One of the things I love about camping is the early nights; bed time at sundown. It is truly relaxing and restores inner calm after any frustration of everyday life, to be able to nod off as the sun sets.
The exception to this is when it rained an incessant heavy downpour from 7pm, making me feel like I might float away in my sleep, its my own fault for not proofing the tent before I left. She who doesn’t proof the tent sleeps in a puddle. Lesson learnt.
So I appreciate the small things, I moved my tent from the puddle and appreciate the reduced seepage through the ground sheet. I appreciate the luxury of my mp3 to be able to drown out the sound of the rain, and later I’ll be grateful for the ear plugs.
It was only the promise of good weather in the morning that made me stay put. “It had better be nice in the morning or I’ll drown the weather man in the puddle under my sleeping mat”.
Thankfully I woke to gorgeous sunshine, so all I needed was a coffee and the world was great again.
Today’s route was to climb Wetherlam but starting at the Wrynose Pass in order to create a horseshoe, taking in the fells of Great Carrs and Swirl How. Its a great start point to get high quickly and not by busting lungs. It did mean though I would be descending Wetherlam down to the Greenburn river and the ascending again to get back to the Wrynose Pass.
View of Wetherlam summit, the main goal of today walk.
The day started out walking in the mist across the summits, but I love this as you get amazing views when the cloud breaks – this photo is looking from down the Tilberthwaite Valley which the route walks around, across the fell tops.
Near Great Carrs summit there is a memorial to 8 crew men of a Halifax aircraft which crashed in 1944.
From here I continued up to the large cairn of Swirl How and off to descend the steep but not difficult descent of the prison band. From here is a good route down heading south to Coniston – past Levers Water, but I needed to carry on if I was going to get back to my car in the north.
Once at the col the path up to Wetherlam is an easy ascent, but my inner peak bagger was a bit frustrated to find that most people clearly head straight for Wetherlam summit, bypassing the outlying fell top of Black Sails.
Ok, if you haven’t looked it up on a mountain list of Cumbria you can be forgive for not realising as you trudge up the path that about 200m off to the right is another fell top. While Black Sails is marked on the map the lack of a significant cairn or discernible path means that most people miss it out. Though Wetherlam doesn’t have a significant cairn or Trig point either.
I headed off Wetherlam top on the north east path heading down, which is a steep scramble and requires balance and a fair amount of sitting down. If I find myself heading up this fell again this would be a good route up.
As my car was out of sight to the north, I had to get down to the river (hoping for a bridge where the path crossed the river – as there wasn’t one marked on my map) and then back up West Side Edge of Tilberthwaite Fells to reach the Wrynose Pass.
I have to point out now that I really love getting off a beaten track and making my own way across fells. However, this doesn’t always lead to great walks. I was planning on following a path down to the Greenburn river which is marked as a straight line on the map, ending where a wall meets the river (and where I hoped a bridge would be). However, in OS Map-land, a path which is very straight usually isn’t there on the ground and just indicates a right of way. So I wasn’t entirely surprised to find myself wading through vegetation and rocks to get down to the river; it was a bit frustrating though as it slowed me down a lot.
Knee high bracken and rocks, I’m heading for where the first tree is on the river and where the path ascends the fell on the other side.
Thankfully I eventually emerged on a track which leads to the mine at the head of the valley, and even better there was a bridge over the river.
Despite the rubbish route off Wetherlam the whole walk took just less than 4 hours so is a great round of the Tilberthwaite Valley fells. And the sun eventually appeared which is always a bonus.
- Wetherlam, Swirl How and Great Carrs 7th July 2013 (jakstrips.com)