THE CALDER HORSESHOE

 


Summary

Date - 30th July 2016 Distance - 8 miles
Ascent -
2500ft
Map - OL4 Start point - Verge parking by Coldfell road (NY 0664 1302)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Blakeley Raise 1276 389 NY 0699 1350
Grike 1599 488 NY 0849 1407
Crag Fell 1716 523 NY 0972 1438
Whoap 1676 511 NY 0971 1297
Lank Rigg 1775 541 NY 0916 1195
Kinniside 1230 375 NY 0782 1162
Latter Barrow 1161 354 NY 0737 1141
Swarth Fell 1099 335 NY 0648 1204
Burn Edge 1050 320 NY 0693 1260

 

Preface

Tetley and Southey were sitting quietly, reading their Dalesman and Cumbria magazines.

"Some interesting articles this time remarked Southey."

"In mine too", responded Tetley. "Shall we swop once we have each finished?"

"Yes pal. Splendid idea."

They continued contentedly for a little while longer until Shaun with Little Eric riding on this back and Grizzly, arrived.

"Ooh great tea", cried Southey. "To quote Allen's line, I'm gasping for a cuppa."

"You even sound like him", laughed Tetley as he went to get the mugs and plates.

Grizzly announced, "Little Eric has made chocolate coated flapjack, while I have put my paw to making scones. There are cherry and ginger or apple and cinnamon.

"I love your scones, Grizzly", said Shaun as he was pouring the tea with Tetley's help.

"I'll have a piece of flapjack for starters", said Southey. He took a bite and said, "it's delicious, Little Eric."

"Thanks pal."

"Super scones", said Shaun, closing his eyes in ecstasy.

Tetley took a piece of flapjack, and about to take a bite, he suddenly said, "where's Allen?"

Well, hardly had the words left his mouth, and the tornado that was Allen came bounding into the room, shouting, "I have news of a walk. You are going to be pleased Little Eric."

"OK", said Tetley, "but we can be patient so get your breath back and have your tea and cakes."

"Alright pal", he panted.

After a few minutes, Allen then went on, "Dad has told me that on Saturday we he is taking us to do the Calder Horseshoe, that takes in Grike etc. It is the last area near Ennerdale that you have summits to bag Little Eric. It is a long drive so the long days are a good time to do this."

"Super", cheered Little Eric. "Southey and I will bag some Wainwrights and a few Birketts too.

"Nine summits in all", said Shaun who had looked it up in Birkett's book.

Tetley then said, "we did this round with Uncle Bob, when Shaun, Dad and I were ticking off the final Wainwrights. It will be 10 years exactly to the day when we go on Saturday."

"However do you remember these things", replied Southey in wonder.

"Don't know pal. I just seem to be able to recall these dates."

"Well I can't wait", cried Little Eric. And raising his mug, "here's to the best Dad in the world."

"Oh and one final thing, it will be an early start, setting off at 07:30", said Allen.

"Right then we had better get the picnic packed the night before", replied Grizzly.

 

The Walk

We made sure we were up very early and ready, as true to his word, with us settled on the front seat, Dad pulled out of the drive at 07:30.

"Which way do we go?", asked Southey, who had not been to this area before.

Tetley obliged. "It's north on the M6 to junction 40, then west on the A66 to Cockermouth, before turning south at the roundabout by the Sheep Wool Centre."

So we settled down for the long drive, enjoying the scenery off the M6, especially as we passed the Howgills when we drove through the Lune Gorge.

"Ah", mused Grizzly. "We had many enjoyable days climbing those fells with Uncle Eric's company. Such lonely places, many times we never saw another person."

"And Dad was kind enough to repeat some so that I could complete the challenge", went on Little Eric.

Later as we drove the A66, mighty Blencathra was passed, and Little Eric commented again, "that was another mountain that Dad climbed again for me, my last in Wainwright Book 5 Northern Fells."

Reaching Keswick, the views opened up of the fells above Derwent Water, with mighty Skiddaw to the right. "More memories of happy days climbing all those", said Tetley.

