EAGLE CRAG & SERGEANT'S CRAG from STONETHWAITE

 


Summary

Date - 20th June 2012 Distance - 7.25 miles
Ascent -
1700ft
Map - 0L4 Start point - Stonethwaite, limited parking by telephone box (NY 262137)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Eagle Crag 1709 521 NY 2753 1210
Sergeant's Crag 1873 571 NY 2739 1138

 

Preface

"You've got four of your outstanding Outlying Fells out of the way on the last two walks", remarked Tetley to Little Eric.

"Yes the total I have done is now 69, but I still don't expect Dad to redo all the others for me", he replied.

"Well many of the ones not done match those of Uncle Eric too, so you never know?", said Allen.

"That reminds me, we have a walk date down with Uncle Eric this week", said Tetley.

"Yes that's right, on Wednesday", replied Allen. He grabbed the iPad, and quickly opened the Met Office app. "The weather looks good, so hopefully we will be on the fells."

"We will", announced Shaun, who had just strolled in with Grizzly. "We are doing Eagle Crag and Sergeant's Crag, which Uncle Eric has not climbed before. Even though the rest of us have done them before, there will be a variation as today we are climbing them alphabetically, whereas in 2005, we did Sergeant's Crag first."

"Super", cried Little Eric, "They are two Wainwrights that I have not done before, either."

"That means a trip to beautiful Borrowdale too", sighed Allen.

"I bring tea too", said Shaun.

"Ooh I hoped you were going to say that", replied Allen, who is a real tea belly.

As he dashed off to get the mugs, Grizzly called out, "you will not need the tuck tin."

"Why not?", asked Little Eric.

"Because I have made fruit scones", he replied.

Shaun and Allen poured the tea, while Grizzly passed round his scones.

"These are absolutely scrumptious", said Tetley after a while. "It was so good of you to go to the trouble of baking them.

"Your welcome. I really enjoy baking. I find it relaxing and therapeutic", Grizzly replied.


Important note - Before we start the account of our adventure, we must point out that none of the photographs were actually taken on the day, and are archive ones from when we climbed these fells in 2005, plus a few taken from other walks, that are relevant to today. The reason for this is, that whilst there had been plenty of charge in the camera battery, Dad had inadvertently left the power switch in the on position, such that by the time he tried to use it today, it had all dissipated. He just wished that he had known this at the start, so that he could have left it in the car boot, rather than lug it up and down the fells!

 

The Walk

It was an early start, and Dad drove us to Uncle Eric's where we decamped to his car, for the drive through the Lakes, to Keswick, the wonderful array of fells opening out before us as we approached.

"Magnificent", sighed Grizzly.

Then it was on down to beautiful Borrowdale, where a little beyond Rosthwaite, we took the narrow road left to the tiny hamlet of Stonethwaite. Here we were fortunate to get a spot at the limited parking in the centre of the hamlet, by the telephone kiosk, and the clear signpost that pointed the way.

"It's left, the same way we went when we climbed to Lining Crag, up Greenup Gill", said Little Eric.

"That's right pal", agreed Shaun.

The day was to be dry and quite sunny but more cloud later and little or no wind. Crossed the bridge over Stonethwaite Beck, to walk right along the valley on the Cumbria Way.

Then just a minutes later, as we got past the trees the view opened up and there was Eagle Crag.

"Looking at it you would not think there was a way up", said Little Eric.

"As long as we take note of Wainwright guide, we will get to the summit", replied Allen.

The ridge to the right runs to our second objective, Sergeant's Crag, as seen in this shot taken from Lingy End, earlier this year on a walk over Grange Fell, Watendlath and Great Crag.

We walked on to come to Smithymire Island, where we crossed the footbridge as if taking the path along the Langstrath Valley. Close by is lovely waterfall of Galleny Force.

The valley path would be our return route, but for now we turned immediately left along by the wall. The path was clear despite the bracken, but this was not in full glory as yet. Passed through a wall via a gate, then on to a more ruinous wall passing through a further gate.

"Right", said Dad, "now for the climb".

A narrow path led up beside this wall, pretty steep, but we have climbed steeper ones in our time. It did mean that we gained height rapidly. Eventually the path veered left away from the wall, then, never in doubt, climbed on cunningly in a series of zigzags to finally reach the wall abutting the crag where a stile allows passage. Then on steadily up to soon reach a gully on the left. Finding this is crucial to the ascent. We scrambled up this, where a level area is reached on the next stage.

"We're getting there", said Shaun. "Just the final crags to negotiate to reach the summit."

The path went right and zigzagged upwards on a series of shelves. The first is pretty narrow above Heron Crag, where there is a rather exposed vertical drop, so a head for heights is needed. Eventually the bare sloping outcrop of rock was attained that is the summit of Eagle Crag. There is no cairn now, unlike when we were here on 22nd July 2005.

Of course our pal Little Eric missed out on having his picture taken, due to Dad's dud camera battery.

"The view to Borrowdale is beautiful", cried Tetley.

We love the way the sunlight is lighting up the valley. The path from Stonethwaite, that we had walked along can be clearly seen.

Turning round, we looked along the ridge to Sergeant's Crag, half a mile distant, and 250ft of ascent to its summit.

The direction was due south along the clear path to a wall corner attained by a very short sharp descent. On the left was a stile over the wall, which would be used if taking the option B ascent to Eagle Crag, defined in Wainwrights guide. Our way was on by the wall, to then incline away from it and reach the cairn marking the top of Sergeant's Crag.

We wished that Little Eric could have called out, "come on Lads let's settle on the cairn for our picture."

Sadly this was not possible today, so we show the picture taken in 22nd July 2005.

There was a pause here, while Dad and Uncle Eric once again had a piece of Kendal Mint Cake, a tradition on attaining a Wainwright summit. There are a number of firms in Kendal who make this, Wilson's, Quiggin's and Romney's. That made by the latter was carried to the summit of Everest, when it was first climbed by Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tensing. So...., if it is good enough for Everest.........

In 2005 Dad took a shot looking back to Eagle Crag, the view being just the same today.

"Where now?", asked Little Eric.

Shaun replied, "well pal, we continue south, descending to cross a stile and go on until we are past Brown Crag then descend to the Langstrath Valley."

All was well to start with, the path being clear beyond the stile, and we found our way below the tor to the left. Then the path just seemed to disappear, so we had to pick our way onwards until we were past Brown Crag. Not much of the descent had actually been achieved by this point, and there was still about 800ft to go. This was steep rough and pathless, and patience was required to pick the best way down, but eventually it was done.

A good clear path, the Cumbria Way, runs through the Langstrath Valley, and this was followed to Smithymire Island, completing the circle. We crossed the footbridge and then walked back the way we had come this morning to Stonethwaite.

"Thanks Dad", called out Little Eric. "Uncle Eric and I have got another two Wainwrights ticked off."

"Sorry about the camera, and not being able to take your picture", Dad replied.

"It's all right Dad, after all I am not going to be completing this challenge", he replied.

Oh and finally we apologise for the lack of variety of pictures this time, due to Dad's camera battery being flat.

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