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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Esk Valley 29-6-2012

Friday saw me going back up to the Lake District and meeting friends off the Walking Forum for a trip around the Esk Valley. The intention was to follow the river Esk from Brotherilkeld Farm at the bottom of the Hardknott Pass and make our way on to Scafell and Slight Side. Unfortunately it didn't quite turn out as we had planned as the weather took a turn for the worse when we got to the col between Scafell & Scafell Pike and also a member of our party wasn't feeling to good at this point. A decision was made and we split into two groups, one party carried on to bag the summits and the rest of us decided to head back down the way we had come. The weather wasn't wet, but there was a strong wind blowing and it was quite misty. Everyone was safe and OK and all got down in one piece. It was another fantastic day in another area that I have not been before but will hopefully go back in clear conditions to make it to the summit.
The day started early as we had planned to meet up at 9-9.30am. The drive was fine and I was soon at Ambleside where I was to take the most scenic of drives along the Wyrnose Pass and the Hardknott Pass Luckily there seemed to be only myself and a few sheep on the pass at this time in the morning, about 8.30ish, so I took my time and took a few photo's

The weather seemed to be smiling on us as we set off as it was quite warm with just a small breeze and no rain, which considering the past days and weeks was very welcome.

We were soon walking beside the river on good paths through the fields as we made our way to Esk Falls and the Lingcove Bridge

After all the recent rain the going under foot up to here was very good. It was to get fairly wet later on but certainly not knee deep in mud or anything!. The falls were certainly looking in good form

Gaining height as we made our way through the bracken, the views started to open up with a bit of cloud cover on the highest fells

As we got to the top of the falls we found ourselves in an open area, Great Moss, that was like being in a bowl, with the high fells all around. I was pleasantly surprised by this and although the views were great today, in clear weather it must be a truly awesome sight.

Certainly see where this area gets it's name from as it was in places very mossy and quite boggy. One or two miss placed steps and down you went :-)
We made our way round, following the river, and came under the impressive looking Cam Spout Crag
As we wanted to be on the other side of the river, to follow our route that was to take us up along the Cam Spout,

we had to find a safe enough crossing.

As we didn't have a makeshift bridge with us we had to improvise............

Well it was such a lovely day we had to take a dip at some point :-)
After messing about in the river we headed upwards and the view back down into the valley opened up below

We decided to have a lunch stop next to the waterfalls and there's not many open air cafes like this place. A wonderful setting with great views

 After about half an hour it was back on track and yet another water crossing. Not as bad as the last one but this was to become a common theme as the day went on. We must of crossed a hundred streams throughout the day

As we started to get higher we entered the cloud base and the wind started to pick up so shelter was taken behind the rocks when ever we came to a stop

We got to the col and the wind here was quite strong as it blows up the gullies

This is where we decided it was best to split up, as I said earlier, as one of the party wasn't feeling too good so we made our plans to meet up a bit later and back we went.

We made our way down and then decided to follow the path at the bottom of the falls that took us underneath Cam Spout Crag and passed Sampsons Stones

Going this way made it more interesting than a straight there and back as we were now on the other side of the river and passing under the the Crags of Silvery Bield and High Scarth and seeing the valley from a different angle

It was quite a straight forward walk back following the wet path with no major obstacles, apart from the odd stream or ten :-)

We all met up at the last of the falls before making the short journey back to the cars through the farm

Looking back at the days walk with the clouds lifting, we decided to have a drink and a chat before we went on our separate ways

On the drive back along the passes I took my time just for another look back here and there and took in the old Hardknott Roman Fort

And also passing the Three Shires Stone that marked the old boundaries of Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmorland.

A quick stop off in Ambleside where the wind was whipping up Windermere

And all that was left was the journey back down the M6 which passed without any delay.
So another great day out in great surroundings with great company.


  1. Great pics mate. Brings back memories of the last (and only!) time I walked in the lakes nearly 20 years ago, up the Scafells. I recognize some of the views.

  2. Thanks JC. There's some great places in the lakes as I've recently found out. You'll have to go again some time. :-)

  3. Superb Andy! What a great record of a tremendous day, it brought it all back for me. Loved as well the pics of going down the road too, weren't the views amazing on the way in before all the walking? It was a bit scary on the top wasnt it with the wind blowing up the gully, it was a shame we didnt have the views once we got near the top. Ah well we ll just have to go back again. I love the desolateness of this way in and will definitely be back. Thank god john and pete were there and knew the way eh?


  4. Thanks Dave. Yeh, will defo be back in clear weather. that road is a great drive but not too sure about it in the wet & dark :-)

  5. Very nice...really must get back to the Lakes when I can!

    1. Cheers Alistair. Must make the effort :-)

  6. Great write up and photos of a memorable day Andy

    Kate (aka Mrs Brandywell!)

    1. Thanks Kate. And thanks to you and John & the dogs for leading us. Great area :-)