THE KNOTT, HIGH STREET, THORNTHWAITE CRAG & GRAY CRAG from HARTSOP

Little Eric completes Wainwright Book 2 Far Eastern Fells


Summary

Date - 29th May 2016 Distance - 7.75 miles
Ascent -
2520ft
Map - OL5 Start point - Parking in Hartsop village (NY 4100 1300)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
The Knott 2423 739 NY 4371 1268
High Street 2718 828 NY 4407 1104
Thornthwaite Crag 2572 784 NY 4314 1001
Gray Crag 2293 699 NY 4275 1171

 

Preface

It was Thursday, Shaun and Grizzly arrived with the flasks and cake tins, to find Little Eric, Southey and Tetley, huddled round the laptop.

"What are you on with pals?", asked Shaun.

"We're looking at the pictures Dad took when we went to High Street with Uncle Eric, on Tuesday", replied Tetley.

"There are some good shots so definitely there will be a story", remarked Southey.

"I got one of my outstanding Book 2 summits bagged too", said Little Eric.

Tetley and Southey went off to get the plates and mugs, then they helped Shaun pour the tea.

Grizzly said, "there are cherry and ginger scones with butter and raspberry jam, made by Little Eric and I have made chocolate caramel shortbread."

"0oh my favourites", cried Southey.

"And mine too", called out Tetley.

We tucked in Southey echoing all our thoughts, "the cakes are absolutely scrumptious."

Suddenly Little Eric paused with a piece of cake halfway to his mouth. "Where's Allen!?", he exclaimed. "He never misses tea and cakes, being the tea belly and cake stuffer he is."

"I am here", came the distant shout. Then like a whirlwind Allen burst into the room. Then rather breathlessly he went on, "I bring good news that will please you Little Eric."

"Now then", said Tetley, "first just calm down and get your breath back. Here's your tea and cakes."

"Ooh thanks, pal", he replied sipping the tea from his mug.

So calmed, Shaun asked, "what's the news."

"Dad has decided that we are to walk on Sunday, and he is determined finally to take you to the summits you need to bag to complete Book 2, Little Eric."

"That means we will be on High Street for the second time in a week", said Shaun.

"That's right", replied Little Eric.

"How come?", asked Southey.

"We will start from Hartsop, and walk up past Hayeswater, to The Knott. Then we need to get to Thornthwaite Crag, and to do this we have to go via High Street. From Thornthwaite we will head north to Gray Crag, which will be my last Book 2 summit.

"The climb to The Knott is an arduous slog after Hayeswater. No fun for Dad", said Tetley.

"We truly have the best dad in the world", cheered Little Eric raising his mug in salute.

"That we do!", agreed Allen doing the same.

 

The Walk

Knowing that Hartsop is a popular start point and that in addition it was the Bank Holiday weekend, Dad had told us he would be setting off at 07:45.

So we were up extra early and all lent a paw in getting the picnic made and safely stowed in Allen's rucksack.

It was to be a glorious day with lots of sunshine and light winds, Tetley remarking to Dad, "shorts weather then"

"Yes lad."

Dad was ready and true to his word we left at 07:45. Our route was towards Windermere, but turning off in the village of Ings along narrow road to Troutbeck and then up to the top of Kirkstone Pass, where the massive bulk of Red Screes dominates the view.

"Hmm" mused Tetley. "I well remember that December day we climbed Red Screes. All was green underfoot, but then suddenly we were above the snow line and the mist was down."

"Yes being the first up that day there were no footprints to follow, but nevertheless Dad got us there", went on Shaun.

"Then we huddled by the trig point where just yards behind there is that sheer cliff", finished Grizzly.

Descending Kirkstone Pass, we soon arrived at the right turn and the narrow road through Hartsop, terminating at the rough parking. Already the car park was filling up, so Dad had been wise to set off early.

We wasted no time in settling in Dad's rucksack, and once ready he shouldered it and by 9:00 he was striding up the track.

Not having been here before, Southey asked, "what is that tall fell to the right called."

"Hartsop Dodd", replied Tetley. "Its summit being at 2028 feet. We last climbed it in September 2009 with Uncle Eric, starting from the Kirkstone Pass Inn."

To further inform Southey of his surroundings, Grizzly said, "the left slopes of Hartsop Dodd, form one side of the lovely valley of Pasture Bottom. At its head is Threshthwaite Cove that rises to the col between Stoney Cove Pike on the right and Thornthwaite Crag on the left."

"How beautiful", breathed Southey. "How fortunate I was that Dad adopted me when he came to see Kim, and that you allowed me to join the walking club."

