Showing posts with label Grey Crags. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grey Crags. Show all posts

07 April 2013

2 Crags, a fox, a buzzard and a wandering pike!

6am start took us on our now very familiar route northwards towards the lakes.  Our destination today was 2 crags, from the farm at Sadgill.  Getting there early is always a good idea especially today as there isn't much room for parking and we were the first car there, so after positioning ourselves so we could get out easy enough at the end of our walk we set off along the track.

The weather forecast was for a dry clear day with intermittent sunshine but the morning cloud still hung over the surrounding hills like a veil.  It wasn't long though before we started to see the tops appear and what looked like blue sky finally beginning to appear.

The track took us along the side of a river where we could hear some falls so we hopped over the stile onto the path by the river to follow that for a while.  True enough there were several little waterfalls dotted up the hillside and we followed that route for a while stopping every now and again to take some pictures.  We crossed the river at one point but the stones were really slippy and one false move could have meant a very wet walk indeed.  No panic though we successfully managed to cross twice without incident, phew!
After an unscheduled hop back over onto the track we followed that for a little bit more and were blessed with the sunshine when the path split into 3.  Left over to mardale point, straight ahead to some other destination and left to take us up the hill into the sun.  There was more snow here and it was quite hard packed.  Staying away from the grassy areas (as they meant your footfall went quite deep) it was fairly easy to manage up the incline.  As it got a bit steeper we were able to practice some ice cutting techniques as I am particularly rubbish at this but all practice is good huh?  Its amazing how natural having an iceaxe in your hand has become.  The way you hold it, the way you use it and the way you're prepared to use it should a slip occur.  Thankfully today it was just a protective device and didnt need to be put into action.

We headed up to the summit of Tarn Crag via and over a fence which was partially submerged in the snow.  The grassy areas were wet and boggy and this would be a nightmare of a walk in the summertime or indeed any time when there had been rain as most of it did seem quite boggy.  Apart from an earlier small submergment into the bog all was good.

With the summit in view thoughts turned to first lunch even though it was only 10.10 it was time for some nourishment.  Peanut butter sandwiches seem to be our sandwich of choice these days and they really hit the spot.  The surrounding peaks had cleared by this point and we could clearly see over to Kidsey Pike and the High Street range that had been our walk the previous weekend.

As well as the summit cairn Tarn Crag also boasts another man made feature near to the summit is the remains of a surveying pillar. This unusual stone and concrete construction is cleft at the top to provide a sight line and was originally surrounded by a wooden frame, now decayed. This is one of four such pillars built during the construction of the Haweswater aqueduct. Below Branstree and Tarn Crag is the first section of the pipeline carrying water from the reservoir toward Manchester. The tunnel, some 1,300 ft below the summit, required 250 tons of gelignite for blasting, and when constructed in the 1930s was the longest such pipeline in Britain. It emerges into Longsleddale below Great Howe, where the spoil can still be seen.

We didn't stay for long and headed for the next summit Grey Crag which was over in a North West direction.  More plodding through the icey and sometimes grassy snow I had a little off piste moment but was heading for the fence that ran almost all the way to the summit.

Grey Crag provided a spot for second lunch or the second half of the sandwich and also a very funny moment deciding which hill was to the left with a little cairn on it.  I think you'll find that was probably Harrop Pike and after looking at the map that seemed to be what it was........wasn't it lol?  The views were, as always, spectacular and the sun shone down and with very little wind it was really quite pleasant.

Time to find the route down and as always it was a bit of a traverse through grass and today, snow.  We headed over to another one of the stone structures which was part of the surveying pillars and stood directly inline with the one we'd seen at Tarn Crag.
Further downwards we  saw the first people of the day, heading up another path, on their own route but the best sighting at this point was a little fox darting over the snow, its bushy tail flying behind it and it made excellent speed over the flanks of the hill and was soon out of sight.  A lovely moment none the less and it was nice to see something other than rabbits or crows whilst out on the hills.  At this point I will mention that today we saw an abundance of Sky Larks, singing away while they were flying, not starlings but sky larks and those little flighty birds were really quite lovely.

Our route was now very much down, down and more down and before long we could see the car.  A short walk today as it was just after midday and part of me felt like I'd only done half the work that we usually did.  My legs were tired, my knees felt the descent as they normally do but it did seem incredibly early to be ending our walk.  Later in the day our bodies would be glad that we did as although it was a short walk it was a tiring one.  Snow has a habit of doing that to your legs, sapping every bit of energy out of them but every part of it is brilliant and I wouldnt swap walking up hills for any other form of excercise.  How could running round a track or on a treadmill compare to this???
Finally back at the car and whilst changing shoes I noticed a bird flying just off to the South.  It was flying like a bird of prey and Chris quickly summised it was a buzzard.  Sure enough there it was floating in the thermal air getting progressively higher and higher until it was at an altitude that would take it right over our heads and off over the mountains.   A beautiful sight of a wonderfully magestic bird.  Just a pity my camera didnt do it justice but lovely to watch.
Heading home, in the sunshine, having had a great walk, thoughts turned to the fact that this may indeed be our last winter walk of the season.  If the temperatures rise and the rains come then our winter boots, ice axes and crampons would be put away till next year.  We've had some superb winter walks.  The Helvellyn range, Scotland, High Street to mention just a few.  Roll on next winter where ice axe arrests, cutting steps and crampons would be the order of the day again.  I am looking forward to our Summer walks where I'll be swapping my crampons for sunscreen..........bring it on !