The Grisedale Horseshoe
I awoke to lowish cloud over Causey Pike, which I can see from my bedroom window, and whose nobbles have intrigued me since I first saw them yesterday afternoon.
I had second thoughts about my planned walk as the last thing I wanted was to bail out part-way through, especially now that I seem to have found some form. The alternative was a walk up to Dalehead Tarn then back along the ridge of High Spy, Maiden Moor and Catbells, but that would be much better tomorrow as my fully laden walk to get to Keswick. So eventually I decided to stick to my original plan and do the horseshoe.
I strolled down the road to Ghyll Bank and crossed the valley on a footpath. I then climbed up above the road to gain the start of the ridge. Up I trudged, clambering over rocks as the going became more rugged. But the views across to Grisedale Pike were great and slowly I felt more up for the walk.
Two and a half hours after setting out I reached the summit on the first nobble and laid out before me was the rest of today’s walk – Scar Crags, Sail, Eel Crag, Hobcarton Crag and Grisedale Pike. I got going again and continued over the 3 remaining bumps to reach the short descent and re-ascent onto Scar Crags.
A much bigger descent brought me to Sail Pass and an escape option – especially as the ascent onto Sail looked long and dreary. It was. Sail must be the most boring fell I’ve climbed yet. or maybe I’m just not catching its best side.
More descent and then the climb onto Eel Crag and the top of today’s walk. The wind became stronger as I climbed and as it was lunchtime, I opted to stop below the summit and avoid some of the wind. This meant perching above a steep drop, but also meant that the views were good. I lingered a while taking in the sights before me.
It was now 2:30 and I needed to get going again, so I completed the rough climb to the summit and then headed roughly west towards Grasmoor to avoid a nasty surprise on the steep rocky north ridge.
With much better visibility today than on thursday, I managed to take the photos I couldn’t take then. I also could see that there was, after all, no way I’d ever have done all 11 in one day.
Somewhere on the climb, I realised that today was the first day of actually being unpaid, as up to now I’ve effectively been using up accrued holiday. For some reason this was liberating and I felt a desire to really enjoy the day.
I reached Coledale Hause and cut across the Slope of Sand Hill to Hobcarton Crag, skirting the old mining excavations. Pausing only briefly at the summit, I carried on towards Grisedale Pike, the last of the day. Each summit was now seeming easier to attain, and I put this down to a combination of improved motivation, and reaching the point where my mid-afternoon energy level dip had passed.
I didn’t spend long at the top of Grisedale Pike either, and headed down the east ridge and a steep stony descent it was too. Wanting to avoid the plantation, I forked right to descend over Kinn and then down into Braithwaite. A pint in the Royal Oak, where I felt distinctly out of place, and not wanting to stay to eat, I got walking again deciding to eat in the Swinside again where I knew the food was decent.
Today I really felt that I achieved something, which I think has something to do with the fact that I could see where I was going and although tiring the walk was doable. Actually the worst bit of the walk turned out to be the slog along tarmac to get back to the farm. It also felt like a weight had been lifted today, and that I was enjoying the fells more. Long may it continue.