Clough Head

Posted in Clough Head on November 22nd, 2013 by David Murphy

clough_head

2nd November myself Daveswildcamping and Paul Kilburnicus headed to the outskirts of the Lake District to Hike and Wildcamp on Clough Head. Meeting a little earlier this time in the Salutation Inn at 15:15 I had only been in the there about 15 mins when Paul showed up, after a couple we started the hike. My pack would be heavier this time with my new tent the Hilleberg Tarra and two cans of Fosters which wouldn’t normally have been in as Paul usually takes care of my booze needs haha. Darkness had fell by we had reached the summit and we were faced with ice cold winds, rain and occasional sleet. This would be my second time pitching the tarra as a practice run paid off. Luckily I had my gloves to hand or my hands would have been dropping off like Paul’s who didn’t have his. It was such a relief to get inside the tent out of the weather where I sat freezing for about an hour thinking do l change out of my wet gear? What if i need to go back outside to replace pegs? although bringing my delta pegs I didnt put them in this time and thought I would try the new design hilleberg Y-peg. Due to the high winds and without my usual peace of mind in my deltas this was a worry but I thought with it been a self-standing tent, if pegs did come out it wouldn’t mean a downed tent like with my Akto, the pegs done really well not a single one of the 22 pegs had came out. The winds and rain were so bad all night long I wouldn’t see or hear Paul again till around 12 o’clock noon. Sitting in my new tent with my clothes drying on the line I was already thinking of possible mods and as I write this blog sitting in my car on the 4th Nov I have already ordered the bits and pieces needed. After a blustery night I slept rather well in places mostly after 05:30 and was out my sleeping bag at 10am cooking breakfast. After around seventeen rather pleasurable hours tent bound in the Tarra Palace it was time to have a look outside. Looking over to the higher peaks of Blencathra you could see a thin layer of snow had settled, the sun was trying to break through then as we thought about packing tents away we seen a front coming over and retired back inside whilst taking a battering by hail for a few mins.
Paul said to me he thought the wind was worse on this camp than the 85.5mph seen on Knock Pike without a wind gauge and a different tent I couldnt really compare myself. But with added in horizontal rain it was horrendous at times.
This was one of those camps which comes along now and then where there’s no socializing or evening views of the starry skies but if your as keen as us two, 17 hours stuck inside a tent battered by gales and torrential rain can still be enjoyable.

Enjoy my vid below..

clough2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clough Head
Clough Head is located in Lake District
Clough Head
Location in Lake District, UK
Elevation 726 m (2,382 ft)
Prominence 108 m (354 ft)
Parent peak Great Dodd
Listing Hewitt, Nuttall, Wainwright
Translation 'headland of the ravine'
Location
Location Cumbria, England
Range Lake District, Eastern Fells
OS grid NY333225
Coordinates 54°35′36″N 3°02′02″W / 54.59326°N 3.03379°W / 54.59326; -3.03379Coordinates: 54°35′36″N 3°02′02″W / 54.59326°N 3.03379°W / 54.59326; -3.03379
Topo map OS Landranger 90, Explorer OL5

Clough Head is a fell in the English Lake District. It is the northernmost top of the Helvellyn range in the Eastern Fells, standing to the south of Threlkeld and the A66.

Topography[edit]

The Helvellyn range runs broadly north to south for about 7 miles (11 km), remaining above 2,000 ft (600 m) throughout its length. To the south of the terminus at Clough Head are Great Dodd, Watson's Dodd and Stybarrow Dodd - collectively 'The Dodds'- before the scenery becomes gradually wilder on the approach to Helvellyn itself.

Clough Head is the lowest of the range, and from some directions it appears as a rounded grassy dome. Alone among the Helvellyns it has smooth slopes to the east, with crags on the west, a reversal of the usual pattern. The crags continue around to the north west above the village of Threlkeld, forming a large natural amphitheatre.

The connecting ridge from Great Dodd begins westerly before swinging north around the head of Mosedale, the boundary between these two fells. The halfway point is marked by Calfhow Pike (2,165 ft), a tor. This would be unremarkable in other parts of the district, but here the lone rocky island in a sea of fell-grass is a landmark for miles around. North of Calfhow Pike is a col at 2,020 ft (620 m) before the broad ridge makes directly for the summit of Clough Head.

The steep drop of Red Screes begins almost immediately to the north west of the summit, falling to the floor of the unnamed amphitheatre at around 1,650 ft (500 m) The outlet of this corrie contains the subsidiary top of Threlkeld Knotts, deflecting the drainage to either side. Gentler slopes lead down from here to the hamlet of Wanthwaite and the remains of Threlkeld Quarry, now Threlkeld Mining Museum. Also nearby are the remains of an ancient Settlement, believed to date from the Romano-British period. Outlines of enclosure walls can still be clearly seen.

North east from the summit of Clough Head is the lesser top of White Pike. From here the ridge descends between Mosedale and Red Screes, gradually broadening into Thelkeld Common before it reaches the River Glenderamackin some two miles (3 km) away.

The western face of Clough Head, looming above the Vale of St John, is uniformly rough. The principal rock features are, from the north, Buck Castle, Wanthwaite Crags and Bram Crag. Rising up between the latter two in a south easterly direction is Fisher's Wife's Rake, the only chink in Clough Head's defences on this side. A (very) steep grassy trod rises up from the scree below Wanthwaite Crags, climbing to the smoother ground above. It is practicable although not for the casual walker. The name comes from the Fisher family of nearby Rake How- the husband cut peat and his wife hauled it down by sled.[1]

Old Coach Road[edit]

An old route, marked on maps as "Old Coach Road" crosses the northeastern slopes of Clough Head, reaching a high point of 437 m (1,435 ft) as it crosses from St John's in the Vale to Matterdale. This has suffered damage from use by off-road vehicles in recent years, but such activity is currently prohibited.[1] Near the road summit is Hause Well, a spring issuing from a crevice in the rock.[2]

Geology, Mines and Quarries[edit]

The western face of Clough Head is extensively marked by quarrying. In addition to Thelkeld Quarry were Birkett Bank, Hill Top, Wanthwaite and Bram Crag Quarries, all of which were worked for granite. In addition behind Lowthwaite Farm are the remains of Wanthwaite Crag Mine. Several levels were driven here along a system of lead and copper veins, the most recent lease being taken out in 1887.[3] Geologically, the area to the north of the top is characterised by an intrusion of microgranite, while various members of the Borrowdale Volcanic series occur to the south.[4]

Summit and View[edit]

The summit is marked by an Ordnance Survey triangulation column and a sprawling cairn-cum-windbreak. It provides a good view of Blencathra to the north, in fact Alfred Wainwright drew himself admiring this view in his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. Although the higher Great Dodd obstructs, the vista of the high fells to the west is excellent.[1]

Ascents[edit]

Clough Head is often climbed as the first step of a traverse of the Helvellyn range. From the northeast (Threlkeld) there is a path avoiding the crags and reaching the summit via White Pike. Alternatively one may follow the Coach Road to its highpoint, before heading southwest to the top. Wanthwaite provides the other main access, either via Fisher's Wife's Rake, or the much easier slopes behind Wanthwaite Quarry. None of these routes have paths throughout, but once the top is reached a clear track leads south towards Great Dodd.

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