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" Hopegill Head via the Slabs "
Date & start time: Saturday 22nd September 2012, 10.30 am start.
Location of Start : The gated road, High Swinside, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 168 241 )
Places visited : Swinside, Ladyside, Hopegill Head, Whiteside, and back via Dodd
Walk details : 5.4 mls, 2300 ft of ascent, 5.5 hours.
Highest point : Hopegill Head 2,525ft - 770m.
Walked with : Rod, Neil, Maggie, David, Jo, Ann and the dogs, Amber, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Sunshine and fine weather clouds. Excellent visibility.
[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]
A sunny day and a planned walk coincided nicely
and so seven of us set off for a walk up Hopegill Head via Ladyside and the Hopegill Slabs.
Sunshine all the way and tremendous views across to Scotland compliment this nice walk.
A beautiful morning so we gather a few items for the walk today . . . slices of bread, nice fillings, a drink, a biscuit . . .
and some spare clothing in the rucksack in case it rains (not) !
Parking on the Hopegill Road has never been so crowded.
[ The dark fellside behind is Dodd which will be the last summit of the day ]
Roll Call . . . Rod, Neil, Maggie, David, Jo, myself with Ann behind the camera.
We take the track diagonally up the side of Swinside Fell
heading away from the Loweswater end of the Lorton Valley.
Looking down on the green pastures of Lorton and the linear houses gathered round the Lorton Village roads.
The views today were superb and Scotland across the Solway was remarkably clear.
Mellbreak, Hen Comb and Great Borne beyond.
Once up on Swinside the walking was easy but there were two climbs ahead.
The first was Ladyside Pike and the second, the seemingly vertical climb up onto Hopegill Head.
Looking back along the old wall and the route we had just walked.
Last one through shut the gate !
Glorious walking on this unusually fine day . . . Ann and Neil reach Ladyside Pike summit.
A large cairn but a distinct lack of wall at this point.
Harry and Bethan, Maggie and Jo take the lead as we set off for the next part of the walk.
I hang back slightly for a summit panorama.
Looking back, this time down the length of the Hopegill Valley.
The view across the Solway Firth continues to draw the eye.
There's one last rocky outcrop before we reach the slabs.
David and Jo chose to walk around the side of the unnamed crag.
Looking up into the sunshine makes the scramble look more daunting that it actually was.
After Ann enjoyed the short scramble she waved to Neil . . . who seems to be taking a photo using his trekking poles !
She reciprocated with a view up from her rocky outcrop.
Shortly we'll gather on the flat slab in the centre of the photo before starting the final part of the climb.
Bethan enjoys an exposed location as she looks out over Hobcarton Crags and Grisedale Pike.
Preparing for the final ascent . . .
That's the edge that Bethan was looking over !
Rod leads the others up the start of the main slab.
Jo tops-out into the sunshine . . .
closely followed by the purple rucksack of . . .
Somewhere there amongst the summit-hoggers is a small cairn.
No-one seemed to be moving away from the top . . . so a smaller group photo was takes without the summit cairn in view.
Most striking from up here was the view of the Helvellyn Range, now clear above the nearby fells.
Time for us to move away and find a quieter spot for our lunch.
Somewhere with a view of Crummock Water and the Gasgale Valley would be nice.
Now this could be a photo of our lunch spot, but then it could be luncheon if you have posh sandwiches.
A certain West Cumbrian insisted it was a dinner time location.
Either way . . . pass the bait box, I'm hungry !
One of the finest ridge walks in the county.
It might not be as long and elevated as the Helvellyn Ridge, it may not be as sharp as Sharp Edge
but nevertheless it is an interesting walk, full of fine undulations and extensive views on all sides on a day like today.
Occasional rocky sections add interest along the way.
Below us the bed of Gasgale Gill is full of river washed rock from localised land slides.
The different textures of the rocks which flank the many gullies were intriguing.
Looking back up the valley towards Hopegill Head and Ill Crags, with distant Helvellyn in between.
Rod and I discuss the fells opposite.
A fine flying display from the mountain crows and/or ravens (difficult to tell from a distance).
We watched as they competed for what looked like orange peel and banana skins, a poor substitute for more substantial natural food.
Looking across the many ridges of the crags towards the Eastern fells.
The magic of the self-timer for a complete group photo
as there were no other people on the summit of Whiteside at this time.
Closer to the edge of the summit plateau and we get a view down to the reflective waters of Crummock.
Across now to Loweswater and the distant outline of the Isle of Man (top left).
Any further down and it would be quicker to walk home than to walk back to the car.
The temptation put behind us as we turn and retrace our steps slightly.
That shouldn't be happening !
A thick plume of smoke rises from a fire somewhere down by the coast.
A close-up overlooking the houses of Cockermouth . . . the fire is somewhere over the Dearham direction.
We continue down the heather covered slopes, Neil leading the way down below.
Unfortunately the late summer colours never really came to much this year and the heather is looking particularly muted.
One last summit . . . and chance to relax in the heather as everyone gathers once again.
" If I put my telephoto lens on, I can just see the cake Ann has promised at Oak Cottage afterwards !"
. . . or he could be taking one last picture of the view across to Criffel in Scotland.
A steady but pathless descent takes us down into the Hopegill Valley we saw earlier.
One last look back at the Hopegill Head crags as we reach the beck.
Not big but surprisingly few safe places to cross.
The water is a little higher than normal and the rocks just that little bit more slippery than you would expect.
Ann and Jo continued on down, crossing at the shallow area near the fell side wall.
We join the path from Lanthwaite Green that has skirted under Dodd.
It will take us back to the cars.
A successful day out and time to change our boots before driving home.
- - - o o o - - -
Anyone for a cuppa . . . or should that be tea or even afternoon tea.
Ann might even find something to have with it . . .
As the old song said . . . she knew they were coming so she baked a cake !
David's happy . . . and so were the rest of us !
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220 or my Canon G10 digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . time to start luncheon, lunch, dinner or open the bait box depending on your point of view.
Previous walk - 16th September 2012 Richard and Rosie's More to Explore
A previous time up here - 1st January 2009 Whiteside and Hopegill Head
Next event - 2nd October 2012 A week away on Santorini
Next walk - 20th October 2012 Harter Fell with Simon and Jo