Walk date – 27th April 2022
Distance – 6.8 miles
Weather – overcast start, brighter later, occasional slight breeze, mild
The forecast for today was for a bright morning with gradually increasing cloud and hardly any wind. Apart from getting the little or no wind part correct what we actually got was a complete reversal of what had been forecast. The morning was gloomy and overcast and visibility so poor that the North Pennines were totally obscured from our view as we drove to Penrith. Things didn’t look at all promising but we decided to give it a go and see how things were when we got to Stonethwaite. Having arrived and parked up we decided to go ahead on the basis that the cloud was no worse than it was at home, all the Borrowdale fell tops were clear of cloud, and it didn’t look as though any rain clouds were gathering. The remaining concern was, would the camera do its job and would there be any photos to upload?
Stonethwaite – Stonethwaite Beck – Greenup Gill – Sergeant’s Crag – Eagle Crag – Greenup Gill – Stonethwaite Beck – Stonethwaite
Not the brightest of mornings as I take a test shot across the lamb filled fields of Stonethwaite towards Eagle Crag. We still haven’t worked out why we had no photos for our previous walk and the SD card I used then has worked perfectly well since. However, just to be on the safe side I bought a new card and that’s being used today. Checked with the replay button after taking the above shot and up it popped, much relief all round, although it didn’t stop me checking after every shot today. Is there a cure for paranoia?
After a short walk through the village we crossed the bridge over Stonethwaite Beck and, after passing through the gate at the far end of the path, we turned right to follow the rough path alongside the beck.
The path junction by the sheepfold is marked by a wooden post. Turn off to the left here for the path going up through the Lingy End woodland which in turn leads to Dock Tarn and Great Crag. We keep to the rough and very stony path.
Eagle Crag ahead as we continue on through the valley.
Eagle Crag front and centre, with Sergeant’s Crag behind it to the right. Two for the price of one, or a BOGOF in supermarket nomenclature.
Another path junction where the bridge crosses Greenup Gill and the path will lead you into the lovely Langstrath valley. Out of shot to the right is the watersmeet where Greenup Gill joins up with Langstrath Beck and thereafter becomes Stonethwaite Beck. The flat walking through the valley comes to an end about here and from now on the only way is up. Jackets are removed in readiness.
A patch of brightness down in Borrowdale as I take a look back down the valley but the sky remains largely overcast. The climb is fairly gentle to begin with but gradually steepens. Its barely noticeable at first but it becomes a bit more in your face soon enough.
We’ve had no rain for a couple of weeks or more so the gill was looking a bit thinner than it usually does. Happily there was enough flow to keep the waterfalls going.
A get your breath back shot, looking back down our route so far, from the top of one of the steeper parts of the climb. Its comfortable weather for climbing though, no sun, no wind and very mild, and we make steady progress. The only other walker around is some distance up ahead of us so we’re pretty much on our own along here.
A pretty little cascade of falls in Greenup Gill, which at this point is some distance below the rising path.
To the right is the sheepfold on the little island in Greenup Gill. Over on the left Lining Crag has come into view. We are aiming to take a break when we reach the three grassy mounds on the skyline.
Lining Crag from our break stop. While we were taking a break another walker came along and also prepared to take a breather, he was soon joined by his fellow walker and packs were downed and drinks retrieved from them. He asked us if we were going to Grasmere so we took from that that the pair of them were walking the Rosthwaite/Grasmere section of the Coast to Coast walk. Now we knew why we had seen, in Stonethwaite, one of those company vans which transports Coast to Coaster’s luggage from one overnight stop to the next. These two must have stayed overnight in Stonethwaite rather than Rosthwaite.
Another view from our stop looking towards High Raise (Langdale). On the right is Long Crag while slightly higher on the left is Low White Stones. All of it looking decidedly gloomy under the heavy cloud.
Over on the right is where we’re heading with the top of Sergeant’s Crag just visible on the extreme right of the skyline. We’re planning to cross the gill below us and then take an off path route up to the stile just below Sergeant’s Crag summit.
