Walk date – 25th August 2022
Distance – 5.5 miles
Weather – little breeze, very hazy, extensive low cloud
Not a very long walk today but the steepness of the initial climb and the ruggedness of the descent more than made up for the moderate distance we walked. Our last visit along this ridge was in 2018 when we began at the Ullock Pike end of the ridge so today, just for a change, we started at the Carl Side end. We parked in the Old Sawmill Tearoom car park where we arrived before the cafe opened and so the car park was almost empty. There’s no need to feed £1 coins into a machine here, a camera takes note of your vehicle number plate and you pay when you leave. Payment can be either cash or card but if you pay by cash, bear in mind the machine doesn’t give change. The weather was something of a let down and the forecast seemed to indicate better weather than that which actually turned up.
Old Sawmill Tea Room – Skill Beck – Long Doors – White Stones – Carl Side – Long Side – Longside Edge – Ullock Pike – The Edge – Kiln Pots – Ling How – Rabbit Warren – Old Plantation – Old Sawmill Tea Room
The Old Sawmill Tearoom and part of its parking area. This only has space for about half a dozen cars but there is a much bigger parking area to the right of the entrance. Four cars were already parked here when we arrived and the larger car park was empty. We parked up in one of the empty spaces in this area, kitted up and then walked through the darker area on the right of the shot towards …..
….. the footbridge across Skill Beck. After a few twists and turns the earth and gravel footpath beyond it lead onto the tarmac forest road and the steady haul up beside Skill Beck to Long Doors.
On arriving at Long Doors we came across bundles of fence posts wrapped around rolls of wire fencing waiting to be installed somewhere nearby. We had a pause here to remove the long sleeved layer after a very muggy and humid walk up beside Skill Beck. We were joined by a couple, visitors from the Reading area, who we had passed on the way up when they stopped for a breather. They were making their way up to Dodd and the male half of the couple asked us if the route up was worse than the walk up beside Skill Beck, which is a little on the steep side to be honest. We told him that it was no worse and that just a short distance along the path over on the right of the above shot there was a bench where they could sit and admire the view. He then asked how far it was to the bench so we gave him an estimate of about two hundred yards, “Is that a northern 200 yards or an actual one?” he replied jovially. He asked us where we were heading for and when we told him he almost fell off the bundle of fence poles that he was sitting on, saying that he wouldn’t be able to manage that. It was an enjoyable ten minute’s worth of humorous banter with both of them.
The couple began making their way up to the viewpoint bench and we carried on to the stile where we crossed over to join the path up to White Stones. We could hear them talking to each other as we climbed the stile and as we looked back from our climb we could see that they had reached the bench and were sitting on it and taking in the view in front of them. We gave them a wave, they waved back, and then we carried on up to …..
….. the little col at White Stones and the view across to some of the northwestern fells. It wasn’t a very good day for photography unfortunately so all the shots I took are very muted. There were some patches of blue sky around but for the most part these were obscured by the very low cloud which continued swirling around for most of our walk.
This shot of Derwentwater from White Stones was the brightest thing that could be seen, everything else simply merged into a dull grey smudge.
White Stones backed by some of the northwestern fells.
As we began the steep climb up to Carl Side from White Stones I took this look back over to Grisedale Pike and the rest of the fells forming the Coledale Horseshoe around which the low cloud is still coming and going.
From the Carl Side path a view towards Broad End and Little Man now that the low cloud has drifted away from. It was completely shrouded by cloud when we were down at White Stones. A spot of sunlight would have been helpful to light up the heather clad fell sides.
Derwentwater remains the only bright spot in the view behind us. The Clough Head to Helvellyn range over on the left skyline is very muted but the flat top of Latrigg below it can just about be seen.
A large lump of cloud swirled around just above us as we reached the cairn at the path junction and obliterated the view of anything beyond Derwentwater. The cairn also marks the end of the steep climb and the path leading over to the summit of Carl Side becomes much gentler from that point on.
We walked a little way on from the summit thinking we would drop down to Carlside Tarn and have a little break there, but there wasn’t any water in the tarn. Only its brown sludgy remnants were on view in the dip just below us so we didn’t bother going down. A dad and two young daughters are coming down the path opposite while a pair of walkers are making their way up Skiddaw via the slate path route. Not much to see of Skiddaw at the moment.
We went back to the cairn, put our long sleeved layers back on and had a short break there. The misty triangular shape in the distance is Long Side. While we were here dad and daughters arrived and dad duly ticked off Carl Side on his mobile while telling the girls that seventy Wainwrights had now been completed. Only one hundred and forty four to go then. I did wonder if dad might have to complete them by himself as the girls get a little older and become more interested in other things.
Skiddaw came briefly into view before being smothered once again.
We made our way over to Long Side where the cloud has lifted so hopefully we will have something of a view from there. On the way across and on the climb up we met a good number of walkers making their way over to Carl Side.
A look back at Carl Side from the path up Long Side, the cloud is rising up from Southerndale but it didn’t quite reach us so we were spared a clammy walk through it.
Following the path up to Long Side which is not as steep as it appears and it only takes a couple of minutes to reach the top.
From the top of Long Side there’s a grand view down into Southerndale, although today it was a very muted one.
Looking along Longside Edge towards Ullock Pike where we met still more walkers coming across, quite a few family groups amongst them too, so it was a popular walk today. A pity it was such a dull day for them.
Bass Lake and some of the Whinlatter fells from the walk over Longside Edge.
I had a look across to Dodd and wondered if the couple from Reading were now back in the Old Sawmill Tearoom enjoying coffee and cake
Looking back over Longside Edge as we make our way across to Ullock Pike.
Skiddaw gets hidden by cloud once again.
The flood plain at the head of Bass Lake from Ullock Pike ……
….. and a look over towards the other end of it where it narrows into the river Derwent once again, makes its way to Cockermouth and eventually flows out into the sea.
During the descent of Ullock Pike we finally had a clearer view of Skiddaw where just a few wisps were still hanging around.
A look back at Ullock Pike, Long Side and Carl Side.
The patchwork of fields around Bass Lake where some sunlight is beginning to make its way through and the cloud seems to be starting to disperse.
The view down to Ling How from Kiln Potts. Plenty of sunshine over the fields now but up here we still have a bank of cloud overhead keeping us in the shade …..
….. there’s the cloud which kept the sun at bay, but at least it was high enough to give us the clearest view of Skiddaw we had during the walk. We met lots more walkers making their way up as we descended, many of whom were only to glad to stop and have a chat and give their legs a rest. The path is steep in many places, there are lots of rocky outcrops to negotiate and its tough on the legs whether you are going up or coming down. In good number of places the path is deeply eroded now which doesn’t help matters either.
Sunlit fields and Binsey directly ahead as we drop down the final couple of outcrops and make our way towards the junction to pick up the path back to the car.
A look back along today’s route before we lose the view.
Just below Ling How we turn off to the left and follow the steep path back down to the valley. Its steeper than it looks in the photo.
Eventually we reached the path leading through the Rabbit Warren and the Old Plantation woods where we had a relaxing walk back to the car park. By now we were well into lunch break time so we decided that we would wait until we got back to the car and have our sandwiches in comfort, accompanied by a cup of hot coffee from the cafe. When we reached the cafe the place was very busy and J had to wait quite a while before he returned with our coffees and we could finally start on the contents of our lunch boxes. It made a nice change to be sitting in comfy seats munching the sandwiches and sipping hot coffee in contrast to our usual practice of finding a rock to perch on and washing everything down with cold drinks. It will not surprise you to learn that by the time we began making our way home the cloudy morning had blossomed into a very warm and sunny afternoon. Typical.