ESKDALE FELL, DAWSONGROUND CRAGS, WHIN CRAG & GOAT CRAG from WOOLPACK INN

 


Summary

Date - 25th July 2010 Distance - 7 miles
Ascent -
2200 ft
Map - OL6 Start point - Woolpack Inn, Eskdale (NY 1908 0098)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Whinscales on Eskdale Fell 1394 425 NY 1972 0330
Great How on Eskdale Fell 1713 522 NY 1974 0398
Dawsonground Crags 1302 397 NY 2035 0268
Whin Crag 1158 353 NY 2005 0231
Goat Crag 1024 312 NY 2040 0176

 

Foreword

During 2021 we were continuing the project to rewrite and enhance our original stories of 2008-12. This adventure was rejected for a story in 2010. There are pictures of us at the summits, but the rather uninteresting terrain and lack of views on the day limited other photos. However we have now decided to write an account, to revive our memories of the day. This is largely thanks to Dad writing a precis of each walk within the spreadsheet records.

 

Preface

We were all content as tea had arrived and the biscuit tin was open before us.

"Wagon wheels", said Shaun. "I love those."

"We know", replied Grizzly, "so we asked Dad to get them.

"I like the chunky KitKats", said Allen taking another.

"So I see", laughed Little Eric. "That's your third."

"Well I have to keep my strength up for the walks", he replied. "I have looked at the pictures Dad took on to walk to Great Calva. There are plenty to make a story."

"A good day for you pal as that was your 213th Wainwright. You have just Grisedale Pike to go to complete the challenge", said Tetley. "We will all be so happy for you when that day comes."

"When I started walking I never expected to do them all. I have to thank Dad for repeating so many summits for this to happen. I expect it will be some time next month that we go to the last one, when Uncle Eric is free, as he has not climbed it before."

"In the meantime, I am wondering where we might walk next", mused Little Eric.

"Well", said Shaun. "There still 50 Birketts to do, and with that in mind I have been looking at the list of outstanding ones. There are three in Eskdale in an area that none of us have been to before. Dawsonground Crags is one and there are two others in the vicinity of Stony Tarn."

I'll get the map", said Grizzly, "so we can have a proper look."

This spread out, Shaun pointed, "the start is from the Woolpack Inn, and these are the summits here to the north-east."

"There is only one path marked on the map", pointed Tetley. "Looks like it will be one of those walks tramping over rough ground. I bet the area is not very frequented."

"Only by Birkett baggers", laughed Allen in reply. Then draining his mug, he picked up the map saying, "I'll go and see what Dad thinks."

As he trotted out of the door, Tetley said, "I know he has had three mugs of tea, but you had better refill it again for when he gets back. We all know what a tea belly he is."

Soon back, Allen said, "thanks Shaun, you read my mind", as he took the refilled mug. "Dad thinks this will be quite a tough walk as there are going to be few paths, but the summits have to be done and getting them out of the way will be a relief to us all. So the walk is on. We do have Bill Birkett's book to guide us though."

"Super", cheered Grizzly.

Then Allen went on. "While not in this walk in Birkett's book, we also have outstanding the two summits on Eskdale Fell to the north, and Dad has decided to tick those off too. Then we can say this is another area done completely. Doing all 5 summits will also mean 10% of the Birkett outstanding will be achieved. "

"He is truly the best Dad", cheered Tetley raising his mug in salute.

 

The Walk

Making sure to be ready as it was a long drive to the start, we got up early and all lent a paw packing the picnic that was safely stowed in Allen's rucksack.

Dad got his gear loaded and then called out, "I am nearly ready."

"Ok", replied Allen. "Come on pals time to settle in the car."

"Have a nice day, Uncle Brian", called out Little Eric.

"I will, and make sure Dad takes care over the rough ground."

Around 08:30 Dad backed out of the drive and off we went. The route was familiar to us having travelled it a few times before. The A590 to Greenodd there turning left to go through Lowick and circle Broughton to come to Duddon Bridge. We did not cross this, rather took the narrow road up the Duddon valley to Ulpha, where just beyond it was left up the steep zigzags onto the road over Birker Fell.

"There's the Birker Fell summits we climbed in May last year", pointed Tetley. "An interesting day and lots of summits ticked off, but an area I guess we are unlikely to return to."

"Very doubtful, lad", replied Dad.

The road wound on passing the path to Devoke Water and its surrounding fells. "If I am ever to complete the Wainwright Outlying Fells, we will have to do that round again", stated Little Eric.

So finally down to the valley, and by the George IV hotel we turned right on the road that leads to Hard Knott Pass and in a few miles we arrived at the Woolpack Inn, where there was plenty of space to park.

Dad was soon ready and with us settled in the rucksack we set off about 10:00.

The day was to be dry apart from a little drizzle now and then. The area, as we had suspected, was very much wilderness, with few paths, the lower ground thick with bracken and the higher ground rough grass with a lot of bog, rocky outcrops and slopes. Underfoot it was very wet after the recent rains and walking through the waist high bracken Dad's trousers were soaked in minutes.

Shaun instructed, "our route out through the small gate behind the building onto a rising track."

This led through a larch plantation that was exited by another gate.

Striding on and coming to a junction, Shaun said, "we ignore the fork left and keep ahead into the rocky hummocks."

The narrow trod through the bracken was wet and boggy as it climbed, crossing rocky outcrops and winding right over a small hill.

