Allen completes his Wainwright Fells


Date - 19th August 2010 Distance - 7.5 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL4 Start point - Old quarry by B5292 above Braithwaite Village (NY 227237)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Kinn 1227 374 NY 2198 2333
Grisedale Pike 2593 791 NY 1984 2255
Hobcarton Head 2425 739 NY 1938 2205
Hopegill Head 2525 770 NY 1856 2216
Sand Hill 2480 756 NY 1870 2186



Tetley strolled in to find Allen & Grizzly sitting in front of Dad's laptop, deep in concentration.

"What are you looking at pals?", he asked.

"The lists of the Wainwrights that Dad has had to repeat so that Grizzly and I could complete them", replied Allen.

"It was 43 for me and 56 for Allen", said Grizzly, consulting the spreadsheet.

"That's a lot of miles and thousands upon thousands of feet of climb", sighed Tetley.

"There was another 34 tops that he did again for you and Shaun, so that is even more miles and climb", added Grizzly.

"It just goes to show what a wonderful Dad we have. The slog is almost over too, with just Grisedale Pike for me to climb, to catch the rest of you up", replied Allen.

As Allen was speaking Shaun trotted in with Little Eric riding on his back.

"Well pal you are going to be a very happy bear, because Dad and Uncle Eric have arranged a walk for Thursday, that will include Grisedale Pike."

"Hooray", shouted Allen. "I have longed for that day to come."

"Four other summits will be reached too, all of which I will bag,", said Little Eric.

"I will bag some too, which will mean that finally I will also catch up on the Birkett tops", added Allen. "It will be a day to remember for me."


The Walk

We had to be up earlier than usual, as Dad said that the car park is only small and these fells are popular, so it will soon fill up. Beyond the village of Braithwaite the road starts the climb up Whinlatter Pass. We are familiar with this having used it to reach the start of many walks. The car park is in an old quarry and was already quite full when we arrived at 09:30, and just minutes later the last space had gone. How right Dad had been.

Allen eager to be off, called out "which way do we go Dad?"

"Up those steps at the north end, by the signpost", replied Dad

As we reached the foot of the steps, Allen peered to read it, calling out, "it says Grisedale Pike, my last Wainwright. I am just so excited to get to the top."

You can see that in the opposite direction the path leads to Force Crag Mine. This was to be our return route.

The steps, then the path beyond, climbed steadily under the trees that conveniently sheltered us from the shower of rain. There were a few of these early on, but basically it was to be a dry day, although rather windy on the tops.

"What's that beside the path", called out Little Eric.

"A large fungi, one of the biggest I have ever seen ", replied Tetley. "Must we worth a picture Dad", he went on.

Soon we were above the tree line and on to open fell with wonderful views all round. Directly below were the predominately white houses that make up the village of Braithwaite.

"That's the Helvellyn ridge that is under the rain clouds", said Shaun.

"Glad we are not up there today then", added Tetley.

In a little way the path reached a stile that was climbed over the fence. Looking back there was a delightful view of Bassenthwaite Lake with the fell Binsey beyond.

The path climbed on by the fence and before we knew it at a corner, we reached the unremarkable summit of Kinn. Dad was so surprised to reach it so soon that he had actually walked a few yards past.

"Great that's the first Birkett catch-up done", shouted Allen.

"As there is nothing of interest I will get the flag out to add some colour to your picture", said Dad.

"Thanks", we called out in unison.

Settled in the rucksack again, we descended a little, before the ascent steepened up Sleet How, the landscape either side ablaze with purple heather.

This climbed, the route levelled off, then revealing the 500ft steep climb of the final push to the summit of Grisedale Pike.

As we crested the top, it was just yards to the summit cairn, where Allen let out a cheer and shouted, "I've done it."

We all leapt out of the rucksack and added our congratulations, shaking his paw and giving him a hug.

There were other walkers at the summit and Dad explained about Allen's achievement, so they added their congratulations. The gentleman kindly offered to take Allen and Dad together by the cairn. Don't you think that Allen looks a very proud bear. Rightly so too.

He then posed on his own to mark his achievement, with Wainwright's Book 6, North Western Fells open at the page for Grisedale Pike.

Uncle Eric, who needs to take his time on the steep ascents, had now arrived and added his congratulations to Allen, and he and Dad had a piece of Kendal Mint Cake, a tradition they have on reaching a Wainwright summit.

All done here, we settled back into the rucksack, Allen calming himself down after the excitement. The next objective was clearly ahead, the intermediate summit of Hobcarton Head about half a mile distant, along a wide path beside the remains of a collapsed and long forgotten wall. Hiding behind is the massive bulk of Grasmoor (2795ft).

"Hooray", called out Allen. "At last I have caught up with Shaun, Tetley & Grizzly on the Birkett challenge. Can I have my picture taken with my pals, to mark this achievement too?"

