BANNISDALE HORSESHOE - north section

Little Eric completes the Wainwright Outlyer challenge


Summary

Date - 26th June 2014 Distance - 8.75 miles
Ascent -
1600ft (estimated)
Map - OL7 Start point - Lay-by at junction A6/lane to Thorn Cottage (NY 54526 01286)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Lamb Pasture 1205 367 NY 5345 0209
Borrowdale Head 1736 528 NY 5276 0356
White Howe 1737 530 NY 5236 0419
Long Crag 1617 493 NY 5159 0525

 

Preface

Allen, Little Eric & Southey were sitting in front of the laptop. "Dad got some good pictures on the last walk over Loadpot Hill", said Little Eric. "It was so good of Dad to do them again and move on my Book 2 total."

"There are certainly enough for as story", agreed Southey. "More exercise for Dad's fingers."

Allen then said, "Tetley and I have done some analysis of the 12 you still need to bag, and they can be done in just four walks. We mentioned this to Dad, and he is resolved to do these hopefully over the summer and autumn."

"They need to be spread out a bit, otherwise it will get boring going to the same area", agreed Little Eric. "I see that there is a walk date with Uncle Eric for this Thursday", he went on. "I wonder if perhaps we will be doing the north side of Bannisdale as that would mark my completion of all the 116 named and unnamed summits in the Wainwright Outlyer book?"

"Well the last talk Dad had with Uncle Eric, he intimated that might be the case, but we will just have to wait and see, as Uncle Eric still has about twenty more to do."

Just then Shaun and Grizzly, strolled in bearing the flasks and cake tin.

"Ooh, just what the doctor ordered", called out Allen. "I was gasping for a cuppa."

"You always are", laughed Southey as he went to get the plates and mugs. "What is the cake today?", he asked on return.

Grizzly said, "Little Eric has made some ginger sponge, and I have made chocolate caramel shortbread."

"It is my first attempt at the sponge", piped up Little Eric, "so I hope it has turned out alright."

"Taking a bite out of a piece", Grizzly said, "it's delicious pal. So moist. Well done and thanks for all your help with the baking."

"You're welcome. I love doing it, as I find it very therapeutic", replied Little Eric.

Meanwhile Shaun had poured the tea, and passed the mugs round. "Thanks pal", said Allen, accepting his.

So all content we munched away at the delicious cake. Southey had taken another piece of ginger sponge and was about to take a bite, when he said, "where's Tetley?"

"Not sure", replied Allen, "but like me he can smell tea a mile off, so he is sure to be along soon."

How right he was too, as just minutes later he strolled in. Accepting his mug and plate he took a bite of Little Eric's ginger sponge. "Scrumptious, pal. You can make this again." Then after having a piece of caramel shortbread, he said, "this is delicious too, Grizzly. His cake eaten, he then said, "I bring news of Thursday's walk, and it is really going to please you Little Eric. We are going to Bannisdale to do the four summits on the north side."

"Yippee", shouted Little Eric. "That means I will finish the Outlying challenge, and join you, Shaun, Allen and Grizzly. I never expected this as when you completed them I had only done about fifty. How good of Dad to repeat them all for me!"

Our mugs were recharged and we raised them, Southey saying, "here's to the best Dad in all the world and to Thursday's walk."

 

The Walk

The plan was to set off walking at about 10:00, so this meant we needed to be at Uncle Eric's by 09:30. We got ready in good time and set off for the easy and familiar drive to Kendal about 08:30.

Dad transferred his gear to Uncle Eric's car. We called out "good morning Uncle Eric, nice to see you", as we settled on the back seat.

"Nice to see you too Lads", replied Uncle Eric.

Then we drove the few miles up the A6, parking in the lay-by immediately off it, on the narrow road that leads past Thorn Cottage. It had rained overnight so it was very wet underfoot, but the day was dry throughout, but cloudy.

Ready for the off Dad shouldered his rucksack that we had settled ourselves in.

"We walk along the road to take the signed bridleway right just before Thorn Cottage", advised Uncle Eric.

At the gate our way up the pasture was barred by these sheep [oh that is an awful pun! Ed.].

Dad could not resist taking this shot, to which Allen growled, "hmph!, there goes the sheep picture free story yet again."

The sheep of course moved off, and we strolled up the pasture to a gate. "We go left here", said Uncle Eric.