About half way up to Sergeant’s Crag at this point. There is no established path but progress is made via various sheep trods. Despite the lack of rain it was somewhat soggy underfoot during the initial part of the climb, which is only to be expected given that all the water draining down those slopes collects in the basin below before it ends up in Greenup Gill. Here we’ve reached firm dry ground so I took a look across at Long Crag with Low White Stones behind it.
A few minutes later and a slight break in the cloud cover allows a patch of sunlight through which brightens everything up immediately. We’re much higher now so, in addition to Long Crag and Low White Stones, we can just make out the top of High Raise.
Approaching Sergeant’s Crag. The tall and short sided stile is not quite in view but will eventually appear at the bottom of the downward slope of the crag over on the left.
We’ve reached the stile but before climbing over I took a couple of shots of the surrounding views: across the middle foreground is Rossett Pike with Crinkle Crags and Bowfell on the skyline …..
….. to the right of Bowfell we have Esk Pike, Ill Crag, Broad End and Scafell Pike …..
….. on the extreme left is Great End but Glaramara, Combe Head and Rosthwaite Fell (Bessyboot) are taking up most of the skyline. Just out of shot on the right is the stile we are about to cross.
We crossed the stile and made our way up to the top of Sergeant’s Crag. Just as the summit came into view the sun came out, the cloud was breaking up and suddenly we had a completely different day. So much for the forecast saying the cloud would begin filling in from late morning, its actually doing the exact opposite.
It certainly made the views a whole lot brighter. From the summit I took a look across Great Crag towards a sunlit High Seat. Skiddaw and Blencathra on the skyline.
The Skiddaw group in the distance while across the middle foreground are Great Crag and Grange Fell.
Some of the Borrowdale fells, not forgetting the diminutive Castle Crag of course.
A sunny view to the west with Honister Crag and Fleetwith Pike slap bang in the middle and High Stile right behind them, Dale Head to the right. The top of Pillar is just visible on the extreme left.
Glaramara and Combe Head across the Langstrath valley.
To round off the summit views here’s as much of the south west skyline as the viewfinder could accommodate. Simply wonderful views all round.
Time to move on to Eagle Crag now so the descent starts here.
A look back to Sergeant’s Crag as we make our way over to Eagle Crag. The cloud is breaking up quite nicely now and the sunny spells are becoming longer.
Another look back to High Raise and Sergeant’s Crag as we continue along the path to the wall corner. A solo walker descended Eagle Crag at the wall corner so we had a bit of a chat before going our respective ways.
Approaching the summit of Eagle Crag …..
….. with J already on his way. His jacket is about to be taken off again. It went on when we were on Sergeant’s Crag when a slight but chilly little breeze suddenly sprang up and which has now died down.
The magnificent view along Borrowdale from the summit of Eagle Crag.
Just below the summit slabs we tucked ourselves into a sunny little spot and had a refreshment break high above the Langstrath valley. This was the view we enjoyed during our break. A very warm and pleasant ten minutes or so just sitting in the sun and enjoying the view.
Another view from the summit before we make our way back down. The Skiddaw group still looking a little misty but Great Crag and High Seat are clear enough.
Taking an off path route down from Eagle Crag and making our way back to Greenup Gill and its island sheepfold. Once across the gill we’ll pick up the path just beyond it and make our way back to Stonethwaite.
Heading back down to Stonethwaite now with a view of Eagle Crag and our off path descent from it.
Our view down the valley as we descend. The sun is shining and very little cloud remains, its a completely different day now.
The humps and bumps of Great Crag tower over us as we descend. We began to meet a few more walkers too, perhaps the sunshine tempted them out.
Eagle Crag and Sergeant’s Crag from the derelict barn alongside the path.
Walking through the valley fields now with Stonethwaite coming into view. There were no UFOs flying around so I can only assume that the dark smudge in the sky is a midgy creature hitching a ride on the lens.
We’re back in Stonethwaite now so today’s walk is nearing its end and there’s only a short walk back to the car from here. The weather forecast was completely the opposite to what was indicated but that turned out to be in our favour, so we got the climbing done in comfortable conditions and then enjoyed the summits and descent in very sunny weather. Absolutely nothing has changed in the six years which have passed since we last did this walk and long may that continue but, how the heck did those six years slip by without us noticing?