The lakes

Aug 2014 Lake district fell holiday

A great 4 day break in Braithwaite Cumbria, with 2 big walks and a total of 9 Wainwrights fells completed
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The Coledale Round.

A very Challenging 11.5mile walk with 4387ft of ascent - 5 fells.

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Don’t underestimate this walk as it was by far the hardest we have done, its nearly 11 miles long and includes a lot of ascent however the walk is along good paths and you can tick 5 wainwright fells off your total in the process.

The walk started for us in the village of Braithwaite (
Map) just west of the large town of Keswick. We decided to Camp this time and luckily the weather held out, just getting a bit cold in the late August evenings. The Campsite was called Scotgate with a cost of £21 a night for two people and a car, a small shop is on site as well as excellent washrooms and facilities. The hike starts with a small walk along the Whinlatter pass until you come to a well sign posted footpath (Map) (which Mitch missed) that says Grisdale pike. The first part of this walk is the worst and the slog to Grisdale pike is both long and Steep - about 2.39 mile from the start and climbs 2141ft with the last scree path to the summit (Map) the hardest. The views from the top are among some of the best in lakeland so take your Wainwright Book six the North Western fells you can sit on the top and name all the surrounding fells for that next trip. After a short break to catch our breath its onwards again to the summit of the second fell Hopegill head (Map) about 1.1 mile away, the summit stands at 770m, a few paths divert from the top and to the west you will find Whiteside (Map) and the shores of Crummock water, however we went south over Sand Hill and finally to the highest point on the route Crag Hill. On some maps it sometimes refers to Crag Hill as Eel Crag however we will call it Crag Hill (Map), the summit stands at 839m and to the west stands Grassmoor and Whiteless pike but alas the legs were getting tired by this time. We started heading east to Sail (map)which is just 0.4 mile away and a drop of some 200ft with a nice defined ridge walk along the way. You will notice clearly below in the valley Force Crag mine which is now disused (map), for over two hundred years miners dug for Lead, Zinc and barytes. The mine is now owed by the National trust and is open to the public on just five days a year, it was finally closed in 1990 after a collapse and flood damage please see this article for more information. The only fell left to do was now Outerside 1.42 miles away and a drop of about 590ft again on a nice ridge walk, Causey pike can be seen to the south and great views of Derwent water and Keswick. Again don’t underestimate this walk it was hard going all the way - we found it harder than the Fairfield Horseshoe by a long way but if you have the stamina give it a try the views are great.
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The Whinlatter Fells

A great 8.1m walk with 2396ft of ascent - 4 Fells - Boggy in places - Moderate.

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This is a cracking walk that ticked 4 more Wainwrights off the list, summits climbed were Lords Seat, Barf, Broom Fell and finally Graystones. Anybody that drives North along the A66 will recognise the fell of Barf (map) . On a rocky site at 700 ft and clearly visible from the Cockermouth to Keswick road, is the "Bishop of Barf", a white painted stone marking the spot where, according to local legend, the Bishop of Derry was killed falling from his horse in 1783, after drunkenly betting he could ride up the hill. Both the Bishop and his horse are said to be buried near a smaller stone, the Clerk, at the base of the hill. The stone was whitewashed each year by staff at the nearby Swan Hotel, until the Hotel was converted to apartments. The whitewashing is now carried out by members of Keswick Mountain Rescue. For the start of this walk park in a small free card park along the Whinlatter pass sign posted Spout Force (map) this is the location of a waterfall in the forest and we visited this at the end of the trail. For a long way you follow a small farm track that leads you into the various forest plantations that line the route, extensive forestry work is being done here and a lot of the trees are being taken down to clear the way, when you look in the densely planted forest its extremely dark in there. By the time you get to Ullister hill the ground starts to get a bit boogy but nothing dangerous just make sure you take your boots on this one. The views from both Barf and Lords seat are dominated by the huge fells of the Skiddaw range that stand to the north of Keswick, we hopefully will climb these majestic fells next time, you can see these from miles away and they always seem to be in view no matter which fell you climb in Lakeland. The slopes on the fells are of easy ascent and descent and with great paths along most of the ridges - its hard to find the path to Barf but the ground is ok with mostly green grass and heather along the route. The only steep slope is the decent of Graystones fell which in about half a mile drops about 900ft, however again its on a grassy track so just be careful. At the bottom of Graystones you will find Scawgill birdge (map) and Blaze beck that runs through it, also water from Spout Force the waterfall runs into this beck. A great walk this one and in great weather the views are some of the best in Lakekland also the 8 miles makes for a short walk and not to hard on the Knees.