Dad's 60th birthday walk and Little Eric's 3rd birthday walk

Summary & Summits

Walk statistics Name of Summit Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Date - 1st March 2011 High House Bank 1627 496 NY 5431 0483
Map - OL7 Robin Hood 1613 491 NY 5303 0586
Distance - 8.25 miles Lord's Seat 1719 524 NY 5184 0661
Ascent - 1750ft Great Yarlside 1919 585 NY 5251 0759
Start - Below Hazel Bank (NY 552051) Little Yarlside 1691 515 NY 5320 0717
  Whatshaw Common 1593 485 NY 5419 0618


Walk Blog

Today was our Dad's 60th birthday and also our pal Little Eric's 3rd birthday, so what better way to spend it, than on a walk. Dad had suggested to Uncle Eric doing some of the Wainwright Outlying Fells that he had not done, the nearest being those above Crookdale on Shap. Dad suggested following the route from the Birkett Almanac, which Uncle Eric was happy to do.

As we drove to Uncle Eric's , Allen said, "how time flies, it really does not seem 3 years since you climbed your first hill, pal.

"No", replied Little Eric. "I remember it well. We climbed Whernside on what was an extremely windy day, but I managed to stand by the trig point on my own for my picture. In the three years, my summit total stands at 428, and I have walked 1209 miles."

Turning our attention to Dad, Tetley said, " we all wish you a very Happy Birthday, and here's to many more walks to come."

"Thanks Lads", Dad replied.

We started just south of buildings, of Hause Foot parking on the verge of the narrow road, that was once the road over Shap, before the current A6 was built. The day was dry throughout but cloudy, only clearing to blue skies later in the afternoon. A cool breeze persisted all day. Walking a short distance north along the road, we then climbed steeply left up Hazel Bank, coming to a substantial wall, which was climbed. Beyond, the easier gradient across the rough ground led to our first summit High House Bank, seemingly named as the hill above the building of High House in Borrowdale below. There is a cairn, but not at the highest point, this being on the next unmarked rise in the direction of our route. After the picture stop, the grassy path descended to the col and on to pass through a gate in a fence. Beyond we crossed the boggy ground to a gate in the wall, after which the path swung left and climbed steeply to the cairn marking the summit of Robin Hood. And yes, according to Dad's book on place names, it is named after the famous outlaw. Just below is a larger cairn overlooking the upper reaches of Borrowdale. Here we sat enjoying that lovely view to have our lunch. Before leaving Uncle Eric kindly took Dad's picture with us, to mark his 60th birthday and Little Eric's 3rd. The ridge was then followed on a somewhat clearer path to Lord's Seat. The top is flat but the OS map marks the spot height as just to the left of the path. We took this to be a mound with a few stones in the grass. This completed today, the fells that Uncle Eric and Little Eric had not done.

Now, about as far from the start as we could be, the opposite ridge for our return beckoned. To gain this, a hard trek over the trackless rough terrain was necessary to cross the head of the valley. The walk instructions stated that we should make for Crookdale Fold, a long abandoned and ruined sheepfold seen below. So, our direction was north-west crossing first Bleaberry Gill that with other unnamed streams forms Crookdale Beck that flows through that lonely deserted valley. Then on to round the ruined walls of Crookdale Fold, and start the climb up the quite steep facing slope of Lawyer's Brow, beside the ravine. The ridge was still far away, and there was much more rough ground to cross, although a thin path developed, which made the going a bit easier. This finally brought us near the fell wall, but we went right near the top to cut the corner and so reach the summit of Great Yarlside. With Uncle Eric we had walked this ridge in low cloud and rain in December 2009, in the opposite direction. Today being dry and clear it was to be better all round. Although we had all been here before, we still insisted on a picture, so leapt out of the rucksack and gathered by the small cairn. Superb views of Crookdale the sinuous beck winding through the totally deserted and lonely valley, and across to the fells where we had been earlier. Following the fell wall, we descended the steep slope, then climbed the hurdle to cross the wall, and make the short climb to Little Yarlside. The unmarked summit is a little way to the left of the wall, and the GPS came in handy to locate it. Returning to the wall, this was our guide as we continued east towards our final summit today, Whatshaw Common. The wall ended shortly before and became a fence, beside which was deep bog. It seemed the only option was to stand on the wire and shuffle along to the corner. Dad was doing well but then his boot caught and he slipped off making for a very wet right foot and sock! With still a long section to cross, Dad then climbed the fence to drier ground and reach the corner. The fence going on right was climbed to attain the unmarked summit. Uncle Eric was a little behind, and as he came into view, Dad called out to warn him about the bog and that he should cross the fence. By doing so he kept his feet dry. Then we all walked on with the fence to our right to soon come into sight of the A6 at Shap summit, dropping down to a gate on the right. This bridleway had once been a continuation of the old road from Hause Foot. After a straight section, it looped down right then left to a gate and over a field to Hause Foot. Now crossing Crookdale Bridge over Crookdale Beck, whose source we had been to today, we strolled the road to the car.

We saw no other person at all and indeed this had been the case when Dad had done the walk in 2005. This is very very lonely and unfrequented country, so it is perhaps good to have a pal with you on this walk.



Walk Scenes

Ashstead Fell, the A6 running below. Part of the old road can be seen to the left of the stream. Taken from Hazel Bank larger image

Posing for our picture at the summit of Robin Hood
larger image


Our Dad at 60, posing with us by the cairn overlooking Borrowdale larger image

Borrowdale with Ashstead Fell beyond from the summit of Lord's Seat larger image


Crookdale Fold, ruined and long disused, with Lawyer's Brow beyond larger image

The beck winds sinuously through lonely deserted Crookdale larger image


From the summit of Great Yarlside, the sun shines on the Howgill Fells larger image

Gate leads to the bridleway that descends to Hause Foot, once part of of old road larger image

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