Glenridding on the day we climbed Catstycam. The left path was our return route via Rad Tarn Beck."

Above the tarn left is Catstycam the path we had taken to its summit clearly seen, with Ullswater distantly behind..

We also took the opportunity to inspect the descent via Swirral Edge. "That looks to be ever so steep", said Little Eric.

"It is", agreed Tetley. "We used that route in August 2004. Care is needed getting down."

Issuing instructions Shaun said, "we return over Lower Man and on down to the col and follow the main path. There is then a steady 200ft of ascent to White Side."

This is topped with a cairn and lowish shelter. "Yippee", cheered Allen. "Now just three Wainwrights to go."

"The shelter is a good place for lunch", suggested Tetley.

"Agreed", replied Uncle Eric.

However it was a rather hurried affair, as is was quite cold now, and compared to when we set off this morning, like winter.

Keeping to the ridge, Raise was ahead, reached after 250ft ascent from the depression.

"What a beautifully constructed cairn", called out Grizzly. "A work of art!"

Allen immediately jumped out with the rest of us. "Come on pals, I want my picture with you. It is my 212th Wainwright and it also marks my completion of Book 1 Eastern Fells."

"Well done, pal", said Tetley on behalf of us all.

Uncle Eric then sat by the cairn, as he too had ticked off the summit.

"There is another super view to Ullswater", said Grizzly. "Worth a picture Dad."

Descending, we could see clearly ahead the cross roads at the Sticks Pass, where our route was left on the grassy track.

A steady descent that as Dad said, "get's very steep lower down"

Coming to this part Dad was taking extra care, but must have put his foot on a rock that he thought was secure, but was not. Suddenly we were tumbling over and over coming to a halt about 30 feet lower down.

"Oh Dad, are you all right", cried Allen.

He got up slowly and said, "yes lad thankfully no serious injuries, but I am bruised on my left leg, right knee, left shoulder and hand."

Uncle Eric had not see Dad's fall as he was a little way behind. He was most concerned, and made Dad sit a little to compose himself.

As we set off again, Dad said, "it has shaken me up a bit and my legs feel like jelly."

Thankfully this wore off soon and the rest of the descent was accomplished without incident.

Herdwicks were grazing here and Dad got this lovely shot of a lamb. Ahh!

Finally we were amongst the bracken again, the path leading to the signpost where this morning we has taken the route signed to Swirls.

By now it was starting to rain, but we were soon at the car and safely inside before it turned heavy.

"That was a super day, said Grizzly.

"Yes it was", cheered Allen. "Half my outstanding Wainwrights done. I feel sure I will complete the challenge this year now."

"Truly a grand day out", stated Tetley.


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