Warm Western Wainwrights – Whiteside, Hopegill Head, Grasmoor, Wandope, Whiteless Pike and Rannerdale Knotts

Long ago when I was a lad, we just used to choose a few classic Lakeland peaks and walk up em. Nowadays these bloomin Wainwrights have been invented, so now we have to go back & pick off all the surrounding peaks we managed to miss. This is really inconvenient but is luckily turning out to be immense fun. The route below added a few missing Wainwrights on a busy Sunday during a heatwave, and was also immense fun:-)  

  • Distance = 10.5 miles (16.9 km)
  • Duration = 7 hrs (inc a few long rests from the heat)
  • Total Ascent = 3,900ft (1,190m), max height 2,795ft (852 mtrs)
  • Start/Finish = Car Park on B5289 near Lanthwaite Green Farm NY159208
  • Date = 14th July 2013, start 11.30am, finish 6.30pm
  • Refreshments = none, so Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater after (recommended)
  • Click on Route Map below to zoom in/out
North Western Wainwrights Route

North Western Wainwrights route

Four days after returning from a walking holiday in the Highlands, we nipped over to the Lakes to bag a few Wainwrights and show off our newly heightened highly honed mountain fitness. Parking at Lanthwaite Green Farm car park on a gloriously sunny day, we had to start by slapping on lashings of ginger beer, I mean suncream. It was hot, it was bloody hot, but this didn’t matter as we had heightened highly honed mountain fitness. We set off at a fast pace, then after 15mins I was sweating & knackered. Even Alan was soon knackered. So much for our heightened highly honed bloomin mountain fitness:-)

Looking back over the ascent route, Melbreak, Loweswater & Low Fell

Looking back over the ferny ascent route, then Melbreak, Loweswater & Low Fell

In our keenness to get up, we crossed the impressive new bridge over the Liza Beck then went straight on northwards & up east through ferns. In fact we should’ve just turned right once over the bridge and followed the skyline over the Whin Ben. I’ve amended the map to shows the correct route however if you like ferns then do take our initial route:-) After 50 minutes of sweaty slog, taking any excuse to rest & admire the views, we were back on course. The proper path can be seen over the Whin Ben below.

A man with highly honed mountain fitness and Crummock Water & Mellbreak

Notice my heightened highly honed mountain fitness – with Crummock Water & Mellbreak

The route soon steepens up crumbly rocky paths to Whiteside which we reached after a slow 80mins. We had another good sit down with lots of water & lashings of suncream. View are lovely in all directions, the coast however didn’t show well on the phone camera.

On Whiteside, staring wistfully at Hopegill Head

On Whiteside, staring wistfully at Hopegill Head

Eventually we made our way along the pleasant ridge walk above Gasgale Crags to Hopegill Head. This section was new to me though Alan had done this years ago and immediately noted the huge increase in path erosion. The place was swarming too even on these supposedly less popular fells. It became even busier of course once onto Hopegill Head and the day started to feel a little unmountainlike, almost like being trapped in an ants nest. We hadn’t seen numbers like this since a warm clear Sunday on Scafell Pike, yet just a few days earlier we were up the incredible Torridon giant Beinn Eighe seeing only 8 people all day! From Hopegill we quickly decided to crack onwards, south down to Coledale Hause then swinging more slowly up to Grasmoor. We walked past the summit cairn and plonked ourselves on the western shoulder which was much quieter and gave better views.

Crummock Water from near top of Grasmoor with Rannerdale Knotts below

Crummock Water from near top of Grasmoor with Rannerdale Knotts below

It was still bloody hot and Alan actually fell asleep whist resting, mind he’s getting on a bit and probably needed a good nap & some Horlicks. The route then backtracks down, across Wandope Moss then up to Wandope, (which always sounds to me like something out of Harry Potter). From here we surveyed a recent snowy walk over Knott Rigg and agreed that doing the Wainwrights has a massive bonus in getting to know the smaller fells.

On Wandope looking east over Ard Crags

On Wandope 4pm, looking east over Newlands Hause & Knott Rigg

It was mainly downhill from here, south west over Whiteless Edge, so time to take some Ibuprofen, lengthen the poles and tighten the knee supports. Or is that just me?

On Whiteless Pike, a cairn, Crummock Water and an Alan

On Whiteless Edge, a cairn, an Alan and Crummock Water

Knee bother, descending to Whiteless Pike

Knee bother, descending to Whiteless Pike

It was after 4pm which meant most people were back in the valleys so it’s a good time to be up hills. I often think an imaginary bell rings like at school calling the throngs down for their tea. Of course early morning is equally good but I’m a lazy sod so start & finish late 🙂

Rannerdale, Crummock Water & distant Loweswater

Rannerdale, Crummock Water & distant Loweswater

Including Rannerdale Knotts on the descent makes a very pleasant end to the day especially as apart from distant sounds of tourists on the lake shore, we were completely alone. So we did that thing that people do when finding themselves completely alone in the mountains. Yes we had a damn good wee.

From top of Rannerdale Knotts over Crummock Water

From top of Rannerdale Knotts over Crummock Water

Decent view from top of Rannerdale Knotts over Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike, Haystacks, Gable etc etc

Decent view from Rannerdale Knotts over Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike, Haystacks, Gable etc

Similar shot but with the crucial addition of a red rucksack

Similar shot but with the crucial addition of a red rucksack

Descending Rannerdale with the road walk snaking back to the car

Descending Rannerdale with the road walk snaking back to the car

Due to the heat & tiredness we couldn’t be bothered looking for an alternative descent other than the steep knee breaking well trodden one west to the road near Hause Point. We then trudged along the road back to the car park. A better alternative would probably be descending north to the footbridge marked on the map, then following the path reaching the road further north. We did see someone taking this route when higher up.

The road-walk in that heat was a pain and care is needed as the verge gets very narrow further along. Reaching the car and getting the boots off was a great relief, heightened by the impending pint of real ale! We drove to the Kirkstile Inn, long recommended by Ray @scafellhike and also in my reliable Good Pub Guide. Happy to report it’s an excellent proper country pub serving a range of local ales including Loweswater Gold, Friendly chatty barman and the food was good too. Thanks for reading:-)

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About MART IN THE HILLS

Hillwalker with dodgy knees and dodgier sense of humour. Lover of the outdoors, Lakes, Highlands, Cheviots, nature, good food, real ale and leaf tea.
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2 Responses to Warm Western Wainwrights – Whiteside, Hopegill Head, Grasmoor, Wandope, Whiteless Pike and Rannerdale Knotts

  1. Ray Greenhow says:

    Pleased to see you took my advice on the pub, you’ll keep going back.

    • Mart Lawton says:

      Yes we will try and find ways to divert to it somehow. Next on your recommended list is Middle Ruddings of course, and I’m still hoping for your possible blog on North Lakes pubs 🙂

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