Walk date – 4th September 2023
Distance – 6.3 miles
Weather – sunny and very warm, light breeze
The recent spell of miserable weather came to an end over the weekend bringing warm and sunny conditions which seem set to remain with us for a few days and, as often happens, is perfectly timed to coincide with the first week of the new school term. Visitors with school age children who spent their holidays in a wet, gloomy and very grey Lake District during the summer break must be somewhat disgruntled at this turn of events. In view of this unexpected turn of the weather we decided to have another go at today’s walk which we abandoned on the Friday just gone thanks to the very low cloud and overall greyness of the weather on that day. Its a moderate length walk over fells of moderate height so we thought it would be just the thing for today’s forecasted weather. As it turned out the day turned out to be very warm indeed and, as we sweated our way round, we were pleased we hadn’t chosen to walk any of the higher fells today.
Parking area at Darling How – Forest track to Graystones – Graystones – Widow Hause – Broom Fell – Lord’s Seat – Forest track to Darling How parking area
Ladyside Pike and Swinside from the parking area near Darling How. Its a very warm morning with a clear blue sky and nothing much by way of a breeze so its t-shirt weather from the start. Plus, in my case, a baseball cap to keep the sun out of my eyes. Lots of notices were in evidence concerning logging which was taking place in specific areas which we noted included places on today’s intended route. We decided we’d deal with those as we came to them.
A short distance from the parking area is this track going down to the left so we leave the main track to follow it.
Dropping down the forest track into the Aiken Beck valley where we can already hear the buzz of machinery up ahead of us. Logging was taking place on our last visit here in 2021 although at that time the logging was taking place further back up the track.
At this bend in the track we paused to take a look over at the amount of logging which has taken place on the slopes of Graystones over the years. The cleared area below the plantation higher up has not been replanted so it seems as though this is likely to be left as a more open area. I can’t tell from the photo whether this would allow more open access for visitors to Spout Force, we remember fighting our way through dense forest years ago just to visit the waterfall so maybe that’s what it is all about.
From the same bend in the track I turn around for this view across the cleared area over to Lord’s Seat. I’ve already mopped my face several times and we’ve only been going a few minutes so I’ll probably be like a damp rag by the time we get over there. A little further on up the track we met an elderly local chap out walking his two dogs who told us that one of the logging machines was blocking the track and pointed out the forest path which he had used to get around it. We had used that path some years ago but had forgotten about it so we thanked him for the tip. We got the impression that he was none too pleased with all the logging that was taking place particularly as many of the forest tracks he once used to walk with his dogs had disappeared. We could definitely relate to that, but that’s progress in some folks opinion.
Having followed the old path through the forest we emerged back into the sunlight again on this established forest track where we walk over to the other end of it for the short climb through the felled scrubland at Widow Hause.
A fine view of Graystones from the open area of hard standing about halfway along the track. When we reached it we took the clear path climbing up through the scrub on the right.
With the sun on our backs we emerged, hot and sweating, onto the faint path through the scrub and made our way over to the fence crossing. Here’s a look along the Aiken Beck valley as we paused for a face mop and a drink.
Having reached the fence we paused briefly while I took a look over towards Ling Fell and …..
….. Sale Fell with the hump of Binsey right behind it.
We branched off the main path from the fence and followed the traverse path across the slopes of Graystones just to avoid walking the same route when we descend. J took advantage of the photo stop to sit down and take in the view across Widow Hause to Broom Fell and Lord’s Seat. Immediately below us is the track below Widow Hause we walked along when we emerged from the forest path, also visible is the short path we used to climb up to the fence line together with the area of hard standing from where I took a previous shot.
Here we are on the summit of Graystones with a view over the Solway Firth toward Criffel in Dumfries and Galloway. Long distance views were very hazy today. The white area over the Solway on the extreme right of the shot was an inversion which gradually dissipated as we made our way back across Widow Hause.
The view from Graystones of our route across to Broom Fell and Lord’s Seat. Behind them is the Skiddaw group.
We had a Mars Bar break on the summit and then made our way back down to the fence line across Widow Hause.
