I had a busy weekend this week, my Mums wedding on Friday & a day out on and around Derwentwater with my wife Mandy on Saturday to combat the hangover from the wedding reception. Because I had my work cut out as it was timewise, I left the Sundays big hike route planning to my friend Paul, and he came up with a cracker for us...
Our intended route was to take in 6 Summits, all Wainwrights, and the list looks like this:
He sent me a route .GPX over and after dropping the OS maps versions to Viewranger on my phone and packing my maps and compass for the area, I took a look at the route on Google Earth and it looks something like this. (This is the actual KML of the route after the event so has my every footstep updated every ten seconds)
Its an awesome looking route on paper and we couldnt wait to get started. Since summer is here we decided to do our first late start of the year and I left blackpool at 10am to meet Paul in Preston at 10:30am. That made a really nice change and I actually got to spend an hour with my wife Mandy pre hike, which doesnt happen when I leave at 7am! A nice start to the day.
Arriving in Glenridding and getting parked up a tad earlier than expected, we popped into a cafe for a pot of tea before we started. The weather was absolutely perfect. This is the view from the cafe of our first summit. Glenridding Dodd.
The start of the hike up there is nice and easy, just perfect for getting the muscles softened up and working properly. You work your way up a tarmaced road to the houses seen here, then pull up onto teh fell and turn right, heading upwards.
Its steep and pretty hard going from here. This area of the fell is called "The Rake". The path is overgrown with heather in many places, but you just pick your way through it and keep going upwards.
When it levels out, you have a choice of turning right or left. Right being up to Glenridding Dodd, and left heads up to Sheffield pike.
We turn right as our first summit is glenridding Dodd and it gets a bit steeper for a while.
But not for long as the summit cairn comes into view very quickly!
And just a little beyond that cairn is your reward for the hard ascent to 1450ft. An awesome view right down Ullswater.
Looking back from here you can see the ascent up to Sheffield Pike, which is beyond this lump called "Heron Pike". We head that way...
This is where the terrain gets interesting, its an awesome route up Heron Pike and onto Sheffield Pike.
The views back down to Glenridding are awesome at pretty much all times.
Looking down from here you can also see the old mines and our descent path snaking down from the Helvellyn range. We will be taking that descent route down from Whiteside later in the day.
But for now - its time for more ascent, up from Heron Pike onto Sheffield Pike. The terrain is perfect, just how Paul and I like it.
And the views backwards to Glenridding are just amazing. The weather is being very kind to us thus far.
Sheffield Pike wasnt particularly interesting. Very windy and cold so we moved on quickly from there across to Hart Side. We stopped here for some lunch. The odd thing was, it stunk! Paul and I both commented on the unusually strong smell of sheep poo. Not to be detered, I tucked into my Subway Club Sandwich with ranch sauce in earnest! I forgot to buy fresh bread the day before so popped into Subway en route to collect Paul from Preston and popped this calorie laden feast into my rucksack. Wonderful... and what a place to savour it! I took my boots off too, and had to assure Paul the stench wasnt from my feet...
When We stood up to move on, Paul burst out laughing. When he regained control of his lungs and wiped away the tears, he told me the reason for the mysterious smell. Guess who had sat down right in a big fresh pile of dung? Yes... Me! I spent the next five mins rubbing my nether regions on rocks and grass to remove all evidence and then we moved on... Im rather pleased its only me with the camera today, but I do expect one day to discover an image of this misshap made its way onto Pauls iPhone! The next summit is ahead... Stybarrow Dodd.
It was on the ascent to Stybarrow I learned something interesting. The ski lift on the OS maps actually still exists! I had no idea such an installation existed in the Lake District, but there it is, sat on the side of "Raise". I must Google for some info as some of the fence section is brand new with fresh wood piled next to it for more assembly, making me suspect its in operation still!
