Helm Crag

Posted in Helm Crag on July 24th, 2013 by David Murphy

On the 20th July 2013 myself Daveswildcamping my friends John and Paul headed to the Lake District near the town of Grasmere to a miniature hill call Helm Crag. See my video below the photos to see what happens.

akto helm crag
Akto on Helm Crag

helm crag
Me John and Paul

helm crag

helm crag

The howitzer
Daveswildcamping myself sitting on The howitzer


Helm Crag
Helm Crag from Gibson Knott.jpg
Looking to Helm Crag from Gibson Knott
Elevation 405 m (1,329 ft)
Prominence c. 60 metres (197 ft)
Parent peak High Raise
Listing Wainwright
Location
Location Cumbria,  England
Range Lake District, Central Fells
OS grid NY327094
Topo map OS Explorer OL5, OL7

Helm Crag is a fell in the English Lake District situated in the Central Fells to the north of Grasmere. Despite its low height it sits prominently at the end of a ridge, easily seen from the village. This, combined with the distinctive summit rocks which provide the alternative name 'The Lion and the Lamb', makes it one of the most recognised hills in the District.

Alfred Wainwright wrote of Helm Crag that "The virtues of Helm Crag have not been lauded enough. It gives an exhilarating little climb, a brief essay in real mountaineering, and, in a region where all is beautiful, it makes a notable contribution to the natural charms and attractions of Grasmere."[1]

Topography[edit]

A rocky ridge curves east and then south east from Calf Crag, passing over Gibson Knott and the depression of Bracken Hause, before ending at Helm Crag where it falls steeply on all sides. To the north and east of the ridge is the Greenburn valley, which joins the Rothay at Helm Side. To the west and south is Easedale Beck, which is also a feeder of the Rothay, the watersmeet being just north of Grasmere village. Helm Crag is generally rough, with particular features being High and Low Raven Crags on the eastern side and White Crag on the southern extremity.

Geology[edit]

The geology of the fell is complex, but the summit is in an area of outcropping andesite sill.[2] There is no history of mining.

Summit and view[edit]

The summit is unusual, having two short parallel ridges running north west to south east with a hollow in between, the western ridge being the higher. Some distance below the eastern ridge the scene is repeated as, still keeping parallel, a third ridge, ditch and parapet are crossed before the crags are reached. The whole complex initially appears man-made, but is entirely natural. The summit commands views of the Langdale Pikes, Coniston Fells and Eastern Fells.[3][4]

The 'Old Woman playing the Organ' rocks.
The Summit

The Lion and the Lamb[edit]

At either end of the highest ridge are the rock outcrops that ensure Helm Crag's fame. Only one can be seen from any point in the surrounding valleys, and they have a variety of names depending upon the profile seen from the particular vantage point. The northwestern outcrop is the true summit of the fell, a tricky little scramble being needed to stand on the top. It is variously called 'The old lady playing the organ' when seen from Mill Gill, 'The howitzer' from the summit of Dunmail Raise and 'The lion and the lamb' or 'The lion couchant' from a point in between. The southern outcrop is prominent from Grasmere and this is the traditional 'Lion and the lamb'.[3]

Ascents[edit]

Helm Crag is normally ascended from Grasmere, though can also be approached from either valley via Bracken Hause, or along the ridge from Gibson Knott.[3][4]

