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" Ladyside Pike with Jo "
Date & start time: Tuesday 2nd September 2014, 1pm start.
Location of Start : The top, Swinside Road above Whinlatter, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 178 254)
Places visited : Swinside, Ladyside, Hopegill Head, Whiteside, Whin Ben and down.
Walk details : A linear walk of 5 mls, 2050 feet of ascent (2350 descent) 5 hour incl lunch.
Highest point : Hopegill Head 2,525ft - 770m.
Walked with : Jo and Ann plus our dogs, Amber, Harry and Dylan.
Weather : Sunshine and blue skies but a considerable haze built over the last few days.
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Think of a peak that failed to catch Wainwright's eye but one that is, nevertheless, a great fell in itself.
It leads on towards one of the finest scrambles to a high peak that doesn't involve a serious degree of exposure or risk, especially in dry weather.
The day was beautifully dry and the sun shone on the three of us as we set off to climb Ladyside Pike
having already parked Jo's car at Lanthwaite Green, the far end of
Eagle-eyed viewers may have spotted the fact that the path is labelled as a 'no through route'.
The adjacent Parish or local authority failed to register the other end as a footpath so Lorton's path travels so far and then stops at the boundary.
We use the start of the footpath route to enter the field and commence our ascent.
Once we could stride out for 'open access land' we did so, using an old gap in the fell wall.
The route is slightly haphazard here and I believe the forestry guys may have extended the 'path on the map' out onto the fell lower down.
Up here we were soon admiring the lovely heather of the Swinside Ridge
and look down on the Whinlatter Valley and across to the distant summit of . . . . surprisingly . . . Clough Head.
The task in hand was to climb up onto the Swinside Ridge
and a handy farmer's track presented itself just at the right time to avoid a long tramp through the rough heather.
Looking back on the map, the path was shown from the road up to the ridge, but it is not an official right of way.
The old track climbed gently but steadily and we have the prospect of our first summit ahead of us all the way.
Looking down on Whinlatter Valley
with the background summits of Skiddaw and Lonscale Fell appearing to rise above the sun-dappled Whinlatter ridge.
Head down to avoid the paparazzi's close attentions . . . Jo is even trying to disguise herself with dark glasses !
Oh . . . now I've identified them there's no point in hiding or turning away.
Ann and Jo at the recently repaired footpath gate as we climb up towards the ridge.
once the summit path was close enough not to involve any further significant height gain.
Another gate on the ridge but no recognised path coming through.
The steep, heather covered sides of the Hopegill Valley do not encourage direct ascents from below.
The large cairn marks the viewpoint summit.
Harry and Dylan get asked to contribute some extra colour to brighten the shot in view of the very 'flat' light of the distant views.
The true summit of Ladyside is in fact set back slightly and, apart from me sitting on an ants' nest,
it provided a fine sheltered lunch spot away from the slight westerly breeze.
He knows that valley well as it is one of our favourite local dog walks, if you want to pass a peaceful hour or so in the company of the high fells.
The remnants of the wall guide us ever upward.
The first crag fails to show on the map and can be easily avoided . . .
. . . but it offers a great little scramble to get us in the mood for the longer Hopegill Slabs ahead.
No place for vertigo if you are going to stand this close to the edge . . . it is about 750 feet straight down to the valley below.
A quick scurry round and I'm above the ladies and looking down on our route of ascent.
Off the slabs and onto the final ascent path with the summit ahead.
The summit rocks of Hopegill Head and the kind gentleman who took the following photo . . .
. . . of Ann, Jo, myself and the three dogs on the top of Hopegill Head.
Time for a quick look around.
Hit the backspace key to return to here.
The day was fine but there were times when a passing cloud obscured the sun, casting the fell side into shadow.
Here Ann and Jo set off along the Whiteside Ridge towards Lanthwaite Green, at the foot of Gasgale Valley below.
With the zoom in action on the camera the distant fells assume greater proportions.
Here a close up on the grassy Wandope, with Scafell Pike and Scafell in the distance.
Through the gap above Sand Hill are the distinctive summits of Pike O'Stickle and Bowfell above Langdale.
Closer views are less hazy
as we look back at Coledale Hause and Eel Crag from further down the ridge.
This is a lovely elevated ridge walk, one of the finest in the Lakes.
Jo pauses as Ann completes a slightly rocky section of the path.
A close up of the path with an intriguing red leafed plant.
They turn out to be the fresh young shoots of bilberry plants and match the new season growth on older plants close by.
Dylan is growing apace . . . and has almost exceeded me in height,
provided you don' take the perspective of distance into the equation !
A last view back of Ladyside Pike and Hopegill Head . . . behind Jo, Amber and myself.
The path along the ridge doesn't always cling to the highest ground but smaller tracks take us up to the minor tops along the way.
Nearing the end of the elevated ridge walk
as we look back to Hopegill Head from more or less the summit cairn of Whiteside.
Jo has walked ahead
to catch a photo across the valley to Dove Crags on the northern side of Grasmoor.
It is downhill all the way now as we set off for the steep descent of Whiteside End.
Looking into the sun accentuates the effect of the haze.
My picture of Jo . . .
and the Dove Crag corrie and ridge route up Grasmoor that she was looking at earlier.
Alongside the path on the descent to Whin Ben
the dwarf conifers, possibly Juniper, which are having difficulty growing on the exposed fellside.
Poor soil and strong winds combine to create the natural bonsai look.
Some sections are easy tracks, others are rocky and loose.
Both demand your total attention so as not to catch you out when descending this section of the path.
"Four wheel drive" seems to be a good option in keeping your balance.
A slight pause and a twin photo call in the renewed sunshine.
The worst is over and the path levels out onto the intermediate outcrop before we get to Whin Ben.
A selfie-shadow photo looking down into Gasgale Valley.
A final brief rise takes us up onto Whin Ben itself.
A last short rocky section and we are nearly down in the valley.
The re-aligned path directs us down to the new bridge across the Liza Beck.
I've never worked out where Gasgale Gill changes its name to Liza Beck . . . the map is no help either.
There's a grassy walk out to the car so hopefully the dogs will be a little drier by the time they have to jump in.
Just the drive back to Swinside for the other car and we'll be able to get home for that long-anticipated post-walk cup of tea.
Ann, have we got any cake left for Jo and ourselves ?
- - - 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 . . .something nice in the cake tin.
Previous walk - 30th August 2014 - The Ullock Pike Round with Neil
A previous time up here - Saturday 10th Sept 2011 Five go to Whiteside
Next event - 7th September 2014 - The Loweswater Show 2014