Avoiding the Graupel:
Lambrigg Fell and Summerhouse Hill
16th January 2008
have learnt a new word.
a week when two people have been blown to their deaths
from the Helvellyn ridges (one from Swirral, one from
Striding Edge) I thought it would pay to keep a close
watch on the Met Office Mountain Weather forecast. After
some dire warnings of extreme conditions and gusts approaching
100 mph (what were mature men doing on the ridges in
such conditions?) things started to get better:
to it raining at all levels and a summit temperature
of +1.9 degrees the snow pack is very wet, with
a base layer of graupel, this has made the snow
pack unstable, extreme care should be taken on steep
east facing aspects. The summit area is covered
in melting ice. The cornice on the east side of
Helvellyn is weakly bonded and has 2 large cracks
running along the full length approx 1.5m from the
edge with a depth of 50 - 60 cm this should be avoided.
There has been an Avalanche approx 150m x 40m between
Viking and Pear buttress. Full winter clothing,
footwear and equipment, including ice axe and crampons
are recommended for anybody venturing above the
snowline, and are essential if on steep ground.
was the word: Graupel.
looked it up in the not always reliable
It seems Graupel is a sort of extremely
iced up snow flake and “they really hurt
if they fall on your head”.
the other hand, Encyclopeadia
Metallum suggests that Graupel
is the name of a German "Raw Black
Metal" group with lyrical themes of
hatred and darkness. I am sure they
too would really hurt if they fell on your
Alive in Avalanche Terrain advises
that Graupel looks and behaves like a pile
of ball bearings.
ever definition you prefer, Graupel is clearly
Wise Tony suggested that sixty year old
nutters who go anywhere near graupel should
be put in a home or locked up for their
to avoid the graupel, Philip scuttled off to London,
Martin decided it would be more fun drawing pictures
of buildings, Stan thought that another day in bed sipping
whisky to overcome a cold was more productive and Notso-Wise
Tony excused himself because he was snivelling a bit
as a result of sitting in Killington Lake on Sunday
for five hours in pouring driving rain, freezing his
he thinks that’s fun?
I think that sixty year old nutters who
sit in lakes for hours on end in the rain
should be put in a home or locked up for
their own protection!!
was against this background that Bryan and
I kicked off BOOTboy
year with the ascent of Benson Knott, all
1,040 feet of it.
don’t think I have been up Benson Knott
since Saturday 27th January 1973.
remember it well because it had snowed and
Dave Gray and I went up in the morning,
returning to watch that unforgettable rugby
match in which the Barbarians stuffed the
hitherto invincible All Blacks 23-11.
Edwards to see his third minute try,
rated by many as one of the best ever.
night I could hardly sleep. Was it the excitement
of the prospect of an equally thrilling day? Even
the 5:30 a.m. shipping forecast did not make me nod
off. So it was a somewhat bleary Don who picked
up Bryan at 9 at the garage where he was having his
MOT done and then headed over to Morrisons to park.
had anticipated the direct line of ascent of Benson
Knott but Bryan, for once, advised otherwise on the
grounds that it was not permitted under the CROW regulations
and the only legitimate way up was from the Appleby
Consequently we headed off up Shap Road
to the raging River Mint, took its north bank until we crossed
into the interesting hamlet of Meal Bank and then climbed
up the steep incline to the Appleby Road.
there, the first part of the ascent was by farm track
but eventually we reached the fell proper and the twin
peaks of Benson Knott.
Knott from across a raging River Mint
picture with Kendal in the background
twin peaks of Benson Knott
the mandatory team picture, we backtracked a little then went down by the edge
of the copse until eagle-eyed Bryan spotted in the wall
the waymarker that had escaped me. We made our
way across fell and field past The Slough and Haygarth
and up the bridle path onto Docker Fell and then Lambrigg
Fell where our objective was the summit cairn, a new
conquest for us both. It was surprisingly wild
up there, near the source of St Sunday’s Beck, with
lots of heather tufts to be negotiated (quite tiring,
lifting the feet so high) and then, worse, the burnt
heather that tried continually to trip us up. At
the summit we had a good view down St Sunday’s Beck
to the estuary. We could also see the tips of
the wind farm arms rotating and the tops of the Howgills
and the lake district hills clearing, revealing the
at Lambrigg Fell Summit
windfarm with snowy Howgills
next objective was lunch, about which we were getting
almost Tony-like obsessive but we wanted to get out
of the wind. Consequently we made our way past
the wind farm, across the A684 Sedbergh Road, up a lane
and onto a bridle path around the Roan Edge quarry where
we found somewhere to sit, eat and enjoy the view (as
long as one did not concentrate on the foreground)!