The only company we had were the Herdwicks.

"Route finding is not going to be easy today", commented Tetley. "If only the Herdwicks could talk."

"We are supposed to cross the gloriously named Peelplace Noddle", said Allen looking up from the book.

"The only problem is that there are so many little hills that I cannot work out which it is", replied Dad.

We strode on, passing another Herdwick standing sentinel above us.

"It's probably thinking, we must be mad coming here", laughed Little Eric.

"Somehow I reckon that we got on to the wrong path" commented Tetley, after Dad had descended the craggy face to then cross bog and climb by the waterfall from the tarn. However this did bring us in sight of Stony Tarn, lonely and nestling in it surrounding fells.

"Seeing the tarn is good", said Grizzly. "We can orient ourselves again now."

"We Have to strike off north now if we are to bag the tops on Eskdale Fell", advised Shaun,

More hard going over the trackless terrain ensued passing over a number of further rises, and finally we all let out a cheer.

"At last the first summit Whinscales is done", called out Grizzly. "According to Diana Whaley's book, the name means, 'the shielings where the gorse grows'."

We scrambled out for our picture at this hard won summit. The backdrop gives some idea of terrain we had faced.

"It has taken us just over two hours to get here", commented Tetley. "Uncle Eric is not doing the Birketts, but any way it is just as well he is not with us today, as he would have found this walk perhaps too much for him."

Looking north, Allen said, "that must be the highest point Great How."

So quickly we settled in the rucksack, and Dad trudged on. More rocky ridges and bog followed to finally reach this after about half an hour.

"At least there is a decent cairn", called out Little Eric.

"You will not be surprised to learn that the name means 'the big hill'", informed Grizzly.

"We should have had a great view of the fells and mountains above Wasdale, but they are rather lost in cloud", bemoaned Allen.

"I am pretty sure that is Yewbarrow we can see", said Tetley. "We climbed it with Uncle Bob in September 2006."

Dad said, "those fells may be obscured, but I am very glad that the ones we are climbing today are clear of cloud, as otherwise navigation would be all but impossible, with the lack of paths."

"As Wainwright was oft to say in his books, not safe in mist", replied Shaun.

Then looking up from the map Shaun went on. "we have to head back south, but if we keep a bit left we can avoid having to cross Whinscales again. This will bring us left of Stony Tarn, on a direct route to Dawsonground Crags."

After about 20 minutes of crossing more rough pathless ground, Stony Tarn came into view once again. "The highest point on the far side is our next but one summit Whin Crag", said Shaun looking at the map.

"First it's to Dawsonground Crags, which is away to the left", pointed Tetley. "If we keep up we can traverse to the summit without losing height."

And just over 10 minutes later we were there. "I like these summits as they have all had a cairn so far", said Little Eric.

"The name probably derives from the crags and land of the Dawson family", said Grizzly.

We now traversed to the next ridge left, and then following along to the end brought us to Whin Crag.

"That's another fine view of Stony Tarn", said Allen. "the darker high ground rising behind is Eskdale Fell."

"Picture time for us again", called out Grizzly.

Pointing left, Shaun said, "that bare light granite dome must be our last summit Goat Crag, as it is the highest point. Birkett says we need to head east."

Dad did, but in truth actually went more south and we got caught by crags that clearly Dad could not descend. So taking a bearing from the GPS we now did properly go east and finally we got down. Then across the stream and bog to below Bull How with its granite cliff.

"Now we can clearly see Goat Crag and the route to the summit", stated Little Eric.

So best foot forwards once again, Dad made quick work of the ascent. The summit rocks surround a small pool in the middle of which is the cairn.

"We may be intrepid explorers, but there is no way we are attempting to get to the cairn. The pool is far too deep", said Allen firmly."

"That rock at the side is a good place to sit", pointed Shaun.

Grizzly said, "the name means 'the rocky height frequented by goats'."

As we settled again, Shaun set out our onward route by quoting from Birkett, "below the summit a natural corridor leads between the rocks to then traverse right, beneath a steep slabby wall, leads easily down to a well-defined path."

Allen said, "that is the route from the Wha House to Slight Side and Scafell, that we walked when bagging those summits."

"That was in April 2006", went on Tetley.

This was boggy and rocky on its way to the Wha House, just like the rest of the walk today! Along here Little Eric said, "those flowers in that gateway will make a nice picture to round off the story."

At the road we just walked back to the Woolpack Inn and the car.

"An interesting walk, but hard going due to the mostly trackless terrain. I would also suggest that it is best not to do this when the bracken is at its height", said Dad. "I am glad we have got these summits done!"

"Not one we are ever likely to repeat", remarked Tetley.

"No lad."

"We are down to 45 Birketts to go now", said Grizzly. "We have nearly reached the magic 500 done."

"And thank you pal for adding interest about the origin of the names. We really really appreciate it", said Allen.

Having used the car park at the Woolpack Inn, Dad said "it is only right if I go and have a snack."

"As if you need an excuse", said Tetley laughing out loud.

He had a pot of tea with extra water and sticky toffee pudding was absolutely delicious. He chatted to the barman who was interested to know where we had been, and then they talked on more about walking.

On leaving he said to Dad, "good luck on your last 45 Birketts!!"

So home now. It had been quite a hard day, especially for Dad, so he was glad of the rest from walks for the next few days.

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