Date - 29th January 2011 Distance - 9.5 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL2
Start point - Parking area nr Leck Fen House (SD 674790)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Gragareth 2058 627 SD 6879 7930
Green Hill 2061 628 SD 7016 8201
Great Coum 2255 687 SD 7008 8358
Crag Hill 2237 682 SD 6921 8332



Shaun, Allen & Little Eric, were enjoying a mug of tea, and a chocolate biscuit from their tuck tin.

"These chocolate covered marshmallows are delicious", remarked Shaun.

"They sure are", replied Allen. "I think Tetley pinched them out of Dad's cupboard. He won't miss them as they had been there for ages, but nevertheless don't tell him."

"Mum's the word" said Shaun.

Little Eric was engrossed pouring over a map, and Shaun asked, "what are you looking at?"

"I am seeing where we will be going on our next Lakeland walk, to tick off your last two remaining Birkett summits in the Northern area. When we have climbed the fell via the Cumbria Way from the parking area at the end of Mosedale, I am not sure if Dad will opt to go to Coomb Height first, or go right over Hare Stones to High Pike and then come back via the Lingy Hills to summit Coomb Height at the end."

"The climb is completely new territory and it was August 2007, when we were last on these fells", replied Allen who was looking at the records on Dad's laptop.

"We'll just have to wait and see how the lands lies when we get there", replied Shaun. "Have a look at the weather forecast, please Allen"

"OK pal", he said tapping away to get to the Met Office page. "Looks excellent for Saturday, with clear skies, but cold."

"Great", said Little Eric. "So it looks like the Lakes here we come."

Just then Grizzly & Tetley strolled in.

"Pour us a mug of tea, please Shaun."

"Sure pals", he said opening the flask.

"Lovely", said Tetley, "I was gasping."

Grizzly said, "we heard you saying it will be the Lakes at the weekend, but Dad has told us that plans have changed and that walk has been deferred for now. Uncle Bob rang a little while ago and wanted to arrange a walk for Saturday."

"That's great", shouted Allen. "It's ages since we walked with Uncle Bob and I have missed his company."

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

"To Gragareth and the round to Crag Hill then back via Ease Gill", said Tetley.

"That's good on two counts", said Allen who was looking at the Yorkshire Dales Fells spreadsheet. "Firstly you will bag them all Little Eric, secondly, while we Dad and Uncle Bob have otherwise been to these summits before, we have not done them together."

"Well all I can say is roll on Sunday", called out Shaun, munching away on another biscuit.


The Walk

As always when the walk day arrives, we get up early, to give us plenty of time to make our sandwiches etc, which are safely stowed in Allen's rucksack.

"We really appreciate that you carry our picnic on everyone of our walks", said Tetley.

"No problem pal", replied Allen, "we need to keep our strength up on the walks, after all."

As dawn broke we could see that the skies were clear, and this was to last all the time we were out. It had been a hard frost and the temperature was reading -6c, so there was a little delay to departure while Dad cleared the ice off the car windows. This done we set off on what was just a short journey for us to the little village of Leck, just off the A65 Kendal to Skipton road at Cowan Bridge. The meeting point was in the large car park by the imposing church dedicated to St Peter. The current church is the result of rebuilding projects in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. While we stayed in the warm car, Dad hopped out to get a shot of the church, before retreating to the car to keep warm until Uncle Bob arrived, about 08:45.

"Hi Uncle Bob", called out Tetley. "Really great to be walking with you again."

"Good to see you lads, here's to a cracking day", he replied.

There was then some discussion after which Shaun said, "the plan pals is to leave Dad's car here, and go up in Uncle Bob's car and park at the road end near Leck Fell House to start the climb to Gragareth. After the summits we will make a descent of trackless upper slopes of Ease Gill to Ease Gill Kirk, then pick up the path for the continued long descent to Leck. Dad will then drive up the road for Uncle Bob to collect his car."

Safely parked near the road end, and while Dad and Uncle Bob got ready, we looked across to our first objective Gragareth.

