With a sunny Sunday forecast I wanted to get to the lakes with my daughters and do something not only quite small for Ella, but also something new that none of us had done.
A friend of mine reminded me of "Black Crag" or "Black fell" as some refer to it. The fell is near Tarn Hows and I have been meaning to do it for a while and still hadn't, so I plotted a route and it looked fine at 4 miles so I set some plans in motion.
Today we will summit 1 Wainwright:
Time & Distance Info
This route when viewed in Open Topo map looks like this: (N/S Orientation correct)
Here is the elevation profile:
And the view as seen on Google Earth.
The night before, I set Ella the challenge of plotting us a route to follow on viewranger. I gave her a start point and the summit and left her with the rest. She really enjoyed this and sat there for quite a while meticulously planning every little turn. This is how I plot all my routes, Viewranger on one screen and Google Earth on another so I can look at the terrain.
On Sunday, knowing Tarn Hows would be busy, we went to the cafe at 8:00am for breakfast and were parking up at Tarn Hows for a little after 10am. There were only 2 or 3 slots left by the time we left the car park at 10:30am. For reference, this car park has very good toilet facilities too.
We are off! Me, Steph, Ella and little Ben Nevis the bear head towards Tarn Hows.
I've been here before so already know how beautiful Tarn Hows is, but it was a real treat for the girls.
We head out along the west shore, walking north.
There are various money trees dotted around here. Always a hit with the kids.
Ella wants to play hide and seak, so she heads off into the distance while myself and Steph look the other way and count to 30.
At Tarn Hows... that isn't a painful 30 seconds.
Ella is in there somewhere, we know this as we heard her giggling.
At the most northerly end of Tarn Hows we climb over the stile.
And head up into the hills.
The ascent today is very gentle indeed and the views are great. This is the view back over to Tarn Hows.
And the view onwards. What a beautiful day!
We take a gate onto the Cumbria Way. Ella stops to look back at the view and I get an image I really like very much indeed.
Onwards now along the Cumbria Way.
We come to some very large cows and a little calf. We all love seeing animals like this in the wild.
We turn right now onto Iron Keld. I love this lone tree and will likely return one day with my best camera gear and see what can be done with it. I can visualise a long exposure with a moving sky just around sunset looking great!
Ella is sporting her new convertible trousers today and is complaining that she is too hot, no doubt just so she can take the legs off and try them as shorts. So we had her boots off and converted them to shorts and she was very pleased indeed.
And there is the summit dead ahead.
The view across to the Langdale's is superb.
The pants are back on. Apparently its cold now. Odd, as it was just as cold before she took them off too. Little monkey!
This is the only steepish part, up the side of Ironside Plantation.
The amazing view over to the Langdales and Bowfell
Ella on the summit.
Such an awesome view from here. I genuinely cannot believe how good it is. This is now by far my number one favourite "easy" fells. Very little ascent and views to easily rival all the big fells I have climbed. Here are a selection.
Wetherlam, the Crinkles and the Langdales.
A four portrait shot panorama from Black Crag summit looking West.
Ella on the stile by the summit.
I love this farmhouse view with some compression from the zoom.
Ella loved it too and had her little pink Nikon out taking pictures.
Its 1:30pm, so that means... its lunchtime. Two sandwiches each today, Spam and Bacon, both with tomato sauce of course. Im on the stove, with Steph in charge of hot coffee. What a view to cook with. This is the view west...
This is the view east
We sure love a fry up on the summits.
After lunch, Ella went exploring and found something interesting that she insisted I come over to take a look at. So I wandered over.
Wow... look at that tiny tarn. Ella's right, I love it. And I had a plan for an image.
What an awesome scene for a picture of my daughters!
We have spent about an hour and a half just relaxing up here, but we need to move on. There is another summit cairn up here and we want to visit that before dropping off and heading back.
Ella wanted me to take this picture. Not sure what she had in mind, but I like it.
Onwards to the second cairn.
There is a great view from here over Esthwaite.
And of course Windermere.
Its time to go now... we are definately sad to leave this one, but times getting on and a wind has picked up that cleared the summit of people very quickly.
The route back initially is the same track we took up, the path across Iron Keld.
You can see the change in the weather from a couple of hours earlier in this shot. Ella had decided her and Steph had to hide from dad, so while scanning the horizon I noticed a change in the landscape from earlier. See this sneaky figure beneath the tree. Ha Ha.
After a few games of hide and seek, Ella went on ahead to check out the route she had made that split us off our ascent path to make this route a little more circular. We turned left here so we could return on the other side of the Iron Keld Plantation.
Ella liked this large branch. She carried it for almost 10 seconds before becoming very bored of it. LOL
What a great looking path... Good route planning by Ella.
The descent is nice and easy. Not too steep at all and aparently another great place to play hide and seek.
Hmm... What's that I spy?
Ha Ha... The girls are having great fun in this forest.
Ella kind of looks like a lumberjack in this image. I like it.
Not all of the girls hiding places were brilliant though. I suspect Ella chose this one!
We leave Iron Keld behind.
Onwards to Tarn Hows via Torver Intake.
Ella forgot her compass and I wasnt up for digging my whole rucksack out to get at mine so I let her use the compass on my phone. Here she is figuring out which way we need to go at this junction.
Off we march.
Torver Intake meets Tarn Hows at the Rose Castle Plantation. We spotted an up and coming mountain climber here.
And here we are back at Tarn Hows. There are still lots of folk around.
One last shot of my gorgeous girls before we hit the car.
And that was the end of a surprisingly enjoyable day. I wasnt expecting this small fell to offer much at all and was totally wrong. Its been one of the most enjoyable days I have spent on the fells and I will be back here again for sure.
Here is some data from my Suunto Ambit 3 peak watch.
The GPS on this device updates every 1 second so it records a little more mileage than your average GPS device like phones etc as it records me wandering around taking pictures etc. Heartrate is monitored via the Suunto Smart heart monitor so calories etc should be pretty accurate.
(As it uses a barometric altimeter, prolonged gusts of wind can affect its ascent and descent readings a little though.)
Here is an active track page from Viewranger.
This is the software I use to plot and follow our routes. If anyone wants a GPX track for this route, ping me an E-mail and its yours. (Free of charge of course)
To end - Here is a little video courtesy of Suunto Movescount that shows our route on a simulated 3D map.
Thanks for reading folks. I hope you enjoyed taking a little trip with us and that it inspired you to try the route. Remember, take your time, don't ever rush. The fells are there to be enjoyed, not endured.
While you are out there enjoying the beautiful fells, remember the golden rules...
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints and keep only memories".
All images in this blog were taken with my little pocket sized Canon G7X point and shoot. Its not a patch on my Canon 5D MK3 of course but I no longer lug all that around with me hiking as its just too cumbersome. When I find a scene worthy of the 5D3's talents, I usually return one day to make the best of it.
Route Completed on April 17th, 2016 with Ella & Stephanie Sanderson
New Wainwrights: 1. New total: 131 of 214.
New Birketts: 1. New total 184 of 541.