~Pavey Ark to Loughrigg Fell~
From the summer of '72 to 18th June 2011
One summer's day way back in 1972, a man and his two sons left the car park at the bottom of Stickle Ghyll and set forth for a walk on the Langdale Pikes, it involved a scramble up Easy Gully and Pavey Ark was the first summit of the day. A mere 39 years later, the two sons set off again up Stickle Ghyll, this time hoping to make Loughrigg Fell the last summit of the day. The weathermen forecast a day of heavy rain!
Stickle Tarn Outflow
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....
The Walkers Assemble
Dave Dimmock met our car at Hellifield and offered us a lift up to Langdale. Cloud base was at 1,000ft on Pendle Hill, it was raining heavily in Staveley there was no room for optimism. However there was only light rain at the car park at the top of the Pikes were in view. The group in view comprise my brother, my "oldest" mate, Simon Baldwin (yellow) and other fellwalkers, all of whom have sponsored this walk and helped the fund to pass the £800 mark.
The beck is in spate. I had set a schedule that allowed 1hr to the Stickle Tarn, another to the top of Pavey Ark and an estimated 14:30 to 15:00hrs on top of Loughrigg Fell. No Slacking! See how we got on...
...it's easy to cross the raging beck. However as we determined that we would have to cross over again at the tarn outflow, Simon had to step back over the rocks and we stayed on the east side of Stickle Ghyll.
We made it to the tarn in just under one hour and the group split into three. Four of us aimed for Easy Gully, four went for the North Rake and Dave Dimmock chose to take a shortcut to Blea Rigg. This was part of the plan - assess your abilities, do what you can or join in later.
"Easy" is a climbers' term. This was far from easy. The lower reaches are quite dangerous with loose scree. Ed Harrison slipped and one boulder (maybe 100kg) slid down the gully. Peter kept an eye on it and watched it roll past him, a little too close for comfort. We commented that we were glad we wouldn't have to come back down this way.
The camera goes away when the going gets tough. John Paterson, of the North Rake team, met us at the chock stones. We could not get over the stones due to the very slippy nature of the rock. We threw in the towel and very gingerly came back down the gully. That is probably my last time in Easy Gully. The scree in the throat is very loose, the chock stones are impossible to climb (without a rope) in such conditions.
New Ascent Route
The red dots show our "new" way up Pavey Ark, "Ratcliffe's Rake" suggested Ed. There was a little temptation to go up Jack's Rake, but after the drama of Easy Gully, we all decided to play it safe.
Peter climbs Pavey Ark
Me and Peter on Pavey Ark
Well that's the timetable in the bin. We are now one hour behind schedule. I thought that the other four would have walked out to Thunacar Knott and back, but it seemed that they just pottered about. Very decent of them to stick around.
I invited David Hall on this walk as "Navigator". I sometimes have directional challenges in the mist on lumpy, bumpy fells, so it was good to have David and John on board in case of any problems. The top of Bright Beck offers us a high level route to Blea Rigg (centre). Sergeant Man is out of sight on the left and Pavey Ark is on the right.
Pavey Ark - North Rake
This photos shows well the North Rake route up Pavey Ark, the top of which is shown.
Bob Eaves, me, Peter, Neil Haslewood, Rod Hepplewhite, David Hall and Ed Harrison. Simon took the photo. My hat plan failed. I brought my cold and wet weather hat, but should be wearing my fine weather cap.
Off to Silver How
Passing Lang How
I thoroughly enjoy Lakeland walking, what a bonus that the weather had not turned out as expected. Lang How (right, out of sight) is a "Birkett" apparently. My loyalties are 100% to Wainwright, I cannot imagine "Birketting". I'll happily climb any hilltop anywhere, but no more lists! Stoke City, Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers (urghh!), Burnley.
The man on the skline is Neil Haslewood.
You can see our intended route up LF. Dave Dimmock is already there and Simon Howard has joined him. Simon has been taking part in some event for trail runners.
Peter Ratcliffe on Silver How
Peter hasn't got a list, but if he ever does start one, we can use my notes and photos and his memory to work out which fells he has done.
Hunting Stile Pass
One of the routes between Grasmere and Langdale. Loughrigg Fell is off to the right, Silver How is on the left.
The far distant peak is Great Calva. Wainwright describes the ascent from Red Bank to Loughrigg Fell summit as a "Sunday afternoon stroll" - this is all that stands between me and the completion of my Lakeland fellwalking ambition.
Climbers on Loughrigg Fell
Me on top of Loughrigg Fell
The completion of Book Three and the 214th of Wainwright's Fells as featured in the Pictorial Guides. Mr.Dimmock is behaving furtively behind the trig, what's this all about? Simon had presented me with a trophy and a medal. The BHF t-shirt is indicitive of my fundraising effort - it's not too late!
Thwaites Wainwright Ale
Dave presents me a bottle of beer. Fantastic! Apparently if we'd been much later, the bottle would have been empty. We are still one hour behind schedule, which suggests my timings were quite accurate, but the adventure on Pavey Ark cost us about 60 minutes.
The weather forecast, more than the weather itself, had kept numbers down. I feared an ugly mess of loitering tourists up here, but there were very few others about, one of which took this photo.
The plan had been to walk down to Ambleside and catch the 516 bus back to Langdale. However, Simon Howard offered to escort us back to Elterwater Village, where his car could take the drivers back to the start point.
Bob is a Roadsign Spotter, he was delighted to find this example of a "Sheep on the Road" sign. Non-standard height and excellent backdrop.
