6th September 2014
Circular Sheepfold in Wiley Gill
This walk in the Northern Fells of Lakeland introduced me to some new footpaths and didn't quite work out as planned. Idleness builds no monuments, visit the Skiddaw Forest and find these circular sheepfolds, beautiful works of art.
The Railway Path, Keswick
We set off from Keswick Railway Station at 08:15hrs and proceeded along the disused railway trackbed as far as Brundholme. Leaving the rail route and heading up to Wescoe Farm for the track into Glenderaterra Beck, the view across to the North-Western Fells opened up.
Wescoe to the North-Western Fells
The beck with the unfeasibly long name brings water off the fells between the two massifs of Skiddaw and Blencathra.
Great Calva looms large ahead.
The pointed peak of Lonscale Fell with the rising ridge of Burnt Horse to the right (north). There is a very boggy path rising up to the main track from the miners route - I won't be using it again .... ever!
This path goes left for Skiddaw House. If you refer to Wainwright's chapter in Book Five, he offers an ascent from Skiddaw House, but doesn't suggest a way of getting to the youth hostel. In this instance it was nearly six miles to Skiddaw House and would be a further two to get to the summit. AW suggests walkers should follow patches of burnt heather for the best passages. There were no pathces of burnt heather. So we went all the way to Wiley Gill and the fence up the eastern flank.
The fell in the far distance is Carrock Fell. Nearer is Snab, an extension of Pike on the south-eastern ridge of Knott. Fellnamers ran out of inspiration here and the watercourse is nameless on my map, it leads to the River Caldew.
Here we have descended 300ft from a point around Skiddaw House, that's uneconomical! Just up Wiley Gill is a fence running to the summit of Great Calva. It is a steep route and follows the fence to the top, safe in mist, perhaps.
Molly at the top of Great Calva 2,265ft asl
From the top of GC, we head for Little Calva across some boggy bits. Then there is a very steep descent to Dash Falls with Bakestall looming large on the other side of the beck.
Plan A had been to ascend Bakestall from Dash Falls. However, me n' Molly had a chat and decided we didn't really fancy another 900ft of ascent up to Bakestall, followed by another 900ft to the top of Skiddaw. So we picked up the Skiddaw House supply road and put best foot forward along the unforgivingly uneven road surface.
Here's one that won't make it to the framer's studio and hence to the living room wall.
Molly was delighted to be reunited with a stick she had left here a couple of hours ago.
Derwentwater Trail Runners
We might have taken the path on the Lonscale Fell flank, but the runners were using it and Molly likes barking at runners, so we headed back to Threlkeld along the main track under Blease Fell.
Walkers: Me n' Molly the Dog
Time taken: 8hrs distance of about 16 miles.
Route: Keswick Railway Station to Brundholme, Wescoe Farm, Glenderaterra Beck, Skiddaw House, Wiley Gill, Great Calva, Little Calva, Dash Falls, track to Skiddaw House, lower flank of Blease Fell, Threlkeld.
Weather: Bright and airy early on, clouding over a little. Little in the way of wind.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2014 ©