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Dale Head Lake District

Posted in Dale Head Lake District on July 14th, 2011 by David Murphy

14th July 2011 I set off from my house about 12.30pm for a Wild Camp alone on Dale Head Summit In the Lake District, it took about 2 hours 30 mins to get to my destination going the scenic route I got stuck behind slow traffic, I parked about a half mile down the road from the Honister Slate Mine on the Honister Pass just outside of Seatoller.
After the steep walk up the road opposite the slate mine was the start of my path up to Dale Head summit, I reset my satmap at 15:02 and off I went as you can see from my satmap screens it took me 1 hour 18 mins total time and 50 mins time moving which means I only had about 30 mins of stops which is good for me lol.
On reaching the summit I had a walk around to find the best pitch for my Hilleberg Akto I setup my Mrs Dragonfly Stove for a cup of yorkshire tea then decided to have a walk over to Dalehead Crags there was a nice spot there for my tent with a nice view over Buttermere Lake, Crummock Water wasnt visable from here, after another brew of yorkshire tea I decided to head back to the summit of Dale Head as am a sucker for the summits even though the options maybe the more sensible at times.
After taking some video footage out came the Akto it pitched ok with only a slight breeze it was time for another brew of tea and then out came my steak for cooking as I was just awaiting the sunset which turned out a little disapointing blocked by a band of low cloud just above the horizon.
My phone signal was very patchy the best signal was over Dalehead Crags so decided to head back over there leaving the tent my backpack, tripod with my video camera on and head over to try and post on my liveblog and read my fans posts.
The moon came out first looking very orange which a captured on my video camera and later became covered at times in patchy cloud.
I  really enjoyed my night in total solitude alone on a hill without any rain with lovely views.
Morning came I must have had about an hours sleep I had my alarm set for 4.30am for the sunrise but was awake before it went off, the sunrise was hampered by low cloud but when the sun appeared it was a great sight lighting the sky red, in the distance over towards scafell Pike and great Gable there appeared to be a cloud inversion happening and the conditions at first appeared just right, the cloud was hugging the hills as a gentle breeze in my direction slowly brought it my way but after hanging around a few hours for it to surround my hill it didnt materialise how I was wishing.
I packed my tent away and was off back down the hill at 6.50am it only took 39mins total moving time and only a two min break back to the car.

Pre Dale Head Comments

My Route

 

Me On Dales Head Summit

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Buttermere

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Dale Head
Dale Head.jpg
Dale Head seen from the neighbouring hill of High Spy
Elevation 753 m (2,470 ft)
Prominence 397 m (1,302 ft)
Parent peak Great Gable
Listing Hewitt, Marilyn, Nuttall, Wainwright
Location
Dale Head is located in Lake District
Dale Head
Cumbria,  England
Range Lake District, North Western Fells
OS grid NY223153
Coordinates 54°31′37″N 3°12′07″W / 54.527°N 3.20208°W / 54.527; -3.20208Coordinates: 54°31′37″N 3°12′07″W / 54.527°N 3.20208°W / 54.527; -3.20208
Topo map OS Landrangers 89, 90, Explorer OL4

Dale Head is a fell in the northwestern sector of the Lake District, in northern England. It is 753 metres or 2,470 feet above sea level and stands immediately north of Honister Pass, the road between Borrowdale and Buttermere.

Topography

The North Western Fells occupy the area between the rivers Derwent and Cocker, a broadly oval swathe of hilly country, elongated on a north-south axis. Two roads cross from east to west, dividing the fells into three convenient groups. Dale Head is the highest fell in the southern sector.

Dale Head is the apex of two hill ridges. The principal ridge descends from Dale Head to the north-east and forms several other fells, each given a chapter by Alfred Wainwright in his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. These are High Spy, Maiden Moor and Catbells (alternative spelling, Cat Bells). This ridge forms the western side of Borrowdale and overlooks Derwent Water. The other ridge descends to the north-west and includes the fells of Hindscarth and Robinson; it overlooks Gatescarthdale and Buttermere.

Dale Head is named for its position at the head of the Newlands Valley. This stretches away due north for three and a half miles before debouching into the floodplain of the Derwent between Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake. The eastern wall of the valley is formed by the High Spy to Catbells ridge, separating it from Borrowdale. Entering on the western side are a series of side valleys which drain the main mass of the North Western Fells. The source of Newlands Beck does not however flow from the apex of Dale Head as might be supposed from the name. Instead it has its birth at the col between the main summit and the eastern top, High Scawdel (1,815 ft). The northern face of the fell forming the dalehead is ringed with crags. The main faces are Dalehead Crags and Great Gable, not to be confused with the fell of that name.

The southern flank of the fell running down to the summit of the Honister Pass road (1,180 ft) has much gentler slopes, although there is outcropping rock on either side. Buckstone Hows and Yew Crag overshadow the road.From the top of the pass Gatesgarthdale Beck runs north west to Buttermere while Hause Gill flows east to Seatoller and Borrowdale. Across the road is Grey Knotts in the Western Fells.

The ridge to Hindscarth departs north west from the summit of Dale Head, soon narrowing into the fine and airy Hindscarth Edge. Both slopes are rocky, that to the south being known as Molds. Far Tongue Gill descends from the north of the ridge, a tributary of Newlands Beck.

