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" Dollywaggon Pike from Dunmail Raise "
Date & start time: 17th March 2012. Midday start.
Location of Start : Dunmail Raise, Wythburn, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 327 116 )
Places visited : Dunmail Rise, Raise Beck, Grisedale Tarn, Dollywaggon Pike, Willie Wife Moor, Reggie Knott and back.
Walk details : 4.4 mls, 2100 ft of ascent, 4 hrs 10 mins.
Highest point : Dollywaggon Pike, 2810 ft, 858 m
Walked with : Jo, John, Ann and the dogs, Jodie, Polly, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Clearing weather but with the possibility of a wintry shower.
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A Saturday walk when Jo was in the Lakes, the weather was reasonable and I wasn't working.
John joins us on a day that promised clearing weather but with the possibility of a wintry shower.
Dollywaggon was calling as we haven't been there for a while and this walk would help towards completing our third round of the fells.
A large cairn is a landmark on the highest point of the A591 between Thirlmere and Grasmere.
The legend says it is the final resting place of the Cumbrian King Dunmail who was defeated in a battle at this place,
but an archeological dig in the last century failed to find any trace of historic remains.
It remains, therefore, for us to get on with the walk.
If Jodie's legs were a bit longer she wouldn't need to climb the stile . . . she could just stride over the fence.
A local landmark . . . the Howitzer Rock on the summit of Helm Crag.
We followed the track up alongside Raise Beck.
What was missing, despite recent heavy rains, was water in the obvious river bed.
The reason was that Raise Beck had been diverted to feed the 'new' Thirlmere reservoir (circa 1894).
and the other side of the dry stone wall hid a large embankment to prevent it flooding back.
Not sure where John was !
The weather was fine to start and seemed to be improving
but as we climbed alongside Seat Sandal, it was turning windier, more misty and significantly colder.
That would explain the snow settling out on the flanks of our planned fell . . . Dollywaggon Pike.
We chose the zig-zag path up from Grisedale Tarn and took a direct line from the top of Raise Beck to join it a third of the way up.
This meant we looked down on, rather than visited the lake.
This path was pitched with stone many years back and it stopped the erosion in its tracks.
Seat Sandal opposite is in fact the hydrological centre of the Lakes.
With the diversion of raise Beck this single fell sends its rainfall south to Windermere and the sea at Morcambe Bay, east to Ullswater and the sea via Carlisle and the Solway and now north to Thirlmere and the sea via Cockermouth and Workington, the only fell to drain into three different river systems.
The bridle way we climbed was also in use by five mountain bikes slowly bumping their way down.
They very kindly waited for us to pass . . . but admitted that they also appreciated the rest as their route down was hard work.
First views over a ridge are always exciting and never more so than when the scenery ahead was highlighted by a fall of snow.
The rounded fell is Dollywaggon and beyond it and just in view, the triangular summit of Catstycam over Striding Edge.
Time for a little snack . . . for them.
The Helvellyn bridle way misses out on the summit of Dollywaggon Pike,
and so at the old fence post we struck up the fell rather than continue on the path ahead.
But just before I followed the others, I stopped for an extra photo . . .
Up above the snow line as we finally approach the summit.
Group photo . . . taken by Jo on my camera.
[ As it was a reciprocal arrangement, presumably her summit photo features herself and not me ]
The view from the top . . . once you take the people out of the way
The lake is Ullswater as it twists and turns, heading north east towards Pooley Bridge.
The view north as the cloud clears the summit of Helvellyn.
The remnants of last month's snow stands out as small patches under the dusting we have received today.
The summit cairn on Nethermost Pike is in fact on the flat ground to the right of centre, not the prominent one on the left.
Looking round with the larger lens, I zoom in on Catstycam.
Can you spot a walker moving across Striding Edge ?
Half-two and time for a spot of lunch.
A patch of sunlight illuminates the top of the small cloud making it glow in front of the rather dark landscape behind it.
Wispy clouds . . . with Esthwaite Water and the lower reaches of Windermere beyond.
More small clouds flank the fells as I look across to shapely Causey Pike, the fourth of the six mountain folds in view.
The undulating skyline of Crinkle Crags . . . seen above our lunch spot on the second Dollywaggon cairn.
Between us and it are Blea Rigg and unusually difficult to recognise, the Langdale Pikes.
In view of the time, we opt not to go on to Helvellyn but start on our way back down.
We leave this magnificent ridge for another day.
Rather than re-trace our steps we go for a direct descent, starting off with the walk down to the Helvellyn bridle way.
From there, John leads the way off-piste and off the snow, heading for Willie Wife Moor below.
Despite a few marshy patches and crossing a few small upland tributaries, we make good progress down the slope.
The tendency is to aim for Raise Beck but in fact we need to stay high and head more to the right.
This took us down to the small crags known as Reggie Knott.
We can see the car once again but it is still a long way below us.
Time for a look around and one last photo of Helm Crag,
The Howitzer on the right and the Lion and Lamb rock feature further to the left, along the summit ridge.
Thirlmere looking north from Reggie Knott.
Down below is Raise Beck.
The old road emerges from the forest only to be stopped by the bed of the 'new and improved' river.
A faint trace of the old road over Dunmail Rise can be seen on the adjacent field. It combines with the new road just out of picture.
One last descent and quite a steep one it is too.
However, the task is made easier by what looks like an old "peat track".
A path has been cut into the fell side and zig-zags down in an orderly fashion.
This is most likely an old sledging route to bring peat (a traditional fuel) down from the fell in centuries past.
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Time for a coffee and scones at the Lodge in the Vale before John left us to make his own way home.
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The cloud today has been an interesting feature of our walk and on our drive home it continued to delight.
This was the view from the Knoble Knott viewpoint on Whinlatter.
The top of Dodd is hidden by another passing cloud but the summit of Skiddaw is clear.
It has had a light dusting of snow too, on this very changeable day.
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To see John's photos of the day click here
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Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Fuji Finepix Compact or my Canon G10/1100D cameras.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . another one under the belt.
Previous walk - 15th March 2012 Rosthwaite & Millican Dalton's Cave
A previous time up here - 23rd September 2006 The Helvellyn Ridge Walk
Next walk - 18th March 2012 Whiteless, Wandope and Grasmoor