19th August 2011
The last of three walks from a short stay based at Scotgate Campsite, Braithwaite. All three walks effectively started from the campsite, even if the Bleaberry Fell walk was facilitated by a short bus journey.
The Road to Barf
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....
Scotgate Campsite, Braithwaite
My tent has been packed and was in the space next to the blue car. Good neighbours are just as important on holiday as they are at home and I had no problems at all with the adjacent pithces. If I stand here in five years time and point the camera in the same direction, will I see tents, caravans or chalets? Disucss. That's assuming I'm still around.
From the road to Barf. I was up there on BF yesterday. Notice the edge of cloud, it's what the weatherman call a front and it's about to affect the weather for the next hour or two.
Early morning cloud teases the top of Skiddaw and any early walkers will have enjoyed clear weather and great views. There's more than one way to get to the foot of Barf from Braithwaite and I chose the quiet road in front of the houses, which was the old main road, prior to the decommissioning of the railway line and the highways' adoption of the trackbed.
The Bishop of Barf
The Steep Path
Issues of Barf
Barf - what a name! The Bishop of Barf stands proud, now widowed from his suitor - The Swan Hotel, which is no more. The Clerk remains loyal, the path is steeper than it looks, make sure you've had your Weetabix. The rock climb is the only difficulty on the way up from Thornthwaite - a diversion to the left is equally tricky with a tree stump in the way.
Looking down from the rock
A corner of Bassenthwaite Lake
More of the same
This will be my fifth ascent of Barf and the third from this direction. Once, many years ago, young Andrew and I did the direct climb from the Bishop to the top and it was a bit hairy in places. The other occasion was a stroll across from Lord's Seat.
The Easy Bits
The final ascent of Barf is an easy uphill stroll.
Barf Summit at 1536ft
Lord's Seat is almost directly behind the summit. I took five minutes here and noticed how the cloud had moved right across this area.
Lanefoot (near) and Scotgate Campsites
Little and large, perhaps. A reader recommends Lanefoot and I must give it a try one day.
Back to Barf
Whilst heading for Lord's Seat, I took this photo of Barf's backside, scarred by miners' apparently fruitless scratchings. Not far to Lord's Seat.
Lord's Seat 1811ft asl
The fence iron is in position to identify Grisedale Pike. I had no clear plan today, but a glance across to Broom Fell was enough to lead me in that direction. I knew that I could catch a bus back to Braithwaite from various places on the A66 or indeed Cockermouth. Or I could make my way back to Whinlatter via the fell top of such or the pass.
To Broom Fell
Strangely I wanted to greet someone, anyone, but there was nobody there!
Broom Fell Summit ~ 1670ft asl
Mr Wainwright stood hereabout and observed the distant skyline and noted l-r Great Borne, Gavel Fell, Blake Fell, Burnbank Fell and Low Fell. What he did not see or mention is that tall pillar of crafty stonework. We must assume it postdates his time up here, he even calls the grassy top of the fell as "featureless..." It seemed rude not to proceed to Graystones.
Ling Fell looking very lingy in her August coat of flowering heather.
Graytsones "Wainwright" Summit 1476ft - ish
Confusion! Wainwright's chapter starts with the figure of 1476ft next to the title "Graystones". His map on Page 4 shows an "x" on the map with the number 1477 next to it. Of the summit, he says the highest point "is not in doubt".... However, you and I can look across a short distance to the south-east to a higher point (photo right), which OS show as 456m, which is 1496ft. I maintain that to tick off a "Wainwright" you must visit his appointed summit, getting to the top of the mountain is not so important!
After some debate, I decided that I would aim for Whinlatter Fell, which is off to the right - out of picture.
The forest track leads towards Whinlatter. The rights of way from here to there look a little like a wriggly snake on the map.
Looking back to Graystones from the top of a wall and a field that you can't walk across as it's not open access.
The sun has reappeared and the front has moved on, leaving broken clouds. This climb up Whinlatter was a little unwelcome to my weary legs, which have suffered cramp every now and again over the last 18 hours.
Broom Fell from the Whinlatter ascent. No well-trodden path on this side of the fell, a bit awkward zigging and zagging around the heather.
Eventually a path becomes established and leads to the summit of territory of Whinlatter, known as Brown How at this western end.
Oh Dear, Confusion! But this time Wainwright explains it all in his text. This is the Wainwright top as per his book. He knew that the "east top" was higher, even if the OS did not recognise the fact at that time.
Lord's Seat and Skiddaw
The walking on Whinlatter is easy and on a good day, such as this, a delight. I'm heading for WhinlatterTop - the east top, now recognised by OS as being higher than the Brown How summit.
Whinlatter Summit Plateau
Whinlatter Top 1722ft
Only the second greeting and it was the same two as the first one. The gentleman from Cockermouth and the young lass, a family member, I'm sure, had walked the other way round from Graystones. We had a chat about fells and he mentioned Kinder Scout and that he'd seen a programme about "Pendle Hill". Well, that got me going and soon enough he had my website address! Sir, hope you find this and maybe give me names to add to the caption. Contact me via the "About" page.
The walk off Whinlatter Fell is steep down to the forest entry point.
Great routes for cyclists, exclusive tracks where walkers are not allowed. Looks good fun and I may have to cross-over for a day and have a go. All stuff can be hired from the hut near the cafe.
Whinlatter Visitor Centre Cafe, aka Siskins Cafe. See RRR later.
Go Ape at Whinlatter
A "Honister Rambler" bus was due, so I chose to wait and catch a lift down to Braithwaite.
The Honister Rambler
Full. I had to stand next to the driver. A passenger behind me said it was "ridiculous", without looking round I said "they should give priority to fare payers". There was a silence and when I looked, I was under the impression he probably didn't need to buy a ticket. Enough said.
Walkers: Just me.
Time taken: 5hrs 45mins over a distance of about 9.5 miles. Clock stopped at Whinlatter Visitor Centre.
Route: Braithwaite, Thornthwaite, Barf, Lord's Seat, Broom Fell, Graystones, Whinlatter Fell, Whinlatter Forest, bus back to Braithwaite.
Weather and conditions: Sunny start, overcast midday, sunny again later on.
Greetings Count: Cockermouth man and young lady (twice). Plenty of folk in Whinlatter Forest. No pleasantries on the bus.
Richard's Refreshment Review: Tea leaf tea and extra hot water! But the toastie was spoilt by a silly salad garnish which leaked oily stuff on to the toastie. If they hadn't been so busy, not shown in the photo - they all appeared at once after I sat down, I would have complained and taken it back. On the whole I think it's a good place.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2011 ©