A Grey Day Walking the Whinlatter Wainwrights

It’s Lakes on Sunday time, this week starring the Whinlatter Wainwrights, not stars in their own right but could they collectively make a grand day out?  There are 5 Wainwrights on the north side of the Whinlatter Pass & they had been on our radar for ages. It’d been nearly 2 months since our last Lakes trip so this chance was grabbed quicker than it takes to whip on my Ron Hills. Alan envisaged a late summers day, I thought cold & frozen, it turned out to be cold & unfrozen,

  • Distance = 8.23 miles (13.25 km)
  • Duration = 4 hrs 55 mins
  • Total Ascent = 2,300 ft (701m)
  • Start/Finish = Scawgill Bridge layby on B5292
  • Wainwrights = Brown How (Whinlatter), Lord’s Seat, Barf, Broom Fell, Graystones
  • Date = Sun 24th November 2013, start 10.35 am, finish 3.30 pm
  • Click on Route Map below to zoom in/out
Whinlatter Wainwrights Route from Scawgill Bridge

Whinlatter Wainwrights Route from Scawgill Bridge

I’d downloaded a GPX route for Whinlatter months ago but kept deferring for other hills. Now with November bringing shorter daylight hours this route seemed a good choice even though I’d managed t forget some of the details. Driving west on the A66 we were as usual still looking up at bigger stuff discussing a possible last minute change. Nothing else was clear of cloud so we stuck to plan A and casually parked at the main Whinlatter visitor centre. It was full of fit female cyclists, which was nice, however Alan was horrified…at the £6.90 parking charge! He kept saying “£6.90” in a very high voice repeatedly for the rest of the day, probably does it in his sleep. So we drove out of the main car park and parked on a nearby layby for free!!  Ha that showed how clever & resourceful we were. A quick check of my GPS confirmed we were at the completely the wrong car park. Bollocks!

Ok let’s start this one again. We drove on to the correct car park, (the one for Spout Force), actually we drove past this as Alan was by now frothing at the mouth about another potential “£6.90” parking charge (said in high voice). We turned round and parked at Scawgill Bridge agreeing this must the best starting point as it meant we would be doing the road walk first then coming straight down to the car. So off we trot along the winding road taking the left turn for Spout Force then following the forest road north east.

Following the forest road from car park for Spout Force

Following the forest road from car park for Spout Force – 10.45am

Bit further down the forest track then turn up right to the trees

Bit further down the forest track then turn up right to the trees

At the end of the farm field to the right, we took a very faint track by the wall straight up to the trees. It was so feint that we walked right past it & had to double back.

Going up a feint track left of the wall

Going up a feint track left of the wall – 10.55am

This goes through the trees at their thinnest point, always advisable as the least time in a coniferous forest is best, we hate coniferous plantations.

Through the trees

Through the trees (obviously)

We walked up imaginary tracks winding around the trees uphill to a wall boundary with a wire fence making it difficult to cross. We followed this south until finding a suitable crossing point then escaping into the welcome light. The forecast suggested an afternoon improvement but this never materialised and the light wasn’t the best for photos.

Emerging from the trees

Emerging from the trees – which is much better than being in the trees. Good stuff this.

It’s then a slog south east skirting up the fells to the first Wainwright Brown How, which in these conditions was a bit erm underwhelming to be honest.

The car is parked there. Clever or what!

The car is parked there – clever or what! – 11.40am

On top of Brown How

On top of Brown How with Greystones the last of the day’s tops above – 11.45am

From Brown How there’s a short flat section to Whinlatter main top which wasn’t worth more than a brief choccy stop. Mind choccy stops are worth waiting for, no matter how brief.

From Whinlatter Top east to more trees

From Whinlatter Top east to more conifer trees – 12.18pm

The route heads on east to meets the trees in the above pic, then follows their edge left up to Tarberrel Moss. The main feature of Tarberrel Moss was that we didn’t realise we were at a place called Tarberrel Moss. We did see some mountain bikers coming down the track on the other side of the fence which looked fun. We crossed a stile then into more trees again (sigh).

Heading through more trees

Heading through more trees, crappy dark plantation trees – 12.35pm

This is when I realised that trying to follow the GPS route through the trees wasn’t working too well as there was a signal delay. We also realised that the route I had downloaded was a bit simplified with straight lines going through dense forest. Checking the map showed sticking to the forest track was better and we were soon in the open heading for Lords Seat after a slightly lower diversion. The route edges around the trees below to the right then finally opens up to Lords Seat and NO MORE TREES, hurrah!

Slightly off track heading around more bloody trees up towards Lords Seat

Slightly off track heading around more bloody trees up towards Lords Seat – 12.55pm

Before reaching Lord’s Seat we diverted out to the most eastern Wainwright, Barf. Now Barf looked good, and the day started to improve after all the forest flounderings.

