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" Crag Fell and Grike ~ Jill & Nigel "
Date & start time: Monday 23rd June 2014, 10.45 am start.
Location of Start : The Bleach Green car park, Ennerdale, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 086 153 )
Places visited : Anglers Crag, the Pinnacles, Crag Fell, Grike and back.
Walk details : 4.8 mls, 1600 feet of ascent, 4.5 hour.
Highest point : Crag Fell 1,710ft - 523m
Walked with : Jill and Nigel, Ann and our dogs, Harry and Dylan.
Weather : Sunshine and blue skies, turning overcast later.
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Jill and Nigel are up and the weather is fine and dry.
They requested a western fells walk and as a result we grab the car keys
and drive round to Ennerdale for this classic five mile, twin summit walk up Crag Fell and Grike.
Bleach Green car park at the foot of Ennerdale Water . . . time to put the boots on and get ready to go.
Mmm . . . We had heard that there's work on at the lake
but there's a lot more workmen and fencing that we had imagined.
Information . . . more meaningful if I had my glasses to hand.
Ben Gill is the stream that cascades off the side of Crag Hill but sinks into the gravel and never reaches the lake.
Lots of information to try and explain what is going on.
Three large pumps in the field and some major plumbing.
Don't panic, there's still space alongside the pipes to walk over the bridge.
The immediate problem is to keep the river flowing and to protect the river environment.
The recent drought, due to low rainfall and the high level of extraction of water from the lake in order to supply the West Cumbria area,
has left the lake so low that without the pumping the river would be dry . . . there's nothing flowing over the weir.
Allegedly, low water levels and poor oxygenation has also caused major losses in the fresh water mussel population this summer.
We leave the industrial site to the experts . . . and head out alongside the lake.
The low water level is quite obvious from looking at the larger than normal exposed shoreline.
Looking back, the blue of the skies is beautifully reflected in the lake.
At this point we take the left hand, higher path which starts the steady climb up to the top of Angler's Crag.
As in many parts of the Lakes, the bracken has grown rapidly in the summer heat.
If only we could find something that would benefit from eating it, then the countryside could be a lot better off.
Nearing the top of Angler's Crag and we look down on the deep blue of Ennerdale Water.
In a band across the lake is a suggestion of a shallow bank of stones under the water.
For those with a geographical bent they will recognise this as a glacial moraine laid down when the Ennerdale Glacier
deposited its surface alluvial rock in a large fan shaped bank having escaped from the confines of the narrow valley.
With the maximum zoom of the lens and the low water level, the odd stone seen in the past
has grown to become a large bank of stones, complete with a visiting seagull !
After looking down on the lower pinnacles of Angler's Crag it was a short climb up to the highest point
where we suddenly gained an extensive view of the fells at the head of the lake.
From the eastern end of the viewpoint the view is even better.
To the left is Great Borne, with Starling Dodd, High Stile, Haystacks, Pillar, Steeple and Haycock completing the horseshoe of fells.
Zooming in . . . The major fell is Pillar . . . and the small triangular bump to the right is Steeple.
What a great place to record a group photo from the day.
Enough of this lazing about looking at the view . . . there's work to do.
Up there is the summit of Crag Fell with the Pinnacles a major attraction half way up . . . now to find a path.
At this time of year the black coated first-year Herdwicks seem to grow sunglasses to protect against the sunny weather !
Getting nearer but the path is proving a bit illusive . . . the tall bracken isn't helping.
Still, a few zig-zags and we are nearly there.
Hopefully the rock I'm standing on is as solid as it looks
Nigel looks on from the flatter area behind.
Perhaps if I push a little the rock will settle back and not fall down the hillside ;o)
Ahh . . . the camera never lies !
Jill tries for a close up of the dogs . . . only Dylan wants to be too close and Jill's lens can't cope to well.
Hold your cursor over the photo to see the result.
The top of the main rock structure is accessible with a short rock scramble.
Jill, who appeared over the top at that moment, accused me of posing on the top of the rock!
Re-arrange into a well known phrase or saying . . . pot, kettle, black !
We digress . . . so let's move onward and upward, leaving the crags for others to visit.
Again no real path as the only obvious one traverses below the rocks . . . we head straight up.
. . . and up . . . and up.
A brief respite as we reach a patch of level ground below the final crags.
The final push to the top . . . fortunately a gentle breeze keeps the temperature at a reasonable level.
Like a cork out of a bottle we emerge, all of a sudden, on flat ground close to the summit.
A wrought iron fencepost, manufactured by Francis Norton & Co. of Liverpool, seems almost surreal in this otherwise fenceless summit.
Wainwright summit number 178 for the Bachelors . . . Crag Fell.
We know there's a great view, again from the eastern side of the summit
but a peaty pool and some cotton grass encourage us down for a closer look.
High Stile and Pillar over the white of the 'cotton'.
Fluffy and white . . . and so are the plants at this time of year.
Harry has other plans . . . and they include cooling down.
Dylan is not so sure but does venture in further than he does in the streams near home.
We'll leave the cotton grass as we found it, apart from a few extra paw prints and some slightly disturbed water.
Time for lunch . . . with a view of course.
Overlooking Ennerdale Water with Iron Crag the first fell to our right . . . the rest I think I've mentioned.
Lunch over, time for a short power-nap.
" If he didn't spend so much time rushing about he wouldn't be so tired." says the old man !
- - - o o o - - -
From Crag Fell we head west along the ridge towards our second summit of Grike.
On the way we pass the weather station, high on the fell.
Looking back showing the cleared forestry on the southern side of the fell.
The wider view as the girls and Harry make their way up to Grike.
The weather has taken a turn for the worse as a bank of high cloud covers the western fells.
The superb visibility we enjoyed at lunchtime looking east is no longer available for our westerly views
and the Isle of Man and Scotland are now hidden in the gloom.
What a long tongue !
Harry and Dylan turn for some reason.
Ahh . . . another summit photo . . . number 179 for Jill and Nigel.
Heading basically north from the summit we pick up the fence line and navigation is easy,
a lot easier than keeping one's balance on the steep descent anyway.
The lake and the car park beckon below.
Part way down, soon after passing an old spoil heap from some long forgotten iron mine, we enter the woods.
Jill practices a spot of pole-dancing !
. . . and back to the industrial heartland that is the Bleach Green car park.
- - - o o o - - -
A 15 minute scenic drive finds us back home for a leisurely afternoon scones and cream . . . Betty's of Harrogate eat your heart out !
Loweswatercam Cream Tea for four . . . thank you . . . that will do nicely.
As the afternoon turns to evening the clear air returns and we gain superb views of Gable from the garden once again.
Time for supper.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, or my Nikon P520 digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . Ennerdale drinking water on tap . . . fresh water mussels permitting.
Previous walk - 20th June 2014 - Scafell Railway Children 2014
A previous time up here - 7th May 2004 Crag Hill & the Pinnacles with a young dog
Next walk - 28th June to 2nd july - Pin Mill and Holbrook School