"We can see a group of three cairns", pointed Little Eric. "Are they the famous Three Men of Gragareth?"

Looking at the map Shaun replied, "there are a number of cairns marked on the map, including the Three Men. We'll just have to see when we get up there."

Dad called out, "I'm ready, so get settled in the rucksack."

This we did snuggling down as deeply as possible to keep warm.

Striding out towards the farm, Shaun soon called out, "we go through that gate in the wall then make the steep ascent to the ridge."

This attained it was left to this cairn and seemingly rounded pile of stones.

"It looks like a stone igloo", said Tetley laughingly.

By now, Uncle Bob had climbed down the slope to its far side, calling out, "come and look."

We did and found that it was in fact a cunningly contrived and wonderful shelter in the case of inclement weather. Uncle Bob just had to try it of course!

A short stroll further soon brought us to a group of three cairns, with a single one standing a little to the left.

Thinking these were the 'Three Men', we leapt out of the rucksack and clambered across the jumble of stones. Little Eric was clinging on to Shaun's back, as we did not want him to fall down a crevice and then not be able to get out again. Reaching the right hand cairn we settled on some protruding stones to pose for a picture. "This is the group we could see from the car", called out Little Eric.

Upon return, before settling in Dad's rucksack again, Shaun scrutinised the map, and said, "huh, after all our effort clambering back and forth, these are not the Three Men."

"Well I never", said Grizzly, "perhaps then they should be called the 'Three Ladies', with that single cairn being their chaperone."

Sure enough, Shaun was right, and after a short walk and climb, finally we reached the group that is officially the Three Men of Gragareth.

Behind is the plain of the Lune Valley stretching away west to the sea and Morecambe Bay, where we live. The town in the valley to the right is Kirkby Lonsdale.

"I know we will have to clamber back and forth yet again, but we must have our picture on them.", said Allen.

"Quite", agreed Shaun. "You can sit on my back again for safety, pal."

"Thanks", said Little Eric.

"Which way now?", said Grizzly.

"With the cairns behind us we just climb on up the fell", replied Shaun, after consulting the map.

Dad and Uncle Bob trudged on, one rise following another.

"It's further than I remember", commented Uncle Bob.

"Yes", replied Dad, "its seems so to me too."

Then, after a further rise the wide flat top was reached, with the trig point marking the summit. "Yippee", cheered Little Eric. "That's another summit I have bagged."

Tetley said, "come on pals, there is no wind to blow us off, so lets climb on top and pose for our picture."

Coming to the wall Allen said, "our route is along beside it. So which stile do we take. Cross the wall via the step stile, or the wood one over the fence at right angles?"

Shaun our trusty guide, peered at the map, and then said, "we stay on this side of the wall, so it's the stile over the fence we want."

The ridge stretched away into the distance, to Green Hill and beyond to Great Coum, our furthest point before turning left to Crag Hill.

"What's that hill over there", said Little Eric, as we strolled along by the wall.

"Whernside", replied Tetley.

"It looks different from this side, but I am so used to that familiar profile from Ribblehead", said Little Eric.

The ridge dipped, then climbed again, to the rather unassuming rise of Green Hill, the small cairn marking its summit being just to the left of the path, where we gathered for our picture.

Continuing we descended slightly to once again climb over the rise of Gatty Pike. While this is not a summit as such, it is adorned with quite a striking cairn, seen here with southerly part of the ridge from Whernside, across Kingsdale, and further overtopped by Ingleborough.

Onward again by the wall, the path climbed steadily on to Great Coum.

Our way was barred by a cross wall. "There's the stile in the wall, by the junction of walls", pointed Shaun. "Once over we turn left."

The summit area is wide and flat, and Little Eric who had not been here before, asked, "where exactly is the highest point?"

Tetley who is quite the expert on the Yorkshire Dales fells, replied, "we need to head towards that wall ahead. The highest point is marked by a rather insignificant cairn about 100 yards along it to the right."

"Thanks pal", said Little Eric.

Despite the cairn being small, this was the highest summit of the day, so we have to include our picture there, for Little Eric's sake.

