High Tove

Saturday, 31 May 2014
2130ft/650m ascent
Wainwright #151, #152, #153, #154 & #155

Tove, noun
1) A Scandinavian female name (occasionally male).
2) A fictional creature created by Lewis Carroll (frequently “slithy”).
3) High Tove, a mountain in the Lake District (“shockingly wet” and “without any redeeming feature”).

We read the warnings in the Wainwright’s guidebook, but set out anyway to walk the ridge that separates Thirlmere from Derwent Water.  The photograph shows three perplexed fell walkers gazing over the ‘tove’ trying to spot a slightly less soggy route through the mire.  We encountered few other walkers on this route, and two of them had been in over their knees in the swamp.

Pat and Jim joined us as we walked from Ashness Bridge, gently climbing to Walla Crag (1243ft/379m) with extensive views of Skiddaw (3054ft/931m), Blencathra (2848ft/868m), Derwent Water and the fells beyond.

Walla CragBorrowdale

From this point onwards the ground got progressively wetter as we climbed for Bleaberry Fell (1936ft/590m) and then the highest hill on the walk – High Seat (1995ft/608m).

Bassenthwaite LakeHigh Seat from Armboth FellBlencathraThe View West

We spent the next two hours in an amusing stroll through the marshes of High Tove (1690ft/515m) and Armboth Fell (1572ft/479m) stopping when Pat and Jim (keen amateur naturalists) pointed out an interesting plant or moth.  (Once a tiny feature has been pointed out, you start noticing it everywhere).

Grange FellWatendlath

Leaving High Tove behind us we walked down an increasingly dry path to Watendlath and a cup of tea to celebrate our dry feet.  By now the sun was bright and warm and the walk back provided some fabulous views of Derwent Water.

Lodore WoodsDerwent WaterSkiddawSunshine Us


From the National Trust car park at NY269197.

High Seat Route


High Pike (Caldbeck)

Friday, 23 May 2014
1650ft/500m ascent
Trail 100 #37
Wainwright #145 & #146

A poor weather forecast with high winds made us abandon the walk we had planned and go for a less craggy route in the far North of the Lake District.  The Caldbeck Fells are wild, have few visitors and are scarred with the remains of intensive mining.

We set off (typically) by walking straight up the hill following a steep ravine. Very pretty with views towards Ullswater and occasional trees sprouting from the crags.

The Route UpTree on a Crag

However, as we neared the top of the hill we disappeared into the mist which would remain with us for the rest of the ridge walk.Disappearing in to the Mist

I enjoy the challenge of navigating with map and compass without being able to ‘cheat’ by using visual clues; and today we managed to follow our chosen route over Carrock Fell (2,175ft/663m), Round Knott (1,978ft/803m), Miton Hill (1,991ft/607m) and High Pike (2,159ft/658m).  I did use a GPS to confirm our location on two occasions.Carrock Fell 2Carrock Fell 1

The summit of Carrock Fell was an Iron Age hill fort and the remains of the stone walls cover the plateau.  They looked eerie in the mist.  The terrain between Carrock Fell and High Pike is boggy and covered with a scattering of small pools.

High PikeThe summit of High Pike has three features: a stone bench, a trig point and a stone shelter where we ate our lunch.  The view from the bench at the top is supposed to be wonderful.  We didn’t see anything as we sat and ate our sandwiches in the cloud.

Great View on a Clear DayWe rejoined the miners track and quickly dropped below the cloud.  Now able to see, we walked passed the old mine shafts and huge piles of debris; discarded piles of stone and brightly coloured gashes in the green grass covered hill.


Dropping Below the CloudsOld Mine Shaft

Back at the road we walked across Caldbeck Common, stopping to chat to the sheep and ponies.  No apples, so we couldn’t feed them.  We crossed the stream by the bridge, and walked back to the car with a splendid view of Little Mell Fell (height), Great Mell Fell (height), Gowbarrow Fell (height) and Place Fell (height).

Carrock Fell and Howthwaite StoneTalking to More AnimalsBaaaOn a BridgeGreat Mell Fell and Place Fell


Starting at the road (NY354337).

High Pike Route


We’ve done a lot of walking in the first four months of 2014, and we only need six more Lakeland fells to hit our Wainwright target.

