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" A Gentle March up Grasmoor "
Date & start time: 1st March 2021. 10.30 am start.
Location of Start : Cinderdale car park, Crummock Water, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 163 193 )
Places visited : Grasmoor, Crag Hill, Wandope, Whiteless Pike, Rannerdale Valley.
Walk details : 8.2 mls, 3,500 ft of ascent, 6 hours.
Highest point : Grasmoor, 2791 ft - 852 m.
Walked with : Martin and the dogs, Dylan and Dougal.
Weather : Sunshine and blue skies, if a little hazy. Occasionally a cool breeze.
© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.
When Martin first moved to the valley and talked about climbing the fells, Grasmoor was his first choice of a summit to climb.
It was winter then and he had not climbed anything, but today the weather promises to be kinder and more suited to our join fellwalking capabilities.
Grasmoor on the first day of March . . . at walk at a sensible pace . . . not a march !
The forecast was for a period of fine weather so Martin and I planned this walk up to the summit of Grasmoor a few days ago.
I awoke, well came to my senses, soon after eight with the sun streaming in through the velux window.
Looking out there was frost on the roof here and the sun was reflected from the frosty white roof of the pod.
The sky was clear and it was going to be a good day.
Time for breakfast and then pack a rucksack for the day.
Today I will include a thermos of coffee, warm gloves and an extra layer of warm clothing despite the forecasted sunshine.
Not one hundred percent visibility today.
The hazy conditions were particularly evident when looking in the sun as we arrived at Cinderdale car park to start the walk.
Mellbreak as seen from just above our Cinderdale car parking area.
A gentle drone builds to a mild crescendo as a Hercules Aircraft slowly wings its way up the valley.
High Ling Crag is shown as 50 metres above Low Ling, which makes the aircraft barely 100m (330 ft) above the water.
Looking away from the sun, the colours show through with a lot more clarity.
We can still see the cars below and now Loweswater, Carling Knott and Burnbank Fell can be seen away to the north west.
It always seem longer than I remember to get to the small Holly tree above the car park,
but I always try and stop to get a picture of the dogs at this rather nice viewpoint.
The first named summit is the outlier of Lad Hows, seen here as we progress on our way up the fell.
As we climb our compensation is the ever widening view across the high fells of Cumbria.
As we walk above the Whiteless Pike summit, the central fells appear including the highest of them all, Scafell Pike.
The path brings us out on the flat and barren summit of Grasmoor at nearly 2,800 feet above sea level.
It is less than a quarter of a mile walk along the high ground before we find ourselves at the summit cairn.
To one side there's a secondary cairn and a separate, open walled shelter
which would give us nice protection from the slightly cool breeze during our lunch time stop.
While Martin takes his pack off, I walk back to the top to look around . . . at the full circular view.
The flat topped nature of Grasmoor is very obvious in this panorama. It would be a wild place in winter conditions !
A rather nice place . . . "lunch with a view".
Afterwards we took the opportunity to walk down from the summit towards the top of the west facing Grasmoor Crags,
something I've never done before.
The spectacular view across to the Gasgale Crags, as we walk down the ridge.
The view ahead towards Loweswater . . . It doesn't look very far to the end of this spur.
We pass one cairn . . .
. . . and then another . . .
. . . till we finally reach the edge of the precipice.
Not a good place if you suffer from vertigo.
. . . but a lovely viewpoint if you have a zoom lens.
The three cars are in the Lanthwaite Green car park, next to Lanthwaite Farm.
Lifting the camera up slightly we can see the cottage, the red phone box and the Vicarage that Martin and Shelagh are renting.
The rains of recent days have also filled all three "Puffin Tarns" in the fields between Gillerthwaite and Muncaster House.
Such a peaceful view.
That was until a Typhoon roars up the valley, skimming over the houses close to Loweswater.
The final echoes of the jet have faded and it is time to turn around and start our walk back up to the summit.
