Dad's 60th birthday walk and Little Eric's 3rd birthday walk


Date - 1st March 2011 Distance - 8.25 miles
Ascent -
1750 ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Below Hazel Bank (NY 552 051)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
High House Bank 1627 496 NY 5431 0483
Robin Hood 1613 491 NY 5303 0586
Lord's Seat 1719 524 NY 5184 0661
Great Yarlside 1919 585 NY 5251 0759
Little Yarlside 1691 515 NY 5320 0717
Whatshaw Common 1593 485 NY 5419 0618



All was well as Shaun had brought the tea and the biscuit tin was open before us.

"Just what I needed", said Allen.

"I know", laughed Tetley, "you are gasping for a cuppa."

"We all know who you take after", went on Grizzly. "Dad. He is a tea belly like you pal."

"It's your third birthday Little Eric next Tuesday", commented Allen.

"Yes pal, but more importantly it is Dad's 60th. I hope we can go for a walk to celebrate."

Looking at the diary Tetley said, "he have a walk with Uncle Eric pencilled in, so I am sure a walk will be on, subject to the weather of course."

"We need to come up with a suggestion then for Dad to put to Uncle Eric", said Grizzly.

We sat in thought for a little while, then Shaun said, "how about doing some of Little Eric's outstanding Wainwright Outlying Fells. I am sure too that Uncle Eric has some of these to tick off as well."

"Oh pals, that would be wonderful", replied Little Eric. "It will make it a proper birthday celebration for me."

Tetley said, "how about the Crookdale Horseshoe. I know for sure that both you and Uncle Eric have them to do."

"Good idea, and it is not too far from Kendal where Uncle Eric lives" added Allen.

"I think that it is probably best to do them as described in the Birkett Almanac as it makes a proper round of fells and avoids the trackless walking in the valley itself ", said Shaun.

"Some we have all done before, that is Great and Little Yarlside, and Whatshaw common, but last time we did those as part of the Wasdale Horseshoe the cloud was down so there were no views", said Tetley.

"That doesn't matter to me I will get the others ticked off as will Uncle Eric", replied Little Eric.

"Right" said Allen, draining his second mug of tea, "I'll see what Dad thinks, and we will have to wait until he has spoken to Uncle Eric."

"Better fill his mug up again", said Grizzly.

"Just about to do that pal", replied Shaun.

Allen soon returned. "Thanks pal for filling my mug. You read my mind. Dad agrees with our suggestion so it is on subject to Uncle Eric agreeing."


The Walk

As we drove to Uncle Eric's , Allen said, "how time flies, it really does not seem 3 years since you climbed your first hill, pal."

"No", replied Little Eric. "I remember it well. We climbed Whernside on what was an extremely windy day, but I managed to stand by the trig point on my own for my picture. In the three years, my summit total stands at 428, and I have walked 1209 miles."

Turning our attention to Dad, Tetley said, " we all wish you a very Happy Birthday, and here's to many more walks to come."

"Thanks Lads", Dad replied.

At Uncle Eric's we decamped to his car for the onwards journey.

Good to see you and looking forward to your company", called out Shaun on all our behalf.

"Nice to see you too Lads. And Gerry, a very Happy Birthday."

"Thank you, and it will be very nice to have your company to celebrate the day."

We took the A6 north towards Shap branching off left onto a narrow road that ended just before the buildings of Hause Foot, where we parked on the verge.

Uncle Eric told us, "this was once part of the road over Shap before the current A6 was built."

The day was dry throughout but cloudy, only clearing to blue skies later in the afternoon, and a cool breeze persisted all day.

While Dad and Uncle Eric got ready, we settled ourselves in Dad's rucksack ready for the off.

Checking the map, Shaun issued instructions. "we should walk a short distance north along the road towards Hause Foot then climb steeply left up Hazel Bank."

As Dad and Uncle Eric paused to catch their breath, looking south across the far side of the A6, Allen said, "there's Ashstead Fell, the first summit along the ridge above Borrowdale."

"We climbed that and the rest of the ridge with you last April Uncle Eric", said Tetley. "A grand walk."

"Yes lads it was", he replied.

A wall crossed the fell which we climbed, and then bearing left on an easier gradient, crossed the rough ground to a prominent cairn on the shoulder.

Little Eric was ready to scramble out, when Allen said, "this is not the summit. We have to go to that grass and bilberry mound that marks the highest point."

This was attained in short order, Little Eric calling out, "that's one ticked off Uncle Eric. Time for our picture pals."

Grizzly said, "it is named as the hill above the building of High House in Borrowdale below."

Heading on, the grassy path descended to the col where there was a good view back to High House Bank.