There are only seven 3,000ft summits in England and Wales we haven’t climbed, and as these are all in the same Welsh mountain range we have a plan to do them all in one huge trek.

Which just leaves twenty-seven more hills in our Trail 100 list.  We’re off to South Wales next to climb some more of these.  Neither of us have walked in this part of the country before .. both looking forward to some new scenery.

Bowfell & Crinkle Crags

Saturday, 19 April 2014
9.8 miles/15.7km
4450ft/1357m ascent
Trail 100 #33
Wainwright #141 & #142

Another glorious day and we drove to the Langdale valley arriving before it got too busy. Crinkle Crags (2,818ft/859m) and Bowfell (2,959ft/902m) are often walked together and our plan is add a couple more mountains; Pike O’Blisco (2,313ft/705m) and Cold Pike (2,300ft/701m) to the route.

Pike of StickleLangdale Pikes

It was still cold as we set off past a small wood up the slopes of Pike O’Blisco.  This is a pretty mountain with a distinctive stepped summit and a great view of the Langdale Pikes across the valley.

From the top of Pike O’Blisco you can see Wetherlam (2,503ft/763m) and the hills we climbed a few days ago and all of our route for today.  The knobbled ridge of Crinkle Crags getting closer with each step.

Pike O'Blisco Summit

A quick descent to Red Tarn and then back up to Cold Pike on the opposite side of the col. Although only a short detour from the busy main path, Cold Pike was a quiet place to stop for a snack.

Cold Pike SummitBowfell from Crinkle Crags

Re-joining the busy ridge route over Crinkle Crags we followed the stony path as it winds, rising and falling over each of the crinkles that give this mountain its name.  We did go over the Bad Step, but forgot to take any photographs.

Crinkle Crags and BowfellScafell and Scafell Pike

With tired legs we arrived at the foot of the eroded scree covered path to the top of Bowfell. The top of this very popular mountain was so crowded that each rock had someone standing on it, like a group of meerkats shoulder to shoulder trying to catch a glimpse of the view; and the view of the Scafell Pikes was magnificent.

Pike O'Blisco

Turning our backs on Bowfell and Crinkle Crags we walked back down to the valley via The Band looking at the sun shining on Pike O’ Blisco and Pike of Stickle (2,326ft/709m).


From the Old Dungeon Ghyll car park (NY287061)

Bowfell Route


Monday, 14 April 2014
11.4 miles/18.3km
2730ft/831m ascent
Wainwright #131, #132, #133, #134 & #135

A rounded grass covered hill in the Lake District is called a Dodd, and the Northern end of the Helvellyn range is a series of this type of hill.  The start of the walk follows a track with views of Great Mell Fell (2,480ft/756m) and the huge sculpted mass of Blencathra (2,848ft/868m).

Great Mell FellBlencathra

The Northern-most hill of the ridge is Clough Head (2,382ft/726m) which has a stunning view of the Northern, Central and North Western fells, from the top it is possible to see Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwent Water and Thirlmere, and the distant Coniston fells and Scafell Pikes, while to the North, Blencathra and Skiddaw (3,054ft/931m) dominate.

SkiddawBlencathra 2

The most amazing view is the stacked tiers of mountains to the West.

Clough Head Summit

From Clough Head we followed the ridge South across Great Dodd (2,812ft/857m), Watson’s Dodd (2,589ft/789m) and Stybarrow Dodd (2,766ft/843m) before turning East to Hart Side (2,480ft/756m).

Great Dodd

DoddsHart Side

There is a distinctly different feeling to the rounded gentle grass covered slopes of the Dodds, compared to the craggy ridges of Helvellyn where we were walking yesterday.


The final stretch of the route is a decent through increasingly wet and boggy ground and then a disheartening uphill walk along the road back to the car.


From the car park at High Row (NY380219)

Great Dodd Route


Sunday, 13 April 2014
3395ft/1035m ascent
Trail 100 #29
3000ft #19 & #20
Wainwright #128, #129 & #130

We set off alongside Glenridding Beck and passed a group of foreign visitors leaving the Youth Hostel, they pointed at the low clouds and asked if we expected to see anything from the top. Fortunately for us the wind quickly blew away the clouds as we followed the track up to the broken dam in Brown Cove, before climbing the steep North West ridge of Catstycam (2,920ft/890m).

