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An Aiken Beck Round

Date & start time: Saturday 27th March 2010, 10.30 am start.

Location of Start : Car Park on the Darling How forest road, Whinlatter, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 181 255 )

Places visited : Aiken Beck, Lords Seat, Broom Fell, Widow's Hause, Graystones, Spout Force.

Walk details : 6.4 mls, 1825 ft, 4 hrs 30 mins including lunch.

Highest point : Lords Seat 1811 ft (552m )

Walked with : John and Dee, Jo, John(2), Ann and the dogs, Amber, Jodie, Amber(2), Polly, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Fine and dry but with a strong and cold NW breeze on top. (One quick rain shower at the end)



An Aiken Beck Round

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Today's walk was roughly circular round of the moorland fells behind Whinlatter forest

where the sheltered valley tracks gave way to an exposed ridge walk

and the cold north westerly breeze really showed it's ability to cool us if it was given half a chance.

Today's Motley Crew

John, Ann, Jo, John and Dee, plus myself behind the camera.

After parking on the road to Darling How Farm, we took the track as it continued on up the Aiken Beck valley, stopping only for that first photo.

The farm track also serves as the forestry road, giving access to the plantations underneath the skyline of Lord's Seat and Broom Fell ahead.

The signposted path leaves the main track at the corner and heads out across the river.

It skirts the old forestry and finds a route up alongside the new plantation .

However, we chose to stay on the main track which then took us higher up into the valley under Whinlatter Fell

before we swung to the left following the edge of the mature trees.

All good things come to an end . . .

and our track suddenly did just that, leaving us a choice of rough tracks through the fast growing young trees.

We chose the shortest distance to the fell side and found a convenient section where the fence line crossed the old wall.

This meant that, with the aid of the stone slabs that used to be part of the old wall, we could easily cross onto the fell.

It was safer to pass the dogs across however, as they had nothing soft to jump from, or to land on once they got over.

Once onto open land we climbed steadily alongside the outside of the wall.

This was a brief panorama looking back down into the valley, a reverse of an earlier shot.

Charged with navigation, the blokes committee tried to agree what routes were practical had we not decided on our wall-side approach.

The replanted forestry had hidden the path John had remembered using, but no problem, we knew where we were . . .

. . . and from here it was straight up the fell towards our first summit . . . Lord's Seat.

Meeting the forest path from Whinlatter.

The cycle and originally pushchair/wheelchair friendly path ends in a stile . . . Dohh !

Don't get me started John !

The high fells of Hopegill and Grisedale may have been covered in cloud (the photo above this one)

but here Causey Pike and the Borrowdale Fells are clear, with good visibility all the way over to distant Pike o'Stickle in Langdale.

The summit of Lord's Seat and the view across to Helvellyn . . .

neatly framed without all the people and certainly no sign of the seven or eight dogs that were milling about at the time.

The wind on the tops was decidedly unkind so we moved quickly on heading in an anti-clockwise direction towards Broom Fell.

This was the view back.

Causey Pike is now a shadow of it's former self as it recedes into the distance behind the trees of Ullister Hill and Whinlatter.

Broom Fell reached

and the dogs are assisted over or under the fence as required.

A serious tete-a-tete between John and Dee ?

No . . . I think they were just trying to shelter at the same time, in the limited wind shadow behind Broom Fell's large cairn.

We may have been in shadow with a very cold breeze but there was sunshine about.

We stopped for a brief lunch in the low shelter to the right, or behind the cairn where the wind was also absent.

John (C) and Amber look on as John (P) and Jo, Harry and Polly walk on towards the trees at Widow's Hause.

Amber, we discovered some time back, is in fact Harry and Bethan's half sister and looks remarkably similar despite her more mature years.

To our left an unusual view of Ling Fell.

Normally we associate it with a more compact outline as seen from Sale Fell or Wythop.

From the hause we have a short, sharp climb up onto Graystones Fell.

My picture this time as I look across at Lord's Seat and Whinlatter.

A wider shot reveals the skyline route we have just followed, from Lords Seat in the centre,

round to the left past Broom Fell and the back of the trees, to our position here on the slopes of Graystones.

There are several undulations on the top of Graystones and the path leads us naturally to the western-most one

where we get a good view down into the Loweswater and Lorton Valleys.

The old wall has long since ceased to be of practical use.
From here we walk over to the main summit opposite.

Time to stop and chat again . . . but it's back-to-the-wind again to avoid getting cold.

The home straight now . . .
. . . straight down the fell side towards the valley below.

Don't forget to enjoy the view over to Grisedale, Ladyside, Hopegill Head and Whiteside Fell.

Down below us is Darling How farm again.

Mind where you place your feet as we negotiate a short rocky section.

The wall proved a foreground to the distant Helvellyn Fells.
This descent never gets any less steep.

Scawgill Bridge below is now our focus of attention.

One last diversion to Spout Force to see the waterfall . . . "all action" Harry leads the way.

Some of the paths are in good condition . . .
. . . but others are hidden under fallen trees.

Our track up the valley ends at the viewing platform.

The others take the high road, but I take the low

as it allows me to follow the river up.


It has cut a deep chasm and the going is slow

as I carefully make my way up

towards the base of the falls . . .


. . . followed by Harry and Bethan of course.



As seen from the previous position . . .
. . . and then closer still.

After that, the camera was in danger of getting seriously wet !

Back down the river and cross the bridge we had passed a short time earlier.

Up and across the cleared valley side . . .
. . . and it was just a short walk back to the cars.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . . an oversize dog lead with six clips

[ and theatre tickets for six to see "Stones in my Pockets" at Theatre by the Lake tonight ]

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Previous walk - 23rd March 2010 Mellbreak with John Grayson

A previous time up here - 15th February 2009 Mist covered Lords Seat and Barf