The track rounded the wall and led on to another gate. "This track eventually leads to Dryhowe Bridge", said Shaun. "Our return route will be along it."

Beyond the gate, Little Eric said, "where do we go now."

Uncle Eric replied, "after a little way, we need to find a path striking up the fellside towards the first summit Lamb Pasture."

"There seems to be perhaps a path here", said Shaun. It was not very clear, but what was plain was that we were ultimately heading for the left of the two prominent hills with a small valley between.

"I suggest initially we head up to those three trees ", said Uncle Eric.

It was quite steep through the bracken, but it proved to be an excellent idea, as just beyond we suddenly found a tractor track. Following this upwards brought us to a gate in the fence by a small ruined building. "This is exactly where we need to be", said Uncle Eric.

Shaun now said, "we have to be to the left side of the fence rising up the fell."

So having gone through the gate on the left, it was then immediately left through another gate, where this picture was taken.

"Great", said Little Eric, "we're getting there.

From here there was not really a clear path, so we just picked our way steadily up and after a while, Allen called out, "there's the summit cairn just over to the right, amongst that patch of long grass."

"Picture time", called out Southey, as we all scrambled out of the rucksack.

Looking round, Southey asked, "aren't those hills part of the Whinfell range? We saw them on the walk to Black Moss and Whinfell Tarns"

"Spot on pal", replied Allen. "You are already beginning to get the landscape fixed in your mind. I told you this would happen."

"To be precise they are Ashstead Fell (1539ft, 469m), Mabbin Crag (1581ft, 482m) and twin summited Castle Fell (1568ft, 478m)", went on Tetley.

Looking at the map Shaun added, "the left summit is the highest point on Castle Fell, the one to the right being shown as Old High at 1516ft, 462m."

"Thanks pals for the information", replied Southey. "What a memory you have Tetley."

Little Eric then said, "the next objective is the unnamed summit at 1736ft, as mentioned in the Outlying book. Like the other three tops today it is also a Birkett summit and he has given it the name Borrowdale Head."

"That is quite logical as the northern slopes fall to the upper part of the Borrowdale Valley, where is nestled Borrowdale Head Farm", replied Grizzly.

So the next part of the walk was laid out before us, as we will try to describe from this picture below. The fells in this landscape are just predominantly grassy, so there really is little contrast, and the grey skies did not help either.

As our guide it falls to Shaun to do this. He said, " we must descend and come by the fence on the fence on the right (which cannot be made out in the picture), and follow it to its junction with the wall running left to right. There we go right through the gate in the fence and after about 50 yards go left through the gate in the wall (this can just about be made out about a quarter of the way in on the picture from the right). After that we go ahead but drift to the right to then gain the ridge."

There was a sort of path by the fence to the wall, but beyond again it was pretty trackless, which in point of fact could be said about the majority of the upland part of the walk. Boggy too in places here, but Dad is well used to that kind of terrain.

The ridge gained it was onwards, with one rise followed by another, and still the summit was not in sight. After the third one, Southey said, "will be ever get there?"

"Patience", replied Allen, "it is often like this, seemingly a never ending succession of crests."

Well another was crossed and finally Dad was able to say to Uncle Eric and us, "that one there is definitely the summit. I promise!"

It was, and walking a little to the left we found the few large stones gathered together as a small cairn marking the top. "Phew I am glad that one is out of the way", said Tetley.

Looking ahead, Little Eric said, "there's the trig point marking the top of the next summit White Howe, across the depression."

"According to Wainwright, the depression is at about 1600ft, so there will be a climb of about 140ft", advised Shaun.

The descent was over more trackless terrain, to cross the stile in the fence at the bottom....

...from where we made the direct climb up White Howe. Again there were no paths, and at one point we got onto some peat hags, where a detour was necessary to get round.

Striding on we soon closed in on the trig point.

Tetley called out with glee, "there is not much wind, so we will be able to sit on the top to have our picture taken."

Ahead about a mile further on was the long linear ridge that was Long Crag. "Now I clearly remember that the ladderstile to take us beyond the wall on the far side is to the right."

"Hard to tell where the highest point is", said Uncle Eric.

"True" agreed Dad, "but I reckon that it will probably turn out to be the rise more to the left of the little dip."

"To get there, Wainwright shows descending from here we should go across to and then by the wall on the right, and through a broken cross wall in the process", advised Shaun.

