Thursday, 15 November 2012

Greenburn Bottom & Wyth Burn.

We've walked The Lakes and completed all The Wainwrights, but this journey tends to lead to an attitude of 'While we're up top we'll complete as many summits as possible'. This means you invariably go up a ridge and come down another where possible, leading to certain routes never trod upon. Helm Crag from Grasmere, onto Gibson Knott, Calf Crag and round to Steel Fell is a classic example and a horseshoe Wainwright bagging walk. The old pack horse routes which follow the valley bottoms that make up these ridges are rarely walked and I've been pondering the Greenup Bottom between Helm Crag and Steel Fell, as one route with Wyth Burn between Steel Fell and Ullscarth as another. I've wanted to do these if for no other reason than to find out what they are like to satisfy the curiosity and to really know an area.
 Myself and Steve parked up on A591 just down from The Travellers Rest, Grasmere and commented on the weather not being as clear as it had been when passing Keswick. Still, it was not forecast to rain and it was mild in temperature, though vision limited.

The view from the road toward Stone Arthur.

A dozen Herdwick Rams in the above field.
We set off and took the footpath through the field opposite The Travellers Rest which brings us onto a minor road to head into Greenburn Bottom, but not before the precarious crossing of Green Burn.

Looking back after a thankfully dry crossing, well, Holly(The Beast) swam it as usual.
We continued up the tarmac road which passes a few houses, passing also another field of Herdwick Rams, and then onto the fell area proper. The track was well marked, holding to the right of the Burn, I'll give it this name as that is the OS map name. Normally in Cumbria these are Becks or Gills but it must be remembered that it was also a disputed area of Scotland and it should be no surprise that these place names cross over borders.
 This track, initially easy to follow petered out into a quagmire route of peat and reeds; it eventually took constant checking of our Satellite mapping system to ensure we were on the marked path. The weather was unduly mild and although we were prepared for anything I stripped to T shirt, Steve ended up bare chested and we had to laugh at how we were now dressed compared to our last three rain lashed outings.
We made the summit of Calf Crag in good time so I asked Steve to take an 'I was here' shot of me at the cairn


Someones paying attention, I wonder why?
We pressed on and came to the metal fence posts that mark the top of Far Easedale and headed then for Greenup Edge, the high point between Stonethwaite in Borrowdale and Grasmere, when travelling the coast to coast route.

At this point this was regarded as a brilliant view.

Greenup Edge opening up.

On Greenup Edge looking to Stonethwaite area. Fleetwith Pike with it's distinctive steep slope where they have the Via Ferrata.
 The only other person on the fells(this seems to be a recurring topic while we are out) was a solitary coast to coaster coming up from Stonethwaite and after some advice on his route in clag and where to sup his beer in Grasmere, we had a hot drink, turned and headed for Wyth Burn. I started this by saying I wanted to 'know' an area and now I 'know'. I had concentrated that much on the actual route we would take, underneath dramatic mountain sides, passing waterfalls and burns, that I had failed to notice an area simply named as The Bog. It's a bit of a giveaway I know, but I missed it and now there was nothing else for it but to traverse this quagmire.

Low cloud, masking that which is The Bog.

Wythburn Tarn at The Bog's end.

Looking back on an area that I'll only do again in a dry summer, preferably a drought.
If nothing else we could laugh at each other as we waded through this. I can only compare it to The Great Moss behind Scafell Pike. Here we were tackling this in the wettest summer we've had in an age and I won't be returning next week! Still the waterfalls at The Bog's end were a sight to behold and the view looking back was really bonny, reminding me of a high plateau like Watendlath, just a tad boggier.

The view down to Wythburn

Lookingt back on the waterfalls.

 We baited at the footbridge where the two footpaths from Stockhow Bridge meet and decided to alter our plan of going round to Dunmail Raise via footpaths and instead changed to one of them 'as the crow flies' routes straight up from the bridge. This meant a steep incline and I was panting a little by the time we got to the summit There we were with only a downhill section to come, this had meant that having left the clag behind we were back in it again. This route taxed the Achilles tendons but we're used to that now.

Nearing Steel Fell summit, the most sun seen all day.

Dylan on the summit. The boy done good, Holly is off around somewhere on one of her 'missile speed' sorties.

The path off Steel Fell back to Greenburn Bottom was tricky to find and we referred to the electronic mapping systems to locate a point where it is worn. Once on it you can't really go wrong, well not navigationally, but if I slipped once on this grassy descent I slipped a dozen times and was very concious of knee ligaments. Even Steve, normally sure footed found it hard to keep upright. We got down with no lasting damage done, just some muddy washing for our wives to tackle. We linked up with our original route and got to the car, a quick roadside change and it was into Grasmere for Tweedies Bar (part of The Dale Lodge Hotel) and some quality beers. I had a Coniston Brewery K7 and a Red something or other which I can't remember it's full name. Both were top quality drinks and I could drink either one all night.

 A good outing in mild though misty weather of 16kms with 1050m ascent. I didn't know the routes before, now I do and interesting that they were I'll return when it is a dry summer.


  1. Never mind the Wainwrights - I think it's high time for a book of Ray's Routes! Avoid the bogs though please :-)

  2. That is very kind of you to say Karen. I could call it 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud', that is, if it hasn't been used before. :o)