"Great views from here", commented Grizzly. "Across Dentdale and superb to the Howgills above Sedbergh."

Allen exclaimed, "on the left is Winder then going right Crook, Sickers Fell and Knott. Behind from the left are Arrant Haw & Calders rising to the Calf and the high point on the right is Great Dummacks".

"That's right pal", replied Grizzly. "Dad climbed them again for us last year so that we could all complete the Howgill challenge together."

"He is the best Dad in the world", called out Little Eric, "as I did not complete them, but he has agreed to do again the twelve I have not done so that I can catch you all up."

Of the summits this just left Crag Hill to climb. We walked back along the wall to its junction, climbing the stile at the corner from where we could clearly see our route.

The snowy track can be seen leading us to the stile in the cross wall from where it was onwards in the same direction to reach the trig point on the summit of Crag Hill, seen here from just below the top.

"I want to have my picture taken to record I have done it", said Little Eric.

"Too right", said Tetley.

It was time for lunch, Allen saying, "good, I'm hungry."

So we all sat in the lee of the wall below the summit looking west towards Morecambe Bay. Dad phoned Uncle Brian and we called out that we were waving our paws to him.

"Which way now", asked Little Eric.

Shaun, our ever trusty map reader replied, "we need to descend half left over the rough ground towards the streams above Long Gill Foot and down into the ravine. Then we descend to Long Gill Foot and onwards down Ease Gill."

"Sounds like it will be hard going", replied Little Eric. "Good job we are in Dad's rucksack."

And so it turned out. There was no path at all over the rough tussocky ground, followed by quite a scramble to get down the ravine and to the upper reaches of Ease Gill, seen here against the sun.

If Dad had expected that there would be a path beside the gill, he was sadly disappointed, and he and Uncle Bob had to constantly criss-cross the stream to make progress along the banks. It was hard going and care was needed as there was ice to contend with too. Also in a number of places were some quite impressive icicles beside and above the banks.

Further down, the partly frozen stream dropped in a series of small steps, that made a pretty scene. Dad had got ahead of Uncle Bob here, who can be seen making progress along at the top left of the picture.

Still there was no clear path, and this part of the walk took rather longer than expected. Eventually the stream disappeared underground and here we walked along the dry bed, to come to where a bridge crosses the gill.

"Just look how the water has eroded and shaped the rocks over time", said Tetley. "Although there is little water today, there must be times when it is a raging torrent."

Crossing the bridge and the stile beyond over the wall, we followed the short steep path to the where the gill continues below once more above ground.

"I'm going to show you a hidden gem of a narrow ravine where the stream drops in a beautiful waterfall into a deep pool", said Uncle Bob.

"Wonderful", said Allen.

"Yes" agreed Little Eric. "Thank you for showing this to us, Uncle Bob."

"Finally", cheered Allen. "A path by the stream. If only there had been one further up."

"Yes", sighed Dad. Then to Uncle Bob he said, "there is not going to be enough daylight to follow this all the way down to Leck. I think it will be best to climb up the steep bank and to reach the road and your car."

"Yes mate, I agree. But at least I have achieved the ambition of walking the upper ravine of Ease Gill."

So, after about another half mile, we reached the point where a wall rose up the fell to the left.

"This is where we need to make the steep ascent", said Shaun.

Climbing the bank, we then continued on by the wall to eventually reach the road and the car.

By now the sun was setting and there was a reflection of it on the distant waters of Morecambe Bay. "That will make a super picture", called out Tetley. "Following the line of the land to the left from the sun, we can just make out the two square looking buildings of Heysham Nuclear Power Station."

Grizzly said, "that was a cracking walk, Uncle Bob. "We have had a super time."

"If the days had been longer we could have done the rest of Ease Gill. But it has indeed been a good day", he replied

They got their boots off, then Uncle Bob drove us down to Leck to Dad's car.

Goodbyes were said and we went our separate ways, Tetley saying, "we look forward to our next walk with you Uncle Bob."


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