Parking in Hartsop I took the lane back to the A592 to pick up the shore path at the northern end of Brothers Water.
This provided a nice gentle warm up , before the next climb to High Hartsop Dodd. commencing the steep climb, I stopped regularly to both admire the views - Brothers water with Place Fell behind and views towards Hart Crag and Fairfield further up, and to catch my breath !
Soon I arrived at the summit of High Hartsop Dodd and the views opened up , Dove Crag & Hart Crag coming clearly into view .
Just before Little Hart Crag the showers started , the forecast was for odd light showers so I donned my wind shirt - usually enough to fend off light showers /rain . The odd 'light showers' turned to heavy persistent rain further up , and I begrudgingly donned full wet gear for the climb to Dove Crags. Another steep pull and I gained the summit , Hart Crags then came clearly into view.
Continuing on I arrived on Fairfield and Grisedale Tarn came into view , this is a nice vantage point for views towards Dollywagon Pike , down to Grisedale Forest and back to St Sunday Crag.
The rain stopped and intermittent sunlight lit up the landscape , everything seems fresh with vivid colours in conditions like these - light/ shade & mist/cloud all adding atmosphere to the land scape .
Continuing on I descended steeply towards Grisedale Tarn , meeting the 1st walkers of the day .
Part way up the direct route to Dollywagon Pike I took advantage of the stone wall , and stopped for a brew/lunch and to dry off my wind shirt at the same time .
I spent around 30 mins here , relaxing with a brew , taking in the scenery before continuing on . I changed back into my now dry windshirt - the rain had stopped but there was quite a stiff cool breeze which I was thankfull of as it kept me cool on the climb . Soon I reached the 'post' and the route levelled off as I strode along the ridge - a very easy airy walk form here . Along the way I visited a camp site I used during winter nearly 3 years ago , it is quite exposed , but offers a superb view point in calm conditions .
A little while later Striding Edge came into view with a few folk traversing it en-route to Helvellyn . With it being the height of the holiday season I expected quite a few folk to be at the summit , there were a few , but nowhere near the numbers I expected !
The last familiar summit was Stybarrow Dodd , then I headed east on to new ground . As I went I got a nice view of what would be the last unclimbed Wainwright of the trip - Catstye Cam , but 1st there was new ground to explore and a camp for the night to be found !
Stybarrow Dodd was reached , then I headed east towards Green Side . There were some good looking sites here but nowhere offered any shelter so I continued to Hartside . Once there I scouted the area but couldn't find anywhere that was a: flat enough b: dry or c: sheltered so I continued to Birkett fell - this turned out to be a good choice , and the views were amongst the best in Lakeland ! soon the Duomid was pitched and I headed NW to a stream shown on map to collect water.
The pitch was a very comfortable one , and I almost over slept and missed the sunrise! I awoke with the Duomid alight with bright orange / red light , and it was a made dash to get out and capture it .
A leisurely breakfast & a couple of brews were had whilst I soaked up the views before striking camp and moving on . 1st on todays agenda was Sheffield Pike & I enjoyed a lovely early morning walk around Glencoyne Head . The forecast was for more persistent rain to return in the afternoon / evening - I hoped it would hold of as long as possible . the summits of Sheffield Pike & Glenridding Dodd were soon reached ,but unfortunately it was already becoming overcast.
Descending to Glenridding , I crossed Glenridding Beck and joined the main path to Birkhouse Moor.
It had been around 3 years since I was last up here and on that occasion poor weather thwarted an ascent to Catstye Cam , I was hoping for better weather this time . As I gained height there were good views back to Glenridding and the surrounding Fells .
Hopes of good weather for my ascent to Catstye Cam were soon dashed , as I reached the summit of Birkhouse Moor the wind picked up and it started raining - forcing me to once again don waterproofs .History was repeating itself , I weighed up the options then decided to just go for it , even though the likelihood of views from the summit was very slim .
I reached the summit a little while later , but conditions meant I couldn't take any photo's or video , I did measure the wind speed and temperature with my Skywatch though - constant 35 mph , with a windchill of 0.5 deg c !
I descended west towards Red Tarn Beck so I could collect water for a summit camp on Birkhouse Moor . with 4 ltrs added to my pack I continued on - the rain getting heavier as I went .
Nearing Birkhouse Moor I had my doubts whether I would be able to find any where sheltered and dry enough - the ground was becoming very sarurated . My doubts were confirmed on reaching the summit again- everywhere was soaked with nowhere offering shelter from the strong winds and heavy rain ,I pondered the alternatives and decided to descend to see if I could find anywhere suitable for a comfy camp , if not I could continue back to hartsop - there was still enough daylight to allow me that choice .
Further down I spotted a likely looking flat spot , the wind was coming from the SW and the stout stone wall would provide shelter from the winds / rain .
It turned out to be a good spot -flat short dry heather , experience has taught me sites like this tend to be well drained , dry and very comfy and I was soon under my Duomid wrapped up in my quilt with a brew -snug and content listening to the winds and sound of rain on the flysheet .
The rain continued through the night and early morning but shortly after breakfast it stopped and the sun came out providing good shots of camp , before striking and moving on .
I descended to Patterdale , then took the lane for a leisurely walk back to Hartsop .
Till next time , happy wildcamping
|stats - 25.8 miles 8708 ft ascent 8763ft descent|