It is a privilege to be able to walk on the Lakeland Fells. Challenges remain, this is the end of nothing, just the reaching of a milestone. Repeated thanks to all the sponsors, JustGiving money is already with the BHF, as far as I am aware; cash donations will be summed up and I will send a cheque along with other cheques to the charity in due course. A final total will be announced in about a month's time.
Addendum: Total reached £1,250 and the fund was closed. It was good to put something back!
Walkers: David Hall, John Paterson, Neil Haslewood, Dave Dimmock, Rod Hepplewhite, Bob Eaves, Ed Harrison, Peter Ratcliffe, Simon Baldwin and me. Simon Howard joined us on Loughrigg Fell.
Time taken: 8hrs 40 mins over a distance of about 11 miles. It was slow progress on Easy Gully / Pavey Ark - a lot of time over a very short distance. I'm waiting for others to help confirm the distance.
Route: New Dungeon Ghyll car park, Stickle Ghyll, Stickle Tarn, Easy Gully (in and out), "new" ascent route up Pavey Ark, Bright Beck, Blea Rigg, Silver How, Loughrigg Fell, Elterwater Common.
Weather and conditions: Overcast, light rain early on. Brightening towards the end.
Greetings Count: The first chap we met in Stickle Ghyll gave us all a beaming welcome. He was with his young son. It was generally quiet and there is something to be said for poor weather in June, if only for keeping the numbers down.
Richard's Refreshment Review: I'm one of those who probably couldn't organise a booze up in a brewery. I thought we might have had tea and cake in Ambleside whilst waiting for a bus, but not to worry.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2011 ©
My Message Board was down for a while, these folk have left these comments elsewhere:
I'll leave it to Richard to describe the day in detail but here are my pictures
of Richard's walk yesterday as a large group of us walked from New Dungeon Gill
via Pavey Ark, Blea Rigg, Silver How and finishing on Loughrigg Fell.
A lousy weather forecast proved to be unduely pessimistic and we stayed largely
dry and certainly warm on a lomg and interesting linear walk in good company.
And much money was raised for Richard's chosen charity!
Thanks to all who took part - it was an enjoyable day.
Enjoy the pictures.
Congratulations Richard. enjoyed the photos and the chance to put faces to
Hopefully Sian and I can join you in the 214 club next month.
A good report. You asked about distance covered etc. I wasn't carrying my GPS
but drawing out the route on Memory Map the distance came to 9 miles. But drawn
routes on Memory Map tend to underestimate by 10% or so because you don't cover
all the "wiggles". So I'd say you did 10 miles or a bit more given your
unplanned diversion. Memory Map also shows 3,400 ft of ascent so you will have
done over 3,500 feet, given your ascent and descent of Easy Gully.
Congratulations on your 214 and well done for boosting the Heart Foundations
funds. Your weather could have been better but it wasn't as bad as on Jo's 214!
A great walk despite Easy Gully being a little less than easy! Slightly envious
that you have got the last one out of the way and are now free!!!!
My version of yesterday...the opportunity to spend an hour or two on my own
exploring the quiet slopes and gullies between Blea Knott and Silver How saw me
leave the main group as they headed for Pavey Ark.
My search for wildlife in the area was not fruitless, a few songbirds offered
themselves for photo's, I spotted a buzzard perched in some rocks and tracked
carefully towards it only for it to spot me and zoom away just as I was ready to
zoom the camera. A little owl was noted and I moved even more carefully, nearing
it I lay concealed in some sodden and smelly grass, taking careful aim I took a
perfect pic of...an owl shaped rock! Ah well such is the fortune of the wildlife
My intention was to meet the group at Silver How and continue the journey
onwards, a call from Richard alerted me to the drama in Easy Gully and
subsequent delay so I decided to continue alone and be ready to greet the team
on Loughrigg Fell.
Simon Howard was on his way up the fell from Elterwater and we met up on the
summit and checked periodically for a sight of the group en-route from Silver
We were able to get a few pix as Richard neared the summit, finally the
celebrations could begin as he completed his 214th Wainwright Fell. A few
presentations and some classic trig shot poses later we headed to Elterwater,
Simon very kindly ferried our drivers of the day back to Langdale.
A grand achievment Richard, well done mate.
All the best
Well done! It looks like you had a rather eventful day! At least you can
take it a bit easier now in Lakeland!!
Congratulations, Richard! Glad to see the weather wasn't as bad as forcast and
that you all had a good time. Well done on raising so much money for the BHF -
Well done on completing your 214! It looked like a great day and a mighty fine
well done to all those who supported you. It was great your brother and old
chums supported you and that your many family, friends and comrades in the OFC
were able to support you to well over your target £500 for the British Heart
I heartily support your next project of, 'adventures on the flanks of fells'.
I've been quoted elsewhere, but mountains deserve a greater investigation and
nowadays it's my R.B Evans scrambling guides et al which I peruse before my AW.
Imagine Lakeland is virgin territory and you're an RGS sponsored exploration!
Keep up the good work and don't forget Pendle!
Congratulations on completing your wainwright 214,looks like a great walk aven
if the weather was not brilliant.
Dennis and Jackie (Page)
Many congratulations on finally getting to that magical 214! As you
say there is now plenty of time to discover other parts of the Lake
District. It was good to see that the weather was not as bad as
forecast. BTW, how do I make a contribution to your BHF effort?
Congratulations from me too, and welcome to the 214 club. Glad the weather was
kind to you after all.
All the best...Liz (Lemal)