Strolling on the path led to a gate in a fence, beyond which we crossed the boggy ground to a gate in the wall. Here the path swung left and climbed steeply to the cairn at the summit of Robin Hood.

"I know you will be wondering, so I made sure to look the name up in Diana Whaley's book", said Grizzly. "And you would indeed be correct in thinking it is named after the legendary outlaw."

Just below is a larger cairn with a lovely view overlooking the upper reaches of Borrowdale. "Good place to sit for lunch", suggested Uncle Eric.

"For sure" agreed Allen, "I'm hungry as usual."

Before leaving Dad asked, "Eric would you take my picture with the Lads, to mark my 60th birthday and Little Eric's 3rd."

"Of course."

The ridge was then followed on a somewhat clearer path to the next summit Lord's Seat.

This was the highest point on this side of the valley and commanded a fine view over Borrowdale. Tetley said, "there's Ashstead Fell again, with beyond Mabbin Crag and Castle Fell."

The top is flat, Shaun saying, "the OS map marks the spot height as just to the left of the path."

"That mound with a few stones in the grass", pointed Allen.

"Great" cheered Little Eric, "that is all the fells that Uncle Eric and I had not climbed, duly bagged."

So, about as far from start as we could be, the opposite ridge for our return beckoned. Shaun said, "we are now faced with a hard trek over the trackless rough terrain to cross the head of the valley. Birkett says to make for Crookdale Fold a long abandoned and ruined sheepfold we can see below."

So, our direction was north-west crossing first Bleaberry Gill that with other unnamed streams forms Crookdale Beck that flows through the lonely deserted valley. Then on to round the ruined walls of Crookdale Fold, behind which rises the slopes of Lawyer's Brow.

"Our route now is up the facing slope of Lawyer's Brow by that ravine", advised Shaun.

The ridge was still far away, and there was much more rough ground to cross, although a thin path developed, which made the going a bit easier.

Pausing after a while we looked down on lonely Crookdale, totally devoid of habitation.

"Wainwright says in his chapter that this valley is the loneliest in the National Park", said Grizzly. "His walk actually goes through the valley initially to then climb to and along the ridge we have walked."

"I imagine that the walk in the valley will be quite arduous as there are unlikely to be any paths", said Uncle Eric.

Walking on the thin path finally brought us near the fell wall. Shaun said, " if we go right near the top we can cut the corner to the summit of Great Yarlside."

There Tetley pointed, "just look at the light over the Howgills. Beautiful."

There's the small cairn marking the summit", pointed Grizzly. "Even though we have been here before we must have our picture taken."

Uncle Eric remarked, "when we walked this ridge in December 2009 all was covered in cloud and it was raining. Much more enjoyable today with the dry clear weather."

Setting off again, Shaun said, "we should first cross the fell wall and descend with it to our right."

A path ran beside it down the steep slope seen here looking back.

At the cross wall we climbed the hurdle and made the short climb to Little Yarlside. Tetley said, "the unmarked summit is a little way to the left of the wall."

The GPS came in handy to locate it, where we hopped out for our picture.

Returning to the wall, this being our guide as we continued east towards our final summit today, Whatshaw Common.

The wall ended shortly before and then became a fence, beside which was deep bog.

"Oh dear", sighed Little Eric.

"The only option is to stand on the wire and shuffle along to the corner", said Allen.

Dad was doing well but then his boot caught and he slipped off. "Darn now I've got a very wet right foot and sock! There is still a long section to cross, so I am going to climb over the fence to drier ground to reach the corner."

Uncle Eric was a little behind, and as he came into view, Dad called out, "it is very boggy. Best to climb the fence to drier ground."

He did and kept his feet dry. "Thank you", he said as he caught us up.

"To get to the summit we need to cross the fence going to the right", advised Shaun.

Back in the rucksack, Shaun said, "we now recross the fence to the left, and follow down beside it."

Soon the A6 at Shap summit came into view and the ground dropped down to a gate on the right at the bridleway.

Uncle Eric said, "this had once been a continuation of the old road from Hause Foot."

After a straight section, it looped down right then left to a gate and over a field to Hause Foot. There, crossing Crookdale Bridge over Crookdale Beck, whose source we had been to today, we strolled the road to the car.

"That was a good walk if rather tough going at times", said Uncle Eric. "But I am glad that those summits have been climbed at last."

"A very lonely walk", commented Grizzly. "We have seen no one else at all."

"That was the case when we did this walk with some extra summits in March 2005", went on Tetley.

This is very very lonely and unfrequented country, so it is perhaps good to have a pal with you on this walk.


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