Date - 22nd April 2021 Distance - 7.25 miles
Ascent -
2800 ft
Map - OL5 Start point - Dunmail Raise (NY 3277 1163)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Dollywagon Pike 2815 858 NY 3462 1306
High Crag (Grisedale) 2903 884 NY 3433 1366
Nethermost Pike 2922 891 NY 3441 1415
Helvellyn 3118 950 NY 3424 1511



As Shaun arrived with Grizzly and Little Eric, they saw Southey and Tetley hunched over the laptop.

"What are you looking at?", asked Grizzly.

"The pictures Dad took on the walk to Dow Crag", replied Tetley. "Plenty of good ones for the story."

"Oh what a wonderful day that was", cheered Little Eric. "So great to be back in the Lake District and on the high fells again, and another few tops I have ticked off."

"It certainly was, and Dad did us proud", said Shaun, as he filled the mugs with tea and passed them around.

Grizzly announced, "Little Eric has made cherry and ginger scones with butter and raspberry jam. I have made Chorley cakes."

"Lovely", said Tetley, as we all helped ourselves.

Southey then produced another tin. "There are some oat cookies in there. I know that you all like them."

"Oh thanks pal", replied Grizzly. "They are quite delicious."

There were murmurs of approval all round, Shaun saying", the scones are scrumptious."

"As are the Chorley cakes", went on Tetley. "You spoil us pals. Thank you as always." He then reached for an oat cake, but stopped with his paw in the air. "Where's Allen? He is always hungry and never misses tea and cakes."

"Not seen him. I'm sure he will be along soon", said Shaun. "As you have said before, Tetley, he can smell tea a mile off!"

And sure enough it seems that was the case, as a minute or so later he dashed in breathlessly shouting, "great, great, great."

"Whatever is going on?", asked Little Eric.

"I bring news of our next walk, and you are going to be a very happy bear, Little Eric."

"Well have your tea first pal and some cakes", said Southey. "We can wait a little longer for the news."

"Thanks pal", he replied taking the mug of tea and then a couple of the oat cakes. "I love these Southey. Thanks for making them again. Quite the expert you are now." Then taking a scone, he said. "Dad has decided to take us on the fells again on Thursday. In fact on the mountains, as we are going to end up at Helvellyn. The plan is to start from Dunmail Raise. Ascending by Raise Beck, we will then summit Dollywagon Pike and on to High Crag and Nethermost Pike before reaching Helvellyn."

"Oh fantastic", cried Little Eric. "That will be two more Wainwrights and three Birketts."

Tetley said, "Southey you will also bag Helvellyn, as you had not been adopted the last time we climbed it."

"It will be good to get one of the summits over 3000 ft on my done list", said Southey. "I know I will never complete the challenges, but I will be content to have a good number climbed."

Little Eric had refilled his mug, and raising it called out, "here's to the best Dad in all the world."


The Walk

We awoke to cloudless skies that were to persist all day, and as you will see tremendous views.

We had got up early Dad saying, "I plan to set off a little before 08:00, so that we can be walking as soon after 09:00 as possible."

Although we had not been to the Lakes for a while, the drive to the start was so familiar to us. Up the M6 to junction 36, then past Kendal and on the A591, to Windermere.

Here the views opened up. "There's Dow Crag that we climbed last week", pointed Little Eric. "What a super day that was."

There was a bit of a delay on the next section to Ambleside due to some temporary traffic lights, but once past the journey was uneventful.

"Wow, the Fairfield Horseshoe is so clear", said Shaun.

"I have that to do", said Little Eric.

"Yes", replied Dad. "I will need a few more walks to build up my stamina before I can think of tackling that."

Then past Rydal Water with superb reflections in the still air, and on to pass Grasmere, and head up Dunmail Raise.

"There's the parking area", pointed Shaun. "You've missed it."

"I know lad, but I am going to the end of the dual carriageway section, so I can swing back to be facing the right way for home."

As it turned out there is parking on the verge. "I'll park here", said Dad. "Just by the ladderstile we have to climb to start out."

As Dad got ready we got settled in the rucksack.

"Right lads, off we go", called out Dad.

Over the ladderstile we followed the path that led to the entrance of the narrow ravine of Raise Beck, between steep sides of Dollywagon Pike and Seat Sandal.

"Lovely view of Helm Crag", pointed Allen. "The Howitzer that is the summit can be clearly seen.

There is a good path all the way with a few minor rocky scrambles up the side of the waterfalls.

"It's not as steep as I expected", commented Dad.

