WALLA CRAG, BLEABERRY FELL, HIGH SEAT & ASHNESS BRIDGE from GREAT WOOD

 


Summary

Date - 19th February 2012 Distance - 7 miles
Ascent -
2400ft
Map - OL4 Start point - Great Wood car park (NY 272212)

 

Summits Achieved

 

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Walla Crag 1243 379 NY 2768 2128
Bleaberry Fell 1935 590 NY 2857 1957
High Seat 1995 608 NY 2871 1804
       

 

Preface

"It's time for tea", remarked Allen, opening the flasks that Shaun and Little Eric had not long before brought in.

"I'll get the biscuits", said Tetley. "Those triple chocolate cookies are absolutely scrumptious."

"It was a great day when Dad and Uncle Brian decided to have Craig the Rington's representative deliver tea and the wonderful selection of biscuits that they sell", Shaun replied.

"Oh and also those sultana cookies are to die for" added Allen.

"Where's Grizzly?", asked Little Eric.

"Watching the latest episode of Fringe, with Dad and his other TV pals", said Allen.

It was not long afterwards that he wandered in, saying, "pour us a mug of tea, Allen."

"Here you are pal."

"Thanks", he replied. "I also bring good news. We are definitely walking on Sunday, and on the Lakes fells too. Dad is planning to take us up Walla Crag, then on along to High Seat via Bleaberry Fell."

"Great", cried Shaun spreading the map out and working out the route. "The latter two have always previously been climbed from the Thirlmere side, so that means that we will cover ground we have not walked before. That will include also the path from Walla Crag to Bleaberry Fell. From High Seat the descent will be above Ashness Gill eventually down to Ashness Bridge, then along the Keswick path that goes through Great Wood, our start point."

"I bet there will be lots of people at Ashness Bridge, as it is such a tourist hot spot", said Tetley. "Dad won't want to linger long there, that's for sure."

"There is a further plan after the walk too. It is not far to Armathwaite Hall, and Dad intends going there for a late lunch", said Grizzly. He plans to take Fletcher and Polly, and we will probably all get our picture taken there, which will add to the story."

"Roll on Sunday", cried Little Eric, grabbing another of the delicious triple chocolate cookies.

 

The Walk

It was to be quite an early start, to give time after the walk for Dad to lunch at Armathwaite Hall, so we made sure to were ready in good time.

"I'll help you with the sandwiches", said Tetley to Grizzly.

"Thanks, that will save some time", he replied.

"I'll get the biscuits", called out Allen. "I'm packing the triple chocolate cookies, sultana cookies and those delicious chocolate marshmallows."

That's sounds just fine", cried Tetley.

Then by the time all was safely stowed in Allen's rucksack, it was time to settle in the car. As we dashed out we called goodbyes to the rest of the Hug and Uncle Brian.

So once again it was that familiar route north on the M6, the Howgills looking majestic in the clear morning air. Then west on the A66, our hearts leaping as the beloved mountains came into view. The Dodds and Helvellyn ridge, mighty Blencathra towering on the right, then the magnificent prospect of the Coledale Fells and those above Derwentwater.

"What a joyful sight", shouted Allen.

"So wonderful to think we will soon be on the mountains again, after the long layoff," added Little Eric enthusiastically.

Leaving the main road we drove down into Keswick, then it was along the Borrowdale road, to park at Great Wood, arriving just about 09.00, and at that time Dad's was the only car. No time was wasted, Dad getting his boots on, while we settled in his rucksack, and this shouldered, off we went, heading out of the car park and along the wide clear path.

"We should soon come to Cat Gill", said Shaun. "Here we do not cross the footbridge, but take the path rising up beside the gill.

It was a steady climb on the rough path, that must have been climbed by thousands of people, to gain the summit of this popular fell. Finally we were free of and above the treeline where there were magnificent views across Derwent Water.

In the foreground is Skelgill Bank, that then rises on the left to Catbells. Behind is Rowling End then rising to Causey Pike, with the flat ridge of Scar Crag beyond. The path in the snow can then be seen rising up Sail, over topped behind by Crag Hill falling gently right to Eel Crag. In the left of the picture is the dark ridge of Ard Crags behind which is the snow topped fell called Wandope.

"Wow", said Grizzly, "and without exception we can say all have been summited, some more than once too."

Soon now the ascent levelled off, and then it was along by the wall, crossing this by a stile to gain the top of Walla Crag. Dad however paused just short to take this view looking to Borrowdale, the dark prominent hill in the foreground being King's How. The mountains beyond are Glaramara on the left and centrally the Scafells, with Great Gable to the right

"Hooray", cried Little Eric, "that's another Wainwright I have ticked off."

Dad slipped the rucksack off his back, but to our surprise he did not invite us to get out to have our usual picture taken, instead we were left just sitting there.

"Are you going to take our picture?", called out Tetley.

"Yes lads, but you will just have to be patient while I capture some shots of the views around."

It was worth the wait as they were wonderful today. First looking north east to Blencathra.

