Shaun passes 7000 miles walked


Date - 18th June 2021 Distance - 9.5 miles
Ascent -
2260 ft
Map - OL6 Start point - Porterthwaite (NY 14646 01157)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Whin Rigg 1755 535 NY 1510 0353
Illgill Head 1998 609 NY 1687 0491
Irton Fell 1296 395 NY 1434 0260



All was well as Shaun had brought the tea and we had steaming mugs in paw.

"Just what I needed", said Allen. "

"I know, you were gasping for a cuppa", laughed Grizzly.

"The Chorley Cakes are delicious pal", said Tetley taking another.

"Thanks", replied Grizzly, "I know they are one of your favourites."

"Love the blueberry slice, Little Eric", went on Allen, as he took another slice.

"That's your fourth slice", he laughed in reply. "You are living up to your cake stuffer reputation. But, I am glad you like it."

Shaun said, "that was a bit of a surprise Dad getting that message and phone call early on Sunday from Uncle Simon."

"Yes despite Dad's best efforts in describing the way to the start it would have been easier if Uncle Simon had had a map", went on Tetley. Dad has found some new OS Explorer maps in the drawer, and as he just prints the relevant section off the OS website now, plans to give them to Uncle Simon for the future, when he goes for lunch at Armathwaite Hall tomorrow."

"They did find the start, and got Illgill Head and Whin Rigg done, but it was shame that the views were so poor with cloud being down", commented Grizzly.

"They are two of my outstanding Wainwrights", commented Little Eric. "But it is a long way to the start from here."

"That will not bother Dad. We have made numerous journeys to Eskdale over the years", replied Grizzly.

Tetley had the iPad in paw. "Dad will need a day's rest on Thursday. The weather looks good for Friday, so perhaps we may get a walk in somewhere then."

Allen said, "can you fill my mug again, please Shaun."

"Sure pal." Then pausing he went on, "where's Southey. He's as much a tea belly as you. Not like him to miss out."

A few minutes later, Tetley said, "here he comes. He looks to be excited, and not just about tea and cakes."

"Here's your tea pal", said Shaun.

"Thanks. I bring exciting news of our next walk. We are going on Friday as the weather is set fair, and Dad has decided to climb Whin Rigg and Illgill Head that Uncle Simon and his pal climbed last Sunday."

"Oh wow, that's super", cried Little Eric. "I can't wait."


The Walk

We were on the road soon after 08:00, as Dad had said he wanted to be walking by 10:00 at the latest.

Very sunny to start it clouded over in the afternoon, but as you will see the views were tremendous!!

So a familiar route that we had not taken for some years. To Greenodd then on the A595 past Foxfield to Duddon Bridge.

This we did not cross, rather taking the narrow road up the Duddon valley the bracken clad fellsides towering above. Through Ulpha we soon turned left to climb the steep zigzags and head over Birker Fell.

"There's the craggy ridge we traversed in May 2009", pointed Tetley. "That was an interesting walk and we ticked off eight summits, most of them Birketts."

Onwards we dropped down to Eskdale Green, to continue through the village.

Shaun said, "after the turning to Irton Road Station we take the next right."

The lane led past the school and was single track thereafter. "15 years since we were last here, I had forgotten how narrow this road is", commented Dad.

On the way in we met no other vehicle and just one as we returned after the walk, the driver very kindly backing up.

Near the end it is gated, then once through in 100 yards or so we reached the parking area.

"Right", said Dad. "I'll soon be ready. "Get yourselves settled lads in the rucksack."

Dad ready, Shaun issued instructions, "return along the road and take the path right into Miterdale Forest."

We kept a lookout, Southey calling out, "here's the signpost."

"The indication is the far end of the path", remarked Grizzly, "but we are not going all the way."

Through the gate we crossed the bridge over the River Mite. Shaun said, "the sign reads Irton Fell 1 mile. That's our initial objective."

The narrow path soon began to ascend coming to a forest road, where the bear sized waymark pointed on upwards.

After a few minutes, Little Eric pointed, "that's Great Bank to the right. It was one of your last Birkett summits pals."

"You're right", replied Tetley. "We climbed it on 14th October 2011."

"Your memory never ceases to amaze me", said Southey in wonder.

Another forest road was crossed and we climbed on through the tall trees.

After crossing yet another forest road, the last section to the ridge was open as the trees had been felled, the path leading to a gate.

"We go right by the wall to gain the main path that crosses Irton Fell", said Shaun.

The path led to a gate in the wall. Allen said, "there are four cyclists coming up behind, Dad."

"Thanks lad, I'll hold the gate open for them."

They all called out "thanks", as they rode on.

Here the views began to open out, Grizzly calling out, "wow that is superb to Yewbarrow. The two tops can be seen, and the path we used coming down."

"Another of my outstanding Wainwrights", said Little Eric. "Indeed all of them that surround Wasdale Head."

"Aye lad, but gradually we'll get them done", replied Dad.

Approaching a ruined wall, Tetley said, "that's Whin Rigg ahead."