Catstycam - North West RidgeCatstycam

Catstycam is a perfect pyramid of a mountain and from a distance the North West ridge looks like an impossible task, but there is a narrow path that winds up between the rocks. Buffeted by the wind we then set off carefully along Swirral Edge towards the towering cliffs of Helvellyn (3,117ft/950m).

Catstycam - Swirral EdgeSwirral Edge

The final stretch of the climb was tricky as the wind was blowing straight over the cliff and there was a short stretch of frozen snow.  The photo shows a group of walkers trying to stand up next to the trig pillar.

Helvellyn - Wind Dance

The return route took us over Helvellyn Lower Man (3,035ft/925m), White Side (2,831ft/863m) and Raise (2,897ft/883m), before following the Sticks Pass back to Glenridding.

Helvellyn - Trig Point

Helvellyn from Raise


From the car park in Glenridding (NY386169).

Helvellyn Route

Langdale Pikes

Sunday, 23 March 2014
2575ft/785m ascent
Trail 100 #26
Wainwright #126 & #127

A splendid day walking in the Langdales in the sunshine and snow.

From the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel we walked up the steep fellside to Loft Crag (2231ft/680m) and all the time the views open up, first Crinkle Crags (2818ft/859m), then Bowfell (2959ft/902m) and the Coniston group in the distance.

Langdale Pikes - Crinkle Crags 

Looking down the Great Langdale valley towards Lingmoor Fell (1539ft/469m) and Skelwith Bridge.




Loft CragLoft Crag

The first mountain on the route is Loft Crag where the rest of the route can be seen for the first time. The photo shows the rocky summit of Loft Crag with the spectacular crags of Pike of Stickle (2326ft/709m) appearing over the cairn in the background.

Pike of Stickle

This is the Trail 100 hill on this walk and the reason we chose this route. A truely spectaular mountain with a tricky scramble to the top when the rocks are covered with compacted snow.

Pike of Stickle 3Pike of Stickle 2

These two photos show the view of Loft Crag and Harrison Stickle (2415ft/736m); and celebrating reaching the top with the snow filled Harrison Combe behind.

Pike of Stickle - Loft Crag and Harrison Stickle Pike of Stickle 1

Harrison StickleHarrison Stickle

We scrambled down Pike of Stickle and crossed back to Harrison Stickle on the other corner of the Langdale Pikes. This gave us the first view of Stickle Tarn and our planned route down.

The photo also shows a heavy snow flurry which completely hid the summit of Helvellyn (3117ft/950m) but missed us completely.


Pavey ArkPavey Ark
The snow made finding the route from Harrison Stickle to Pavey Ark (2297ft/700m) a challenge. The top of Pavey Ark is not very impressive – it’s much better from Stickle Tarn. We ate lunch sitting on the rocks before setting off over the snow covered rocks and peat towards Thunacar Knott (2372ft/723m).

Thunacar KnottThunacar Knott

The summit of this mountain looks like a lunar landscape – rock strewn and windswept. The view to the West includes Glaramara (2569ft/783m) and Great Gable (2949ft/899m). The photo shows the snow topped Helvellyn ridge and Fairfield (2864ft/873m) to the East.

We followed the well worn path towards High Raise (2500ft/762m) which was covered in deep snow. My leg disappeared through the snow into a peat bog hidden beneath. Thank goodness for gaiters!

Sergeant ManSergeant Man 2

Sergeant Man (2415ft/736m)  is a prominent and easy to identify mountain with a very distinctive shape, and was the last mountain on our walk.

From the top we followed the ridge down towards Blea Rigg (1175ft/541m) before turning South West and descending to Stickle Tarn where the huge cliff of Pavey Ark casts a dark shadow over the lake.


Stickle Tarn

Pavey Ark from Stickle Tarn

Last resting point before descending the steep rocky staircase back to the Dungeon Ghyll and a nice cup of coffee.

Resting at Stickle Tarn 1Resting at Stickle Tarn 2


Starting at the New Dungeon Ghyll car park  (NY296064).

Langdale Pikes Route