Hart Cragg via Dovedale
was a day of indecision. For the previous three
days BBC had been predicting not a cloud in the sky
whilst MWIS's forecast had moderated from white-outs
down to some cloud and perishingly cold winds with the
chance of snow flurries. Should we go high or
stay low? Should we redo BB0602,
the low walk near Tarn Hows and see the views that Bryan
had confidently predicted would be there had there been
no mist? Should we go to Angle Tarn as we nearly
did on BB0603?
Or should we be brave and head up Dovedale onto
Hart Crag, Dove Crag, Little Hart Crag and return by
the Scandale pass and down Caiston Beck? Or the
other way round? Or should we not go at all, as
Stan had been secretly hoping?
decided he was coming up and when he arrived at Kendal
it seemed that BBC had been right all along. Any
lingering thoughts we might have had about Tarn Hows
were eliminated when we were stopped by the police at
Plumgarths roundabout. Stan was preparing to use
a funny handshake to get us out of trouble but it turned
out that Bannerigg was blocked although we were let
through to go to Troutbeck via Ings. No way back
to Tarn Hows after that.
at the car park at Low Wood, just past Brothers
Water it was obvious that BBC had got it
right so off to Dovedale we trod having
passed the time of day with a huge group
of geriatric ladies and their dogs.
Water looked splendid as the path eased
along the west side. At Hartsop Hall
we headed up right into Dovedale, which
is an absolutely delightful valley. The
path was just right- steep enough to gain
height reasonably quickly but gentle enough
not to trouble the old ticker too much.
In fact there is a very nice "slipper"
walk that could be done by going half way
up the track and returning by the path in
the valley bottom.
it was far from clear how we would escape
from the valley and from time to time we
consulted the map to check that there really
was a way up.
valley swung round left to a hidden area
and then all became clear.
fortunately some kind person or persons
had put in the best set of mountain stairs
I have yet seen.
Thoughtfully laid out with semi-ambulant
steps so that even thought it was very steep,
it was relatively easily to climb.
as we got higher, we had excellent views
back over the valley to see what had been
achieved last week in BB0603.
Coming out of the steep part onto the shoulder
we realised that, actually, the BBC hadn't
quite got it right and MWIS, as usual, was
providing the more accurate prediction.
The clouds were gathering, the wind
was rising and another decision was needed:
to stick to the original plan or to just
take in Hart Crag and then descend by the
Black Crag, Gill Crag Ridge?
that Dove Crag would still be there another day we decided
on the latter. Lunch was taken below the final
ascent in an opportune wind free zone with views down
to Morecambe Bay where a passing Kendalian told us an
excellent if somewhat risqué joke about two Irishmen
and a blow up doll. As this area is part of the
Fairfield round, it suddenly got busy and quite a few
people were encountered around the top of Hart Crag.
of them however chose our way down and something went
wrong. It was probably because Stan stopped for
a nature call and I took the lead down an increasingly
steep and rocky incline. After Stan returned,
he and Pete pressed on but I was getting concerned about
the exposure risk and spotted that if I traversed back
a little there seemed to be a perfectly safe grassy
way down. I will swear that Stan saw me going
off on this trail and called "See you at the bottom".
Anyway, off down the track I went and quickly reached
safety and made fast progression down the hill stopping
only for two things. Firstly, repeatedly (honest)
to try and spot Pete or Stan, either alive or as crumpled
heaps on what seemed like near vertical crags. Secondly
to take a phone call from the mother-in-law who wanted
me to run her to the dentist!!!!
sooner had the call finished than Stan appeared and
then Pete, slightly ahead and to the left. They
reckoned that they were about to call for a search party
for me and that Stan had been up and down the hill looking
for me. Well, it's good to know that they care.
Or was it because I had the car keys?
then on, it was a straightforward ridge walk until we
climbed a stile in order to drop down to the car park.
Although a well trod path, this proved to be just
about the steepest non-rock descent I have ever been
down and would have been an absolute killer had we done
the walk the other way round.
other incidents to report except to reveal the reason
why Stan had half hoped the walk would be cancelled.
It was Joan's birthday and he was burning off
an indecent number of brownie points (if indeed he had
any) by having left her alone that morning. Anyway
when we dropped him off at home, we wished Joan a very
happy birthday and told her we hoped she would enjoy
the big surprise that Stan had for her that evening.
8th February 2006
Many months later, when checking off the Wainwrights,
I was unable to find Hartsop Above How on the Anquet
map. However checking AW's Eastern Fells book
made me realise that the descent on BB0604 had passed
along Hartsop above How. This was submitted to
the Adjudication Committee, validated and has now been
retrospectively added to the walk's tally!
20th November 2007
Crag, Hartsop Above How
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- BB0631 Coppermines
- BB0630 Relocation,
- BB0629 Stone Arthur and a Mystery Plume
- BB0628 Knocking off Wainwrights. Oh! Plus Skiddaw!
- BB0627 Blencathra
and the Mungrisdale Round
- BB0626 The
- BB0625 Les
Garçons de la Botte
- BB0624 The
Crookdale Horseshoe and then some
Selside Pike revisited
Round the Dunny!
The Malham Experience
Old Man Succumbs!
QH2QH High Street (the length thereof)
High Street Racecourse
Well, Well, Well, Wansfell and Troutbeck Tongue
Yewbarrow and a history lesson
Clough Head and Great Dodd
The Corpse Road and beyond
A Bit on the Side.....
Angle Tarn with Surprises!
Cragg via Dovedale
in the Sky with Brocken Spectres
Street via Gardiner's Grind)
Holme Fell, Black Fell and Electric