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" Crag Fell and Grike"

Date & start time: Thursday 10 th Sept 2015, 11.30 am start.

Location of Start : The Bleach Green car park, Ennerdale Lake, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 143 211 )

Places visited : Bleach Green, Anglers Crag, the Pinnacles, Crag Fell, Grike and back.

Walk details :  4.5 mls, 1600 feet of ascent, 4 hour 10 mins.

Highest point : Crag Fell 1,710ft - 523m

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

Weather : Sunshine and blue skies, slight but warm breeze at lunchtime.

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Jo's up on holiday, Ian's up in the Lakes too, so we have a meeting of friends in Ennerdale

in order to climb to the Pinnacles . . . and beyond if all goes well.

It did go well and we made both summits, complimented by the superb views and superb weather which has continued all week.

Bleach Green car park . . . plenty of space for all.

Walking the track out to Ennerdale Lake.

The wide path is also the Water Board access to the weir and the drinking water supply equipment that gather water from the lake.

Our target today are the Pinnacles, a rock outcrop on the side of Crag Fell, seen here through the tree's canopy.

There's still a lot of pipe work hanging about after the engineering works last summer.

The water levels are back up, the pumps and the huts have gone, but someone forgot to have a tidy up.

Here I owe the Environment Agency a bit of an apology.

I have previously reported that the Ben Gill Scheme which has re-naturalised the river flowing off Crag Fell was diverted for water supply reasons.

It turns out that it was re-naturalised in order to dump gravel and stone in the river to maintain the river beds for the benefit of the fresh water mussels.

[ The pipe work was a separate emergency attempt to increase the flow of the river during last summer's drought.]

The half a million pound (approx) engineering works spent by the EU and Natural England covered the reinstatement of the old Ben Gill river bed. 

Questionable design and a flash flood during construction caused major disruption of the new river layout . . . but hopefully it will be put right.

I can't help thinking that it would be cheaper to hire a JCB and dump bucket of gravel in the river each week . . . but that wouldn't be natural !

Through the gate in the wall and we are walking alongside the lake, heading for Anglers Crag.

Across the way are the Knock Murton and Blake Fell summits.

Looking up Ennerdale Valley to Great Borne, Starling Dodd, Red Pike and High Stile, all lined up in a row.

On this side our first objective is Anglers Crag, the outlier of Crag Fell high above us on the right.

Meet the gang . . . Ann, Ian and Jo . . . plus the dogs.

The heather is looking a little past its best this low down.
Looking back as we climb the track up to Anglers Crag.

Minor pinnacles and a major drop down to the lake now.

Looking west from near the top . . . this couple followed behind us as we climbed the fell.

Ann has got ahead and now relaxes on the far end of the crag, admiring the view up the valley towards Black Sail.

From her vantage point we look up to the Pinnacles. Our route follows the obvious path to the base of the scree

and then doubles back on the green bracken, before climbing the purple rake to the shelf behind the rock outcrop.

" Are you going up there ? "
Yep  . . . maybe not to the top of the rocks though.

A retrospective as we climb up on the wide zig-zags.

Closer now . . . the rocks are poised most dramatically.

Ian takes a break as we are now up level with the rock feature.

Looking down at the lake and the small stoney island in the centre.
Daylight, or at least a view of the lake through the rocks.

Jo captures the scene for posterity.

I decide on a little rock scramble up on to one of the less exposed pinnacles.

Hold your cursor over the picture to see part of the ascent.

It doesn't look like it  . . . but there's a big drop that discourages me from going further.

Time to come down . . . hold your cursor over the picture to watch part of the descent.

[ I cheated there . . . they are the same photos reversed . . . did you notice ? ]

The western-most rocks and a slightly hazy view down to the coast.

One can imagine shapes in the rock . . . but this sheep was real.
How about a grumpy Queen Victoria . . . "We are not amused".

Well, today was the day that she lost her 'world title' for being the longest reigning British monarch. . . so she's entitled to be grumpy !

Our present Queen Elizabeth II claims the record now.

All smiles at the start of the steep climb up the remaining slopes of Crag Fell.

- - - o o o - - -

Our final hundred feet or so were accompanied by the sound of pan pipes.

It turns out that the old fence post at the top of the rise

was 'whistling' in the breeze.

Ian and I tried to play a tune by covering the holes in turn

but the breeze wasn't quite strong enough

to develop a consistent sound.



Click on the movie button to start the 1 minute video. Turn your speakers up a bit if necessary.

- - - o o o - - -

Almost at the top of the rise but not yet at the summit.

The pool over there was full of cotton grass (and our dogs) last year.

We're just about to have a light lunch so we kept the dogs out this time

so that they wouldn't be wet and peaty while we sat and relaxed at the top.

" Lunch with a view "

After a delightful break Jo leads off heading west to Grike summit, out of sight in this photo.

What you can see are the tops of Whoap and Lank Rigg, with diminutive Cold Fell and Ponsonby Fell nestling at their foot.

The steep craggy ascent now gives way to moorland grass as we cross towards Grike.

The ground is damp in places, not surprising with such a flat fell top.

Looking back at Pillar Fell, Black Crag, Steeple, Scoat Fell and closer at hand, Iron Crag.

Steeple is hidden but Caw Fell is now in view as we pass the weather station.

The large stone shelter and separate cairn on the summit of Grike.

Ann strides out for the top, her sun hat pulled down to reduce the glare from the strong sunshine.

We've evening tickets for Theatre by the Lake tonight

so without delaying further we head off, following the fence line down from Grike.

There was no clear path so chose your own way down through the bilberries, occasional heather and the moorland grass.

Jo and Ian stand an old spoil heap from a trial addit dug into the fellside to explore for iron ore.

The old mine has been backfilled but you can still see where it would have been.

You can't walk all the way down the fellside to the lake as the forest and the farm fields below block the way,

so the path diverts through an obvious gate and heads diagonally down through the trees.

Darker light in the forest causes the flash to brighten this autumnal photo.

Likewise this atractive fern plant . . . these nice ferns are much less invasive that the fellside bracken.

From the track at the bottom it is a short walk back along the track to the car park

. . . provided someone hasn't locked the gate.

Still the right-of-way markings on the map indicated an alternative footpath home.

There's a gate and a good wall stile to cross into the field below.

Crag Farm nestles under steep sides of Crag Fell . . . which makes total sense.

A lovely looking place with well-tended gardens . . . but it will be a little short of direct sunshine in all but the summer months.

We draw the walk to a close back at Bleach Green

but not before one last photo of our outward route and the rocky outcrop of The Pinnacles . . . as delightful as expected.

- - - o o o - - -


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

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

This site best viewed with . . . a lunch spot with a view.

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Previous walk - 7th September 2015 - Melbreak and a cool dip

A previous time up here - 23rd June 2014 - Crag Fell and Grike ~ Jill & Nigel

Next walk - 15th September 2015 - The Whit Beck Project - One Year On -