Oak Cottage - Loweswater

Retreat to the quiet of the Western Lakes

The Cottage, and  the view up the Buttermere Valley

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Time and place : Steel Fell, Grasmere, Cumbria Friday 16th Jan 2004, midday start.

Occasion : A winter walk with Dave Newton, Ann and the dogs, starting near Helmside House.

Walk details : Up the south western spur of Steel Fell to the summit, and back. 3.5miles. 1750 feet of ascent.

Weather : Sunny with clear blue skies emerging out of a wet and grey morning in the North Lakes.

Gateway to Steel Fell.

After a slow start due to poor weather we met up with Dave Newton at John's house at Fornside and drove over Dunmail Raise to be greeted by fine weather and blue skies.  The night before had been wet and miserable but above 750 feet the snow had turned to sleet and higher to snow to give everything a delightful winter mantle.

Dave and Ann climbing in wet snow to start. Keeping a foothold was sometimes difficult.

Behind are Helm Crag, Grasmere and Loughrigg with long distant views of the Pennines.

Holly and Layla enjoying the snow as we climb.

No problem here - four wheel drive and traction control !

Below the traffic on the A 591 became smaller and smaller as we neared the summit of the ridge.

The snow here was drier and much more pleasant for walking.

Contrasting colours meant contrasting weather.

We seemed to be getting the best deal at present.

With the cloud base at 2500 feet Helvellyn was probably suffering the worst of the forecasted weather which talked of strong winds, freezing temperatures and possible whiteouts in showers. For us only a few miles south the cloud was breaking and letting through the sun to give great winter walking.

Click here or on the picture above for a full A591 panoramma.

Ann making the ridge with views of Seat Sandal behind.

Through the gap St Sunday Crag was looking very grey.

High Raise on the other hand was also getting the sun.

Click here or on the picture above for a full western view from Steel Fell.

On reaching the top the wind increased but it did mean the cloud was being blown from the northern Lakes to give Skiddaw and Blencathra weather conditions similar to our own.

Far better than the gloom we had driven through just and hour or so before.

Thirlmere Valley from Steel Fell

Lunch spot.

While we look at the view the dogs are concentrating on something much closer at hand !

With the prospect of an early winter sunset we decided to stay on Steel Fell and double back the way we came in preference to the longer route to Calf Crag and down the Greenburn Valley.

After a look around the top at all the wonderful views we reached the fence which led us back to the main summit.

Ann and Dave climbing back up to the cairn

with High Raise and Greenup Edge behind.

The Thirlmere valley from the second summit post - with sun on the distant fells.

Keswick was having a nice afternoon after all.

The top of the world or so it seemed.

One of the small summit tarns with southern views of Windermere beyond.

The shadows of our fell slowly rose on Seat Sandal and Dollywagon Pike opposite,

but the better weather has brought sunshine to the higher tops.

Here a close up of St. Sunday Crag.

( see earlier photo )

Sunset would not be long as the sun dropped towards the Coniston Fells

and the warmth of the afternoon sun was also fast disappearing.

Helm Crag in late afternoon shadow as we made our way down.

- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon IXUS 400 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed . . . following a cup of tea in the Rothay Garden Hotel (thanks to Anna and Dave)

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