Date & Time: 28th August 2006. 1.20 pm start.

Location of Start : Car park beyond Blencathra Centre, Threlkeld, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 302 257 )

Places visited : Glenderaterra Valley, Sinen Gill, Mungrisedale Common, Cloven Stone, Great Calva, Skiddaw House, Guide Stone and back down the valley.

Walk details : 9.75 mls, 2750 ft of ascent , 6 hrs 10 mins.

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : An interesting mix of sunshine and occasional blustery showers. Very windy on Great Calva.

The good car park at the end of the tarmac road.

There was a mixed forecast for weather today as we set off for the infamous Mungrisedale Common, often regarded as the most pointless, at best the "least pointed" of all Wainwright's Fells. Last time we did Mungrisedale it was on a wet, low cloud day and approached from the east underneath the back of Blencathra. It was un-inspiring to say the least.

Today we opted for a southerly approach. It looks taller that way too which may help !

Dramatic skies and fast moving clouds over the north western fells as we start the walk.

The first part of the walk is easy . . . follow the track up the valley.

Lonscale Fell forms a dramatic opposite side to the valley, and Great Calva is seen further ahead.

   
Views of Derwent Water from above the old reservoir tanks.
Sunshine ahead, turning the heathery slopes bright purple.

Roughten Gill, with its ford and slab stone bridge bridge.

Beautifully clear water cascades past the red Rowan tree, giving a classic upland atmosphere.

   
Sinen Beck footbridge.
We turn uphill at the sheepfold, and leave the main track.

The heathery slopes in the centre delight in the name of Burnt Horse.

The ridge leads onto Lonscale on the left and from there it is a long but easy ascent to Skiddaw in the distance.

But not for us . . . we're in search of fame, fortune and Mungrisedale Common !

The view behind is worth turning around for as we climb the grassy uphill slope.

The Central Fells seem to be catching the cloud, but Castlerigg and the local fells here are enjoying good sunshine.

   
Is this the summit cairn ?
No . . . this is it, and the dogs are there first again.

I take it all back . . . what a nice approach, and what a fine summit cairn greeted us at the top.

I'm sure the cairn has grown over the years. It seemed bigger and easier to find than before.

Have all you Wainwrighters been carrying stones up there, was it just that the path was more defined and it led directly to the summit, or was it just the better weather allowed greater visibility to spot it from a distance ?

Looking back six years it probably was similar but has changed shape a little, but then haven't we all !

Ann is pictured here with Holly (our previous retriever) in 2000.

 

Back down the moorland slope to the rock outcrop known as the Cloven Stone, so called presumably because it is split in two like a cow's cloven hoof.

Lovely sunshine and a good place for a little lunch seeing it was gone 3 o'clock.

The cloud over Skiddaw suddenly got lower, and below it was that tell tale greyness that implied rain was on its way.

It definitely looked like it was heading in our direction. Lunch therefore was slightly delayed while we put on our waterproof gear.

A short, sharp shower later and we were back into sunshine,

and on our way again.

Our options were to cross down past this sheepfold and across to the fence line opposite up to Skiddaw house in the trees, and then over to Great Calva, or we could take a more direct approach down to the right from here.

That would lead us across some marshy ground, we would have to cross the infant River Calder, and but it would give us a shorter line to the summit.

The moorland grass didn't look to have too many reed like bog plants, so the direct line it was going to be.

The gentle moorland slopes led down to a reasonably simple crossing of the main river,

achieved by taking it in two goes, one over each of the two smaller tributary stream just above this junction.

There now followed a period of strenuous walking through waist high heather before reaching the sanctuary of the Cumbria Way path.

This wide bridle way skirts under Great Calva on it's journey north, passing this fine, circular sheepfold on the way.

More strenuous walking again as we struck up the slope, following the sheep tracks and small stream indentations that form green access ways up through the purple carpet of heather. The summit was up there somewhere 1200 ft above us. (Note: This was only half the height of the heather we had recently struggled through)

As we climbed towards the ridge the depth of heather decreased making it easier going, but on gaining height and losing the shelter of the ridge

the wind increased significantly, making the climbing more difficult again. It was a long, hard, slow climb for such a seemingly short fell.

Blue skies, white and grey clouds, but a very strong breeze as another squall passed through.

Great Calva has proved a hard climb today.

Down the direct route this time towards Skiddaw House and the Dash Falls track.

Helvellyn stands out in bright sunshine, in stark contrast to the dark foreground.

The descent from Great Calva was helped by following the main path down rather than fighting the heather again.

On reaching the Dash Falls track we turned left and walked across to Skiddaw House over this rather fine and relatively new wooden footbridge.

- - - o o o - - -

Skiddaw House was originally built as a hunting Lodge, but with the demise of deer hunting and grouse shooting it became a Shepherds bothy.

From the 1950's onward it suffered a decline due to non-use until it was adopted by the Youth Hostel Association as a fine remote hostel.

The hostel closed a few years ago, possibly due to the YHA's weird policy of closing remote hostels, possibly though due to the end of it's lease, but it seems there may be plans to re-open it as a independent hostel. We wish them the best.

Find more on Skiddaw House

The building still looks in good shape, and a quad bike and trailer implies someone was looking after it after all.

I wonder what is it's future ?

Answers on a postcard or email please . . . . . to Loweswatercam.co.uk

Ian Sager from Kendal wrote:

Answers please . . . . . to "Loweswatercam.co.uk" . . . . My answer is:-

http://www.skiddawhouse.co.uk/index.php

Thanks Ian, I'm glad it's up and running again . . . Ed

A change of skies again as we leave the old hostel in its lofty position, sheltered by the trees.

Retrospective of Great Calva and our route across the Caldew valley.

The fells behind are Knott and High Pike with sunshine on The Snab, the ridge in the centre.

Evening light now as we make our way back down the Glenderaterra Valley.

The path splits at the Guide Stone, a prominent rock along side the track. One path goes off right and traverses across to Latrigg.

The second, our route, crosses the valley and returns towards Threlkeld.

Re-crossing the Roughten Gill stone bridge means that we have come full circle. It's a mile or so now back to the car.

A parting shot from the car park, as we get back just in time to avoid another blustery shower which swept across our part of the fells.

The last of the evening sun makes a fine display as it shines through a curtain of advancing rain.

 

- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon IXUS 400 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . just a slightly noticeable path through that heather.

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Previous walk - 22nd August 2006 Stoney Cove Pike and the Last of the Hartsops

Previous time in this area - 18th February 2006 Lonscale and Skiddaw in the snow