STONE ARTHUR from SWAN HOTEL, GRASMERE

 


Summary

Date - 8th April 2014 Distance - 3 miles
Ascent -
1500ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Layby on A591 just north of Swan Hotel (NY 3377 0853)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Stone Arthur 1652 504 NY 3475 0923

 

Preface

Shaun with Little Eric riding on his back and Grizzly, came in with the flasks of tea and cake, Allen saying, "great, I'm ready for a cuppa", as he and Tetley went to get the mugs and plates.

"There is a choice of cake. Little Eric had made chocolate caramel shortbread, while I have made sultana scones", said Grizzly.

"I am spoilt for choice", replied Southey, who now goes on most of the walks with us and so has become one of our group.

"Well they will both be delicious", said Tetley. "Have one of each, as that is what I will be doing, and Allen too!"

So with the mugs full of steaming tea, we settled to enjoy the lovely cake and scones.

"The cake is scrumptious, Little Eric, said Southey, and I love the scones too Grizzly."

"Thanks pal. I really enjoy baking, it is therapeutic. As well as the cake, I have tried doing scones, but I cannot match Grizzly, with these. He really is the expert, and a dab paw at them."

Tetley now turned the conversation to walks, saying, "Dad was pleased with how he managed on the climb to Castle Crag, and will probably want to do a higher fell next, as his recovery continues."

Looking that the iPad, Allen said, " the weather seems to be mostly dry for Tuesday, and there is nothing in Dad's diary, so perhaps we can get a walk in."

When we walked round Grasmere, we had that superb view of Stone Arthur, which Dad said was to be one of the fells he intended to climb as part of getting his stamina back, and it is one I have not bagged", suggested Little Eric.

Allen drained his mug, then said, "OK, I'll go and see what Dad thinks."

Shaun got the flask and refilled his mug, knowing Allen is a real tea belly, and would want more tea.

It was not many minutes before he was back. "Thanks pal", he said, accepting the refilled mug from Shaun. "Dad thinks our suggestion is fine", and raising his mug, cried, "here's to Tuesday!"

 

The Walk

We did not have to set off too early, nevertheless we made sure we were ready in good time. As Dad slammed the boot shut, we dashed out, calling our goodbyes to Uncle Brian, who with Gladly was busy at the Telegraph crossword.

To get to the start we took the main A591, via Windermere and Ambleside, then passing Rydal Water and Grasmere.

The start is up the lane by the side of the Swan Hotel", said Shaun, "so where do you intend to park?"

"In the layby on the left just a few hundred yards past the hotel", replied Dad.

So, Dad ready and us settled in the rucksack, we carefully crossed the road and walked south to the Swan Hotel, going left up the side. Soon the road curved left, and Shaun called out, "very soon we should go right on a narrow road."

Looking up we could see the summit outcrop of Stone Arthur, but the route of the ascent was largely hidden by the trees. It made a nice picture we thought with the colourful blossom on the tree. The start of the road, Shaun referred to is at the extreme bottom left corner of this picture.

"It is not as clear and sharp as when we saw it on the walk round Grasmere and Lower Easdale", remarked Southey.

This was because in contrast to the blue skies that day, today was rather cloudy with rain threatening at times, but we only got a few spots. Windy too as we gained height and cold. Not at all spring like!

Looking left, Allen called out, "that is a nice view of Helm Crag, with the Lion and the Lamb in view at the left end of the summit ridge."

At the junction the signpost read, 'Public Footpath, Greenhead Gill & Alcock Tarn.'

"There is no mention of Stone Arthur", said Little Eric, worriedly.

"Don't worry Lad, this is definitely the route, and I am sure there will be sign further on", replied Dad.

This was a charming lane to walk, beside which danced the rushing Greenhead Gill, on its way to soon join the River Rothay.

Soon we came to the end of the lane, where a gate allows access to the open fell. Here to Little Eric's relief, as Dad had predicted there was a sign indicating the route to Stone Arthur was on the path to the left.

Left along by the wall, we soon turned right by woodland to climb steeply the steps created on the once very eroded path. "Hmm", said Dad, "I guess these steps will be a bit hard on my knees when we come back down."

