Thursday, June 18, 2015

Whiteside, Hopegill Head, Grasmoor and Red Gill Scree

Once up the steep side of Whiteside, there's nice running along the ridge

me and Lucy on Whiteside summit
This is one of my favourite short routes, the highlight being the scree descent at the end.  I had been wanting to do it for a while but weather conditions had resulted in a few downgraded runs over Rannerdale Knotts (sorry Rannerdale Knotts, I love you too).

Setting off tonight, it wasn't guaranteed to be clear on the tops but it was good enough to have a go.  There are a few short cut options plus Howard was in the group so if need be, between us, we could have found a safe way off the tops in cloud.

We set off running up by the side of the road and, rather than go the slightly longer but probably dryer way, we cut across and it wasn't long before I sunk up to my knee in a boggy puddle.  We carried on this way and picked up the steep climb up Whin Ben and on to Whiteside.  At the top of Whin Ben, where the track levels out slightly, I took a gel (something I have been experimenting with since the Scafell Marathon).  It really seemed to work, I felt like I motored up the steep final stretch to the top.

One of our party struggled a bit with energy on this bit, one had already turned around as she was feeling ill.  We hung about on the top, took a few pictures and then everybody seemed to be feeling good.  It's a really nice run over to Hopegill Head and we all ran over without difficulty.

from Hopegill Head looking back along the top to Whiteside
From Hopegill Head there is a little run over to Sand Hill and then a nice long descent down to Coledale Hause.  We had to go past Gasgale Gill, a route which some of the party were threatening to take as a short cut back.  I knew that the track down the gill was horrible and washed out and I thought that my way was much better.  I took the lead running down and carried on past the Gasgale Gill turn off.  There was still a bit of Gasgale chatter but I persuaded everyone to go my way.

the gang coming down Sand Hill

cloud starting to come in 
There is a good track up to Grasmoor.  It's possible to cut across but in the mist I decided to stick to the track and follow it around to the summit cairn.  There is a bit of a climb at the start but then it evens out and is quite manageable.

heading up to Grasmoor

a quick glimpse of Whiteless Pike as the cloud clears on our climb to Grasmoor

Grasmoor summit
From the summit, I knew that you went three cairns over.  The entrance to Red Gill is one of those places where you are thinking, "is that it?", "is that it?" then when you see it, you know, "That's it!"

It's fair to say that there was a mix of enthusiasm and proficiency in descending the scree.  Some of those that I thought would love it practically crawled down while others who are notorious fannies at going down hill enjoyed a vigorous descent.  We all got down, eventually.

coming off Grasmoor

the very best way down

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