Lake District: Green Crag

14 May 2006

The weather forecast predicting heavy rain in the afternoon, a morning walk was called for, and the long-considered but never-visited Green Crag above Eskdale was selected.

Green Crag and Crook Crag, Lake District
On the drive over the Birker Fell road from Ulpha, an opportunity to inspect the morning's objective. Looking past Birkerthwaite farm, Green Crag is the high point on the right, with the slightly lower Crook Crag in the centre, with the much higher Harter Fell behind on the left.

River Esk from Whahouse Bridge, Lake District
We parked near Wha House Farm, and here look up the River Esk from Whahouse Bridge

Looking across the Esk and its reinforced walls to Wha House Farm

We then took the valley bridleway past Penny Hill Farm with the intention of gaining the fellside at Low Birker

seed drill
An ancient seed drill  in a field

Penny Hill Farm, Eskdale, Lake District
Penny Hill Farm from the permissive path which I decided to take as an alternative to the right of way through the farmyard

Doctor Bridge, River Esk, Eskdale, Lake District
The Esk looking lovely at Doctor Bridge

Border End and Hard Knott, Eskdale, Lake District
Looking up Eskdale to Border End and Hard Knott

Peat road above Eskdale, Lake District
We ascended this delightful old peat road, which zigzags up the fellside. Once used to bring peat sleds down from the moors, it now provides easy going for walkers.

Peat hut, Eskdale, Lake District
The old peat house

Low Birker Tarn, Lake District
We then passed near Low Birker Tarn...

Devoke Water, Lake District
...then gradually ascending the slopes of Crook Crag. Here we look southwest towards Devoke Water, rather lost in the mist

Boundary stone
We eventually reached the col between Green Crag and Crook Crag. Here we look to Green Crag past a boundary stone helping to mark the boundary between Ulpha and Eskdale parishes.

Crook Crag, Lake District
From Green Crag, looking to the Crook Crag

Stephen and George on Green Crag. Not sure what we are looking at!

Kepple Crag, Lake District
We followed the path around the east side of Crook Crag, but it then wanted to head around the left (east) side of Kepple Crag (upper centre picture), whereas our plan was to follow the beck to the right (west) of Kepple Crag and so join the path down to Whahouse Bridge

We had an enjoyable cross-country tramp, eventually finding this cairn exactly where we expected it, and the start of the path descending to Whahouse Bridge.

Gate with padlock and barbed wire
However, we hadn't expected to find the gate in the intake wall padlocked shut and covered in barbed wire.

The National Trust sign tells us that this is not a public right of way. It is, of course, quite right, but we are quite within our rights to be on either side of the wall, so it isn't exactly inkeeping with the spirit of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act Access Land provisions, nor with the National Trust's stated aim of providing access to open spaces. I felt particularly irked having earlier accepted the invitation to avoid disturbing the farm by using the permissive path around the farmyard, that this was the "thank you" I received. A complain has been submitted to the National Trust.

However, a short diversion over the hurdle in the stream brought me back up to the other side of the gate (demonstrating what a pretty pointless effort the barbed wire is in practice), and we continued our descent.

Another delightful zig-zag path, either another peat road, or possibly connected with the nearby mines. In either case, it took us pleasantly down into the valley where we exited the Access Land and regained the public bridleway across Whahouse Bridge. As we approached the car, the heavens opened and it rained solidly for the rest of the day. The timing could hardly have been better!

The irritations about blocked access aside, a good walk with nice variety. The GPS recorded 10.1km with 587 metres of ascent, taking 3 hours 45 minutes (including 55 minutes stopped).



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson