Date - 16th November 2010 Distance - 6 miles
Ascent -
1950 ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Road parking in Grasmere


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Castle How 1640 500 NY 3077 0759
Swinescar Pike 1348 411 NY 3136 0717
Lang How 1358 414 NY 3183 0704
Silver How 1296 395 NY 3248 0664



During 2021 we were continuing the project to rewrite and enhance our original stories of 2008-12. This adventure was rejected for a story in 2010 as due to the low cloud there were no views so few pictures were taken. These were predominantly of sheep and us at summits. Nevertheless we have decided to write an account, relying more on the narrative to illustrate the day.



Shaun had brought tea, and so with steaming mugs in paw, and the open biscuit tin before us. All was well.

Tetley had booted the laptop and we huddled round to look at the pictures from our last walk up Catbells.

"It was a super day with stunning views, which are reflected in the results of the pictures", commented Grizzly.

"Certainly are", are agreed Shaun. "It was a significant walk for Allen, Grizzly, Tetley and I, as we finally caught up with Dad on the Birketts when we summited Skelgill Bank."

"Then we ticked off King's How, so another step towards completing the challenge. But there are still quite a few to go", went on Allen.

"Little by little we will get there", replied Tetley confidently.

"I see there is a date down for a walk with Uncle Eric next Tuesday", said Grizzly. "We will have to come up with a suggestion, that is unless Uncle Eric has an idea."

Tetley had navigated to the list of outstanding Birketts, saying, "there are a group of three above Grasmere to do. They are behind Silver How in an area we have not walked."

"Ahh, Silver How", said Shaun. "That was our last Wainwright, Tetley, as it was for Dad. 24th July 2007 a day of celebration."

"Certainly was pal", replied Tetley. "Good too that we had Uncle Eric for company."

Grizzly said, "as well as the Birketts we will take in Silver How again."

"Great" cheered Little Eric. "It will be another Wainwright I will tick off."

"Uncle Eric is not doing the Birketts so we will have to see if he wants to do the walk.", said Allen. Then draining his mug, he said, "I'll go and see what Dad thinks."

Returning a little later, he took a refilled mug from Shaun. "You read my mind."

"I knew tea belly would want another mug", laughed Shaun.

"Dad is happy with our suggestion as we have to do it. He will see what Uncle Eric thinks. I have said that we will understand if he would rather do something else."

A day or so later, Dad came to see us, saying, "I have spoken to Uncle Eric, and he as agreed to the suggestion. Whilst he is not doing the Birketts it is an area that he too has not explored."


The Walk

The plan was to start walking about 10:00 from Grasmere.

So we were up early to ensure we had the picnic made and stowed in Allen's rucksack, ready to set off for Uncle Eric's around 08:15.

Arriving there Tetley, called out, "good morning Uncle Eric, we are looking forward to your company today."

"Nice to see you too lads."

So we decamped to his car for the onwards journey to Grasmere, where we parked by the road side just through the village centre.

Looking to the fells, Allen said, "oh dear they are all cloaked in mist. It will be such a shame not to get any views."

The mist persisted all morning and early afternoon with no wind, only finally lifting when the wind started to blow. It was mild in the mist, but as it cleared it turned cold in the wind.

Dad got his boots on etc., meanwhile we settled ourselves in Dad's rucksack, and this shouldered we set off.

Shaun instructed, "our route is along the Easdale Road and then the path towards Easdale Tarn."

There we could see that Sour Milk Gill was in spate and distantly spectacular. This is illustrated in the picture below taken in September 2008. If only we could have had the views today!

Beyond New Bridge, Shaun said, "now we want that path left through the gate."

This led across pastures, where Herdwicks were grazing.

"Aww", said Little Eric. "That one is just begging to have its picture taken."

"Huh", grumped Allen. "With the mist I guess there will a few sheep pictures today. But they are Herdwicks that are our favourites."

At the end of the second pasture we passed a house and through a wall gained open fell. Here the path was at first indistinct, as we climbed above Blindtarn Gill.

"Wow", called out Allen. "The waterfall is spectacular."

Dad said, "I am going cross the bracken to get a closer picture."

