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My Dad David died 10.09.13 aged 69. He had a huge love of the countryside. He loved walking and was a keen angler. I was desperate to find and own an object that summed Dad up, after an insightful conversation with a friend, I remembered his walking boots. This set me thinking... How about stepping into them and going for a walk somewhere with a body of water (sea, river, lake, canal, pond, tarn...) and stunning, just as Dad would have wanted.... Here I go in 'My Dad's Boots'

Monday, 31 August 2015

The Lake District - Whiteside & Hopegill Head

returned back to my beloved Lakeland for this month's MDB walk and headed once again for the lovely Buttermere Valley and in particular two fells that sit beside the northern end of Crummock Water, Whiteside and Hopegill Head. I was super lucky and spent a whole week in the Lakes this month and managed to walk each day. I shall be publishing a mid month bonus blog (brilliant idea Phil!) in a couple of weeks detailing an Outlying Fell walk, I hasten to say I undertook in my own boots, and an exhibition I visited during my stay. 

Map: Bing and Ordnance Survey

The walk started from the little free car park by the side of Lanthwaite Green Farm.... I performed my usual routine of brewing up, booting up and map checking and set off over the road. I soon found a short footpath finger post sign directing me over Lanthwaite Green and towards the base of my first ascent of the day, Whin Ben. Before I started my climb I crossed over the fast flowing Liza Beck by the well constructed footbridge. Interestingly AW mentions that the only way to cross Liza Beck is via the gravelly shallows as the only footbridge is closed and fortified with barbed wire; fortunately for me this wasn't the case.

The ascent up Whin Ben and Whiteside, as AW states is of botanical interest, it is clothed in a variety of beautiful alpine plants.... Juniper, Bracken, Bilberries, Heathers both the Calluna and Erica genus were evident giving the fellside a beautiful patchwork of purple hues. I enjoyed a few of the yummy Bilberries as I passed, well it would only be rude not too.

To my right the view over Crummock Water towards Melbreak opens up quickly.

Loweswater, Fells and village were becoming more and more visible behind me as I climbed.

The view ahead was that of Sand Hill and the beautiful, steep sided Gasgale Gill in which Liza Beck runs, a Gill I shall be visiting later in the day. The mighty Grasmoor is opposite.

Nearing the summit of Whin Ben is a fun rocky scramble. Again this craggy outcrop is punctuated with the most beautiful alpine flora and was alive with butterflies and a variety of different insects.  

As I looked behind a big smile filled my face, the lovely Red Pike, a new friend of mine came more prominately into view.

The grassy summit of Whin Ben.... I thought it resembled a lovely little garden, a little lawn bordered by low growing borders.

 The path took me up through the Heather towards the shoulder of Whiteside.

As I climbed I was conscious of the low hanging cloud base and the fact I was slowly climbing up towards it.

I sat and brewed up and rested MDB on the shoulder while looking up towards Sand Hill, the head of Liza Beck and the ridge route I would soon be walking. 

The summit of Whin Ben was soon below me.

The next rocky scramble took me up into the rolling cloud base.

The visibility of the ascent route was become in part sketchy. Fortunately the route was well trodden and being a self-confessed map pocket geek I was well appointed with my OL4, a compass, a torch and an AW book six so I cracked on. 

Shortly I was at the start of the exiting, sheer sided Gasgale Crags ridge route. I am not a big fan of heights but I do enjoy a slightly dizzying sneaky look down a steep sided ravine..... I get just the right adrenaline hit to remind me that I'm alive and a larger reminder that I need to sharpen up to keep it that way!

The ridge route was slowly becoming cloud bound, adding to it's exciting atmospheric quality.

One of the locals.

Through the cloud I reached the level higher west top summit of Whiteside, my first Wainwright of the day.

Carrying on in the low visibility I found my way to my second Wainwright, Hopegill Head, aka Hobcarton Pike. The view from here should have been knock out but instead I chose to take five and adjust my eyes to the slowly encroaching patchy whiteout.

Once I got going again the low hanging cloud lifted long enough for me to be treated to the view across to the striking grooves of the Gasgale Crags arête that I had passed along earlier.

The walk took me on to Sand Hill, the paths here lead directly onto Grasmoor or down to Gasgale Gill. Liza Beck ahead shining like a silver ribbon in the fleeting sunlight.

Coledale Hause. The cloud was clinging particularly firmly over Grasmoor so I decided the best course of action would be to take the Gasgale Gill option today and come back for Grasmoor on a clearer day.

The view towards Causey Pike and the village of Braithwaite.

A backwards view of Hopegill Head.

I locate the Gasgale Gill path and started descending beside Liza Beck.

Liza Beck has many super waterfalls along the way and is clear and beautiful. 

The path is a combination of easy stroll, full on scrambling and on a couple of occasions not there as short sections had fallen into the Liza. 

Nevertheless this path was beautiful and the proximity of the fast flowing powerful water was exhilarating. 

A picturesque, derelict sheepfold along the route. 

The view of Crummock Water and Lanthwaite were coming into sight.

Just as I was reaching the end of the Gill path the sun was just starting to loose hight and early evening was upon me. 

The footbridge over the Liza was just ahead.

Looking up towards Grasmoor, still crowned in cloud.... I'm glad that I decided to come back another time for that one!

As I returned to my car I was really pleased to have bagged two more Wainwrights, experienced a great little ridge route in 'exciting' metrological conditions and planned my next walk the area. 

Till next time.... Tight laces! MDBx

Phil.... Thank you!
Kay and Jack.... Thank you so much for caring for two special little souls that mean so much to me, your loving care gave me the peace of mind to really enjoy my Lakeland week. 

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