As the road swung right, Southey commented, "it is very straight and level here."

"That is because it was once part of the railway line from Penrith to Workington. Sadly long closed", said Allen. "One has to think that a line at least to Keswick, would be very well used these days, and take cars off the road too."

Passing a side road signed Castle Inn, Allen said, "that's the way to Armathwaite Hall."

"Ahh Dad and Uncle Brian's second home", laughed Tetley. "They do love to go there, and it does them both good, especially giving Dad a good rest."

Further we came to the roundabout, Shaun looking and saying, "look the Sheep Wool Centre and hotel has gone and the building demolished. I wonder what the replacement will be?"

We were now on the A5086, that goes to Egremont, but after a while we took a narrow road off left down to Ennerdale Bridge, and then out along the narrow Coldfell Road.

"We will come under the slopes of Blakeley Raise, and there is a pull-in where we can park", said Shaun.

"Yes", replied Dad, "but I am not exactly sure where it is, after 10 years."

"If I remember rightly, it's just by where the bridleway strikes off near the sharp right corner in the road."

Dad drove carefully and suddenly Grizzly called out, "it's here."

As we parked Tetley commented, "that's Flat Fell, a Wainwright Outlyer we did with Uncle Eric."

The dark cloud hanging over was rain bearing and Dad retreated to the car as it fell.

"Oh heck", said Little Eric, "I thought the forecast was for a dry day. And your in shorts Dad."

"Well on that front I put my walking trousers in the boot, so I will change before we set off. As to the weather it is just a passing shower and I am sure the forecast will hold good."

Well Dad was right, of course!

Soon ready and with the rain off, he was about to put best foot forward, when Shaun pointed along the road, "you can just see the cairn on Swarth Fell and in front is Burn Fell, the last two of the summits today."

It was just 09:30 when Dad now put best foot forward making the direct climb of the slopes of Blakeley Raise.

"I remember the cairn is at the corner of the fence by the forestry", said Allen, as the climb began to level out.

"That must be the cairn", said Southey, "but your recollection must be wrong as there is no forestry." But as we reached the cairn, he said, "sorry pal, you were quite right. In the intervening 10 years the forestry as been felled."

"That's the first summit bagged for Southey and I", cheered Little Eric, as with his pals he climbed on to the cairn for the first of our obligatory pictures.

Snugged again in Dad's rucksack, our route was now alongside the fence, the next objective, Grike, being plainly seen in the distance.

Looking up from the map, Shaun said, "we descend to a dip called Kinney How, then through a gate to the left."

This took us along a short track to the forest road. "Birkett says we go right along the road", said Tetley, reading from the book instructions, "then it is through a gate on to open fell."

Dad walked on and it was not long before Grizzly called out, "there's the gate."

Crossing the rough ground we encountered another forest road. "This is new since Birkett wrote his book and must the road that went straight ahead, where we had turned right", said Allen.

Once through the gate a clear path climbed steadily to a stile, and then shortly to Grike's summit marked by three piles of stones, one being fashioned into a shelter. In local dialect 'grike' is a crack or ravine on a hillside and so the name may refer to the ravines on its north side. We of course had our picture taken, but with so many summits today, it would be unfair to readers to include every one.

The low cloud kept sweeping in obscuring the top of Lank Rigg to our right, and causing Crag Fell, our next summit, to disappear. Walking on this soon cleared off, the good track passing the weather station and transmitter...

...and on to a stile, and follow the good path that climbed steadily to the summit cairn on Crag Fell.

"Three down", cheered Southey. "Picture time again."

Here we met the only other walkers - three young lads and their dog, they having preceded us up the fell. A quick "hello", while Dad was busy taking our picture, and by the time this was done they had set off back down.

We walked down the few yards for this superb view of Ennerdale.

"Wow", cried Southey. "What a truly magnificent and wonderful view." Then he went on, "I know I keep saying it, but how lucky I was to be chosen from all my other brothers to be adopted, when Dad came to see Kim at the Wordsworth Hotel."