"You're welcome pal", replied Allen. "Even if you do wind me up at times about sheep pictures", he went on laughingly.

Coming to a fork in the path, a notice informed us that work was ongoing to install a hydro-electric scheme on Hayeswater Beck. So whilst the main path was open there was the alternative via the Filter House.

"Let's go via the Filter House on the way out and return the other way", suggested Shaun.

As we gained height we could see the stage that had been reached with the works.

In the 19th century there were many mills in the Lake District, such as bobbin mills, that initially were water powered. All are gone now but with the need to produce green energy, it seems so sensible to now use the water power to produce electricity.

The good track continued to the Filter House, that was used to purify the water when Hayeswater was a reservoir. This is no longer the case and the dam has been removed, so restoring it to a natural lake.

The path drops to the right of the Filter House to a large step stile and across the footbridge over Hayeswater Gill. Then up a short by very steep section to rejoin the other route.

Dad strode on with Hayeswater Gill tumbling down on the left.

After about another ten minutes or so, Allen exclaimed, "that is a lovely view of Hayeswater!

The steep slopes to the left are High Street, but our eyes were drawn further left where they seemed to tower even higher.

"That's The Knott, our first objective", informed Shaun.

"Oh heck", cried Little Eric, "there seems to be a lot of climbing to do."

"Aye lad it will be a bit of slog, or as Wainwright writes in the description of the ascent, 'as far as Hayeswater this is a fine approach; beyond, it deteriorates into a dull trudge'.

So putting best foot forwards, Dad started the relentlessly ascent.

Allen commented on the beautiful view to the west, giving Dad a chance to stop and catch his breath. "That is Brother's Water nestling below the long ridge of Hartsop above How. The back drop is Fairfield with the prominence of Cofa Pike then falling to Deepdale Hause and the rising to St Sunday Crag."

"Magnificent", cried Southey.

Sheep were grazing and after a further section of trudge Tetley said, "there's a Herdwick ewe with its lamb close by.

Dad was quick to snap of a shot. He is not really very happy with the result, but we are including it anyway.

Finally the bulk of the climb was done as we joined the main path from Angle Tarn. Here there was a fine view of Rest Dodd and The Nab.

"It doesn't look it from here, but it is quite a slope down and then up to the summit of The Nab.", remarked Grizzly,

Now following other walkers, we left the main path, and climbing right by a wall the final section to the summit of The Knott.

"Yippee", cheered Little Eric, "that's one bagged."

"And for me too", called out Southey.

There were a few people here and as we settled on the cairn, a Scottish lady spotted us and kindly offered to take the picture so Dad could appear too.

I'm getting a bit hungry", said Allen.

"Nothing new there then", laughed Tetley.

"OK", agreed Dad we'll stop and have a bite to eat then."

The main track goes round The Knott. So when ready for the off again Dad made the short steepish descent east to gain this, then turning right towards High Street. Fairly level it crosses the Straights of Riggindale, affording a fine view of the valley and Haweswater, where we had started our walk last Tuesday. "There's the ridge of Rough Crag that we climbed to get to High Street", said Southey.

A young couple asked Dad if the lake was Haweswater, so they had a bit of a chat. He told them that Riggindale was the home to the only Golden Eagle in England, but that it is thought to have died over the winter.

Walking on the path divides and the gentleman asked, "which way to the summit."

Dad replied, "left by the wall."

As they chatted on, Dad asked, "where are you from?.

"The gentleman replied, "From Kent. I'm from Sevenoaks and my the girlfriend is from Tunbridge Wells." Then saying, "a great place for National Trust properties."

"Yes", replied Dad. "My friend and I have been to Kent and Sussex many times, staying with his sister in Tunbridge Wells. We have been to all the National Trust places as well as seeing other attractions."

On a steady gradient at first, it then levelled off and we arrived at the trig point at High Street. Tetley said, "as we were only here on Tuesday, we are not bothered about having our picture taken.

We did with the young couple stand and take in the magnificent array for fells and mountains. From the Coniston Fells, round to the Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Langdale Pikes, Fairfield, Helvellyn, The Dodds and to Blencathra.

"I think we will stop for another bite to eat", said Dad.

"Great", cheered Allen rubbing his tummy in anticipation.

We sat on the ruin of the wall with the magnificent view before us. Heaven!

"We're ready for the off", Shaun said after a while.

"Right then, get settled", replied Dad.

The next summit was Thornthwaite Crag that has the most recognisable summit with its tall chimney cairn, and we could see it in the distance. Dad strode off taking a path that angled down to the right, and fairly soon joining a wider track that ran across the fell. For Little Eric and Southey's sake, Shaun said, "this is the course of the Roman Road. It is called High Street after this mountain."

