Thursday, 6 July 2017

Swirl How

Brim Fell and Dow Crag
Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Ascent:        800 metres
Distance:     14 kilometres
Time:           3 hours 59 minutes

Grey Friar       773m              56mins
Great Carrs     785m        1hr 19mins
Swirl How      802m        1hr 29mins
Wetherlam      763m        2hrs 9mins

We decided to squeeze in another walk between the end of the morning rain and dinner with friends. Gregor decided to climb Hard Knott and Harter Fell followed by Dow Crag so I got a lift to the Three Shires stone on the Wrynose Pass from where I could do a round of hills from Grey Friar to Wetherlam and then walk/run back to Langdale. It was still grey clouds as I set out just before 3pm with the ground soggy from the incessant rain of the last 24 hours. There is an good path that climbs steadily up Wet Side Edge to the long ridge leading to the Carrs. I was making good time and found a faint path that traversed to the col at Fairfield below the easy ascent to Grey Friar. The clouds were slowly slipping away from the tops but the Scafells were still capped in cloud. The summit is a lovely flat plateau decorated with with scattered rocks.

Then a quick descent and ascent to Great Carrs where I came across the cairn to a Halifax Bomber that had crashed here in 1944. The sun had broken through and made for some easy walking across to the nearby summit of Swirl How. Coniston Old Man was still in cloud but Dow Crag was looking sharp. Coniston lake snaked below the hills and Levers Water looked foreboding. It is a rough descent and then a longer ascent to Wetherlam. The skies were becoming grey again.

The descent from Wetherlam was tricky, broken rock that was steep and still slippy from the rains. I had wrongly calculated that I would reach the track to Little Langdale in half an hour but I missed the path down and ended on Birk Fell. The direct route from here to  the track required was a 400 metre descent through bracken and boulders and there was no time for an easier alternative. The track was fairly level and allowed me to jog towards Slater's Bridge. It is a relic of local industry where we had picnics with the children in the 1980's, it always inspires happy memories.

A path runs from here back to the Three Shires Inn from where I took the high path through Wilson's Place to Great Langdale, it involves another 80 metres of ascent but I was  in full flow and reached the house at 6:55pm. Time for a shower before driving to Ambleside for a pint of Wainwright's exquisite golden ale before a meal.

Scafells from Grey Friar
Halifax Bomber cairn on Great Carrs
Swirl How from Great Carrs
Great Carrs from Swirl How
Levers Water and Coniston from Swirl How
Wetherlam from Swirl How
Slater's Bridge, Little Langdale

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