"The lower fell directly across is Bowness Knott, with Herdus and with its summit dusted by the cloud, Great Bourne,", informed Allen.

"Phew", said Tetley. "That was some day when we climbed them. Bowness Knott does not look too hard. The ascent has to be made via a path behind and then over the fence. But, the fact that the trees had been felled, there was lots of debris that made the crossing to the summit on this side difficult."

"I remember it well", replied Dad. "And I had to recross it to regain the route over Brown How and then climb the steep narrow winding path up Rake Beck to summit Herdus."

"Oh yes", replied Grizzly. "That narrow path was hidden in such a way that we could only see it for a few yards ahead at any one time. It was a great ascent route.".

Ready for the off, Little Eric looked about. "Which way now?"

"We take that descending path going south", pointed Shaun.

This went on and on, down and down, seemingly forever, with the view ahead dominated by Ennerdale Fell.

Now that really was a day, when we summited that". said Allen. "It was the last summit of a round that took in Lingmell, Haycock and Caw Fell. Those in themselves were hard enough, but the trackless descent of Silvercove Beck below Ennerdale Fell, was so so hard for you Dad."

"Aye lad, that was one of the hardest walks, and then once in the valley there was the two miles back to the car! Safe to say it is unlikely we will do that route again."

To the left we could see Ennerdale, and Haystacks that we had climbed with Uncle Eric in June.

Eventually the path came to a stile into the cleared area of forestry, where the heather made a lovely splash of colour.

Shortly, at the forest road, Shaun said, "we go left for a few steps, then the path continues off to the right."

Straight initially, it then bent left to a stile by the substantial wall known as the Ennerdale Fence and another in a new fence a few yards further.

"We walk by the wall to a corner, then just a little further before we have to strike off right towards Whoap, the next summit", advised Shaun.

"Yuck", said Southey, "looks like you're in for a muddy section, Dad."

It was not quite so bad as it looked, but Dad paused near to the corner to take in the view looking back. "That rounded top in he distance is Knock Murton, with Blake Fell and Gavel Fell to the right", commented Grizzly.

"That was another walk and a half", said Allen. "Knock Murton was that last of nine summits, if my memory serves me right. It is relentlessly steep, the lower half through trees, to a stile then open fell to the summit."

"Yes lad, I remember that well too. Was I glad to get to its summit. Another one I do not intend to climb by that route", replied Dad.

"It was end of May 2009", said Tetley. "My how time flies."

Although it did not look much from a distance the trackless slopes of Whoap are by no means and easy stroll and we had lost some considerable height in the descent from Crag Fell. It was made harder too, by the ground generally being wet and boggy, something we had not encountered for a while. So for Dad's sake we were relieved to finally pick up the path that brought us to the solitary stone and a small cairn marking the summit.

"Look", called out Tetley. "The sun is catching Herdus and Great Bourne."

"Lovely", added Little Eric.

A path crosses the summit, so Southey asked, "do we use this for our route?"

"No lad", replied Shaun. Pointing south, he then said, "Lank Rigg is our next top, across that deep valley of Whoap Beck. We follow that shoulder towards Lank Rigg, which divides the valley from that of Red Gill."

So Dad strode the good path that eventually descended to cross the infant Red Gill and then make the steep climb of the slopes and reach the summit of Lank Rigg.

"Come on pals, lets's sit on the trig point for our picture", called out Little Eric.

"I think it's a bit too windy", replied Tetley, "but we will have a go nevertheless."

Tetley's prediction turned out to be true, so we had to be content to sit at the base.

Settled again in the rucksack, Shaun said, "we go on ahead passing the little tarn and then head for the next summit, the Birkett top called Kinniside."

Soon after passing an outcrop beyond the tarn, Southey remarked, "where's the path gone?"

"This is not a recognised route to Lank Rigg, so Dad will have to contend with just a trackless descent", replied Shaun.

