Remember: Press F11 for a full screen view of this page.
Date & start time: Saturday 27th June 2009. 11.20 am start.
Location of Start : Honister Mine, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 266 136 )
Places visited : Moses Trod, Beck Head, Kirk Fell, Black Sail Pass, River Liza, Loft Beck, and back via Moses Trod.
Walk details : 8.25 mls, 3150 ft, 8 hrs 5 mins.
Highest point : Kirk Fell 2,630ft ( 802m )
Walked with : Jo, Ann and the dogs, Jodie, Amber, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Hot and sultry but with occasional breezes. Turned thundery later with some rain.
[Click on the drop down menu bar
for your choice of Google map or photo display ]
Mid-summer heat is tempered by overcast skies so we plan a walk out to Kirk Fell, which Jo has wanted to climb for some time.
Our return route was not decided until we reached our target and started to descend.
Guess where we started the walk . . . at Honister, in the National Trust car park adjacent to the mine.
What the picture doesn't show was the noise as he dropped his first bucketful of slate off-cuts into the empty truck, just behind our backs !
Still everyone is pleased that the mine is up and running . . .and prospering too.
It was hot and humid generally, but the overcast skies and a gentle breeze kept the temperatures down slightly lower than of late.
This landmark fence post is the one seen on the skyline as we walk along the path under Grey Knotts and Brandreth.
After this we cross the fence and then have Great Gable as our companion, leaving the views of Buttermere behind for others to enjoy.
The valley to the left is Ennerdale with its lake and Crag Fell at the far end.
Walking along towards Gable, we enjoy a direct view down to the right into Ennerdale.
Many of the trees have been cut back under the Wild Ennerdale Plan. Black Sail Youth Hostel can just be seen down to the right.
Harry standing ready for the next section of Moses Trod which takes us round in a big loop towards Beck Head.
The path can be seen below the stones, rising gently to the right.
A close up of Gable Crags . . . classic rock climbing country. How many groups can you see ?
[ Hold your cursor over the photo to identify the people out on the crags today ]
We split lunch today, not wanting to do the full climb from Beck Head onto Kirk Fell on a full stomach.
Whilst resting at Beck head and enjoying a sandwich, a Loweswatercam viewer, Russell from Shap introduced himself and we chatted for a while.
He was out doing a little unplanned walking on the various Gable paths. Nice to meet you Russell. Hope you are enjoying the Gps !
The dry weather has caused the water level in the Beck Head tarns to drop, but there's still enough for Harry to wet his feet.
These two happy walkers have made it over dry-shod by sensibly avoiding the tarn.
Looking back at the bulk of Great Gable from the ascent of Kirk Fell.
The mountain looks slightly short and fat here but as we walk round towards Kirk Fell summit, it's apparent shape changes to a much taller dome.
Keep an eye out for the optical illusion next time you are walking up there.
After the steep climb a summit appears but thoughts of having completing the climb are set back slightly as this is the eastern and lower top of the two.
The main summit is over there, across the broad expanse of Kirk Fell's undulating summit plateau.
The path ahead is reasonably obvious . . . just aim for the firm ground between the two tarns.
Harry posing in front of the smaller of the two tarns with distant Great End in the background.
See what I mean about Gable looking taller now ?
The full spread of the Scafell Ridge forms a backdrop to our major lunch stop at Kirk Fell summit.
Jo reaches into her sack and find's it "one sandwich short of a picnic". . . She had already eaten the other one at Beck Head.
Now to find the safe route off the other end of Kirk Fell, down through the crags.
This one looks like a rather direct and loose scree gully.
Below us is Black Sail Pass . . . the route down follows the fence posts.
The climb down reminds us of a shorter version of Stirrup Crag on Yewbarrow.
Now where do we go ? . . . We're not lost . . . it's just that we have two options.
Do we go along the Kirk Fell traverse and back via distant Moses Trod (in the sunshine) . . . longer but less climbing . . .
. . . or do we drop down into Ennerdale Valley and climb out via Loft Beck opposite ?
The shortest route with the extra climb wins the day as we haven't visited the valley for some time.
Amber and Jodie pause for a breather on the way down.
Off the tops and into the shelter of the valley, the temperature has risen considerably.
Ahead the Black Sail Hostel is much closer now.
With the aid of a few minutes walking, a telephoto lens and a little technology it gets closer still !
People are arriving for their evening stay so now is not a good time to visit.
Anyway, it's quite warm for us as well as the dogs . . . and the river looked refreshing !
Strangely the girls decline a swim, not having any costumes I presume, but the water was reasonably warm so they dabbled their feet to cool down.
I adopt the wet underwear look for my swim but Harry is 'au-natural' as usual.
Isn't looking back at old photo albums interesting !
27 years on and Gareth is now a Driving Instructor . . . Anyone in the Swansea area want lessons ?
The forecast was for thundery downpours later in the afternoon and they were right.
As we left the pool we put on our waterproofs to protect ourselves from a short sharp rain shower.
By the time we were climbing Loft Beck it was warm and sunny again.
From Ennerdale we pass behind Haystacks, with the view of High Crag behind.
Black Beck Tarn can just be seen, as can the far end of Crummock Water, with distant Mellbreak and Darling Fells in silhouette.
We go that way . . . and rejoin Moses Trod after a few more cairns.
Look out . . . another thundery shower starts to fall from the big (nimbo-stratus) cloud that has followed us up out of Ennerdale.
We're crossing above Dubbs Bottom now and the slightly lighter grey of the quarry and Dubbs Hut can just be made out on the side of Fleetwith Pike.
Back on the Dram Road
and we look back at the cloud pouring through Black Sail Pass and over Pillar, sweeping down into Ennerdale Valley.
Ahead from the same place is the Helvellyn range, bathed in sunshine.
That's the Lakes for you !
Almost down but four gentlemen ran down the fell side ahead of us. They meet their team of supporters who are waiting in the mine car park.
At least one of them is attempting to run a Bob Graham Round, forty two major peaks and seventy two miles in under 24 hours. He would have started at the Moot Hall in Keswick some eighteen or twenty hours ago. Only Dale Head, Hindscarth and the run back to the Moot Hall to go. I hope he made it in time.
An this is where we came in.
The wagon which we last saw eight hours ago is once again driving back down the mine track with a load of slate, now converted into chippings by the big crusher.
No doubt tomorrow he'll be doing something similar again as the life of the mine continues.
Technical note: Pictures taken with with my Cannon G7 Digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . waterproof tops and swimming bottoms !
Previous walk - Friday 26th June 2009 3 Peaks with the Railway Children
A previous time up here - 1st August 2006 Shorts, T-shirts and Waterproofs to Kirk Fell
Next walk - Sunday 28th June 2009 Faboulous Mungrisdale Common