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Snowdonia Peaks

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Blencathra Via Sharp Edge 21-6-2014

Another last minute decision, and I mean last minute, as at 10.45am we were lazing about having just finished breakfast and wondering what to do. I had sort of planned a few bits and pieces around the house but feeling rather lazy they were put on the back burner, again!. I have done Sharp Edge on Blencathra a few times before and Jill has done it twice before, once in perfect conditions where we both felt completely at ease and the other time where the cloud and drizzle came in to make it a bit more difficult. Now this is where Jill got a couple of collywobbles and it took a bit longer than we expected and she made the decision that she wanted to do it again when the conditions were right to put any fear behind her, so with the week leading up to Saturday being dry, warm and sunny it seemed an ideal opportunity to take the fear away. So it was just gone 12 noon that we set off up North and we were parked and booted and ready to go at at 2pm. Not bad going as the motorways were very quiet and we stopped off at one of the best service stations on the motorway, West Moorland Farm Shop, for a couple of pieces of homemade pie, lovely :-)
The day started in good warm sunny weather and was quite a hot walk up from the small car park down the single track lane as we followed Comb Beck through the valley to reach the paths junction at the base of Souther Fell. It was then a quite easy relaxed walk along a good path to the base of Scales Beck before a climb up by the beck to Scales Tarn where some kids were enjoying a cooling swim!
Our route for the day
Good path on the way up
Looking back down on the car park
First sight of Sharp Edge
Steps alongside Scales Beck
Scales Tarn with happy swimmers
After a brief rest while watching the swimmers it was time for the last pull up and get on the ridge. The wind had picked up slightly but not enough to put any doubts in our minds. Sharp Edge has a reputation of a fearsome ridge walk/scramble and extra care must always be given. There are in places some highly polished rock that can be lethal in bad weather but can also be tricky in good dry weather like today was. All in all though, we were feeling in good high spirits. We got to the starting point and had decided to tackle it head on, straight onto the ridge from the off. There is a path that can be used that takes you almost two thirds of the way before you have to head on the the last bit of the ridge which can come in use if you need to turn back or in really bad weather it gets too much at the start. Today was going to be awesome :-)

Sharp Edge
Here we go then
Jill doing well
Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy :-)
Scales Tarn below
Top of Sharp Edge conquered
Sharp Edge
Go girl :-)
A very blue looking Scales Tarn far below
It was very quiet up there today and apart from when we were on the last 100 yards or so, we had the ridge to ourselves. It really was a great playground but although the weather had been very kind to us upto now, very little wind, warmish sunshine and blue skies, when we topped out on to Foule Crag and the walk along the plateau to the summit of Blencathra, the wind had picked up and there was quite a bite to it as well as a lot of rather large dull looking clouds rolling in. It had changed in an instant and it was feeling rather chilly and we had no hat or gloves with us. One thing I always keep in my pack but in the rush to pack I took them out and left them behind. How I wish I had them!! Although the whole intention of today was just to get over Sharp Edge, I did have in mind a small detour to take us off Foule Crag and back down the valley next to White Horse Bent but as the weather had taken a turn for the worse we decided to head off the summit after taking shelter and a bite to eat after a good rest taking in the views before heading down over Scales Fell and back to the car. As luck would have it the sun and warmth came back out again as we neared the car park which made for a great end to a great afternoon "doing Sharp Edge"
A very cool and windy summit
Dark clouds gathering over the fells
A gloomy outlook over Derwent Water & Bassenthwaite
Sheltered dinner spot
Dinner :-)
Across to Sharp Edge and Scales tarn
Sun comes back out over a distant sharp Edge
Looking down to the car park bathed in sunshine
 Another great day out that started in good clear warm sunshine but became rather dull, windy and very cool on the summit but clearing up and becoming warm as we were on the final approach back to the car. The best part about it being that Jill had got over the collywobbles and put the fear of her second attempt behind her. Will she do it again????