It was long and pretty hard going, but finally it was done, and at the bottom we crossed the rather soft and boggy Poukes Moss negotiating a few peat hags, and then up Kinniside's fairly gentle slopes to the cairn.

Behind to left is the next objective Latter Barrow, and if you look carefully on the horizon you will see the Isle of Man.

A clear path dropped into a depression before rising up the gentle slopes of Latter Barrow with its three cairns.

The one closest to the camera is the summit, where we sat for the usual picture.

As we sat Shaun looked left and pointed saying, there are Swarth Fell and Burn Edge, our last summits on the far side of the River Calder."

We set off down, Southey saying quietly, "look at that Herdwick lamb. It is so cute with the markings on its face."

At first we encountered some rocks, but then Tetley called out, "look there is the shepherds cairn mentioned by Birkett."

So Dad crossed to this for a virtually rock free descent to a stile, and then on to descend the steep slope to the bank of the rushing River Calder.

Reading the instructions Shaun said, "Birkett says this is 'usually no more than a shallow stream'."

" Hmph!" replied Dad, "maybe when he wrote is book 20 years ago, but not so now."

"Quite" agreed Allen.

"We could try to cross at that calm section", suggested Southey.

"You know what they say, calm waters run deep", replied Dad.

We looked up and down stream, Grizzly saying, "what about trying that section where the river rushes over those rocks?"

Dad tried his best, but the rocks were just too slippery. "Oh heck", cried Little Eric, "whatever are we going to do?"

"There is nothing for it but to just wade across", replied Dad. "I know it means wet feet but the bulk of the walk is done."

So he took the plunge and soon we were on the far bank. Here we could see that we had to make a steep climb up the slope in front to a stile in a fairly new fence, to gain open fell. The step up was quite high, making it difficult to get over.

So taking a rough bearing Dad climbed the steep flanks of Swarth Fell. "Phew", he said, "this is hard going, but I guess I'm tiring a bit now."

There is really no ridge so we just kept on going right, passing this group of Herdwicks,

to reach the rather elegant summit cairn (Birkett's words).

"Phew!!" said Dad. "Glad to get this one done."

While Dad was taking our picture, Allen looked out to the coast, saying, "the Isle of Man is standing out pretty sharp today."

"Right lads, get settled again, so we can get the last summit over and done with", said Dad.

A clear path led down and up to Burn Edge. Following Birkett's instruction we walked on past the 311m spot height, going half right to the higher rise that is the summit.

There were a few stones here, and amongst them Tetley said, "this is the one marking the summit."

"Yippee", cheered Little Eric. "That's it, all done."

"Yes pal", replied Allen. "We do not need to come to this area again on your quest to complete the Birketts and Wainwrights."

Like we had from Swarth Fell, we once again stood and looked at the view of the Calder Horseshoe, pondering on the days events, and also remembering the wonderful day we had had exactly 10 years ago, doing this walk with Uncle Bob.

Now made a direct descent towards the road and car, just using a very few yards of the bridleway to the road.

And for the record, Little Eric and Southey bagged all the summits. 9 Birketts including 3 Wainwrights.

It was now 15:30 and Tetley asked, "are you going to stop for food on the way home."

"No lad, I think we'll just drive straight home. We arrived about 17:10 much to Uncle Brian's surprise, as he had expected us to be rather later.

As we were approaching Ennerdale Bridge, the views of the fells above the lake were stunning in the sunshine. So Dad pulled off to take these shots.

First of Crag Fell.

Then this of from the left, Herdus, Great Bourne, Starling Dodd, with Bowness Knott in the foreground, and the Buttermere Ridge - Red Pike, High Stile and High Crag.

A truly grand day out!!! Thanks Dad, as always.

Oh and finally, due to wading the River Calder, Dad's boots were thoroughly wet. The particular problem was drying the insides. The best way is to put newspaper inside. We do not have one, as Uncle Brian downloads his Daily Telegraph from the Internet.

So to solve this problem Dad went and bought a copy of The Sun.

"Well", laughed Tetley, "it's about all it's good for!"

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