Sunday, 6 February 2011

Best of 2010 Part Three - Buttermere to Keswick via six fells

Whiteless Pike  -  Wandope  -  Eel Crag  -  Sail  -  Scar Crags  -  Causey Pike

This was a walk which really bumped up the Wainwright count! We caught the bus from Booths in Keswick which was a journey worth doing in itself, taking in the Borrowdale Valley, Honister Pass and Buttermere.
We set off right away, as the planned route ahead meant it was a long way to go to refreshments at the Swinside Inn. We started off with a pleasant walk through woodland, gradually ascending and with Sail Beck flowing alongside. We soon left the shade and hit the open fellside, onwards and upwards. It was very tempting to stop and look backwards, as the views over Buttermere and Crummock Water opened up.

Close to the summit we got our first real views of what lay ahead as we could see Wandope and the ridge that curled round over to Eel Crag, with Causey Pike looking decidedly distant behind.

We reached the summit sooner than expected - Whiteless Pike was slightly unusual in that we didn't nearly get to the top half a dozen times only to see slightly higher ground ahead. It was a great place to stop for a drink and sandwich, with views stretching behind us over the Lakes and over to the likes of Pillar and Great Gable beyond.

The route up to Wandope was obvious, and steep! Crag rat Rainer made a detour to go and check out Thirdgill Head Man, leaving Claire and I to head straight for the summit of Wandope. At this point I was really enjoying the ridge walk, having done the hard work getting up Whiteless Pike we were faced with pleasant walking that was non too strenuous, but incredibly rewarding with the views.

The view ahead revealed the easy walk across to Eel Crag, following the rim of a large crater, crossing the path that seemed more popular than our chosen route, taking other walkers across to Grasmoor. Stopping briefly at the huge summit to take in some views, we soon headed onwards towards Sail.

Well as described by AW, Sail was singularly unspectacular. Not offensive in any way, but more like an afterthought piled onto the path from Eel Crag to Causey Pike.

The ridge lead us onto and over Scar Crags, which again was pleasant enough but no more. The ridge itself made for interesting walking as it got rather narrow in places.

From Eel Crag onwards, the views had extended eastwards, opening up Keswick and Derwent Water, with Skiddaw and Blencathra distant. As we marched onwards, Keswick grew closer and we were able to pick out familiar spots in the Newlands Valley ahead too.

From Scar Crags we headed onto our final fell of the day, Causey Pike. I was looking forward to this, with Causey Pike prominent in views from Keswick, lined up alongside Catbells looking like its larger cousin. The summit was deceptive approaching from the west it was not immediately apparent which was the distinctive knobbly summit. Also not apparent coming that was was just how steep the descent was.

After a long walk the descent was hard work on the knees. By then though Newlands Valley was stretched out ahead of us, and with sghts set on the the little hill of Swinside and the pun of the same name now not fat away, the final couple of miles were easy going. The motivation to carry on to Keswick after a Deuchers IPA or two, that was another matter....

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