Category Archives: Wasdale

Penny and Lauren

Middle Fell

Scafell reflected in Wastwater

Scafell reflected in Wastwater

With a very good forecast for Saturday Lauren, Penny and I made a plan to head up Middle Fell. The pager had other ideas and just before we were ready to leave I was called out to attend a collapsed man on Dent. However, the RAF were quick to pick him up and after a short delay we were heading to Wasdale now with Bob as well.

Penny and Lauren

Penny and Lauren


I am sure Lauren deserved it!

I am sure Lauren deserved it!


It was a beautifully still day with snow from around 400m. The south facing slopes of Middle Fell were not frozen and we steadily headed up the ridge towards the summit. Bob wasn’t chatting as much as the rest of us and mananged to get ahead. Meanwhile Ryan took the opportunity to catch up on some sleep on my back. The views up the valley towards Scafell and Scafell Pike were excellent and with low temperatures forcast for the whole week the snow should be well-consolidated by next weekend.

Bob, Lauren, Ryan and me on the summit of Middle Fell with Scafell and Scafell Pike behind

Bob, Lauren, Ryan and me on the summit of Middle Fell with Scafell and Scafell Pike behind

Ryan woke up briefly on the summit for a photo and then snored gently on the descent. There was a slight difference in opinion on the best route down, Lauren wanted to complete the circuit and descend via Greendale Tarn and Bob wanted to retrace our route of assent. Penny and I had the deciding vote and went with Bob, not wanting to push it with Ryan and making sure we had time for a pint at the Horse and Groom.

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Lauren and mark near the top of Easy Gully

Snowy Scafell

The plan was formulated midweek, allow Thursday’s rain to saturate the new snow and then hope that the cooler weather on Thursday and Friday night would freeze it hard enough for climbing on Saturday morning. Whilst things did not go exactly according to plan they were close enough to make it a worthwhile trip.

The steep section of Red Gill, not in condition

The steep section of Red Gill, not in condition

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Isn't he cute?

Illgill Head with Penny, Ryan and Kristen

As we were setting off, Wastwater in the background

As we were setting off, Wastwater in the background

Wasdale Head with Kirkfell and Great Gable behind

Wasdale Head with Kirkfell and Great Gable behind

Kristen is visiting for a few days and with a good forecast we made a plan to head to Wasdale. The idea was to walk up to Burnmoor tarn and then see how Ryan was doing before deciding whether to climb Illgill Head. As it turned out the weather was excellent and Ryan was well wrapped up in his bear suit so we carried on up towards the summit. This is a very good grassy path, that is never too steep, but keeps climbing all the way to the top. The visibility was very good with views in all directions particularly up the valley to Kirk Fell (is it two words?) and Great Gable. We had a stop for lunch in a sheltered patch of heather overlooking Yewbarrow before reaching the top. It was windy but not too cold and with the wind behind us on the way down I turned Ryan round to face out. How many 12 week-old babies get that view of Wasdale?

The team on the summit of Illgill Head with Scafell in the backround

The team on the summit of Illgill Head with Scafell in the backround

Isn't he cute?

Isn't he cute?

Whilst only a minute from the car my pager went off for an injured person on Broad Crag. So I quickly headed up Scafell Pike but thankfully an RAF Helicopter arrived on scene before I reached Hollowstones.
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Needle Ridge after work

Walking up Gavel Neese

Walking up Gavel Neese

Yesterday Mark, Lauren and I were keen to head out and make the most of the last day of fantastic weather. I looked down my climbing ticklists page and came up with the idea of Needle Ridge on Great Gable (V Diff). Mark and Lauren were up for it and we made a prompt departure from school to try and make the most of the daylight. After a quick stop at the Gosforth pie shop we made it to Wasdale Head by 5.

Lauren climbing low on the route

Lauren climbing low on the route

We walked quickly to Gavel Neese and slowed a little on the steeper ground to the traverse path. The views were fantastic and despite a strong breeze it was pleasantly warm. By half past six we were nearly at the base of the needle Continue reading

Cycling – Beckermet & Wasdale

Penny with Lingmell (left), Scafell Pike (centre) and Scafell (right) behind

Penny with Lingmell (left), Scafell Pike (centre) and Scafell (right) behind

We had another beautiful day today and decided to a bit of research for Bex and Estelle’s visit. In other words look at activities that are not too strenuous and have a pub half way round. I know that Steve from West Lakes Adventure hires bikes in Nether Wasdale so we planned a ride from there up to Wasdale Head. Continue reading

Lingmell after Work

Scafell Pike and Scafell from Lingmell Nose

Scafell Pike and Scafell from Lingmell Nose

After finishing at work I drove to Wasdale Head and parked at Brackenclose. It was a beautiful day but quite hazy The wind was cold in exposed locations but was countered by the warmth of the sun. My plan was to climb Lingmell. I went straight up the nose, managing to climb at 15 metres/minute for most of the ascent (I must still be fit from my WML training). The view into hollowstones on my right got better and better, after a while I also got views across to Great Gable and the Napes on my left. It took me one hour and ten minutes to reach the summit where I had a bite to eat and checked in on facebook. Continue reading