"Sure", replied Dad. "Now just settle yourselves down, so I can frame the shot."

Hopegill Head was next, and as he is not as quick as Dad, Uncle Eric had walked on towards it. We hurriedly jumped into the rucksack, so Dad could walk on too. However, such was the panorama of mountains in view, we thought some pictures were appropriate to record these to look back on in the future. We do not intend to bore you with all that Dad took, but include this of mighty Grasmoor (2795ft).

We well remembered Dad having to toil up the slope above the crags and then on to its summit. Not our route today, but in fact where we were to go later can be clearly seen in the picture. Eventually we would descend right to left, the shoulder in the foreground, down to the col - Coledale Hause, to then take the descending path on the extreme left into Coledale. But first, as we said earlier was Hopegill Head. Its summit is at the culmination of the ridge from Whiteside, that quite suddenly collapses in the contorted rocks of the massive Hobcarton Crag, at the point of the junction of the routes ascending the two flanks of the precipice to its apex. You can see that the path hugs the rim of the crags. Not a good place for vertigo sufferers.

As Dad put the camera away, Shaun said, "Uncle Eric is a long way up the slope, so we had better get a move on".

"OK", replied Dad, putting his best foot forward.

Shortly before the summit we caught Uncle Eric up, and proceeded together to the cairn on the small summit area - a real alpine feel. There were more tremendous views to Whiteside, Grasmoor, Crag Hill, and over the ridge approach from Ladyside Pike, and we just sat a few minutes taking it all in.

"Ladyside Pike is one of the Birketts we still have to do", remarked Allen.

"It does not look too steep, and in approaching from Whinlatter, we will also tick off Swinside too", added Grizzly.

"I am thinking that we may well do that walk later in the year, as it will be suitable for the shorter days", replied Dad.

Between Whiteside and Grasmoor lies Gasgale Gill, that provides a descent route from Coledale Hause to Lowthwaite Green above the shores of Crummock Water.

Mellbreak stands to the west side of Crummock Water, with beyond to the left Hen Comb between which, is the valley of Mosedale. We had explored this area extensively, as well as climbing all the fells more distantly behind. Oh happy days!

This reverie over it was time to be on our way again. We took the path south for the short climb to Sand Hill. It was here that Dad met again a couple from Culcheth, near Warrington. While Dad was busy taking our final summit picture, Uncle Eric chatted to them. They had much in common with Uncle Eric having worked like him in Bolton and connections too with Manchester. They had been walking about 5 years and had really got the bug. Just like our Dad, happily.

Goodbyes were said, and they set off leaving us to take a last lingering look at the views. We have mentioned the fell Whiteside (2317ft), so include a picture, the white look of the extensive scree, being indicative of its name.

A short, but rough stoney descent finally brought us to Coledale Hause, where turning left we started our descent into Coledale. First Dad paused to take this dramatic shot. The track we were to follow can be clearly seen. The community in view at the end of the valley is Braithwaite, just above which was where we had started this morning. The ridge on the left above the valley was the one we had climbed to Grisedale Pike. The whole scene is backed by the bulk of the Skiddaw group, of which notably in view is Skiddaw Little Man (2837ft) and Skiddaw Lesser Man (2674ft). More distantly to the right is Blencathra (2847ft).

Once below the hause, we were out of the strong gusty wind, so found some convenient rocks to sit on beside the path, to have a late lunch. As we munched our sandwiches, we reflected on the walk so far. We then each had a piece of cake with icing and the words "Well done Allen on completing the 214."

Allen said, "thanks for doing this Tetley, it is a lovely surprise".

"You're welcome pal", he replied.

Then, lunch over, it was time to get going again, the path winding down like a snake.

"Well that's right, as when we play snakes and ladders, we always have to go down the snakes", said Shaun, laughingly.

This led on to a rough track to the side of the impressive Force Crag, nestling below which is the Force Crag mine.

This was the last mineral mine to operate in the Lake District. It is a Lead, Zinc and Baryte mine, which operated at various times from the early part of the 19th century, until 1991 when it was finally abandoned. The site is owned by the National Trust and access to the processing mill buildings and machinery was restored in 2004. Visitors can discover what was mined and follow the processing of the minerals through the unique collection of mill plant. Admission into the mine building is via booked tours only. There is no access to the mine itself. The waterfall that can be seen is called Low Force..

By now the rough rocky descent had been made to the mine road. About 2 miles along this level easy path then led us directly to the car park.

"What a super walk", called out Little Eric, who had never been on these paths before.

"You're so right, especially as it was the completion of my Wainwright challenge", replied Allen excitedly. "I will remember this walk for ever."

By now we hardly need to say that, as usual, at the end of a walk, it was cafe time. Just a short distance away in Braithwaite is the camp site, where the cafe provided a perfect venue for a refreshing pot of tea. Dad had a nice scone with butter and jam too. Nicely rounded off the day he said.


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