Although High Scawdel stands east of the main summit, the high ground takes a great loop to the south around the head of Newlands Beck. It then drives north to the depression at Wilson's Bield (1,655 ft) before climbing to the summit of High Spy. The rest of the North Western Fells bear no tarns worthy of the name, but Dale Head has two. On the northern slope near the source of Newlands Beck is Dalehead Tarn, while the smaller Launchy Tarn lies near the top of High Scawdel. Dalehead Tarn is a shallow pool providing a popular stopping place for walkers. Its varied flora include water horsetail, sedge and bogbean. Launchy Tarn is smaller and may have been formed by overgrazing and erosion of the underlying peat.[1]

Geology and Mining

Dale Head stands at the junction of the two main Lakeland geological systems, the Skiddaw slates to the north and the Borrowdale Volcanics to the south. On the northern flanks are outcrops of the Buttermere Formation, olistostrome of disrupted sheared mudstone, siltstone and sandstone. Southward march the Borrowdale series beginning with the plagioclase-phyric andesite lavas of the Birker Fell Formation, visible near the summit.[2]

The fell has seen extensive mining history. Dale Head Mine was driven below the northern crags for copper, several levels still being visible. Long Work was another copper mine a little further down the valley, worked for malachite and pyrite from Elizabethan times. On the southern flank of the fell, centred around the head of the pass, are the Honister Quarries. These are an extensive system of underground quarries, worked for Green Slate. The earliest extant records date from 1728 and since then huge caverns have been carved out on either side of the pass. The Yew Crag workings on the Dale Head side were operated until 1966, operations on the slopes of Grey Knotts continuing. In 1887 work began to drive a tunnel right under Dale Head into Newlands Valley, connecting with a proposed tramway to join the railway at Keswick. The scheme was abandoned after opposition from landowners. The main workers accommodation at the mine is now the Honister Hause Youth Hostel.[3]

Summit and view

The view of the Newlands Valley and Skiddaw from Dale Head summit cairn .

The summit is marked by a cairn standing on the brink of the northern face. There is a fine end-on view of the Newlands Valley to the north, backed by Skiddaw. All around are rank upon rank of fells, of the major Lakeland ranges only the High Street group not being fully visible.[4][5]

Ascents

One of the most popular ascent routes of Dale Head begins from the summit of Honister Pass, where there is a car park and a youth hostel. The route ascends directly alongside a fence for approximately 2 kilometres and would take the average walker some 45 or 50 minutes. Longer routes begin at Little Town in the Newlands Valley, climbing either via Dalehead Tarn or the old access track to Dale Head Mine. From Borrowdale a start can be made at either Seatoller or Longthwaite, ascending first to Launchy Tarn and High Scawdel.[4]

References

  1. ^ Blair, Don: Exploring Lakeland Tarns: Lakeland Manor Press (2003): ISBN 0-9543904-1-5
  2. ^ British Geological Survey: 1:50,000 series maps, England & Wales Sheet 29: BGS (1999)
  3. ^ Adams, John: Mines of the Lake District Fells: Dalesman (1995) ISBN 0-85206-931-6
  4. ^ a b Alfred Wainwright: A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book 6, The North Western Fells: Westmorland Gazette (1964): ISBN 0-7112-2459-5
  5. ^ Birkett, Bill: Complete Lakeland Fells: Collins Willow (1994): ISBN 0-00-218406-0
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Great End Lake District Cumbria

Posted in Great End on June 28th, 2011 by David Murphy

Its the 29th June 2011 Myself, Paul my usual Wildcamping partner and Chris this will be my second Wildcamp with Chris on a Hill right next to our first one Great Gable.

I Planned two Routes both of which are from Seathwaite one would take us past Styhead Tarn and Springling Tarn which was 4.4 miles but we all decided to take the shorter Route along Grains Gill below.  

Steak

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Our Tents In The Mist

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Cloud Over Great Gable

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Out of the Breeze in Shelter

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Myself Paul and Chris

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Great End Looking Up Grains Gill

Scafell Pike from Great End

Looking Down to Springling Tarn from Great End

Great End
Great end.jpg
Great End from the top of Grains Gill
Elevation 910 m (2,986 ft)
Prominence 56 m (184 ft)
Parent peak Ill Crag
Listing Hewitt, Wainwright, Nuttall
Location
Great End is located in Lake District
Great End
Cumbria,  England
Range Lake District, Southern Fells
OS grid NY226084
Coordinates 54°27′50″N 3°11′38″W / 54.464°N 3.194°W / 54.464; -3.194Coordinates: 54°27′50″N 3°11′38″W / 54.464°N 3.194°W / 54.464; -3.194
Topo map OS Landrangers 89, 90, Explorer OL6
Listed summits of Great End
Name Grid ref Height Status
Round How NY218081 741 m (2,431 ft) Nuttall

Great End is the most northerly mountain in the Scafell chain, in the English Lake District. From the south it is simply a lump continuing this chain. From the north, however, it is appears as an immense mountain, with an imposing north face rising above Sprinkling Tarn (lake). This is a popular location for wild camping, and the north face attracts many climbers.