A look back towards Graystones as we cross Widow Hause where we had a very welcome light breeze from time to time.
Looking ahead at the path over to Broom Fell where there is an abundance of steep climbing, with accompanying face mopping stops, waiting for us.
Another look back across Widow Hause to Graystones as we begin to climb using the dug in footsteps created by thousands of walkers over the years. Nevertheless the climb is still energy sapping especially on such a warm day.
Eventually Broom Fell and Lord’s Seat come back into view but there still a heck of a lot of up to climb before we set foot on either of them.
Broom Fell’s summit ‘furniture’ with the Skiddaw group just peeping up behind it. It was disappointing to find that the small memorial stone hidden in the cairn that we found on our last visit had disappeared. We stopped for a short break on Broom Fell and had something to eat. It was an early lunch as stomachs were indicating that a few hours had elapsed since breakfast.
Planet earth hadn’t rotated quite enough for the sun to light up the fells to the south of Broom Fell so all our views of them were of the merged blob variety. Grisedale Pike and Hopegill Head managed to stand out clearly though.
The view back along our route from Graystones from Broom Fell summit.
The Skiddaw group has sunshine on it and stands out more clearly. The small hill peeping out behind the fence pole to the right is Dodd. Behind that is the Carl Side to Ullock Pike ridge, with Skiddaw itself right behind them.
A look over the fence towards our next fell where some fair weather cloud has bubbled up and puts Lord’s Seat temporarily in the shade.
Another look southwards over the fence this time with Causey Pike in the shot over towards the left.
Over the stile we go and make our way over to Lord’s Seat meeting more people out walking and enjoying the sunny weather than we have met so far. One walker came towards us as we crossed Widow Hause and two people came up behind us a few minutes after we reached the top of Broom Fell and that was it until we began this part of our walk.
The last bit of climbing has been done and we are now on Lord’s Seat with this view of the Aiken Beck valley. The extent of the logging on the lower slopes of Graystones and Broom Fell can be seen very clearly now.
Looking back along our route from Graystones and Broom Fell from Lord’s Seat summit. There were other walkers on the summit so taking shots from it was somewhat limited.
We dropped lower down for a few long distance skyline views starting with Clough Head, The Dodds and the Helvellyn group …..
….. Bleaberry Fell, High Seat and Ullscarf come into the picture behind Ullister Hill across the middle foreground …..
….. the ‘knuckles’ of Causey Pike with Maiden Moor and High Spy to its left with Dale Head popping up behind over on the right …..
….. Scar Crags just behind the long sweep of Grisedale Pike …..
….. Hopegill Head with Grasmoor just visible behind it with Whiteside over on the right.
We spent a few minutes just sitting, relaxing and taking in the views on the lower slopes of Lord’s Seat before hoisting packs again and descending in the Ullister Hill direction.
A little further on from the previous photo we take a right turn onto the path, very boggy to begin with but stick with it as it doesn’t last long, leading us back down through the forest and onto the main track through the valley.
Here we are back down and walking down the main forest track with a view of Whinlatter Fell straight ahead of us. The valley was a proper little sun trap today and so the walk back was very warm indeed.
Broom Fell from a section of the track which offered some shade and gave us some very welcome relief.
Looking across to the cleared and open section where the logging equipment has moved down the track although a zoom in will help to see it more clearly.
A closer look at the bare slopes of Greystones …..
….. and the cleared slopes on part of Broom Fell.
Just as we approached the parking area this log transporter arrived at the locked gate in a cloud of dust. The driver got out of the cab, unlocked the padlock, swung the gate back and fastened it open with a catch mechanism attached to a post, drove through, got out of the cab again, closed and locked the gate and proceeded along the track, raising another cloud of dust, to collect a waiting stack of logs from somewhere along the valley. Quite surprising that, in this day and age, the old padlock and key method is still in operation, but then electronic gadgets have been known to fail, haven’t they? Padlock and key not quite as susceptible to failure although it does rely on the driver remembering to pick up the key in the first place. I might add that J was none too pleased when we reached the car and finding it covered in dust, especially as he only washed it yesterday! Oh well, a cup of tea or coffee will soon put things to rights.