This we did, in fact finding for the most part by the wall a path for once today. When we got to the lowest point, we paused for a minute or so. Sheltered from then wind, there was just utter and complete deafening silence! A commodity not much in evidence these days. Wonderful! As we made the climb to Long Crag, it became apparent that Dad had been right and the summit was indeed the rise to the left. A short ascent brought us to the level top with a rocky outcrop being the highest point.

"Yippee" cried Little Eric, "that's it, I have completed the Outlyer challenge!! Thank you so much Dad for repeating half of them again, so that I could realise this. That is now two challenges that I have done, this and the Howgills."

We all jumped out of the rucksack, and after giving our pal a hug in congratulation, we settled for the final summit group picture today.

Bannisdale and indeed the fells that surround it are very lonely and unfrequented areas. So it was that Dad had remarked early in the walk to Uncle Eric, "I will eat my hat if we meet anyone else."

Glancing, Uncle Eric replied, "you are not wearing one."

The fact that he wasn't was perhaps as well, for as we reached the summit, we rather surprisingly saw two other walkers cross the ladderstile, and then seeing where we were make their way across. One was a gentleman called Don Morris from Ings who was with his friend Roy from the Midlands.

Don told Dad, "Roy is doing the Outlyers and has persuaded me to come along for company. This is my third time on the round!"

Dad said, "this is my second, and that will be quite enough."

He had noticed us, so Dad explained. "Can I take their picture?" he asked.

"Certainly" Dad replied, as we scrambled out again and settled on the summit rock.

He explained, "we are both members of the Wainwright Society, and I always put a blog on of my days out, so I will be including their photo and make a mention of them and you and Eric of course."

Well true to his word he did, and also provided a link to our website too, for which we say thank you.

There was then quite a bit more chat, before Don and Roy headed off to White Howe. We now sat quite a while having lunch. Well, we deserved it after all the effort, especially the part from Lamb Pasture to Borrowdale Head. Finally before setting off Dad took this shot of Little Eric, with the Outlyer book open at The Bannisdale Horseshoe page to mark his achievement.

Ready for the off, Dad said, "we go right to take the ladderstile over the wall, then we have to traverse and descend to pick up the track into the valley, that we found when doing the south side."

It is quite an impressive stile, and here is Uncle Eric standing on top.

This section was rather tricky, being across and area of extensive peat hags and bog, to then quite steeply continue the descent, with this fine view of Bannisdale below.

Finally we joined the surfaced track, that we had walked along when descending on the south side walk.

"Well that's the hard work over", said Tetley, "just the matter of walking along the valley to Dryhowe Bridge." The track can be seen snaking along the left side.

Through a gate in the wall the track wound down with a steady descent to and through the buildings of Bannisdale Head, seen here looking back.

Walking a little further we then paused to survey the scene, looking back beyond the buildings to see the track from the wall that we had descended into the valley. To the right are the lower slopes of Long Crag. "Well" said Dad, "I doubt that we will ever come here again, but it has been good to have explored this valley and its surrounding fells."

Oh and if the sky looks brighter in this picture, it is because it was taken on the day we did the south section on 8th August 2013.

Now followed the long steady stroll on the access track passing to the left beneath the hills we had climbed today. Finally we were at Dryhowe Bridge, and just before we took a tractor track left. This meandered around the wood to the right and then onwards. There was a divide, it not being very clear which way, other than at that point going right looked the most promising. The map was no help either.

Dad went right, but after a little while admitted , "we should have gone left, I'm sorry."

So we crossed left to eventually get to the correct place at a gate in the fence. On then, to another fork, where looking at the map Uncle Eric seemed to think again we should go right. This turned out to be wrong, and if Dad had looked at his newer version of the map, this would have been plain. "Sorry", he said again later.

If we had gone left on the rising track we would have come to the gate we had passed through, just before starting up Lamb Pasture this morning.

On the right fork we came to a wall. "We will have to climb up beside it", said Uncle Eric. After a little way the gradient levelled and then some further walking through the bracken, got us back on track.

Plain sailing now along the track to the gate on the right into the field and so down to the road, turning left to the lay-by and Uncle Eric's car.

So a good day and it has progressed Uncle Eric's Outlyer total, and of course our pal Little Eric was a very happy bear having completed the challenge. When we got home he told his other pals all about this, of course.

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