The Coledale Round dominates the northern lakes near Keswick. Many do part but those who complete the full round are rewarded with ever changing views, many summits and an immense satisfaction.
The most enjoyable section of the Coledale Round are the walks to and views from the outlying summits. Whiteside from Hopegill Head is a classic narrow ridge with outstanding views up Buttermere, Whiteside has similar attributes and even the more bulky Grasmoor is sufficiently steep sided to offer a real feeling of being perched up in the skies. I would heartily recommend the extra miles these excursions entail. The Coledale Round reveals all from Keswick with a splendid view of the two distinctive summits of Grisedale Pike and Causey Pike; both seemingly protecting the bowels of this heavywieght circuit.
I usually head up Grisedale Pike first, it is a bit of a sweat and relentless as all its secrets are laid bare from the start but once on its small summit the remainder of the circuit (with the exception of the pull up to Grasmoor) gives the impression of a down hill ride. My last visit started in mist and rain but soon the clouds rolled away and from Hopegill Head the walk became an increasing joy – Buttermere peaked out from the rolling clouds whilst the return over Crag Hill revealed some lovely views over Newlands and Borrowdale.
I prefer pulling back off Causey Pike to the col under Outerside and Barrow which gives a fantastic run down the pretty valley to the the outskirts of Braithwaite. This is a big day. 13 miles which include the outliers of Whiteside and Grasmoor. The steep sides of the ridge offer some of the best views in the Lakes and offer a real feel of a mountaineering expedition. Shame about the rotten effort at erosion control on Scar Crags, what are they thinking of?
The photos were taken on a stormy but ultimately lovely day with Sadie and Michelle.
The best detour to make is to head along to Whiteside overlooking the Buttermere valley.
The Coledale Round is one of my favourite 25 walks in the Lake District.
The paths are obvious on the round except off Grasmoor. From the summit walk 400 metres due east (5 minutes plus) but then bear left on a less distinct path heading more north east. The main bath goes south of east and before long would be difficult to recover from.
Todays target Whiteside from Coledale Valley Force Crag Car Park Whinlatter,strong walk towards Force Crag Mine weather a bit spitty and cold,on arrival at Coledale Beck water very low no effort needed.On leaving the crossing the snow line is low and as I approach the turn above Force Crag I am faced with a track that is solid ice,on come the crampons this is dangerous.
After a struggle for 50 metres I’m off towards Coledale Haus only to find crampons needed again this is naughty,eventually I’m at Coledale Haus and as I reach the Col as the visibility comes down to 20 metres I decide to call my attempt off.Two dangerous areas to get over and I’m back at the car time taken nearly for hours not a good day but I’m here in three weeks to try again snow snow glorious snow see you later MM.
17th Feb second part we set off for the top of Sail,wind is around 25mph visibility 30 yards good path upto a small top and pile of stones hard to see the exit path but we find it.This is now looking interesting a 100ft scramble in deep snow down to the ridge that takes us to Crag Hill this is what we came for,Micks first time in the Coledale Round quick photograph taken and as the wind gusts we make for the top of Crag Hill around a 500ft scramble life doesn’t get any better visibility 20 yards and having asked Mick to look down the gulley into the valley we had to laugh he did not realise how high up we are at the top so that’s three Wainwrights bagged a great climb and everyone is safe.We take a few pictures at the Trig Point and make our way down to the path to get back down to the valley where Force Crag Mine there is,a good few people about coming towards us but we are going down,still a lot of deep snow about but we have reached our target time to get off here total time taken around five and a half hours Mountain Mike.
Hi its Mike again its the 17th of February 2018 weather conditions are going to be changeable,tod we have Gav, Mick MerriottDebbie Carter,Glen Wesmoreland and his wife Emma and not forgetting our up and coming star Pickle the Lakeland Terrier on his second outing.We leave Braithwaite our target being Crag Hill via Barrow and Sail.Having scouted the starting point this morning we set off from The Royal Oak I take the lead with Pickle,the sun is shining and Pickle and I are at the top in just under an hour.This is a great start and everyone is full of gusto,however as we drop down towards the valley rain sets in after a short discussion Debbie,Glen and Emma decide to drop out its a great shame but as I look towards Crag Hill and the cloud and snow its a the right decision.Gav,Mick and myself and Pickle kick on waterproofs on. We kick on towards the path to go upto Sail there are four feet snow drifts on this steep path and as people know its a narrow track at the best of times,having got up to the base of Sail and Scarr Craggs
Todays target Eel Crag,Crag Hill,Sail and Barrow,conditions good for the time of the year,Im on my own as Gav is busy playing with his new Gibson Guitar,I make the Col below Eel Crag in one hour and thirty five minutes after taking a look at the scramble and checking the wind speed I move on to just do Crag Hill by the normal path.At this time I’m all alone just me and some Roe Deer footprints in the snow,the wind speed is around 30 mph in the Col and up the valley.I make my way towards Crag Hill passing the cairns,the ground is frozen solid in between the stones on the path and the wind has increased in speed.I reach the top and after a quick break and report, on my mobile and a few pics I make my way off the top towards Sail,the wind is almost taking me off my feet now and as I make my way I see that the track takes me down a narrow ridge about twelve feet wide and I have my ice axe in hand the drop either side around 600ft.Im now on all fours scrambling down the ridge this is scary the wind must be 60 to 70 mph,after about a 100ft I start to make back for Crag Hill to safety I’m back at the top alive and make for Wandhope to bag a Wainwright this is a walk but with the wind still in play I keep away from the edge,the scenery is superb.After bagging this I make for Whitelass Pike another Wainwright and take some photographs after losing my glove on Wandhope I’m now making back to the Col and back past Force Crag Mine, on the way down I hide my other glove as I will be returning with a group of four walkers on the 16th 17th so I will buy someone a pint if they can find it lol,anyway back to the car total time taken around 5 hours and an adventure to say the least.
