HIGH SPY & MAIDEN MOOR from GRANGE IN BORROWDALE

 


Summary

Date - 30th January 2014 Distance - 6.75 miles
Ascent -
2130ft
Map - OL4 Start point - Parking area below Grange Crags on B5289 (NY 25636 17687)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
High Spy 2143 653 NY 2341 1624
Maiden Moor 1890 576 NY 2367 1820

 

Preface

Little Eric was sitting in front of the laptop, tapping away. "Despite the awful weather, Dad has been able to take us out, and enable me to get some of the Wainwrights ticked off, in the books that I hope to be able to complete this year."

"Yes", replied Allen, who was looking over his shoulder. "Progress with Northern Fells, book 5 and North Western Fells, book 6."

Tetley added, "book 6 is the one where there are the most walks still to do, and perhaps Dad will be agreeable to doing one of those next time."

"Let's see what the weather holds for this week", suggested Allen.

"OK", replied Little Eric as he navigated to the Met Office mountain forecast.

As he was about to speak, however, Shaun and Grizzly arrived with the flasks and cake tin.

"Ooh great!", exclaimed Allen, "I was gasping for a cuppa and my tummy was rumbling a bit too."

Tetley let out a hoot of laughter, as he cried, "you are just like Dad. If Uncle Bob was here, he would be calling you 'cake stuffer' too."

Allen returned with the mugs and plates, and all was well with the world with steaming mugs in paw, and delicious cherry and ginger scones on the plates.

"Mmm, they are scrumptious", said Shaun, with his eyes closed in ecstasy. You have excelled yourself Grizzly."

"Thanks pal."

Turning to Little Eric, Tetley said, "you were going to tell us what the weather prospects are for the coming week."

Swallowing a mouthful of scone, he said, "oh yes. Not too good, which is hardly surprising, but Thursday looks to be dry although cloudy."

Tetley had picked up the iPad and checked Dad's calendar. "There is nothing down for then, so maybe we will get a walk in, but we have to decide first which of the walks we can suggest to him, from those outstanding in book 6."

As Little Eric navigated back to the web page for the North Western Fells, Grizzly went and looked over his shoulder. Uncle Eric has not done Grasmoor, so perhaps we better leave that to try and do with him later, if he is up to it. That is not the situation with High Spy and Maiden Moor, and it is nearly eight years since we last climbed them."

"Goodness me, as long ago as that", replied Shaun in surprise. "Sounds a good idea."

Allen had got the Wainwright book, and looking at the pages for High Spy, said, "there is an ascent from Grange, steep and quite long, which we have not done previously. Perhaps we could suggest that route to Dad. From High Spy we would then take the ridge route to Maiden Moor, then on to Hause Gate below Cat Bells, where we would descend to Manesty, and so along the road to Grange."

"Sounds like a plan", agreed Tetley.

So draining his mug, and with book in paw he headed off to ask Dad.

"You had better fill his mug again for when he gets back, as he is bound to still be thirsty", laughed Grizzly.

As he returned just minutes later, the smile wreathing his face was enough to tell us that Dad had agreed. "Thanks pal", he said accepting the recharged mug from Shaun. "Dad is happy with the proposal, and thinks the ascent route will be interesting, if a bit arduous being about 2000ft in all, but he wants to get his fitness up for the challenges to come."

"Great", cheered Little Eric, raising his mug in salute. "Roll on Thursday, and let's hope the weather stays as forecast."

 

The Walk

Well the forecast lived up to its billing, with a dry cloudy day after an overnight frost. Not much wind, but a cold day nevertheless, and on the tops we doubted that the temperature got above freezing all day.

From Keswick, we drove the narrow road alongside Derwent Water, leading into the Borrowdale Valley. There is no real parking in the tiny village of Grange, so we parked at the pull-in beside the road, below Grange Crags, just a short way before the turn off to Grange.

Dad was soon ready, so we got settled in his rucksack, and shouldering this he strode off. Crossing the road carefully, the rough path led left by the River Derwent, to re-emerge on the road. Taking the right turn, the road crossed the double arched stone bridge, built in 1675, over the River Derwent into Grange. The backdrop was the ridge we had to ascend, our way being from right to left across the face, climbing steadily.

Keeping to the road through the village we soon passed the small Holy Trinity Church, that was built in 1861. Margaret Heathcote, while standing on Grange Bridge, remarked how nice it would be to have a chapel in Grange, so she raised the money and within 11 years the Church was built.

Tetley remarked, "it is interesting to see that here too, slate slabs have been used as field boundaries, in the same manner as we saw on the walk to Esthwaite Water."

Strolling on, soon we came to the Borrowdale Gates Hotel, where Shaun called out, "we go through the signed gate on the left to start our ascent."

The narrow winding path then led to a kissing gate onto open fell. The ridge we had to attain towered overhead and the path led on never really in doubt, this picture illustrating the route.

Allen said, "we have to contour right and over the rise that is called Cockley How, and then continue towards the rocky outcrop behind and left."

Before reaching Cockley How the path crossed the streams of Greenup Sykes.

Cresting a rise beyond Cockley How, the route could be seen along a narrow and rocky path under the crags, then climbing over the rise ahead to beyond Nitting Haws.

Just a few minutes later as we crossed towards the crags, Shaun called out, "there is one of our lovely Herdwicks, just waiting to have his picture taken."

"They truly are my most favourite sheep", said Shaun.

