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Sightsavers 3 Peaks Event - Cumbria

Date & start time: Sunday 13th June 2010, 3 am start . . . yes 3 am !

Location of Start : The main car park, Glenridding, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 366 174 )

Places visited : Greenside Mine, Keppel Cove and the path to Helvellyn's Whiteside.

Walk details : 3 mls, 900 ft, 6 hrs mins including breakfast.

Highest point : Keppel Cove sheep fold 1800ft - 553m

Walked with : Myself and the dogs, Harry and Bethan, plus marshals and participants.

Weather : Low cloud and the prospect of rain showers.


 Keppel Cove and a Challenge

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This morning, or should I say more correctly last night . . . I had been asked to assist as part of a team of safety marshals

on the Challenge UK Sightsavers National 3 Peaks Event.

The start time for me was 3am at Greendale Mines to be in position for the first teams through at about 3.30 am.

An early alarm call was the order of the day !

Greenside Mines from the track up the valley.

Considering I couldn't see anything through the viewfinder I'm amazed the camera was even pointing in the right direction.

A little tweak on photoshop has lightened the image so at least it is recognisable to me !

Heading up one of the old mine roads.

The dogs appeared totally confused as to why they were here at all !

They had had even less sleep than I did last evening as Ann and the dogs stayed up for some time after my early departure to bed.

Our marshalling point at the bottom of the Keppel Cove zig-zags.

My job was to check the seven teams through and to offer help if required.

Harry and Bethan were still confused as to what their job was !

The Challenge Teams had walked Ben Nevis yesterday afternoon and had chosen Helvellyn in preference to Scafell Pike as their Cumbrian 3000 ft peak.

As day broke, several of the teams had already passed me (no photos due to darkness) and were well on their way down to Glenridding, for breakfast and to climb into their mini-buses ready and waiting for the drive to North Wales.

As day broke, the weather took a turn for the worse, the cloud began to lower and the specks of rain turn into occasional heavy showers.

A longer gap between the later teams and a break between rain showers allowed me to stretch my legs.

The dogs an I took a quick stroll over to the old reservoir at Keppel Cove.

The course of the old water channel

Looking back down Glenridding Beck

This was the focal point of the water power facilities that supported the Greenside Mining enterprise. Wainwright's book describes an old leat that traverses the hillside, including a wooden section around the crags. The remains of this can be seen by looking carefully. The O.S.Map marks the end section (after the leat ends it's horizontal venture) as a pipe, specifically "not a path", which is unusual.

[ Move your cursor over the photo to see the course of the old leat ]

Seen from the ridges or from Catstycam above, the old dam looks quite innocuous

but from this close up it is quite an imposing structure created in pebbles and concrete.

Bethan adds scale to the photo.

We risk life and limb by descending alongside the fence

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The old outlet pipe and valve mechanism can still be seen.


The purpose of the dam was to restrain the water

not for a direct pipeline feed for the mines

but for controlling the release of the water into the beck,

so that the onward flow could be increased

and decreased in line with water power demands

lower down the valley.


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When you turn and look back, the enormity of the structure and the size of the collapse becomes very apparent.

Upstream the grass has grown back where once there would have been a lake.

Keppel Cove, once a natural mountain tarn, is now virtually dry.

A heavy storm and excessive rainfall caused the natural moraine dam to breach and the tarn to disappear in the winter of 1927.

The dam survived but was itself breached in the early 1930's and was never subsequently repaired.

This is a wider panorama including Catstycam, Keppel Cove and the high ridge to Helvellyn, still partially covered in cloud.

From the cove I could see the last team making their way down.

A prompt return to the shelter got me back in sufficient time for their arrival.

"Team Labrador" . . . all the teams had 'doggy' names as radio call signs.

On their arrival they were greeted by my two Labrador retrievers as would seem appropriate for the occasion.

My two colleagues and I accompany the last team of the fell.

Crossing yet another water course, we reach the old mine complex.

The rather uniform grass on the fell side ahead is as a result of reclamation work on the old spoil heaps.

The remaining quarry buildings have been converted into hostels and bothies.

Last one off the fell . . . please close the gate !

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Technical note: Pictures taken with my Canon G10 digital camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . . a nice sunrise . . . it was the only wet morning of the week

in this current dry spell of weather !

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© RmH.2010 # Email me here # or leave me a Guest Book Entry

Previous walk - 11th June 2010 Binsey and Birdsong

A previous time up here - 16th August 2006 Birkhouse Moor, Catstycam but no "Edges"

Next walk - 13th June 2010 Muncaster Fell with Gareth& Kathryn

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An email received from one of the Sightsavers participants (via the organisers):

“Just a note to express the thanks of the team from the Heswall Rotary Club for the wonderful organisation of the event over the last weekend. From the moment we met up with you in the Ben Nevis car park to our departure at Llanberis on Sunday afternoon everything ran smoothly and efficiently. We were reassured that all was being done for our safety and security whilst we were on the mountains. We were impressed with the friendliness and attitude of your staff on the hills, especially those who greeted us with a smile and a welcome whilst themselves suffering atrocious conditions of driving rain and gale force winds for hour after hour. This is the third time that our club has entered a team into this event and its good to see that your standards have not diminished”

[ Great to have feed back, but I know there were others higher and wetter than I was at Keppel Cove . . . RmH ]

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