"Ok", replied Uncle Eric. "I will just keep on climbing, as you will soon catch up."

A good path soon emerged, Dad pausing after a few minutes to snap this of another lovely Herdwick. "Ahh", said Tetley.

The path took us past Blindtarn Moss, where it became indistinct again, so we just climbed on through the trees.

Eventually, the path emerged again as we ascended Swinescar Hause, to finally attain the main path on the ridge, where the mist enveloped all, preventing us getting a view of the landscape.

We met a couple having lunch, who had come from Blea Rigg, and they assured us the path was easy follow. It skirted some bog and climbed on rocky and rough to eventually cross Little Castle How, and reach a cairn at a junction.

"Where now?", asked Little Eric, a little bewildered.

Shaun was looking at the map and replied, "we should go left under the slope."

Quite soon Allen said, "that must be Castle How up to the right.

"Yes", agreed Shaun.

A short steep ascent followed to gain the top with its cairn. By now it was 13:30 and we still had a long way to go, so Dad said, "we must be quick getting your picture."

Grizzly said, "the name means 'the hill with a fortification'. According to Diana Whaley's book there is according to Lake District Historic Environment Record 32530, 'a possible circular stone structure, much of it covered in vegetation'. So castle could refer to this, though it could also describe the natural rocky fortress formed by Great and Little Castle How and Raw Pike."

"Thank you pal", said Tetley.

Off again, Shaun advised, "we retrace the route to the hause."

Shortly we passed this group of Herdwicks. "That is quite enough sheep pictures for today", huffed Allen.

At the hause, Shaun then said, "we keep to the path on the ridge."

Very soon we came to the little grassy knoll being the summit Swinescar Pike.

"There is no cairn", complained Little Eric.

"I'll build you a small one lads", replied Uncle Eric. "It will also be there for other walkers seeking the summit.

Once again Grizzly educated us, saying, "the name likely means 'the shieling or hill for pig grazing'."

As we walked on, after a while Tetley commented, "we can still see the cairn you built Uncle Eric."

By now the mist was lifting and we could see across the valley to Fairfield and the Helvellyn ridge, although the tops there were still in cloud so there was no point of a picture.

Following the path we crossed a small cairned hill, then dropped down to come under Lang How and climb left to the summit, that is at the north end, and marked by 3 stones.

"Come on pals", let's sit on the stones", encouraged Allen.

"That craggy rise, at the other end looks to be higher", pointed Little Eric.

Settled again we walked on to this, Tetley saying, "the Ordnance Survey were quite right, where we sat is clearly the highest point."

Grizzly said, "the name means 'the long hill' from langr/long and haugr/how(e). It is an elongated oval, and a classic how(e)."

Descending to the path, Shaun said, "head south-east."

This quite soon brought us to the path that climbed to the cairned top of Silver How.

Our second visit, Tetley saying, "this brings back memories of Shaun and I completing the Wainwright challenge in July 2007."

"I am happy to have bagged it today", cheered Little Eric.

About 15:15 now, we were all much happier as the summits had been accomplished.

"Time for a late lunch", suggested Uncle Eric. "We can sit just below the summit out of the wind."

"Oh yes", called out Allen. "I'm starving."

"I am not surprised", replied Tetley. "Mind you I reckon we are all ready for lunch."

The mist had cleared away so finally there were views.

"Nice view of Grasmere with reflections", pointed Shaun.

"I am also going to take a wider shot, with Rydal Water in the distance", said Dad.

Lunch over we quickly got into the rucksack, and took the usual path down, via Allan Bank, a former home of William Wordsworth...

...and arriving at the car about 16:00, still in still in daylight.

Are you going for refreshments?", asked Allen.

"Aye lad", replied Dad.

They went to the Miller Howe Cafe for tea and Dad, unsurprisingly had a cake too. It was Dad's treat today.

As we drove home Uncle Eric remarked. "despite the mist it has been a good day although quite a hard walk, but I have been to an area of Lakeland that I had never visited before."

"Thank you Dad", said Grizzly. "Another few Birketts ticked off and a step closer to completing the challenge."


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