"My", replied Southey, "one can only try to imagine what has gone on up here over the centuries"

"Yes pal. Before the Romans the Ancient Britons would have walked here. The Scottish invaders were later repulsed. And then there were the shepherds and farmers who centuries ago made this their playground and feasting place on the occasion of the annual meets by racing horses", said Shaun.

Looking at the map, Little Eric said, "I see that it is still named as Racecourse Hill."

Dad strayed a little west from the path, to then get this superb shot of Hayeswater far below.

Putting the camera away Dad said, "right time to get on."

He strode off to follow the path the curved right and then climbed gently to Thornthwaite Crag, with it most distinctive summit, seen here from a few yards along the path towards Gray Crag...

...and where we sat, of course for our picture. "That's another bagged pal", said Little Eric to Southey."

Distantly over Tetley and Allen's head can be seen the majestic Scafell range.

The formalities done, we now turned north along the path on to Gray Crag, with another young couple ahead who had stopped, seemingly debating.

"That's a fine view to Ullswater", commented Shaun. "Rising above left of the lake from right to left is Glenridding Dodd, Sheffield Pike and Raise. Distantly the long flat ridge is Blencathra."

The couple were still debating, so Dad trying to be helpful, said, "this is Gray Crag. The summit is by a wall, the highest point being just before the wall, while the cairn that Wainwright considered the summit lies just beyond."

"Thanks", they said as they then walked on.

We then got a little behind them because Dad phoned Uncle Brian, who was about to settle down to watch the Monaco GP. By now the couple had reached cross wall that Dad had omitted to point out, so causing confusion. He rushed to catch up saying, "sorry, this is not the summit and it is by the next wall."

So walking on Dad chatted. They were from Manchester and were doing the 214, by the end of today having completed 27. After a few ups and downs the summit was reached and we all walked to the cairn together. They then turned back, Dad saying, "goodbye and all the best for the the Wainwright challenge."

Meanwhile Little Eric had hopped out of the rucksack and was jumping up and down on the cairn. "Yippee!", he cried "I have finally completed Book 2!"

Well done pal we all said and gave him a hug. A group picture was taken, and then as is the tradition on book completion he posed on his own with the book open at the Gray Crag page.

Looking back we could see past the wall and to the left of the path the slight rise that is actually the highest point being measured at 699m.

Grizzly said, "for completeness we have to have our picture taken there too."

"Agreed", replied Dad. "To avoid having to settle you twice do you mind just huddling down in the open rucksack for this short distance?"

"No, of course not", said Tetley.

We had not seen the couple from Manchester, and now discovered why, as they were sitting behind the wall having lunch.

Using his GPS Dad got the exact position and we wasted no time in settling in a group.

Quickly now we got settled properly and Dad strode off, saying goodbye again to the young couple as we crossed the wall. The clear path continued north, Dad stopping after a few minutes. "I think it is worth recording some of he views from here for the story. Any suggestions?"

"I agree", said Little Eric, "like that of the vertical slopes of The Knott dropping to Hayeswater."

"Looking north", went on Tetley. "Brock Crags, then Angletarn Pikes in the sun, with behind in shadow Place Fell"

Allen then put his penny worth in. "To the west, Dad. In the centre the long ridge of Striding Edge with Helvellyn. The pointed top to the right is Catstycam with to the far right Raise."

Onwards now with the descent. This soon became steep and winding as we dropped down craggy sections. Lower the path went right, before finally swinging left to the main track. Followed this left to continue passing the construction works for the hydro scheme.

Soon we passed by a ruined barn. "I recall that from the when we did this walk in 2007. The tree is taller now though, unsurprisingly", said Tetley.

"That is quite a dramatic shot of Gray Crag, too", called out Southey.

Just minutes later we were down and entering the car park, which was full.

"What a fantastic walk", said Southey.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dad" said Little Eric. "It has been another milestone for me and I can say quite unequivocally that I am a very happy bear!!!"

So now Dad drove to Ings, and went to the newly opened cafe where the Little Chef used to be. This is Cafe Ambio, one of a few in the area. Here he had a pot of tea, and a truly huge fruit scone with butter jam and clotted cream, and piece of very fruity flapjack.

"A perfect way to round off the day", Dad said.

Meanwhile we had the rest of our picnic, and there was a special surprise for Little Eric. Grizzly had baked him a cake with on the icing, "Well done Little Eric on completing Book 2 Far Eastern Fells"

"Thanks pal", he called out. "That is so very very kind of you."

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