Video of Sharp Edge


Sunday, 8 June 2014

Snowdonia Peaks

Just a short video of some of the high peaks in Snowdonia National Park. Enjoy :-)

Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Langdale Pikes 31-5-2014

Well another last minute decision led me north and a venture into a great area of the lake District, the Langdale Valley and the Langdale Pikes. The last time I was in this area was about three years ago camping at the NT Campsite where we had a good walk across the otherside of the valley over Bowfel and the Crinckle Crags. This time was just a day visit as I had wanted to see what was on offer across the valley. I wasn't disappointed.
My route for the day
An early start saw me parked up at the NT car park next to the Sticletarn Pub and ready to go at 8.15am. I followed the Stickle Ghyll all the way up to Stickle Tarn where the imposing Pavey Ark with the infamous Jakes rake looms large. There was also one or two wild campers about taking advantage of the warm and calm conditions.
First of many small waterfalls along the way
Looking back down the valley with a distant Windermere
Pavey Ark across Stickle Tarn. Jakes Rake goes diagonally across the centre of the Ark
Harrison Stckle, Pavey Ark & wild campers at Stickle Tarn
The weather at this time was quite overcast but warm with little wind, quite ideal really as upto now it was a fairly steep ascent right from the car park to the tarn. After a rest I took a faint path that leads over to the crags of Blea Rigg. This way takes you away from most other people, although apart from the campers and a few people who looked like they were going to tackle Jakes Rake, I was on my own for most of this walk. My second objective was Sergeant Man, a rocky summit on the way to High Raise, the highest point in the central fells of Lakeland.
Cloudy conditions over the fells
Looking down on Codale Tarn & Easdale Tarn from the Blea Rigg path
On the path to the distant Sergeant Man
Look back down to Stickle Tarn
Sergeant Man summit on the right with a distant Windermere
High Raise summit trig & shelter
Low White Stones summit with High Raise in the background
 After a bite to eat at High Raise it was off across the grassy plateau back towards Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle and the other peaks that make up the Langdale Pikes. This plateau is quite wide, grassy and quite boggy in the peat areas, although at this time was quite dry as not much rain had fallen in recent weeks. The path is eratic at times but basically follows a line straight to the Pikes. Ok in clear weather but I guess quite difficult in misty claggy weather. There is a small cairn about to thirds of the way on Thunacar Knott that I missed by about 20 yards as I made my way along the track. It is the highest point on the plateau but is easily missed. As you approach the Pikes the ground becomes more rocky and starts to resemble a more mountain feel to the place. The views had become more clear at this stage as the sun was beginning to burn of all the low lingering clouds. It was also becoming a lot warmer.
I left High Raise summit as the sun and sky became more clear
Path across the plateau to the Pikes
Long grassy plateau
Pavey ark on the left & Harrison Stickle on the right
View from Pavey Ark Summit of Stickle Tarn
View back to high raise with Thunacar Knott in the foreground on the left
Rocky top of Pavey Ark
Harrison Stickle
Harrison Stickle Summit
Next summit, Pike of Stickle
Pike of Stickle or a cherry topped muffin ;-)
Summit view back to Harrison Stickle and Loft Crag
View across the valley to the big fells of, Bowfel, The Scafells and the Gables
Next and final summit was Loft Crag before I headed off down the path besides Dungeon Ghyll and back to the car. A nice refreshing drink in the Stickletarn before I headed off home in now bright and very warm sunshine with a quick stop off in Ambleside for an ice-cream and one last look at the boats in the marina. A nice end to a great day
Loft Crag summit with Harrison Stickle as a backdrop
View down to the Langdale Campsite
View backup the Ghyll to Loft Crag and Pike of Stickle
On the decent path with Windermere in the distance
Langdale campsite in the trees
A view of my ascent path earlier in the day
Stickletarn pub with the Langdale Pikes as the backdrop
Ambleside Marina
Ambleside Marina
Another great day out in great weather in this popular but not too popular corner f the Lake District. Thanks go out to Richard off the WALKERS FORUM for the heads up on the route and another place that is certainly worth another visit in the future.