Once the height had been gained the ascent levelled and took us towards the main path round Grisedale Tarn.

"There's Dollywagon Pike, and our ascent route", pointed Tetley.

Oh dear", exclaimed Little Eric. "That looks ever so steep."

"It is pal", replied Tetley. "We used this approach in May 2004. There was just Shaun and I walking then."

"No path just grass as I recall", added Shaun.

When Grizzly and I made the climb in March 2007, we used the main path up the zigzags", commented Allen.

"We did lad, but while the route today is probably steeper, it is more direct", said Dad.

As Dad made the climb it became obvious that over the years many people had used this route and there is more of a path and in places it is getting eroded.

We met a gentleman from Middlesborough coming down and Dad stopped to chat. He too recalled there not being a path.

Dad showed him us and he commented, "I did not realise you had passengers."

"I am doing these for Little Eric, to advance his Wainwright challenge."

They chatted a little longer then his parting words were. "make sure Little Eric bags those tops."

Climbing on Tetley said, "when we can see the post, we will be nearly there. It is sited by the main path."

As Dad took this shot, Grizzly said, "there's Fairfield, looking forbidding in shadow."

At the post Southey said, "which way to the summit."

"The path straight across", said Shaun.

A short more gentle climb followed to reach the cairns at the summit. Allen said, "Wainwright states the one to the east on the right us the actual highest point."

"Yippee" cheered Little Eric."That's one down. Come on pals time for our picture."

There were a few people here and due to us Dad got into conversation.

A gentleman with his wife from Anglesey, said, "our granddaughter is really into teddies. Can I take their picture."

"Of course", replied Dad.

We thought, she would love to come to our house!

Another couple commented too, and said, "we are doing the Wainwrights. We have about 60 left."

"Good luck in your quest", replied Dad.

Before setting off, we took a moment to view the rest of our ascents.

Tetley set the scene. "The cairn on High Crag, our next summit, can just be seen, then right is the flat top of Nethermost Pike with Helvellyn behind.

Even now we did not leave the summit, as we just had to look in awe at the incredible views of the mountains.

"Wow", breathed Southey. "There will not be many days when they are so clearly seen."

"There's St Sunday Crag", pointed Allen. "The lower fell behind is Birks. Our first ascent was in snow and very poor visibility."

That's the Buttermere ridge, High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike", pointed Tetley. "And in front of High Crag is Fleetwith Pike."

"What are that group", asked Southey.

Grizzly replied, "The prominent mountain to the left is Great Gable with immediately left in front Green Gable. Then the ridge left to right is Kirk Fell, Red Pike, Scoat Fell and Pilar prominent at the right end."

"And those there", asked Little Eric.

"Scafell Pike and Great End", replied Allen.

"How fortunate we are today", stated Southey.

Time to get on, so we descended to the main path, Shaun then saying, "take the right fork leading to High Crag."

This is a Birkett summit, and is crowned by a large cairn that we scrambled onto.

"Thanks Dad", said Shaun, as we settled back in the rucksack. "We just follow the path round to the flat top of Nethermost Pike."

"I recall that when Uncle Eric did this walk he said he was not sure whether he found the summit of Nethermost Pike, as there are are number of cairns scattered about the top", commented Tetley.

"We have the advantage of the grid reference which will make the job easier", replied Grizzly.

"There's a shelter", pointed Little Eric.

Checking the GPS Shaun said, "it is not the summit. Wainwright says it is about 100 yards north-east from here."

"There's a tall cairn", pointed Southey. "Let's head for that."

"Yes this is the summit", confirmed Shaun.

"Yippee", cheered Little Eric, "that's my two Wainwrights done. Picture time again."

We met the couple from Anglesey again here, just as we were getting back in the rucksack. "The lady said to her husband, "you just missed another teddy picture."

"They'll get out again if you want", replied Dad.

"Thanks, but it is alright", replied the gentleman.

"That's a fine view of Striding Edge backed by Catstycam", said Allen. "I can see the 'Lowry figures' making their way across."

"Right lads, just the gentle climb to Helvellyn", said Dad.

We had hardly gone but a few steps when Tetley said, "that's a lovely view of Grisedale. Worth a shot Dad."

Allen said, the path through there runs from Patterdale up to Grisedale Tarn. It's a long time since we made the descent through there from the tarn."

"July 2011", replied Tetley. "After we had climbed St Sunday Crag and a few other tops that day too."

Determined now Dad strode out and soon we were approaching Helvellyn summit.

We paused however to read the stone commemorating the first landing of an aircraft on the summit.