Adjusting my bits on way to Barf, (that doesn't sound right)

Adjusting my bits on way to Barf, (none of that sounds right) – 1.05pm

We found the best views of the day up on Barf and it kinda felt like we were back in the Lakes again. It’s a proper nice little hill even on a grey day, with a welcome Bassenthwaite panorama and looking down on familiar sections of the A66 & A591. I’d do this one again.

Best views of the day on Barf, north over Bassenthwaite

Best views of the day on Barf, north over Bassenthwaite – 1.15pm

Down to the A66 and up to Carl Side & Skiddaw

Down to the A66 and up to Carl Side & Skiddaw, ooh & Great Mell Fell

Bassenthwaite panorama from Barf

Bassenthwaite panorama from Barf

We spent a few mins up here till it started getting cold due to inactivity then we retraced our steps west, this time carrying on up towards Lords Seat.

Looking back from the sloped of Lords Seat

Looking back east over Barf & to Skiddaw from the slopes of Lords Seat – 1.45pm

Lords Seat

Lords Seat (being very gentle with the remaining fence post) – 1.53pm

From Lords Seat to Broom Fell

From Lords Seat it’s north west out to Broom Fell

Broom Fell, big cairn, Lords Seat, small cairn big Alan

Broom Fell, big cairn, Lords Seat, small cairn, big Alan, daft hat – 2.15pm

Broom Fell looking west towards Greystones

Broom Fell looking west towards Greystones

Broom Fell was ok too, I can see why this is a Wainwright, it has a massive oversize cairn which must be visible from quite a distance. Good view of last years late afternoon walk on lowly Sale Fell & Ling Fell. The latter looked nearer than today’s final Wainwright Greystones, which seemed some way off, but we had already discovered the scale on this walk is smaller than it appears.

Descending to attractively named Widow Hause, with Greystones up top

Descending to attractively named Widow Hause, with Greystones up top – 2.35pm

We were soon making fast progress out to the last stop and just as we got there the cloud cleared on the higher north Lakes peaks (most of the peaks are higher of course).

Perfect sack placement on Greystones, to Broom Fell, Lord's Seat & Skiddaw

Perfect sack placement on Greystones, to Broom Fell, Lord’s Seat & Skiddaw

My sack with Grisedale Pike & Hopegill Head

My sack with Grisedale Pike & Hopegill Head – 3.05 pm

Looking down to the start past the white farm then up through the trees

Looking down to the start of todays walk, past the white farm on the track then up through the trees

It's a short steep descent straight down to Scawgill Bridge

It’s a short steep descent straight down to Scawgill Bridge – 3.20 pm

Scawgill Bridge

Scawgill Bridge – 3.35 pm

It’s an unrelenting steep descent back to Scawgill Bridge making the car a welcome sight. An 8 mile walk taking just under 5 hours but for us we were down far too early, we would normally still be high in the hills at half 3, so we needed to put some time in before eats. This was provided by checking out Middle Ruddings at Braithwaite. Often recommended for it’s beer by Ray @scafellhike it’s more of a hotel with restaurant bar than a pubby pub. Refreshingly this is a place that knows its beer in fact the various features of each beverage on offer formed the main discussion amongst the not too young locals. I recognised one local as the landlord of a class real ale establishment on the north east coast. Turns out he spends weekends in Keswick, we had a good chat with him & his mate about beer, property, Facebook, Twitter & life in general. Friendly place & people.

Todays refreshment courtesy of the Middle Riddings bar

Todays refreshment courtesy of the Middle Riddings bar

After traversing the classic Five Sisters of Kintail in September, the Five Whinlatters understandably paled in comparison. In this weather however we made the right choice and at least we can look to these hills with more familiarity now, whether it’s driving past or walking above. And we’ve found a new beer stop too, which can’t be bad. Thanks for reading:-)

PS One more time, all together now in a loud high voice…..£6.90!!!!!

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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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4 Responses to A Grey Day Walking the Whinlatter Wainwrights

  1. Ray Greenhow says:

    Pleased you enjoyed the beers Martin. A decent price and everytime you go in the beer is a different local microbrewery, so over a period of time you get a fair smattering of the lakeland ales. I was up that group again last week with my wife, though I do it from the old Swan Hotel, via The Bishop and The Clerk.

    • Mart Lawton says:

      Wasn’t just the choice it was the knowledge imparted too, even the locals seemed happy discussing beer every time they visited the bar 🙂
      Have Googled that route up Barf, at least you’re rewarded with a great view that way. What circuit do you do from there Ray?

  2. Lovely route obviously! But… there was a lot of mud? Looks great though. I am learning a lot from your maps 🙂

    • Mart Lawton says:

      It’s not too bad considering this was late November 🙂 The area isn’t as popular as most other routes so any paths aren’t too eroded. Might be better with frozen ground.

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