Looking west, Allen pointed, "wonderful view of Buckbarrow, Seatallan and Middle Fell with Haycock behind."

"Just breathtaking", said Southey. "We are so fortunate today. Such a shame Uncle Simon did not get to see these views."

The cyclists had stopped so Dad had a chat. They were grand fellows and provided a lovely interlude. Dad explained about us and our website.

There was some amusement and one remarked, "perhaps we will get a mention."

Onwards the path edged round the steep sided Greathall Gill...

...and then with a few stops for breath just under half an hour later Whin Rigg was summited.

"One down", cheered Little Eric.

A lady and gentleman were there. We got settled and Dad took our picture, saying to them, "sorry if I am spoiling your shot."

Dad having explained, the lady then said, "would you like me to take your picture with them."

"Oh yes that would be very kind", replied Dad.

We spent a little time looking at the views once more.

"There's the Isle of Man just visible through the haze on the horizon", pointed Shaun. "Next time you speak to Aunt Tish and Uncle Eddie you must tell them, and that we thought about them."

"There's Kirk Fell", said Allen. "My how steep the frontal ascent looks. I recall we climbed it round the back via Black Sail Pass."

So, all settled we walked on, dropping down to head towards Illgill Head.

Minutes later, Little Eric pointed, "there's one of our lovely Herdwicks."

"Hmm", said Allen, "I would have been surprised to avoid any sheep pictures today, but I do not mind as Herdwicks are our favourites."

The ascent steepened and after a few false summits we came to a neat cairn, with a superb view of Great Gable.

"Just wonderful", breathed Shaun. "And that is Lingmell rising to the right."

Dad had commented to some other walkers on the stunning views today and that they were lost in cloud when Uncle Simon did this walk last Sunday.

One said, "you are just doing this today to annoy him."

"Yes", Dad replied, "I'll have to send him some pictures."

"Yippee, another ticked off", cheered Little Eric.

"Actually we are not there", replied Tetley. "Indeed Wainwright considered this to be the summit, but he also stated that there is higher ground at a rash of stones fashioned into that shelter.

So soon there, Little Eric said, "come on pals, picture time."

Looking at the GPS, Shaun said, "this is generally considered the summit, but, it is not where the Ordnance Survey now show the spot height. This is in fact over just over there."

"Will Little Eric and I ever properly tick it off", said Southey exasperatedly, as we jumped back into the rucksack.

Dad then walked the short distance where we found this Herdwick ewe with its lamb resting quietly.

"Aww, what lovely facial markings the lamb has", said Southey.

Quickly we scrambled out once again, and settled at the cairn. "Finally Illgill Head is done", cried Little Eric.

Once again we marvelled at the views, Grizzly saying, "please take some more pictures Dad. We are unlikely ever to come here again, and even if we did the visibility could not be better than today."

So first this of Scafell with the ridge falling to Slight Side on the right. "We can just see the summit of Scafell Pike behind on the left", commented Shaun. .

Then looking to Wasdale Head, first Pillar....

...and below Haycock.

"We don't have particularly happy memories of Haycock", said Allen. "The first time with Uncle Bob in 2006 it was an extremely hot day. Then the second ascent in 2011 we were taking in some of our last remaining Birketts."

"Aye lad that walk was probably the hardest we ever did. After summiting the Ennerdale Lingmell it was such and arduous climb to Haycock. The final summit was Ennerdale Fell, from which we had to descend via Silvercove Gill. There was no path. Added to that we had the nearly two mile walk each way along Ennerdale, from the car park. It took me a day or so to get over it."

"Well at least I did it the second time, so we do not have to go there again", stated Little Eric with relief in his voice.

The plan now was to just return via the outwards route, but Dad followed a narrow path nearer edge of the ridge where it falls away down to the screes.

This path too provided wonderful views of Wast Water that is the deepest lake in the Lake District.

"Wow", breathed Southey. "So beautiful."

Rejoining the main path, we passed this little pool...

...before making the climb to Whin Rigg.

As we did Allen called out, "there's yet another superb view of Wast Water."

"Wow, you're right", agreed Tetley.

Here we met a local couple and Dad remarked about the views today and that we could see the Isle of Man.

The gentleman said, "if you look closely a bit right of the Isle of Man, you can just make out a slight rise of land."

"Oh yes", replied Dad.

"That's Northern Ireland", he said.

Wow!! It is barely discernible in the picture, but nevertheless we insisted on its inclusion.

Heading down and after the gate the ground rose ahead. Seeing a cairn just yards left of the path Shaun said, "that is the summit of Irton Fell. Southey has not bagged that."

"Great that is three tops for me today."

Then onwards to the gate into the forest...

... and descend the path crossing the three forest roads once more, to follow the narrow lane back to the car.

"What an amazing day", said Allen. "How fortunate we all are to have seen those wonderful views."

"Thank you Dad for progressing my Wainwrights", went on Little Eric.

"You are welcome", said Dad.

As we drove home across Birker Fell, Tetley remarked, "it has truly been another grand day out."


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