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" Back O'Wythop with Jo and Ian "

Date & start time: Saturday 2nd March 2013, midday start.

Location of Start : Roadside near Highside Farm, Embleton, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 168 286 )

Places visited : Tom Rudd Beck, Graystones, Widow Hause, Burthwaite Heights, back alongside Ling Fell.

Walk details :   5.9 mls, 1400 ft of ascent, 4 hour 30 mins.

Highest point : Graystones  1,496ft - 456m.

Walked with : Jo, Ian, Ann and the dogs, Jodie, Amber, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Overcast but sunny periods towards the end. Cool, dry, very little breeze.

" Back O'Wythop with Jo and Ian " at EveryTrail

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]


The back O'Skiddaw would be an idea for a walk today,

but then we thought about an area that we had often seen but not really visited recently, that was not dissimilar.

Gentle slopes, grassland, a nice round walk, not so far to drive . . . let's go for that . . .


The footpath sign sends us to the area behind Ling Fell in the North Western Fells.  A large bog criss-crossed with drainage ditches

is what we know about . . . but the weather has been cold and dry and so many bogs are frozen and easy to walk across.

Our plan was one better, to keep to the higher ground around the edge !

Wainwright's NW Fells book, "Graystones from Embleton Church" was the inspiration for the start,

the rest would follow depending on how we felt along the way.

Today's small crowd . . . Jo, myself and Ian, with Ann behind the camera.

Spring is in the air but it is still cool, especially as the blue skies have given way to overcast conditions.

It is a good year for Snowdrops it seems . . . we passed these on the way up to the farm near the start of the walk.

" Ladies in Waiting "

2nd March so the hill flocks will be nearing lambing time . . . these are indoors for a reason obviously.

Many farmers are using large lambing shed to protect the new born lambs . . . and themselves if they have to turn out on a rough night to help.

We strike out onto open ground and look back to see Embleton and the distant town of Cockermouth.

A short while further up the track and we can look forward to the route ahead.

We plan to walk the tree line that runs along Widow Hause on the ridge between Graystones and Broom Fell.

Wainwright mentions these large quartzite boulders in his book . . .
. . . but there's no sign of a rickety river crossing device.

His route suggests you walk past the large larch trees (yes ... they are still there) and strike up the wall for a direct ascent of Graystones.

We'll take a more gradual approach, circling round to include the small larch plantation on the top right.

A surprisingly deep ravine has to be crossed but the sheep have made an easy path which we can follow.

A short while later we reached those trees.

The inset map may be over fifty years old but it still makes sense . . . the trees are considerably older of course.

From high under Graystones the view across Wythop Moss is extensive.

Ahead is Ling Fell with the darker heather (Ling).  Beyond it Sale Fell and the tree line of Wythop Woods overlooking Bassenthwaite.

We contour round the fellside, climbing slowly upward as we go.

There is a spring just above here and the water in the grass has frozen to give icy patches.

Amber, and our dogs, took a bite of the ice to presumably assuage their thirst as they climbed.

In the end we reached that wall . . . there was only one way to go to the summit and that was up !

The wall was made of the softer Skiddaw Slate rock and over the years it has weathered badly, split and the wall  has collapsed.

Still we made it to the top . . . or one of them.

Graystones appears to have three high points, this one offset towards Lorton's Kirk Fell has a large cairn but  no spot height.

The second and third are across the way and qualify for measured heights.

My basic Gps today was not accurate enough to provide a definite answer to the riddle so we had a photo on all three.

Leaving the first and heading for lunch on the second.

No sign of that afternoon sunshine that was half promised.

In fact the overcast weather has deteriorated to low cloud and I even imagined a drop of rain, but it came to nothing.

Oh yes . . . you can see our house down there . . . had it been as fine as yesterday !

- - - o o o - - -

After lunch there was discussion about should we go off to the right or the left . . . to get to Widow Hause ?

The definitive answer was EAST . . . show the people which is East please !

Over the brow and we looked down on the long line of trees

which is fact the top section of the plantation which extends all the way down to Aiken Beck in the next valley.

Amber checks out the view.

This is a picture of a wall . . . a very old wall that used to define the top of the hause.

I love it because of the deep moss and lichen that grows along it . . . it has been undisturbed for years due to the thick forest on the other side.

- - - o o o - - -


It was taken in the middle of a "technical interlude" on the fells . . .

Crossing the stile on Widow Hause we looked down and found a wallet which had obviously been dropped very recently by a fellow walker. Inside was a photo ID on his driving licence which didn't match any recent walkers we had seen despite me doubling back to check on another summit group we had left eating their lunch on Graystones.

A phone call to Ian's wife half way across England, a name into a Google search on the computer, a suggestion of a phone number and one phone call later, we were talking to a guy on Whinlatter Fell two miles away who hadn't even realised he had lost it !

Wallet and Edward were re-united at the end of the walk when he drove around to meet us at the Pheasant Inn.

Technology is a wonderful thing  . . . sometimes.


- - - o o o - - -

Investigations complete and arrangements made . . . it was time to be off again.

Doing the circuit . . . we passed on climbing Broom Fell but instead we walk across the flanks of the high ground

circling around Wythop Moss on the high ground.

The next target . . . the small rise ahead that goes by the name of Burthwaite Heights.

Zooming in on Sale Fell . . . because the sun had come out at last.

More fences . . . but we didn't have to cross this one . . . it headed down in the right direction.

Yes we've got to climb it . . . because it's there.

I believe it's a Birkett Fell (noted in Bill Birkett's list of Lakeland Fells) but as we're not counting Birkett's, we'll do it just because we can.

The high summit crags and impressive cairn on Burthwaite Heights . . . not !

At least Wainwrights usually have a pile of stones to mark the highest point . . . that's Jo and I in the distance looking for a non-existent cairn.

We did, however, get a nice view down to Kelswick Farm on the side of Sale Fell.

. . . and a good view of Wythop Hall Farm under the woodland-covered Ladies Table.

[ Ladies Table ties in with the next fell to the right  . . . Lord's Seat of course ]

Jo and Jodie stop for a photo with the afore-mentioned Lord's Seat behind them.

From here our route continues its gradual descent

as we aim for the fence line and head across the Moss . . . to the track which skirts under Ling Fell.

What dampness there was, was easy to avoid.

The farmer has been upgrading the gates and fencing.
Our track continues on as a footpath beyond the gate.

Soon we met the Tom Rudd Beck track which approached from the other direction . . . we had nearly completed the circle.

I recognise that stone . . . it was the quartzite one we turned at on the way out.

Walking back along a familiar track towards Highside Farm.

There's the car parked down on the wide area next to the river bridge and the water board covered reservoir.

- - - o o o - - -

After our walk we met up with Edward and re-united him with his wallet.

Unfortunately the Pheasant Inn was not open, and he had a longer journey home, so we parted company . . . but the problem was solved.

At his suggestion, we dined out that night and a toasted his health with a rather nice bottle of Chilean Merlot in the Kirkstile.

Thank you Ed . . . a nice end to a great day out.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, my Canon G10 or 1100D SLR digital cameras.

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

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Previous walk - 26th February 2013 - Robinson from Newlands Pass

A previous time up here - 11th June 2004 Lords Seat and the Whinlatter Fells

Next walk - 4th March 2013 - Keswick Canoe and Bushcraft