Friday, March 21, 2014

Whinlatter Fells

Hopegill Head, the way on from Grisedale Pike

Initial plan today was a Kentmere Round recce but the forcast was poor.  I sleep in an attic room so I hear the weather all night.  I had one or two of those dreams where you think you are awake, each time waking to perfect sunshine.  Then I would wake up properly and hear the wind and rain on the velux window.  In the morning, conditions were much better than I had expected.  I had decided I was going out no matter what and so heading to Sale Fell for familiar territory and nearby forest tracks seemed like a good plan.

Sale Fell looking towards Skiddaw
From the usual parking spot along from the church, I headed up and turned left to loop around clockwise.  When I got to the stream, I turned up the fell, climbing steeply to the top.  After a few selfies for my new Facebook Group, I took the nice grassy track off towards Rivings and Lowthwaite, two subsidiary tops on Sale Fell.

From Rivings I dropped down through the trees to the back of the loop path.  Crossing at the row of windswept trees (Hawthorn?) and then picking up cycle track 71 which is a lovely downhill track through Wythop Woods.

view from Rivings
If you follow this track to its natural conclusion, you end up on the road.  The last time, we ran along and climbed up past the Bishop onto Barf.  I wanted to try to find a track through the woods so today I followed a track along Beck Wythop, to the waterfall.  I concluded that the track was only in place either to look at the waterfall or to service the water tank that is up there.  Whichever it was, it didn't go any further so I climbed steeply up through the woods.

A good tip is that if you see trees marked with a spraypainted ring (marking them for chopping down) you can usually find a track nearby.  This technique worked today and I found myself on a wide forest track from where I was able to work my way around to the corner of the forest and the back on Lord's Seat. 

just out of the forest looking up to Lord's Seat.  I climbed to the left and looped around.

Lord's Seat summit pole looking over Barf and across to Skiddaw (very windy here)

track into Whinlatter Forest.  Grisedale Pike up ahead
It was very windy on top of Lord's Seat so I didn't hang around too long.  There is a nice track off into the forest.  After a while this turns into a wider forest track which goes nicely downhill to the visitors centre.

I met a couple carrying a young child who asked me the way to the visitors centre.  I pointed them in the right direction (the opposite direction to which they were going) and then headed down.

At the visitors centre, I headed across the road to Revelin Moss and picked up the track up the wall for The Grind up Grisedale Pike.  There was no attempt to run up The Grind today, it was all walking.  Again, very windy making it difficult to stay upright on top.

I headed across to Hopegill Head, dropping down to Ladyside Pike and then taking a track away from the wall which took me to a rickety bridge over Blaze Beck.  I crossed a few fields and then was at the quarry at the bottom of the climb up to Graystones.

a rare downhill photo - heading down to the visitors centre with The Grind visible up Grisedale Pike

over to Hopegill Head

and Ladyside Pike

the slippy descent off Hopegill Head towards Ladyside Pike - nice running here eventually out of the wind

looking back from Hopegill Head to Grisedale Pike on the left

over to Grasmoor

looking to Graystones, straight up from the wall - my next big climb

bridge over Blaze Beck has seen better days

Ling Fell summit looking over to Sale Fell where I started. 
Look at the waves in the puddle
I was too cold on Graystones to get the camera out.  I went to the two summits (I'm never sure which is the Wainwright, I think the one on the eastern side of the wall).

From here I continued along the wall over soggy ground to climb up Ling Fell.  I'm a bit disappointed that I missed the Corpse Road track down Ling Fell as this is a very nice run down on a wide grassy track.  I seem to have made a more direct descent and eventually got to the road where I climbed along the wall over onto the Sale Fell track, descending back to my car.

This was a big run for me with my current level of fitness.  I was pretty done in from the start of the climb up Graystones but I'm very happy to have got it in.  There was a fair bit of climbing, almost 8000ft and 17miles distance is alright.

Easy day tomorrow I reckon.

17 miles
7966ft elevation
5hrs 41mins

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