Alfred Wainwright wrote of Great End in his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells: "This is the true Lakeland of the fellwalker, the sort of terrain that calls him back time after time, the sort of memory that haunts his long winter exile. It is not the pretty places - the flowery lanes of Grasmere or Derwentwater's wooded bays - that keep him restless in his bed; it is the magnificent ones. Places like Great End..."[1]

Topography[edit]

The imposing north eastern cliffs, riven by gullies, rise some 600 ft from the Esk Hause path. Their orientation ensures that the sun rarely reaches them, the gullies often retaining snow well into the spring. From the left when viewed from below the principal fissures are South East Gully, Central Gully and Cust's Gully (see below). To the west of the cliffs a ridge descends more gradually in the general direction of Sty Head. This is known as The Band, and it too sports a harsh gash across its features. On the western side of The Band is the deep ravine of Skew Gill, a tributary of Wasdale-bound Lingmell Beck. At the base of The Band the ridge continues as the complex top of Seathwaite Fell, replete with numerous tarns.[1] The largest is Sprinkling Tarn with its beautifully indented shoreline providing perfect foreground for views of the cliff.

Sty Head is one of the focal points of the District for walkers. The name strictly applies to the col between Great End and Great Gable at a height of 1,560 ft, but is now more generally given to the path which crosses it. This connects two of the most popular starting points for walks in the high fells, Wasdale Head and Seathwaite. Sty Head is also a walker's crossroads with other paths leading direct up Great Gable and following the outflow of Sprinkling Tarn up to Esk Hause.

Westward from the summit Great End makes a rocky descent toward the arms of Lingmell Beck. This flank is crossed by the Corridor Route, the popular path to Scafell Pike from Sty Head. Above the path are the subsidiary top of Round How (a Nuttall) and the tiny, beautifully clear tarn of Lambfoot Dub.[2][3]

The southward ridge to the Scafells crosses a shallow saddle and then climbs over Ill Crag and Broad Crag, a well blazoned path leading across the stony terrain to the summit of Scafell Pike. To the east of the first depression is Calf Cove, its easy slopes leading down to Esk Hause.

The summit has two cairns of very similar height, that to the north west being nearer to the cliff edge and having the better view. Northwards along Borrowdale the vista is unsurpassed, but the whole panorama is excellent. The heads of the gullies can also be approached for startling views down the face.[1]

Geology[edit]

The summit is formed by the laminated volcaniclastic claystone and siltstone of the Esk Pike Formation overlying the dacitic welded lapilli-tuff of the Lincomb Tarns Formation. The latter is revealed in the great north front.[4]

Ascents[edit]

Great End may be ascended from Sty Head Tarn via The Band (not to be confused with the more famous Band on Bowfell), from Wasdale Head along Lingmell Gill and Spouthead Gill, from Borrowdale via Grains Gill, from Great Langdale via Rossett Gill and Esk Hause, or from Eskdale. As an intermediate objective Great End may easily be climbed from the main path between Esk Hause and Scafell Pike, requiring only a detour of some 400 m.[3]

Cust's Gully[edit]

Cust's Gully at the western end of Great End's cliffs is named after 19th-century pioneer climber and sketcher Arthur Cust, a classical scholar from Yorkshire also known for his watercolour sketches of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. Cust's Gully is a Grade 1 rock climb, but a difficult obstacle for walkers ascending from Sprinkling Tarn. Cust's first winter ascent of the gully was recorded in 1880, although he is thought to have ascended it earlier.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Wainwright, A. (2003). "Great End". A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book 4 The Southern Fells. London: Francis Lincoln. p. 2. ISBN 0-7112-2230-4. 
  2. ^ Blair, Don; Exploring Lakeland Tarns; Lakeland Manor Press (2003); ISBN 0-9543904-1-5
  3. ^ a b Richards, Mark: Mid-Western Fells: Collins (2004): ISBN 0-00-711368-4
  4. ^ British Geological Survey: 1:50,000 series maps, England & Wales Sheet 38: BGS (1998)

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