Great Gable Circumnavigation

Penny above Styhead Tarn

Penny above Styhead Tarn

On Saturday the prospect of cloud free summits and gentle winds tempted us to head to Wasdale and Great Gable. Penny felt like she had more energy than recently (now 15 weeks pregnant)
and so we decided to walk to Styhead and then make a decision on whether to go for the summit, climb up to Windy Gap and then return via Beck Head or to traverse under the Napes.
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Snow Anchors and Step Cutting in Hollow Stones

The classic view of Wastwater from the top of Brown Tongue

The classic view of Wastwater from the top of Brown Tongue

Today we were keen to continue exercising and I wanted to have a play in the snow to practice building snow anchors. We decided to head to Hollow Stones, between Scafell and Scafell Pike which I assured Penny would only involve a climb to about 600m. Continue reading

Greathall Gill

All week we have had sub-zero temperatures and the fells have looked very inviting. However, I have had to be at work. Mark and I hatched a plan to make an early start on Saturday and to get some winter climbing. The weather had a different idea and on Friday evening it rained heavily in St Bees and put down between 6 inches and a foot of new snow on the fells.

Mark in Greathall Gill with Buckbarrow behind

Mark in Greathall Gill with Buckbarrow behind

Our trouble was getting to somewhere we could access the fells from. At Gosforth the road up to Wasdale was very icy and so we decided to head to Santon Bridge and then to park under Irton Pike and walk up to the top of Greathall Gill and have a look to see if there was anything interesting there.

Me on a short rib out of the gill

Me on a short rib out of the gully

It took over an hour to reach the top of the gully but it contained plenty of snow at the ground was frozen (at least at the top). The guidebook mentions two short icefalls halfway up so we descended on the right of the gill until we were level with the falls. Here we geared up and went to ‘have a look’. There was some ice but also plenty of water so we followed the stream in the bottom of the gill climbing the odd section of easy-angled ice and investigating a few interesting looking side gullys. despite carrying two ropes and a rack we never needed them and enjoyed pottering around.

The impressive icicles

The impressive icicles

Towards the top we spotted an impressive series of icicles which could perhaps make a very steep short climb if they had time to fully form.

Mark starting up the final ramp

Mark starting up the final ramp

To finish we chose a ramp on the right hand side, it was a mixture of snow on rock and snow on turf, the key to feeling secure was to find the turf and avoid the slabby rock.

From the top a one hour walk brought us back to the car. It had not been the ice climbing that we went looking for but was definitely interesting mountaineering, and given the conditions I was happy with the result.

Middle Fell

The fantastic view up the valley

The fantastic view up the valley on the drive in

The snow this morning stopped us going for our planned bike ride. Mark, Jacob and Lauren were headed out for a walk and so we joined them. After a few changes of plan we decided on Middle Fell in Wasdale. The drive was sedate on ungritted roads and at some time after 11 we set off from Greendale.

Jacob above Greendale Beck

Jacob above Greendale Beck

The views of the valley were spectacular, everywhere had received an inch or two of snow last night and as temperatures have been sub-zero for a few days now it had settled. We followed the beck up Greendale towards the tarn. As we gained height the amount of ice in the beck increased and Jacob found it harder to knock the ice off with his axe.

Jacob, Mark, Penny and Lauren in front of Greendale Tarn

Jacob, Mark, Penny and Lauren in front of Greendale Tarn

After a gentle climb we reached the tarn where we took a few photos and then got into Mark’s 4-6 person group shelter (soon to be known as a bivi tent since that’s what WMRT call it). A relaxed lunch followed and Lauren, Penny and I decided to head up to the summit whilst Mark and Jacob would play on the ice and return the way we came. The hot spicy berry cordial was a success.

Penny and me on the summit of Middle Fell

Penny and me on the summit of Middle Fell

The ground was frozen solid and some patches of ice came as a surprise under a covering of snow. However, it was drier than usual passing the partially ice-covered tarn. Once we reached the col between Seatallan and Middle Fell we turned and no longer had the wind on our faces. A further few minutes of gentle ascent saw us at the summit and fantastic views in all directions of the Wasdale valley. On the top we passed Tony and Alison who were doing the reverse of our route.

Lauren and Me on the summit of Middle Fell

Lauren and Me on the summit of Middle Fell, Yewbarrow, Scafell Pike and Scafell behind

The descent was a little slippery and Penny ended up on her bum twice and Lauren had a minor ankle twisting incident when almost down (whist saying how stable she was with two poles). We got back to the car at 14:50 to find Mark and Jacob had been back for half an hour. On the way back the team called into the Doom and Gloom for a pint before then having to stop at Lauren’s for a cup of tea.