And then west, across the slopes of Barrow to Grisedale Pike, the ridge leading to Hobcarton Head and on to the snow covered top of Hopegill Head.

Swinging the camera to face north, Keswick nestles below the dominant Skiddaw Group.

The town clusters above the north east side of Derwent Water, its northerly reaches seen here, deep blue, as is Bassenthwaite Lake beyond.

As he finally lowered his camera, Allen said, "have you finished?"

"Yes lad, you can all jump out and I will take you at the cairn.

"At last", cried Little Eric, with relief.

There was still the majority of the walk to do, so settled in Dad's rucksack, we headed basically south across fairly level ground at first, towards our next objective Bleaberry Fell.

As can be seen the path goes to the west of the fell, before curving left and rising more steeply up the reconstructed path, to the shelter marking the summit, where the view opens out to the east. This shot shows from left to right, White Side, with Catstycam just peeking over its slopes, and Helvellyn Lower Man.

The next objective High Seat could be seen ahead the trig point standing out clearly. This ridge is perennially boggy, and quite honestly we were somewhat surprised when Dad said we were to go here, as once on a walk here having sunk up to his knees, he vowed never to walk this ridge again. However recently we had actually had a taste of winter and the ground was frozen, making for easier progress. So, after just over half an hour we were at the trig point on High Seat. Oh and yes, you are not going to get away without us making another appearance. Still at least there have not been any pictures of sheep!

Up here the wind had got up and it was rather cold, prompting Dad to consider putting his gloves on. However after due consideration he decided against it.

"Time for lunch lads", Dad announced, taking us down just below the summit on the south side, out of the wind.

"Get those sandwiches out, I'm starving", cried Grizzly,

"OK", replied Allen, slipping his rucksack off.

"I'll pour the tea", said Shaun helpfully.

So we all sat looking out over the ridge towards High Tove and Ullscarf, as we munched away. Despite being out of the wind, we did not longer very long as we all soon began to get cold. The temperature was certainly not above freezing up on the tops today. Now as we mentioned in the preface, on past occasions we had always climbed these fells from Thirlmere, so today's descent was to be over new ground. A clear path leads NW winding its way towards Ashness Gill. Some work had been done on the path, and it looked to us that maybe the ground had been turned over to sink the boggy top layer, before loose stones had been scattered on top.

After a while Derwent Water could be seen in all its glory with Bassenthwaite Lake stretching away beyond. A wonderful view on any day, but we thought particularly good today with the water being so inky blue. Oh what joy.

Above Ashness Gill the descent steepened the path rough and rocky. Poor Dad's knees we thought. This eventually led to a gate in the wall, beyond which the descent eased somewhat on the final part to Ashness Bridge. This is one of the most popular tourist places in the Lake District, and with a large car park by the road, unsurprisingly it was busy, and honestly we could not wait to get away.

"You will have to take a picture though Dad", said Allen.

"OK lad, but I doubt it will turn out very good as the sun is in the wrong direction."

The view from the bridge, renowned as one of the best in Lakeland, is changing due silver birch trees growing up and obscuring parts of Skiddaw. Not a new phenomenon, as we are sure that if you looked in old Victorian guide books for recommended views, they too will have changed in a similar manner.

Shaun was checking the map, and said, "we should take the footpath that spurs off right just a short way along the road."

Sure enough we soon found the path, which if followed to its ultimate end would take you into Keswick itself. The first part of the path involved a short climb to a gate in a wall, where beyond was that wonderful view, totally unobstructed. Derwentwater, with Keswick dominated by the Skiddaw group, and distantly Bassenthwaite Lake. As you can see by now the day had clouded over and the lakes were no longer that deep inky blue.

It was from the spot that this shot was taken, that the path divided and we took the left fork, the path meandering up and down, and so to come finally to the footbridge over Cat Gill, where we rejoined our outwards route, and the short walk down to the car.

Now we drove to Dad and Uncle Brian's favourite hotel, Armathwaite Hall, on the north shore of Bassenthwaite Lake.

The window on the first floor just to the right of the tower is of room 131, the room that they have nearly every time they stay, from which there is that wonderful view along Bassenthwaite Lake.

Dad now went and had a nice meal in the Brasserie, served by Prem, who Dad knows well, so he was able to chat too. Our pal Fletcher, who was adopted here, went in with him too, and was pleased to see Aunt Kim and Aunt Mia, on reception, who Dad chatted to as well. Then afterwards we all went and sat on the lawn to have our picture taken.

Polly, Grizzly, Tetley with Little Eric, Allen, Shaun & Fletcher

Polly was adopted in Cockermouth, on the last visit here in January, and has since become Fletcher's soul mate.

Well another good day was had by all. Dad realised that the lay off had meant that he has lost some of the strength in my legs, but we are sure that this will come back with regular outings and get us ready to tackle Pen once again to complete the Birkett challenge.

Oh, and did you notice that for once there were no pictures of sheep! Our luck must be changing.

 

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