bridle path then takes you up a hill that is not named
on the OS map except that the southern end is called
Perhaps the whole fell is?
the view from the cairn on top near Killington Lake
(which seemed to have recovered from having had Tony sat in
it for five hours) is one of the great secrets of the
Neither of us had been here before and
we were astounded.
There is an uninterrupted and absolutely
superb 360 degree panorama.
Old Man and Wetherlam to the west
to the north
to the South West
this time, we needed to return to Kendal so at the southern
end of Summerhouse Hill we headed east, past Hall Brink
(where we saw a hare skipping across the field), Millrigg,
and New Hutton where a brummy proudly told us the story
of the greyhound statues on the churchgate, the stolen
greyhound statue on the school gate and the fact that
Lord Sleddale, whose family symbol is the greyhound,
had intended to build alms houses in New Hutton but
having found the vicar drunk one day, built them on
Aynam Road in Kendal instead.
Hutton Church with Sleddale Greyhounds
was particularly interested in the next section of the
route as one
of my old pals from school in Manchester discovered
that some of his ancestors lived on Hayfell (where we
were heading) but attended
church at New Hutton. There is no direct road
route these days but there is a well marked direct path
via Hawkrigg, Hill Top, Holme Park (ex school, soon
to be apartments) and Windy Hill Farm.
By this time we were finding the climbs between
properties a little
wearing. We made our way along Paddy Lane, accompanied
by a sturdy chocolate Labrador who seemed to want to
adopt us until collected by his master in
a van after a couple of miles.
was a good view of the twin peaks of Benson
Knott in the evening sun.
into Fowl Ing Lane which took us down past the Garden
House Hotel and back to the Appleby Road and the short
return to Morrisons.
twin peaks of Benson Knott
were tired but still working reasonably well considering
we had done over 16 miles at an average speed, when moving, of 2.7
miles per hour.
The secret reason for having chosen
this route (apart from avoiding the graupels) can now
be admitted. We have entered a 23.5 mile organised walk on 27th January
into the Lyth Valley and back and we needed
to get some training in. We have 9 hours to complete
the That’s Lyth walk to get our badge and on this showing,
even if we manage the extra distance without problem,
it is going to be very tight on time. Bryan, however,
remains confident. But then last time he did it,
he ran all the way round!
16th January 2008
miles (Garmin/ Memory Map)
climbed: 2,690 feet (estimated- Anquet)
For the latest totals
of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.
If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let
me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!
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Avoiding the Graupel;
Lyth in the Old Dogs; 22 January
: That's Lyth;
: Tony's Memory Lane;
: Fell's Belles! Thank You Mells?
: The Langdale Skyline and a Fell Race!
An Outbreak of Common Sense;
Askham Fell and the Lowther Estate;
: Thanks to the MWIS
19th March 2008
: High Street and Kidsty Pike but no Fairy
: Prelude to Spring
2nd April 2008
: Spring in Lakeland
6th April 2008
Wet, Wet Sleddale to Mosedale Cottage
10th April 2008
: What's It All About, Tony?
17th April 2008
: The Hidden Mountain
22nd April 2008
: The Bowland CROW
1st May 2008
: High Cup Nick:
The Gurt La'al Canyon
7th May 2008
: Travelling Light
14th May 2008
BskiB08 : Bootski Boys in the Sella Ronda
23rd February - 1st March
Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large
has kindly produced a log of which Wainwrights have
been done by which Bootboy
in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent
download the Excel file click on Wainwrights.
anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know
and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!
This page describes an adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature
years who enjoy defying the aging process by getting out into the hills as
often as possible!
As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that
our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.
As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an
item of footwear but is in memory of Big
Josie, the erstwhile landlady of
the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day
1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!
If you want to contact us, click on