27 November 2010
I woke and got up in the dark, as planned, had breakfast,
finished packing my bag and picked it up to go out of the back door, to find
that it had snowed during the night, which I wasn't expecting. It was only a
light dusting, and I proceeded as planned towards Buttermere, but as I travelled
north through the Lake District, it became clear that there had been a good deal
more snow further north, and that crossing the Honnister Pass was not a
practical proposition. I decided to try the Whinlatter Pass, as a more gentle
route, and just about managed it, though with hindsight it wasn't a good plan,
particularly as all the crawling around at 10 mph meant that I started to run
low on fuel and decided to divert to Cockermouth to fill up, making the crossing
of Whinlatter a pointless exercise. I then turned towards Buttermere, and
managed, with some effort, to make it to Buttermere village but balked at the
climb out of the village. As I was by now worried about whether I would get back
up a hill near Lanthwaite, I abandoned the whole plan and turned tail for
Cockermouth again, and from there headed back towards Keswick. After almost four
hours of travelling, I stopped for a rest by Bassenthwaite Lake, and plumped for
a new plan - a visit to Castle Crag, the lowest of the Wainwright fells. After
another abortive motoring experience heading towards Grange through Portinscale
(which wasn't my plan, but I instinctively followed a sign), where a car was
being pushed out of a hedge, I returned to my plan to take the main Borrowdale
road to Grange, which I managed without too much difficulty, and arrived at
Grange a mere 4.5 hours after leaving the house.
The Whinlatter road - no real difficulty on the level.
Walking along the bridleway from Grange through Holmcrag Wood
The new target for the day: Castle Crag
There wasn't a lot of snow, but some of it was compressed by earlier walkers,
and there was ice hiding under bits of it.
Snow on the River Derwent
Emerging from the woods onto open fell, with the track running between the steep
slopes of Castle Crag to the left and High Spy to the right
I walked past the route up Castle Crag in order to get a better photo: the route
lies from near those people, up amongst the trees to the slate waste just
visible top right, and then up the slate piles to the crags near the top.
The snowy path on the right
Once I reached the slate waste, most of the snow and ice was left behind.
From the top of the slate waste pile, the view up Borrowdale
Some of the very many, very odd, cairns with upright pieces of slate that fill
From the summit area, looking north along Borrowdale to Derwentwater, with
Skiddaw beyond with its head in the clouds
The highest point is this little crag with a memorial stone and little
construction on top, reached by an easy scramble from the left. The fell was
given to the National Trust in memory of the first soldier named on the stone,
with the other men of Borrowdale who died in the First World War also being
From the memorial, across Borrowdale to King's How
Returning along the Borrowdale road, a snowy beach
...with some ice forming on the lake
Just past Keswick, a look at the Helvellyn range
From the A593 near Woodland, the view between Walney Island (left) and Millom
(right) to Wales, with Carnedd Llewelyn the highest, Snowdon to its right about
95 miles away, and the hills of the Lleyn peninsular to the right, 105 miles
A variety of wind turbines, turbine construction, and gas platforms fill the
Irish Sea from here.
Zoom in for more detail, or click to view larger map in new window
A big change and big comedown from the originally planned walk, and thus not
quite satisfying, but a good walk nonetheless.
Total distance 5.2 km and 280 metres of ascent in 2 hours 26 mins (including
the return visit to Heron Pike to pick up my camera)