Lake District


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~Grey Crag from Wet Sleddale~

18th September 2021

Grey Crag Summit

Grey Crag Summit

Wet Sleddale Reservoir

Wet Sleddale Reservoir

It is more than 10 years since I last started a walk from the car park adjacent to Wet Sleddale reservoir. Today's primary target is the summit of Grey Crag and whilst such can be reached in a somewhat straightforward manner from Sadgill in Longsleddale, I prefer a more demanding challenge. Depending upon which forecast is preffered, the outlook is, at best, dull. A late start by my standards of 09:30hrs. An intrepid fellbagger, Alan from Preston, joined us for the first quarter mile, he was collecting Outlying Fells and heading for Wasdale Pike within the Shap Fells.

Sleddale Beck

Sleddale Beck

The public footpath from the car park tends to lead walkers to the beck and stepping-stone experience; I notice from the map that there is a permissive footpath leading further on upstream to a footbridge.

To Sleddale Hall

To Sleddale Hall

The map shows the path between two fences (or walls); my experience today is such that the footpath is outside the enclosure and is stiled to encourage walkers this way.

Sleddale Hall

Sleddale Hall is in reasonable exterior condition but I couldn't tell if it is occupied or fit for living in. One reason for choosing this route was the idea of being remote and away from all the bonkers stuff in today's world. As usual, I'll let you know when we encounter other walkers.



Wainwright offers a couple of ascent opitons from the A6 or Kendal-Shap road (as he calls it) and I've often looked at those pages. I am always concerned about cattle on the lower fellsides and thought this was a better bet for the avoidance thereof. Another day, we'll try one of the A6 approaches to this lonely territory.

Brunt Tongue

Brunt Tongue

This is where the fun starts. The plan to reach Grey Crag before Tarn Crag means we will follow Little Mosedale Beck which runs to the left of Brunt Tongue - seen here with the little plantation on its eastern slopes. There is no footpath and I have walked down here once before, so I'm expecting to find sheep tracks or feintly worn paths.....


A Rock

No such luck, long wet grass of all manner of species, reeds, bogs, marshes. My shorts and legs got very wet, the run-off progressed with speed for my socks. Socks soaked and boots waterlogged by the time we reached the lonely rock. There was no option other than to press on. Climbing and veering south as oppose to the starting bearing of south-west, I knew that we would meet the fence which runs up to Harrop Pike and onto Sleddale Fell, home of Grey Crag.

The Fence

The Fence

Not just the fence, but a footpath.

Harrop Pike Summit

Harrop Pike

Harrop Pike boasts a fine summit cairn. Molly and I play a brief game of hide-and-seek, but it didn't really last too long. Here we met a man with a dog who had come up from Sadgill and we were caught up by a couple who had parked on the A6 and "followed the ridge" all the way up. Suddenly it's busy!

Molly Grey Crag

Molly at the top of Grey Crag 2,093ft asl

We were here last July and it was dull, but not as dull as this. Nearly three hours up to this point, we might have had lunch here but I was not too impressed with the view, so we moved on.

To Tarn Crag

To Tarn Crag

The walk continues with a fence-following exercise to Tarn Crag. As my feet and boots remain sodden, a few marshy boggy bits are of no particular concern.

Survey Post

Survey Post

Wainwright comments "anyone who climbs Tarn Crag for a view of Lakeland will be very disappointed". He is referring to the view on a clear day and offers consolation in the shape of views to the south of Morecambe Bay etc. I'm not disappoined because I can't see what cannot be seen, if you see what I mean...

Molly Tarn Crag

Molly on top of Tarn Crag 2,176ft asl

Up here we met three men from Manchester who were at the start of their quest to visit all 214 Wainwright summits. This was No.6 and Grey Crag would be No.7. What great things lie ahead; there is never a bad time to start a challenge!

Molly & The Men

To Branstree

Well, Branstree and Selside were on my mind for much of the walk, but in the event I decided against these additions. Time was on our side, but this walk will be at least 12 miles without the extra two and they would add about 900ft of ascent and maybe two more miles. I think we'll save them for another day.


I am on a boulder and Molly is between a rock and a hard place. The fellside ahead is Selside Brow, leading to Branstree. We will go into the dip and take a right for Mosedale.

Mosedale Cottage
To Mosedale
Mosedale Cottage

Mosedale Cottage is now a bothy and looked after by a chap who comes up every weekend and in all weathers. The Mountain Bothy Association helps to fund repairs.

Mosedale Bothy

Mosedale Cottage Bothy

I spent a while with the chap who cares for the place and he has his own little room. There is no mains electricity, or other services. He enjoys meeting the visitors and laments the very poor behaviour of the minority; there are no weekly bin collections and toilet habits should be the same as wild campers. A shovel is provided. It's first come, first served and it's a long way to come to be disappointed. Maybe as many as ten could be safely accommodated, but you'd have to be quite tolerant and such rules me and Molly right out!

Mosedale Beck Bridge

Mosedale Beck Bridge

We cross over here and take a rising track to pass beneath the hill named as Scam Matthew and to re-enter Sleddale.

Six are heading for the bothy.

Wet Sleddale Reservoir

Wet Sleddale Reservoir

40 minutes back to the car; as you will see the weather has improved.

Nearly there

Nearly There

Socks and boots discarded, dog fed, kettle on, camping chair out, tea brewed, earbuds in...twenty minutes nap and then the drive home.

Walkers: Molly and Me.

Time taken: 6hrs 30mins over a distance of about 12 miles. Includes dwell time at the bothy.

Route: Wet Sleddale reservoir, Sleddale Hall, Little Mosedale Beck, Harrop Pike, Grey Crag, Tarn Crag, Mosedale Cottage, Mosedale Beck bridge, bridleway back to Sleddale Hall and the reservoir.

Weather and conditions: Dull, duller, slightly damp in the mist, less dull, dim, marginally brighter later on.

Refreshments: Tea and tiffin back at the car.

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2021 ©

Take me back to the start ....

Take me home....