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" Whinlatter Top in the Sunshine "
Date & start time: 17th September 2019, 4.20 pm start.
Location of Start : Roadside on Whinlatter Pass, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 203 244)
Places visited : Whinlatter Forest and Whinlatter Top.
Walk details : 2.5 miles, 700 feet of ascent, 1 hours 45 mins.
Highest point : Whinlatter Top, 1,722ft - 525m.
Walked with : Ann and our dogs, Dylan and Dougal.
Weather : Sunshine and blue skies.
© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.
It is a beautiful day, brought on by a late summer high pressure, keeping the clouds at bay and bringing warmer air from the continent.
We head up to Whinlatter by car to walk through the forest to the summit that gives the road pass its name.
Parking is either perched on the roadside verge or pay and display in the Forest Centre car park.
Sadly when the Forest Centre car park was landscaped they did away with a gravel parking area here on the left.
This means walkers must now either pay a significant amount of money for a simple fell walk or park elsewhere. We chose the latter.
The Whinlatter Forest is now a playground for Go Ape'rs and mountain bikers.
The forest paths are occasionally crossed by bike tracks, but no problem as they are usually well signposted.
A friendly, but rather plastic looking Disney-type squirrel overseas our route up through the forest.
As the track levels slightly there's a wide junction which has a viewpoint and seat looking south towards Grisedale Pike.
Over the years the view of the fell has gradually disappeared to the point that it is no longer visible.
The sign has changed too, from a viewpoint map to a woodland and squirrel information board . . . at least that makes sense.
After turning left the forest road continues to rise but not at such an angle.
At the end is a large turning area and what used to be an awkward stile, but is now a simple gate out onto the fell.
From the end of the track we get our first look back at The Helvellyn Ridge.
Beyond the gate you turn right and engage four wheel drive for the steep ascent.
It doesn't bother the dogs, they are up and down without a thought.
I even had to whistle them back to sit for the photo.
Off again . . . not far to the top we are told.
Up here, away from the trees two things are quite striking.
One is that the heather is already fading after a very short season for the blooms.
It is happening all over the UK moorlands as highlighted by the National Trust (Thanks for the link V&G)
The second is the extensive view which surround us on all sides now that we've cleared the trees.
It is an undulating moorland walk to the top now . . . easy going in the afternoon sun.
Dougal and I take the high road onto the Whinlatter outlier summit.
Ann and Dylan take the low road . . . and they may be in Scotland before us !
Ahead is a flattish, very damp section of the fell, possibly an old tarn in the dim and distant past,
perhaps when that famous Scottish ballad (Loch Lomond) was first written all those years ago.
Safely across dry shod, now it is a gentle climb once again to the true top of the fell.
The dogs climb the last section ahead of Ann.
The town of Keswick and the northern end of Derwent Water fill the background to this photo.
Another Wainwright summit completed.
We haven't been up here on Whinlatter for over five years, put off by the parking restrictions at the start of the walk.
As a result of being the age they are, neither Dylan nor Dougal have visited this fell, so it counts as a new ascent for both of them.
Once more the views are outstanding, so much so that you deserve another wide screen photo.
Hopefully you've seen the big picture, lets zoom in on the detail.
To the south west of us is Hopegill Head, the indented path up the slab is clearly highlighted (darkly) by the afternoon sun.
Another lakeland stalwart, recognisable by the undulating summit ridge, Causey Pike.
A triangular peak beyond the Helvellyn ridgeway is the summit of Catstycam.
Deep into the blue haze, distant views of the Mell Fells . . . and behind them, Cross Fell on the Pennine Hills.
Finally behind us one more landmark to note, the clear felled woodland that used to flank Widow's Hause.
Presumably the heavily moss covered dry stone wall along its northern end is now open to the sunlight, which won't please the moss !
It's a shame that with the opportunity for bio-mass fuel nowadays that the branches of the felled trees
cannot also be removed to fuel the fires rather than be left in artificial serried ranks down the fell side.
Time to leave the top and make our way back.
There's not sufficient time today to continue on to the Brown How summit,
but there's no reason why we can't walk to the edge to look down onto Whinlatter Pass.
A view of the Whinlatter Pass road from above . . . the main road curves away out of sight to the right.
What looks like a tarmac road contouring through the woodland is just a wide forest track that climbs behind the Swinside Cottages.
Across the way from our viewpoint is the mass of Grisedale Pike and before it, Hobcarton End with the trees.
Zooming in on the detail of the trees . . . and sunshine that highlights the path down the ridge.
Continuing on . . . now the view ahead is of Keswick, Clough Head and The Dodds.
We reach the fence and it is time to head down to the right and find that gate again.
A secure footing and a well placed walking pole are two useful attributes to accompany this steep path.
The view from the gate.
Dougal waits in the sunshine for our arrival, but Dylan sits to the side, more interested in chewing a stick.
Last one through please shut the gate !
All that remains is the last section of forest track, back down to the car.
I took this rather hastily photographed image . . .
. . . because it reminded me of our snowy December Loweswatercam Calendar picture from 2016.
By the way . . . did I mention that our Loweswatercam Calendar 2020 is now on sale ?
[ See below for details of how to order your copy ;o) ]
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Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix TZ60, or my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a few hours spare to drive further afield on a nice day.
Previous walk - 13-15th Sept - Hilton, Catherine and Margaret
Next walk - 20th Sept - Knock Murton Direct