The camera returned to its bag Dad strode off again, but just minutes later it was Grizzly this time who called out, "look there is a lovely view down to the valley and of Grange, where we started from."

Now we progressed without further interruption under the crags and on over the rise ahead to beyond Nitting Haws. The path now turned right, and we all looked ahead. "Heck that looks like a bit of a tough and unrelenting climb to gain the ridge", said Little Eric, a bit despondently.

"Never mind lad I will just have to put best foot forwards, but I admit that I will be glad to get it done", replied Dad.

Shaun looked at the GPS, "it's about another 650ft of climb."

"Well that means we have already done about 1300ft", replied Dad. "Shouldn't take us more then half an hour."

And sure enough, after about that time, the gradient eased and the ridge path was reached. "Great!", cheered Southey, who had come along again today.

The summit of High Spy lay to the left, and almost immediately the cairn came into view,

and taking care crossing some of the patches of snow, the summit was soon attained. "Yippee!" shouted Little Eric, "another Wainwright bagged."

The cairn is a squat rounded tower in slate, causing Allen to say, "what a lovely cairn. Come let's climb up and get settled for our picture."

"Ooh", cried Little Eric, "with my short legs I don't think I can do it.

"Not to worry", said Shaun reassuringly, "I'll give you a piggy back."

The snow covered fell behind is Dale Head (2473ft), so called because it sits at the top of the beautiful Newlands Valley.

A dark lowering sky, that did not make for the best views today. However Dad did snap off some pictures, and we have decided to include them as the conditions made them rather dramatic. First to England's highest mountains, the Scafells,

and then looking to Great Gable.

"Brr", said Tetley, "it's cold up here."

"Yes", replied Dad. "Come on get settled in the rucksack, I do not intend to linger any longer. Look I have even had to put my gloves on!"

"Well it really is cold then", said Allen, letting out a laugh.

"Right, Maiden Moor here we come", cried Little Eric.

"It is about a mile and a half according to Wainwright", informed Shaun.

The first part was a return along the path we had taken to the summit, passing the point where we had attained the ridge earlier and on towards the bulk of Blea Crag, to the right. A path leads to it from which we are sure there is a superb view over Derwent Water, but it seemed to us that there was just as good a view from the path, without visiting the crag.

Tetley remarked, "the town is Keswick of course, and the prominent top centre right is Walla Crag (1234ft), a very popular climb for tourists, starting from Keswick."

Allen added, "it is just a shame that the more distant view to Lonscale Fell to the left and in the centre Blencathra, is not clear today."

The clear path led on dropping steadily, and soon we were past Blea Crag, seen here looking back. A massive bulk buttressing the north-east side of High Spy.

The route now took us over Narrow Moor, descending to a depression at around 1860ft.

Beyond, where the path split, Shaun called out, "we need to take the left fork for the summit."

The ascent now was under 100ft, to the Maiden Moor summit, marked by a small pile of stones. "Come on lads", called out Little Eric, "picture time again."

"Wow!" called out Grizzly, "the Helvellyn ridge is shining white under snow. I know it is quite distant, but I think it's worth taking pictures Dad?"

So firstly, here is from the left, Great Dodd (2812ft), Watson's Dodd (2589ft) and Stybarrow Dodd (2770ft)..

and secondly, from the left, Raise (2897ft), White Side (2832ft), the conical summit of Catstycam (2917ft), and Helvellyn Lower Man (3033ft) rising to Helvellyn (3118ft).

"Just majestic", breathed Southey. "Thanks pals for letting me come along again."

"You're welcome", replied Tetley, putting a paw round his shoulder.

"Right time to get on again", said Dad.

Soon settled, Dad then shouldered his rucksack and we followed the clear path, that soon joined the other path that bypasses the summit of Maiden Moor. Ahead was the ever popular fell, Catbells, whose summit we could clearly see was busy with people, although it does not show up in the picture. The sun shines over Keswick, and the snowcapped top of Skiddaw and Skiddaw Lower Man can be distantly seen.

Our objective was the depression between Maiden Moor and Catbells, known as Hause Gate, reached after a steady descent on a good path. Here we turned right to follow the path all the way down to the road at Manesty. An extremely popular route, the path had unsurprisingly over the years become very eroded, so in places it had been reconstructed into a series of rocky steps.

After a particular long section of this Dad said with feeling, "I know that it is good the path has been repaired, but it is sure hellish hard on my poor knees and ankles!!"

On the lower sections it was easier going, Dad pausing to take this view looking back.

Once the road was joined, it was easy walking, passing the gate where we had started the ascent earlier. Passing through Grange, Tetley jokingly said, "that's one hell of a rockery in the garden of that bungalow."

Crossing the river, and taking the path right, we were soon at the car.

"That was a great day", called out Little Eric. Two more summits in book 6 ticked off. Thanks Dad so much for doing them again."

"So where now?", said Allen.

"To the Wordsworth at Grasmere of course, for a snack, and perhaps to see Kim, although I have a feeling that she will be off today."

He was right too, but it was nice for him to chat to Susan on reception, who asked, "where's the bear", meaning Southey of course.

Dad immediately sat him on the counter, her reply being,"predictable as always". We like that!

For the snack he had the usual ciabatta with bacon, brie and avocado, and a refreshing pot of tea. Sue, who Dad had seen before was serving, and he had a nice chat with her too.

A super day!

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