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Neil's 214 ~ to Caw Fell and Steeple ~
Date & start time: Saturday 4th September 2010, 8.40 am start.
Location of Start : The Bowness Knott car park, Ennerdale, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 110 154 )
Places visited : Irish Bridge, Caw Fell, Little Gowder Crag, Haycock, Scoat Fell, Steeple and back via the lake.
Walk details : 10.8 mls, 3200 ft, 7 hrs 50 mins including lunch.
Highest point : Scoat Fell 2760 ft - 841 m.
Walked with : Sixteen OFC club members and just two dogs, Polly and Bethan.
Weather : Overcast but sunny, slight breeze, a good walking day apart from the haze.
Often pre-arranged walks, like those that have been in the offing for some time
and especially those organised within the OFC, have a terrible habit of being wet and windy.
Hopefully Neil's walk would be blessed with finer weather for a change.
With a sunrise like this in Loweswater, it looks like we might be lucky.
Our early start will be followed by day-long sunshine.
Our task for today . . . to plant a bottle of liquid refreshment on the top of Steeple Fell
and ensure Neil gets there to celebrate opening after climbing his 214th and final un-climbed Wainwright Fell.
The crowd mass at Bowness Knott car park in Ennerdale, ready for the off.
Sunshine and blue skies, a gentle breeze . . . good walking weather.
This was Angler's Crag across Ennerdale Water.
The spur leading to Caw separated the two streams that make up Woundell Beck.
This would be our ascent route to our first, rather flat-topped summit of Caw.
Lowland cattle in the farm fields at the head of Ennerdale Lake.
Bowness Knott, still devoid of trees, stands high above our starting point in the woodland car park.
We catch up with Dave and Josie at the Woundell footbridge.
They had set off slightly earlier from the car park, having driven up in quicker time than expected from Silsden.
We climb up through an area of old forestry that was cleared many years back.
The area has eventually re-grown with heather and moorland grass with the occasional re-growth of spruce.
Liz walks up from the old forest fence and we are now on the open fellside
The fells of Great Borne and Starling Dodd in the distance define the opposite side of the valley.
Simon climbing up onto more level ground as we near the top of the ridge.
The view back now extends across to the High Stile Ridge with Grasmoor in the distance.
Neil's 213rd and everyone's first summit of the day is Caw Fell.
We walked a short distance west from the top of the climb to reach the top of this rather rounded summit.
You have a choice of route here, climb up through the crags to the minor summit
or walk around the grass to the right and continue directly for Haycock.
Navigation is easy . . . just follow the wall again.
The views are getting rather poor due to the haze, and unfortunately the breeze is not clearing it.
Our route ahead from the summit of Haycock, with Steeple on the left.
Neil's choice of last fell is a good one as the final summit has been in view for most of the walk.
From one of Haycock's minor summit cairns there's (normally) a great view across to the Scafells.
Great Gable looks impressive whatever the weather.
The ridge walk along this side of the valley is a real delight
as the steep-sided crags allow you to get a great view down most of the time.
We shall call this the " Summit of Deferred Gratification ".
The final ascent of Steeple can wait a few minutes more in order that we may enjoy our lunch after the morning climb.
A sheltered position behind the wall will make a classic lunch spot on the top of Scoat Fell.
The summit cairn here is noteworthy for being built on the highest point of the wall rather than on the ground.
Who photo-shopped Dave next to the Herdwick's lunchbox ?
No-one . . . he really did exist.
" You mean to say you finished all the sandwich . . . crust and all ? "
" Oops . . . sorry " says Josie . . . " didn't realise you were hungry ! "
Lunch more or less over we had a few moments to look around.
This was the view over the top of Wasdale's Red Pike to the Scafells beyond.
We pack away lunch and get ready for the final climb . . . down to Steeple.
Big congratulations all round as we celebrate with a share of Neil's bubbly.
Neil and Richard pose for a photo on the top.
A general crowd scene as we all stand back and enjoy the moment.
The official summit photo.
Standing : Mark, Josie, Simon, Richard, Jo, John, Mary(in blue) Peter, David, Dave and myself.
Seated: Neil, Ann, Andrew and Anne. ( Liz passed on the summit attempt)
[ Move your cursor over the photo to check which one is Neil ]
Oh . . . and yes the summit crag was toasted with the beer too.
We didn't plan it that way, and we cleared the broken bottle away afterwards
but the wind disturbed the delicate balance of the beer bottle and all was lost in a sort of enigmatic way.
If you get to Steeple summit and it smells of beer in the next few days . . . you know why !
Time to go . . . and one last view of the dramatic top of Great Gable
just as another set of walkers cross the ridge towards our lunch spot on Scoat Fell.
Bethan straddles Great Gable.
One small step for a dog . . . one major leap for dog-kind.
Our route home starts with the direct descent down the front of Steeple
making our way down through the stones and grass.
Lovely rock landscape, even a hanging boulder, as we make our way down the fellside.
A clear view ahead to the heather-covered Lingmell spur ahead.
Our route would cross above the forestry onto this fell and then quickly down to the lake.
Bethan takes time out for a quick rest as we enjoy a brief stop to regroup.
A last look across at Haycock and Caw Fell, two of the summits we climbed on the way to Steeple.
Crossing Low Beck as it flows out of the delightfully named Mirkiln Cove.
Clearer views of Haystacks as we drop down towards the valley.
The Hiley dogs' posing rock . . . only Bethan today
because Harry is taking time out with our friends Jayne and Max, continuing his enforced R&R (rest and recuperation).
[ His condition is improving slowly but it will be a while before he will be back on a ten-mile walk like this one. ]
Having walked along the side of the forestry it was time for the final path back to the valley.
As can be seen from the photo, the descent was short and rapid.
Looking back up from the chair near the bottom of the forest break.
The steepest part where the path zig zags down the hillside is already over.
The old pipe bridge will soon be replaced by an arched bridge and upward fish migration from the River Lisa
to the shallow gravel fish beds will once again be an option. Irish Bridge was changed a few years back for the same reason.
The " Wild Ennerdale " plan saw the introduction of Galloway cattle into the valley.
They are allowed to graze the upper sections of the valley so as to improve the plant bio-diversity of the area.
These are different from the lowland cattle we saw at the beginning of the walk.
Finally there's just a matter of a mile and a half more or less flat walk back to Bowness Knott.
Anyone got a dozen or so spare bikes handy ?
- - - o o o - - -
In the evening we gathered at the Kirkstile Inn to continue to celebrate Neil's achievement.
Neil, John and Liz on the top, or was it the bottom table.
The paparazzi were out in force as ever.
Mark (S) had a special t-shirt produced which was presented to Neil
for his achievement in the field of Lakeland Fell Walking.
- - - 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 . . . a brand new t-shirt to wear.
Previous walk - 1st September 2010 Sale Fell for Harry
A previous time up here - 9th June 2007 Caw and Haycock from Bowness Knott
[ which includes even older archive shots from 1989 ]
Join us at the Loweswater Show the following day: 5th September 2010 The Loweswater Show 2010