Sunday, August 25, 2013

Graystones and Broom Fell

the impossible climb to Graystones

After a stressful day at work, it was nice to get out on the fells.  The plan to park on Whinlatter Pass near to Scawgill Bridge and then climb steeply to Graystones, along the top of the forest to Broom Fell and on to Lords Seat, returning through the forest, perhaps bagging Brown How, the Wainwright summit in Whinlatter forest.

From the parking spot, we followed a trail which wound steeply down to Spout Force.  This was overgrown with bracken and nettles and was an indicator of what was to come later.
Once over the beck, we climbed up to wall which I had planned to climb along side.  Again, the area was overgrown with bracken and gorse.  We climbed up to the old quarry and looked around for a path but were again defeated by gorse and bracken.

So, we turned around and followed the path back to the viewpoint to Spout Force.  The path stops abruptly and we opted to climb through the forest to find a forest road.  Now, I've been caught out doing this before, evergreen trees grow quickly and, what starts as a nice jaunt through the woods can end in an impenetrable barrier of pine branches.  The trees looked to be quite mature and we could see light between them so we went for it and it worked out ok.  We meandered up through the forest and eventually picked up a wide track.

Running in the forest gave me the chance to practice some fine navigation.  It's very easy to get lost on a forest track.  After closely inspecting the map and taking several compass bearings, we found our way back out above the bracken and gorse, at the wall that I had wanted to climb along.

Running through the forest was beautiful.  Lots of nature and some good runnable gradients.  We climbed the rest of the way up to Graystones where we dorked around for a bit on the summit.  The cloud came in around us so I took a compass bearing but decided it was probably easier to follow the walls to the top of the forest.


From Graystones we ran along the top of the forest to the eastern corner where we followed a track up and over to Broom Fell.  The cloud had rolled into Graystones but it cleared somewhat and we had some beautiful scenery with cloud rolling over fells and summits peeking out above cloud banks.

summit cairn on Broom Fell in sight

Jonathan on the final push up to Broom Fell

he made it

cloudy coledale fells

Broom Fell

From Broom Fell we had the option of continuing on to Lords Seat.  However, I got a text from my wife as I was ascending Broom Fell asking how long I would be.  I had forgotten that I said I would get a curry on the way home.

With this small detail in mind, we took the direct descent down the wall into the woods.  

This is a steep descent which, about a third of the way down, had us deep in bracken again.  Jonathan said to carry on, even when I reminded him of all the ticks that would be jumping out on him.

It was tough going through the bracken, running along with our arms in the air!  After a while, the wall had fallen down and we walked along the top of this but were soon back into deep bracken.  Definitely a path to revisit in winter when the bracken will have died back.

Eventually we found our way back onto the track and ran down to the car.  We both decided to make the run up to a 10k so did a short out and back run on the road.

There are loads of great routes in and around Whinlatter.  It's about 20 minutes from where we live so we will definitely be back to explore more.

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