It seemed that the path led to a locked gate into the wood, but as we got to that point it contoured right, and then continued to zigzag upwards. The gradient eased after a while, the path going along by a broken wall, where we could clearly see that soon, after crossing a stream, it would swing right and climb more steeply again across the face of the hill.

"When we get up to the brow, we will be over halfway", remarked Tetley.

At the brow, the path turned left and continuing with a steady gradient, very soon the outcrop that is Stone Arthur was in view.

The path actually climbs over this to the right, as it then continues on to Great Rigg, on the Fairfield Horseshoe, a further 1000ft of climb. A faint path went left, which we followed climbing just a little to the rock marking the summit of Stone Arthur.

Tetley recalled, "it was 17th February 2005, when we were last at this summit, just a few days after you had joined our group Allen."

"That's right, so this was amongst my first Wainwrights. My I had a long long way to go to that day in August 2010, when I summited Grisedale Pike to complete the challenge."

At home later we looked back at the records, and found that this was in fact Allen's third Wainwright, having climbed Little Mell Fell and Gowbarrow Fell, on the 14th February. Dad had taken Allen sitting on his own on the very highest point of this rock, on what must have been a calm day.

Today, in contrast is was pretty windy and there was no chance of repeating this shot indeed even huddling down into a crevice we were blown forward, giving Dad a hard time to get our picture, but he prevailed eventually.

Unbeknown to Dad, two other walkers had arrived at the summit, and heard Dad telling us it sit still! After they had gone, Dad remarked, "oh well who cares!!"

Without a doubt this is a vantage point for superb views, particularly to Grasmere lake and village. The fell to the right, with the sun shining on it, is Silver How, which was Dad, Shaun and Tetley's last Wainwright. The distant lake is Coniston Water.

"Wow", breathed Southey. "Just wonderful. Little did I realise when I as adopted by Dad at the Wordsworth Hotel in Grasmere, that I was would be looking down on the village from such a height."

Grizzly then said, "Little Eric, on the gate at the end of the road, the sign pointed right to Alcock Tarn. This is over to the left, with distantly behind, Esthwaite Water that we visited at the end of 2013."

Meanwhile Tetley, had turned to look north-west, calling out, "quick Dad, Steel Fell is bathed in sunshine, it will make a nice shot.

"Thanks lad", replied Dad, lowering the camera from his eye. "I hope that it won't be too long before I am able to walk to its summit and complete the round of the Greenburn Valley, so that you can complete all the fells in Book 3, Little Eric"

"It's raining over Easdale", said Southey, "I hope it is not heading our way?"

Well thankfully it did not, and we now settled in the rucksack, and shouldering it, Dad set off down by a reverse of our outward route. When there was shelter out of the wind he rang Uncle Brian, to see it he was OK, which he was.

A fine view of Helm Crag with Gibson Knott to its right, caused Dad to stop again, and get the camera out. "As well as the Lion and the Lamb, the rock known as the Howitzer at the right end of the ridge on Helm Crag can be seen", said Shaun. "The top of that is the actual highest point and summit, and I remember us sitting up there while Dad took our picture."

So, we continued down, to eventually reach the gate, and then down the lane, where Dad took another nice shot of Greenhead Gill, to round off our account.

Back at the car, Southey said, "are we going to the Wordsworth, for a snack and to see if Kim is there?"

"Yes", replied Dad.

As we pulled into the car park, Allen called out, "look that's Kim's car."

However we were not to see her. When Dad got to reception, Kim was not there and was not due to come on until late afternoon. Also the hotel was closed today for an exclusive function. So instead Dad went to Heidi's again, having the hog roast (lovely local pork, stuffing and apple sauce in a baguette). Then the delicious lemon cake, and a pot of tea. Very nice.

As we drove home, Shaun said on behalf of us all, "thanks Dad, as always, for a lovely walk."

"Your welcome lads. I have to admit that I am feeling a bit tired now, and was glad that I did not consider climbing on the Great Rigg, today.

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