51-57 Whiteside to Scar Crags
NW Fells Buttermere
To say it was the most beautiful day of summer would be possibly not true. It was the only day of summer – Saturday 24th August 2019 The Bank Holiday Weekend. After 3 abortive attempts to take on rounds of 5 or more Wainwrights and only achieving 1 solitary mountain, over the previous 2 child-free weeks, at last, the weather had played ball. After dropping off Ane (my gardening/spinning/Wwoofer from Denmark) at the bottom of Rannerdale Knotts we headed back to the base of Whitside. Mark and Bheinn walked with me up the first 2/3rds but morale and timing meant they had to head back to pick up Ane, so I more or less started the “grande” round of 7 Wainwrights alone.
Whiteside was not very welcoming, the legions of flying ants had hot winged it over from Fleetwith pike and were there to greet me, so the spinning was more a post with the wheel then a concerted effort to create yardage.
On Hopegill Head I was greeted by runners coming towards me on the King Kong mini mountain marathon and was later greeted by email by a family who had spied me spinning. Nobody spoke or commented but as I spun in the peace of the montain top I had been spied by a family lunching behind me on the summit.
Already having gained a lot of height on the first 2 mountains, on the walk from Hopegill Head to Grasmoor I had a sense of height and remoteness. I was high in the mountains in a stunning hanging valley, with blue sky and a stream to replenish my water. I sat for a moment, dizzy and overheated, until I realised I had my reading glasses on my head and I was magnifying the sun into my brain cells (that’s another 25 I’ve lost). The summer was certainly making up for lost time. Grasmoor looks like a huge lump and the amazing plane you find yourself on at the top is quite something else. I wondered if at Calvert Trust they had considered how or if people with limited mobility could me transported to the top to enjoy wandering around the top, picnicking and enjoying the best views I have ever seen of the fells. I think you can see everything if you look East South East (apart from Whiteside and Hopegill Head which I had put behind me)
Wandope was a particular low point. It is just a short lift up from the coll as you come off Grasmoor BUT as I wandered up it I could see the grass moving and glistening silver. The flying ants (now low flying or landed) were EVERYWHERE!!!. Spinning was limited to opening the bag, taking out the wheel, adding the bobbing turning it 5 times and absolutely NOT getting cosy and running. Not sure why they all wanted to be there. I suspect it was an altitude thing.
Eel Crag was thankfully ant free and the views changed from vistas of the whole southern and central fells to the Causey Pike, Skiddaw and the path East towards Derwent Water and Stair.
The route to Sail was quite exposed and the sun had started to drop giving me the sense of how long the day had been and why I was feeling like I had done more exercise than I had for many weeks. From Sail to Scar Crags was a zig zag motorway worthy of an alpine pass so I made swift progress. On Sail I met 1 man only the 5th walker /group I had met that day. Where were all the tourists, mountaineers and walkers? Considering the spectacular nature of where I was and the fact that it was the summer bank holiday it seemed unbelievable that I had met so few people.
I doubled back from the top of Scar Crags, greeting the Swaledales and Herwicks grazing on the top, knowing I would be quicker on the path than heading towards Causey Pike and cutting direct to the track on the fell race route (however passing from below I could see the route of the fell race had caused a new path to be formed). The phone rang and Mark worrying that I was overdue had headed out to meet me.
My best day ever. 7 spinning Wainwrights ticked. I was surprised by lack of people and squadrons ants, and I learnt that it is not sensible to wear my glasses on my head when the sun is shining.
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