WHELP STONE CRAG from above UPPER SHEEP WASH

 


Summary

Date - 8th August 2015 Distance - 5.5 miles
Ascent -
730ft
Map - OL41 Start point - Track junction above Upper Sheep Wash (SD 7798 6074)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Whelp Stone Crag 1217 371 SD 7594 5914

 

Preface

Tea and cakes had arrived courtesy of Shaun, Grizzly and Little Eric, so all was well with the world.

"I just love the orange and peach slice", said Southey, helping himself to another piece. "Thanks for making it again, Grizzly."

"Knowing how you all like it so much, a double batch has been made, thanks to help from Little Eric."

Pouring himself another mug of tea, Allen then turned the conversation to walking. "It was good to finally get all the Bowland Knotts summits done and Big Hill on Giggleswick Common, despite the rain."

"Aye", replied Tetley. "So where to go next, as with Dad not being at the Lifeboat Shop, there are two days to choose from this coming weekend."

Little Eric had picked up the iPad and said, "the weather looks good for Saturday, and I know Dad prefers that day, giving him a rest day before he and Uncle Brian go to Elaine's on Monday as usual."

Shaun was looking over his shoulder and said, "bring up the list of Bowland Fells, pal." He then scanned down and went on, "how about we consider Whelp Stone Crag."

"I have looked on the Internet for walks to that one", said Allen. "The author mentioned he got lost in Gisburn Forest, and it included Bowland Knotts, so really it is a non starter from our point of view."

Shaun meanwhile had got the map and spread it out. "Here it is on the east side of the forest, so it would be best to do a circle from that side."

After a few moments Grizzly said, "why we can do this from the junction of tracks above Upper Sheep Wash Farm. Along this track and across to the forest, then beside it and so up to the summit. Then descend to the road and finally pick up the other track to the start."

"Great idea", agreed Tetley. "We know there is parking on the verge, as that was part of the route on the walk over Big Hill."

"OK", said Allen. "Let's get the route highlighted and then I will go and see what Dad thinks."

The smile on his face, when he returned a few minutes later, told us Dad had agreed.

"Yippee", cried Little Eric & Southey. "Roll on Saturday."

 

The Walk

We woke up to a day with lots of sunshine and light wind and for once it actually felt like summer!

For Dad the drive was mostly very familiar, being the way he and Uncle Brian go to Elaine's. He did not turn up the lane to Feizor, but continued on the A65, turning right by Giggleswick Station, then soon taking the left fork. A sign read, 'Single Track Road with Passing Places'.

After a few minutes, Tetley said. "I hope we do not meet other traffic, especially farm traffic, as I have been keeping my eyes peeled, but have really not seen any passing places!"

Well luck was with us. After Sandford Farm, the road was gated at each end of a section.

"I wish we could help", said Southey, as Dad got into the car for the second time having closed the gate after driving through."

"No worry lad, we don't often come across many such roads these days, and it all adds to the day."

Soon then we turned right along the access road, passing Upper Sheep Wash Farm, and on climbing to the track junction. There were a number field gates, Dad saying, "we must not block those, so it will best to park parallel to that hut."

"Is that clucking, I can hear?", remarked Tetley, as we jumped out of the car.

"Yes", replied Grizzly, seeing a hen come out of a hatch in the shed, and scratch about in the grass. "There's more inside too."

The farmer from Low Bank came out of a field after tending his sheep, Dad chatting with him. He said, "where are you walking to."

"A circle taking in Whelp Stone Crag", Dad replied.

"My father, who farms out of Higher Brayshaw, actually owns that", he replied.

Some more chat followed before he rode off on his quad bike, Dad now getting ready.

Shaun pointed, "that's our route up the wide grassy track between the walls."

What we thought was a gate at the entrance was actually a hurdle, which Dad had to climb. The track climbed gently towards a gate, with a group of sheep in front.

We were effectively herding them, so Dad stood to one side to let them escape back down the track.

Beyond a second gate the track was unenclosed on the right. Clumps of long grass grew in the track and soon it just became a narrow trod to a gap stile in the wall.

"That's not very walker friendly", said Southey, seeing the large stone blocking the stile.

It proved to be no impediment and Dad was soon over, walking on to cross a broken wall and then to a stepped gap stile in the next wall. Looking left Grizzly called out, "there is Whelp Stone Crag, with its summit trig point."

Now we drifted slightly left to gap in a wall and so down to the edge of the forest. Reaching this by a wall corner, it was left through a gap on to a wide track that was a bit muddy at times.

Eventually this became a narrow trod, Shaun saying, "the map shows it soon runs between the forest."

This was after a stile in the cross wall.

Coming to the next wall, we could see Whelp Stone Crag just above left. For a short distance we now followed an off road cycle route, standing back to let the cyclists by. Then branched left to climb to a gate and beyond just a short ascent to the trig point on Whelp Stone Crag.

To our surprise there were a group of people here and talking to a lady and gentleman, discovered that they were here to scatter the ashes of this brother.

We did feel a little that we were perhaps intruding, but the gentleman was happy to talk with Dad. He told us that in his youth they came to stay at Whelpstone Lodge every weekend and spent wonderful days playing on the fell. As he grew up he still came at times for about 40 years.

Dad said, "it is a wonderful place for his ashes to be scattered with such connections and terrific views all round."

They kindly let Dad take our picture, before we left them to the reason for the visit.

Just time too, for Dad to snap this shot of Pen-y-ghent.

Dad made a steep descent, but soon realised that we should should just have taken the path left from the summit.

Down on the plain Shaun had a good look at the map and said, "we just need to go left under the crag to that gap in the wall."

Soon then it was right through a gate, keeping left of a wall corner to a gate in the wall to the left.

By now we had been caught up by the party and Dad talked again to the gentleman who shared some more of his memories.

Now on a track shortly we reached Whelpstone Lodge, now sadly derelict, that has featured so much in the gentleman's life.

From here we just followed the road past Ragged Hall and Hesley, along which these two sheep posed for Dad.

"There just begging to be photographed", said Southey gleefully.

"Hmph", growled Allen.

"We go left at the junction", instructed Shaun.

Dad strolled the road, with Scoutber Crag, away across the fields and distantly beyond the unmistakable shape of Ingleborough.

Reaching Hesley Hall we turned left along the surfaced track that brought us back to the start.

"Thanks Dad, that was another lovely walk, and another Bowland summit ticked off", said Allen.

"So I suppose it is refreshment time, Dad?", said Tetley.

"Absolutely lad, and where else would go but to Elaine's at Feizor."

We had to return along the single track road, Dad opening, driving through and then closing once again the two gates. Thankfully too, we did not meet another vehicle, because as Tetley had observed there were very few passing places. "

Then it was just a little further to Feizor, where he was welcomed by all. Dad had lovely sausages eggs and chips, followed by the absolutely delicious blackcurrant crumble and custard and a large pot of tea. It rounded his the day off nicely and he chatted with Elaine, and later before driving home, with Jonathan and Lucy.

A grand day!

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