Sunday, 22nd February 2009

             

            

 

Walk: Sadgill, Great Howe, Grey Crag, Harrop Pike, Tarn Crag, Branstree, Artlecrag Pike, Selside Pike, Gatescarth Pass, Longsleddale
Start Point: Sadgill Grid Reference: NY 483 057
Distance: 10.5 miles Ascent: 3,500 feet
Time: 6.75 hours    
Weather: A dry and mainly sunny day with a cold wind on exposed summits
Comments:  Twelve members joined the leader for this 'roller-coaster' walk over the Sleddale and Selside fells. Leaving the parking area at Sadgill we hadn't gone far before we headed off up the steep hillside to Great Howe - 1,000 feet in 0.7 miles. From Great Howe the path lead (on a fairly level plane) in an almost Northerly direction before turning West to reach the summit of Grey Crag. As we then traversed a rather boggy area across to Harrop Pike we were thankful that the ground was still quite hard. Admiring the well built cairn on Harrop Pike we wondered why this wasn't included in Wainwright's 214 fell tops, or even in his Outlying Fells, though Ray reliably informed me that it is a Birkett. (541 fells over 1,000 feet in the Lake District National Park listed in Bill Birkett's book 'The Complete Lakeland Fells') Crossing Greycrag Tarn (a boggy area without a tarn!) we made our way up to Tarn Crag which has a survey column close to the cairn. Descending from Tarn Crag we could see our route up to to Branstree, another 700 feet of climbing! With the sun still out and the group refreshed after a lunch stop we decided to 'detour' to Selside Pike before starting on the homeward track. 1 hours later and we were passing Branstree again to descend to Gatescarth Pass. From here it was all downhill through the Longsleddale Valley and back to the cars.

Scroll down to see photos of the walk

The group gathers at Sadgill Bridge . . .

 

before heading up the Longsleddale track

 

Before long we start to climb up the lower flanks of Great Howe . . .

 

from where we get some great views up Longsleddale . . .

 

and across to the Shipman Knotts to Harter Fell ridge

 

Reaching the Sleddale Fells its time for a pause . . .

 

before continuing on the Grey Crag . . .

 

making the most . . .  

 

of the snowy sections

 

With the sun shining on Grey Crag . . .

 

we take advantage of its sheltered flanks for our morning stop

 

Then its off towards the fence . . . 

 

before turning north-west  . . .

 

to reach Harrop Pike

 

Tarn Crag summit cairn  - the fence line to Branstree, which we follow later, is on the left in the distance

 

The survey column - a remnant from construction of the Haweswater aqueduct

 

Darkening skies as we leave Tarn Crag . . .

 

but the sun highlights Harter Fell on the left and Rough Crag in the gap overlooked by Kidsty Pike in the shadow

 

To the East we can see the Mosedale Valley . . .

 

with the remote Mosedale Cottage, now a privately owned bothy

 

Beginning the climb to Branstree . . .

 

some of the group are a little more energetic . . .

 

but before we reach the top (and the wind) . . .

 

we stop for a spot of lunch

 

The snow has really drifted in places

 

The summit cairn is rather disappointing . . .

 

but the cairns on Artle Crags . . .

 

are much more impressive

 

Haweswater comes into view . . .

 

as we cross to Selside Pike . . .

 

where we find a substantial shelter

 

On the way back the drifting snow nearly reaches the top of the fence . . .

 

and did anyone bring the crampons?

 

Descending Branstree we can see our route down the Longsleddale Valley . . .

 

where the track is rather rough and stony

 

An afternoon stop . . .

 

breaks up this 2 mile trek back to the cars . . .

 

as does a group of waterfalls on the River Sprint

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