Date & Time: Saturday 30th June 2007. 10.45 am start. ( NY 350 350 )
Location of Start : Roadside parking near Carrock Beck, Northern Fells, Cumbria, Uk.
Places visited : Carrock Beck, Dry Gill valley, High Pike, Driggith Mines and back.
Walk details : 4.75 mls, 1325 ft of ascent , 2 hrs 30 mins.Highest point : High Pike 2,157 ft ( 658 m )
Walked with : Jo Hall, John Paterson, Ann and all five dogs.
Weather : Not promising good weather . . . and living up to expectations !
Another gentleman was venturing out onto High Pike at the same time as us.
Jo wanted to climb High Pike in order to complete another of her un-climbed Wainwright peaks.
The original plan was to ascend Carrock Fell via a path that climbs through the crags in the right half of this photo. From the top we would visit the rugged summit with it's ancient hill fort, walk the ridge to High Pike and return by the mine road to our start. However, due to the poor weather forecast, we decided to pass on Carrock Fell and just do a direct ascent of High Pike instead.
We could always extend the walk to include Carrock if the weather improved.
The small ford as the Carrock Beck crosses the minor road. The water level is up, but not bad considering the rain we've had.
Believe it or not, the slope ahead is marked on the map as Sunny Bank, the southern facing slope of West Fell. I don't think it is living up to it's name today !
Although the weather looks bad further up, it was only specking with rain at this point and waterproofs were not really needed.
The slopes of Carrock Fell ridge above us were disappearing into the cloud,
but this valley route was giving us protection from the poorer weather.
The Carrock Beck valley has had a very industrial past, being the site of much mining over the years.
The first sign of any mine buildings was this collapsed wall and concrete base alongside the path. In the background, the first of the Driggith Mine spoil heaps.
We decided to follow up the side valley of Dry Gill, using an old track way past more overgrown spoil heaps.
Jo and Ann walking up the valley side once the track ended.
The valley was much deeper than it looked from a distance and the weather was getting poorer as we climbed.
As we climbed up and out of the valley, High Pike was hidden in the mist but the track ahead was obvious.
Our path crossed the Cumbria Way (which for some reason seemed to avoid the summit) but we proceeded no more than a quarter of a mile uphill till the recognisable top of High Pike came into view.
Wainwright's Northern Fells book notes a number of features on this seemingly bare, flat topped, grassy fell.
At the time of his visit in 1960 there was a wrought iron park bench which he found most comfortable, but just a year later, on his next visit, it had been replaced by this slate bench. Both were dedicated to the memory of Mick Lewis who died in 1944 aged just 16yrs old. A second bronze plaque is dedicated to his mother who died in 1970.
The summit also boasted a stone Trig Point, a low stone shelter and a ruined shepherd's hut just a little further north.
Today it also boast three happy walkers and five wet dogs.
( Move your cursor over the photo to make them smile.)
The old trig point now has a new plaque on its top, placed there by Caldbeck Parish Council in the Millennium Year 2000.
We dropped down east from the summit and soon reach the top of the Driggith Mine complex.
This linear depression may have been as a result of excavations, or more likely the collapse of an underground tunnel.
The mine has produced Copper and lead in it's time but was last working in the 1930's when the miners were extracting barytes.
The Carrock Fell mine in the next valley was also famous for reserves of Tungsten, the only known British supply outside Devon and Cornwall.
Very little of the mine is now left intact, and so identifying what everything was proved very difficult.
The Carrock Fell mine in Mosedale, the other side of the valley, was bulldozed flat and landscaped in 1980.
Maybe this site was cleared at the same time ?
The weather was closing in as we made our way down and our summit mist had developed into more consistent rain.
Still it didn't put off our intrepid explorers !
We delayed eating our lunch till we got back to the car, then decided to adjourn to the Mill Inn to appreciate the finer 'pints' of life.
Is that condensation from the warm room, or just plain raindrops on the lens ?
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon G7 Digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a mine history book, possibly printed on waterproof paper.
Previous walk - 27th June 2007 Rannerdale for a Sunny Evening Walk
A previous time up here - sorry no archive photos on line for this one.