"Wow", said Little Eric. "That must have been some achievement."

Less than five minutes later we were there at the summit. "Wonderful", cheered Southey, who alone bagged it. "My first 3000 ft summit."

We then walked round towards the trig point, Grizzly noting, "there are still some patches of snow in the gullies."

Helvellyn is one of the most popular mountains in the Lake District so it came as no surprise there were lots of people here. Fortunately the trig point was clear at the time, so Little Eric called out, "let's have our picture sitting on top."

Then we looked about at the views, which looking west, were similar and just a spectacular as those from Dollywagon Pike.

"That's Catstycam", pointed Grizzly. "The path descending from Swirral Edge can be clearly seen and leading up to the summit."

"The other dropping right leads down to Red Tarn, between Swirral Edge and Striding Edge", said Allen.

Grizzly said, "the name comes from the fact that although it is deep blue today, the shallow water at it's edge is reddish-brown, due to the haematite that was mined at least in the 19th century."

Deep in thought, Southey said, "I think the shape looks like crouching dog with its paw at the bottom left."

We leave it to readers to decide if you agree.

Looking more distantly, Shaun said, "superb view of Ullswater."

"Time for lunch", said Dad

"Ooh yes", cried Allen. "I'm hungry."

"As usual", laughed Tetley.

We settled with the view looking west and north, seeing Bassenthwaite Lake. "Simon at Armathwaite is in my thoughts", said Dad. "I look forward to seeing him again in July."

"Wow, fantastic view of the Skiddaw group", pointed Allen. "Dodd is the lower summit on the left. Then the ridge of Ullock Pike, Long Side and Carl Side. The full extent of the summit ridge of Skiddaw with its south-, middle-, man-, and north-tops. Lonscale Fell is to the right with the pointed east top."

"And to the Coledale Fells. Grisedale Pike is to the right. You're last Wainwright Allen", said Tetley.

"Yes pal. Nearly 11 years ago now. How time flies."

As we got ready to leave a very noisy group of cyclists arrived. "Glad to be heading down", commented Little Eric.

So we headed back towards Nethermost Pike, Shaun instructing, "we take the right fork."

"What is that distant valley", pointed Southey.

"Wythburn", replied Tetley. "We descended the ridge to the right in April 2009. We climbed Ullscarf that day and also ticked off six other Birkett tops."

Dad was now faced with a long arduous and at times steep descent via Birk Side that took in all about and hour and a quarter. The first section involved sweeping zigzags, as Thirlmere came into view.

"We can see Harrop Tarn above the reservoir", said Allen. "On that day Tetley referred to in April 2009, the final descent off the summits brought is to the tarn, before making the final descent to Dobgill car park by Thirlmere."

This was followed by a steeper descent on the repaired path below Comb Crags, to more sweeping zigzags.

A few minutes after Dad took the above shot, a more extensive view of Thirlmere opened up with the Skiddaw Fells behind. "Absolutely breathtaking", said Southey. "How fortunate we have been today to see such an amazing panorama of fells and mountains."

The ultimate aim for us on the descent was to get to the forest road, and we hoped that on the final section, for Dad's sake, the gradient would be gentler. However it was not the case and when we finally got to there, we all gave a collective sigh of relief.

None more so than Dad, who said, "I'm glad to get here. Although it was long and steep at times, do not envy walkers who use this route to get to Helvellyn."

Turning left Dad strode along the wide forest road.

As we walked along, Steel Fell dominated the view right.

Where the forest road dropped right, Shaun said, "We go through that tall kissing gate and cross Homesdale Green Bridge."

Beyond the narrow path took us across fields on the fell side. A signpost directed us half right to the ford over Raise Beck that is lined either side with large boulders.

"There's the path to the crossing", pointed Little Eric. "There is hardly any water due to the dry weather."

As such Dad made quick work getting across, Allen commenting, "I wonder what it's like crossing when the beck is in spate."

The path led very shortly to a gate in the wall where a small stile right took us onto the road and in just a few yards to the car.

"Look", pointed Southey. "There's the boundary stone for Grasmere parish set in the wall."

"What an absolutely terrific day", cheered Little Eric. "Thank you so much Dad."

"A marvellous time", said Southey. "I am such a lucky bear to be part of this club."

"We certainly chose the perfect day", agreed Tetley. "There will be few when the views are so clear and extensive."

"It's been great, Lads. I feel euphoric about what I have achieved today. A but achy now, but I can expect that at my age."

And finally the summit tally. Little Eric bagged all except Helvellyn. Southey bagged all four.


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