This slope seems a lot steeper on the way up than it did on the way down !
[ We did, however, leave our rucksacks at the summit so the walking is easier.]
Back to the second cairn on the ridge.
It is still a good hike back up to the top from the first cairn we passed earlier.
A new viewpoint bagged, rucksacks retrieved, time to move on.
We are not totally alone . . . there have been several couples and this chap walking along the top today.
An un-named cairn on the minor summit as we walk across towards Crag Hill.
The view down the Coledale Valley and across to Skiddaw.
Grisedale Pike is to the left but Ullock Pike, Longside Edge and Carlside merge into the bulk of the higher fell behind.
A welcome pool of water (for the dogs) at the crossroads of Wandope Moss.
Left takes you to Coledale Hause, right will find you heading down towards Whiteless Pike . . . we're heading straight on towards Crag Hill.
Another steady climb . . . the second summit but the third climb of the day !
It's not far . . . follow the cairns.
We climb above the summit of Wandope to our right.
I don't remember all these cairns . . . one of them must be the summit.
Yes . . . the taller square one . . . the pillar that is, not Martin.
The trig point is missing the brass plug off the top, but it means I have a secure location for my coffee cup.
No chance of knocking that off accidentally.
Martin enjoys the view east over Causey Pike.
It was a great view all round so I took a photo for you.
The next object of desire . . . Wandope summit . . . we're heading down now.
As the sun drops slightly it makes the many ridges stand out in beautiful relief.
The Knott Rigg / Ard Crags ridge is followed by, Scope End, Catbells and Maiden Moor, Bleaberry and High Seat,
then over to Helvellyn, with Catstycam, the sharper triangular peak beyond . . . what a great view today.
There is an optical illusion that makes Scafell seem higher than it's higher neighbour Scafell Pike even though it is 14m (45ft) lower.
Scafell Pike is the last but one on the ridge on the left.
The climb to summit number three completed as we stand on the top of Wandope.
The path takes us down Whiteless Edge.
In the background we could make out our ascent route up the Lad Hows spur, climbed earlier in the day.
Downhill all the way, apart from the ups . . . Martin climbs the final ascent towards Whiteless Pike.
Summit number four . . . Whiteless Pike.
This is a strange summit, more impressive from below than it is when you arrive from the Wandope direction.
Looking down on the Newlands Pass road that crosses the side of High Snockrigg on its way towards Keswick.
As we descend the number of ridges we can see gradually reduces . . .
. . . till we just have one, Ard Crags.
To the left is the distinctive craggy summit of Causey Pike . . . but that can be walked another day !
We reach the hause at the head of the Squat Beck Valley, often called the Rannerdale Valley.
As my companion has already climbed Rannerdale on a previous occasion we'll pass on a fifth summit today.
Squat Beck is eventually joined by Rannerdale Beck as we reach the famous 'bluebell' fields of the valley.
After being the shade of the high Rannerdale crags we emerge into the sunshine once more.
Looking back as the afternoon sunshine really brightens the browns of the winter bracken.
This fine winter weather is the only time bracken really looks nice !
Grasmoor seen from the bluebell fields.
The half mile walk down the ridge to the edge of the Grasmoor crags means a lot more now that we've actually done it ourselves.
Ahead is Crummock Water and the Cinderdale car parks . . . a welcome sight after a great walk.
It has been a cloudless blue sky all day
and as we leave the fells the low sun casts near horizontal rays across the valley, highlighting the face of Rannerdale Knotts.
Eight miles plus and three and a half thousand feet of climbing . . . should sleep well tonight.
I know the dogs certainly will.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures generally taken with my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a larger thermos to allow coffee on two summits out of the four.
Previous walk - 27th February - Hen Comb - 'Dressed Crab'
A previous time up here - 18th March 2012 - Whiteless, Wandope and Grasmoor
Next walk - 17th March - The Matterhorn and the Pine