Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bessyboot (Rosthwaite Fell) and Rosthwaite Cam

from the steep climb up Little Stanger Gill, looking back down over Stonethwaite and the beautiful valley

The weather today started off very promising.  The forecast was for mild temperatures, a good chance of cloud free summits and some sunshine.  There was some lovely scenery on the drive to Stonethwaite; a thin sheet of cloud was rolling over Longside Edge on Skiddaw.  I have a feeling that if David had been on his own, he would have altered his route and headed up there for a walk.  I would have been quite happy with that.

Perhaps visiting the wettest place in England for a third time in a row was tempting fate.  After getting to Bessyboot and Rosthwaite Cam, stood on Rosthwaite Cam in deep mist, we decided to turn around and head back.  There were a few grumbles about the weather and, while it would have been great to get to Glaramara and on to Allen Crags, I'm always glad to get out.

route from Stonethwaite

in 3d.

Jonathan and David rounding Bull Crag
The path up Stanger Gill is not a good one.  I don't know the history of it.  As far as I can tell there are no mine workings in that area and it's not a natural route to anywhere like some of the lakeland passes or packhorse routes, so it must be a path made purely for walking up the fell.  

It's an old style path, made up of smaller stones, sloping downwards.  A lot of these paths are being repaired/replaced with paths made up of larger stones, angled to support the walker.  Helm Crag would be a good example.  

There is evidence of some repairs on the path and work to discourage people from walking alongside the path but, to be honest, when it is wet, there is no alternative.  Walking up was hard enough but coming down was nearly impossible.  Once the steep part of the climb was done, we headed across the, relatively flat tops, to the outcrop that is Bessyboot.  This is the Wainwright top, also known as Rosthwaite Fell.
By the time we got to the top, the cloud had descended and there was not a great deal to see at all.

That didn't stop Jonathan and I from posing for a few pictures.

Bessyboot looks down onto Tarn at Leaves, according to Wainwright it, "has a lovely name but no other appeal."  which I think is a bit cruel.  Even today, I could see that it would be a nice spot to come back to in the summer.  Today this was the first point that we considered adjusting our route, deciding to head on to Rosthwaite Cam and make a decision there.

bit wet (and the glasses)
Tarn at Leaves

Rosthwaite Cam ahead
Trudging now, through a wet grassy area, we continued to Rosthwaite Cam, which is a Birkett.  The Birketts are my next target after completing the Wainwrights.  I think all of the Wainwrights are also Birketts, so I will have a head start.  I have also done a lot of Birketts without realising.

The Birketts are the fell tops in the Lake District over 1000 feet.  There are 541 in total.  Like Wainwright, there can be three or four on a ridge so it is not as if separate walks are necessary.

David and I on Rosthwaite Cam

After a bit of messing around on Rosthwaite Cam, the verdict was unanimous, let's head back and come back another day.

David said that the way to Glaramara was quite craggy and we all agreed it was not worth taking the risk.

We headed back towards the tarn and then back to that god-awful path down Big Stanger Gill back to Stonethwaite. More falling and slipping than on the way up.  A special mention has to go to Jonathan for his spectacular falls.

It's usual that, at a point near to the end of the walk, the cloud lifts and spectacular views of the area we have just been wandering around open up.  This was not the case today.  Although we got to a point where we were below the cloud, there was a thick covering on the tops when we got back to the valley.

Borrowdale is beautiful.  Too beautiful to trudge around in cloud and it will be all the better to come back to when visibility is good.

I'll let the pictures finish the story.

not scenic, descending from Rosthwaite Cam

back at the Tarn at Leaves

Beautiful Borrowdale, but imagine if the cloud lifted a bit
Stonethwaite comes back into view on the descent down the slippery path

1 comment:

  1. I also think AW was a bit mean about Tarn at Leaves. I had a perfectly pleasant camp up there last year, and when you see Bessyboot reflected in the tarn in the setting evening sun, it's actually quite nice.