2nd attempt on Grasmoor from Braithwaite 6,1,18 conditions in Coledale Valley freezing but dry,leave car at 9.15am on route to Grasmoor non stop till The Coll below Eel Crag one hour and fifty minutes its sunny but freezing still.A few people around wind at 20 mph down here,I cross the stream and up the scramble to the Fell above Gasgale Craggs the wind is now picking up but ground conditions are good no crampons required but my ice axe is at the ready.I reach the top and can see the track leading to the summit the wind has now upped its game to around 40 mph blowing across from Whiteside this is treacherous,as I move further onto the top sun glasses on cap pulled down and my buff pulled up there are pieces of ice now hitting me at 50 mph and nearly blowing me of my feet.After a struggle I make the large shelter and get out of the wind that was frightening,after a very quick stop I make for the track that leads to Whitelass Pike a little wind swept and glad to get down,I passed two ladies and a guy going up this way and advised them of the conditions.On getting down to the path below Eel Crag and Crag Hill I make my way back to the track back down to Force Crag and back to my car a great day on the Fells another Wainwright bagged a bit iffy at times but par for the course bagged the top in two hours and twenty minutes best solo day in The Lakes ever Mountain Mike .(approx. one foot of snow on Grasmoor )
Todays target Grasmoor via Force Crag Mine 15/12/17 late entry on reaching the Coll at the base of Eel Crag three foot of snow and a blizzard attempt called off solo attempt.
Hi again well here we are again and Gav and my target today is Causey Pike,Scarr Craggs and Outerside,its a lovely day and conditions underfoot are also good.Its the 28 th April 2017 and I’m looking forward to a little neat scramble to the top of Causey Pike.We leave Gavs new motor at Stonycroft and its straight into it,steep walk uptp the ridge below the summit,two young ladies have just flew by us I’m well impressed,but we have to keep focused lol.After about 15 minutes we are at the top of a very small summit but the views are fantastic, after a small battle with the midgies we eat our lunch what a place to stop.We kick on towards Scarr Craggs and as we drop from the top a deer bolts from cover and heads away from us along the ridge that’s the first time in twenty years on these mountains I have see some large wild life lol, hope I got it on my action camera.We drop down towards Outerside and we are shortly at the top,looks like the weather is coming in behind us we press on.Its a nice little Wainwright and we are soon at the top a little break and we move off the weather is looking to change,steep descent this one and we are on the track back to Stonycroft a great day on the fells and all in four hours see you all later three more Waiwright bagged for us Mountain Mike.
Hi well here we are Gav and I to bag a couple of Wainwrights for Gav,weather looks hopeful as we set off upto the long trail to Grisedale Pike and Hopegill Head, as we turn to face todays target we can now see the tops covered in snow..hope its not to bad as the crampons are at home.We meet up with a couple of guys who are going our way we stop for a drink and as the pleasantries are over they carry on,Im taking my jacket off its dry but mild.
We are now coming onto the lower levels of The Pike and the cloud is closing in,lets hope it clears,pretty soon were on the top of Grisedale Pike about a foot of snow a bit cooler so jacket back on as we head for Hopegill Head,snow is deeper and it looks like a nifty scramble in the snow to the top this is more like it and its another Wainwright.We go straight on from here to drop down into the valley to drop down below Eel Crag the sun is shining and there are a lot of people coming up towards us,we stop for lunch near the old mine after a nice break and photographs we are off back to the car park a great day on the fells.
Here I am again in The Lake District and today I’m heading for Grisedale Pike,Im on my own again as Gav is working and Matty has retired lol.From the car park above Braithwaite its a steep muddy walk onto the fells below The Pike,as my new boots have been sent for repair Im wearing my old Raichle Mt GTX boots lets hope they stay together lol,after a steep muddy walk I’m going past the disused quarry.M now onto Sleet How ,the weather is dry but windy and it is very slippy on here,some great views of Keswick and the surrounding area,I can see a fell runner a half mile behind me so I push for the top.The exposure is now beginning to show and the wind is biting,as I reach the top I find a lady sat having a coffee think I gave her a shock,its taken me an hour and thirty five minutes to get to the summit not bad as this is uphill all the way except for a few flat places.Quick drink and I’m going back the way I came, on the way down I pass at least four couples coming up.
As I’m getting back down the track I notice that both the heels of my trusty old boots are coming away,feet are dry still but its not easy staying upright,some good photographs taken to show Gav and I’m back at the car total time taken two hours and forty minutes a good mornings walk and another Wainwright bagged see you soon Mountain Mike.
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