Stybarrow was a very uninteresting summit sadly so I didnt take any images from the very top of it, but a few yards later I was loving the descent view from it, so here is Paul on "The long road to Raise"
It is quite a steep path up Raise, but enjoyable. Paul and I both commented on how the terrain had turned almost volcanic here. Its a nice one to be ascending, and the weather is still just perfect but very windy up here at 2900ft so we have donned our hoods.
Its not too long before we reach the summit cairn, and Paul takes 15 mins out to have a snack while I wander around with my camera.
The views from here down to Glenridding are gorgeous. This shot doesnt do the reality justice sadly as the clouds were moving at quite a pace and the light changing by the second, it was beautiful.
From there, it was a nice easy hike over to the 6th and final Summit. Whiteside. The wind had picked right up now and it was blowing a gale, so just a short stop while I get some pictures of one of my favourite ranges...
Looking over to Helvellyn Little Man, Helvellyn, Catsycam and of course Helvellyns famous and dangerous Swirral Edge and Striding Edge ridge walks.
And now - the time has come to leave. The only way is down from here, which seems to stress my knees more and more of late. I guess after 43 years they are a bit worn out. There were nice views over to the dam at Kepple Cove on the way down, nice as I have never seen it before from this side, only once looking down on it from Catsycam last year.
The good news is that the descent from here, whilst steep, is on a very well maintained and engineered path so we were making good progess.
As we drop down into Glenridding Common, the wind is blocked and it becomes very warm again, so we strip back to short sleeves and marvel at the weather. The views back over to our 2nd Summit of the day, Sheffield Pike are amazing.
Or they were, until we put our ugly faces in the frame, but I remembered here we hadnt taken our customary selfie today. :)
A short walk later we came across a nice little beck called Rowten beck, so we stopped here to rest our feet and knees as the descent was taking its toll on us both by now.
We said our farewells to a couple of nice Herdwicks hiding in the heather and continued back towards Glenridding.
The path is still great and the weather fantastic. We have really had some great luck with weather today.
When we reach "Lucys Tongue" we spend a while looking round the old Greenside Mine area. It seems to be all hostels now, but I bet it was a thriving and very interesting area back in the day.
And that brings me to the end of the trip report, we walked from here back into Glenridding which was about 30 mins walk, paid the £8 car park fee and enjoyed a nice flask of coffee on the drive home, both suitably tired and contented.
All images in this blog were taken with my Canon G7X point and shoot pocket camera. My camera of choice when hiking any distance. The Canon 5D3 SLR stays at home and only comes back with me if I come across any location really worth coming back for with time on my hands to make the best of it.
Here is a little Suunto movie of the trip, showing the route via Google earth.
And some data aquired by the Suunto Ambit 3 peak watch too. Interesting for ascent, descent and mileage etc. (calories are pretty accurate as I wear the Suunto Smart HR monitor too.)
Here is some data from my Viewranger Account. (This is active and you can change the maps used to OS maps etc instead)
A little about me:
For as long as I can remember I have been passionate about landscape photography. I love nothing more than leaving the house at 4am and heading to some distant landscape with a view to capturing an awesome sunrise during golden hour and then staying out shooting all day until night falls and trying to capture an incredible sunset... this escalated into a love of hiking.
Sometimes it's very successful, as you will see from this website, but other times its extremely frustrating and I just spend 12hrs getting cold, wet and downhearted with the weather, but that comes with the British climate and makes the great captures all the more satisfying.
My equipment centres around the incredible Canon 5D MK3 Body which is a fantastic camera by any standard and with a resolution of 22mp allows me to create very large prints with no loss of detail, and I have the amazing 18mp high speed Canon EOS 7D as my backup body... just in case of disaster! If hiking any distance, or with long, hard ascents I often just take the awesome Canon G7X, a 21mp pocket camera that is almost as capable as my 5D MK3.
I hope you enjoy reading my trip reports and looking at my images. If you would like to hang any on your wall and its not part of my main gallery (A trip report image for example), please feel free to drop me a line and I will upload a high resolution version to the main gallery for purchase.