Central Fells

Date: 13th July 2016
Summary: A rolling landscape west of Thirlmere with hidden wetlands and tarns.  Navigation was easy today but in low cloud I would expect to be using my map and compass especially around the summits of High Tove and Armbroth.

central fell elevation

Route Distance: 17.5 Mi (28Km)
Estimated Time: 7:25
Total Ascent: 4680 ft (1426m)
Total Descent: 4672 ft (1424m)

central fell map

This long route took in seven Wainwrights  during a beautiful sunny afternoon and early evening in mid July. image I parked up on the western shores of Thirlmere NY315 140 and set off into the woodland towards Harrop Tarn.  The ghyll that  leaves the tarn cascades past the path through the woodland as you climb steeply past large boulders.  The route was broken with a great view of the waterfall.  The tarn was crystal clear and the lake shore was surrounded with coniferous trees, it reminded me a lot of Canada, a moose stood in the water would not look out of place here.

Leaving the managed woodland you step through a gate onto a fell side covered in bracken.  The path continues to climb westerly and you have options here to stay high or drop down to Blea Tarn.

On this day out I dropped down to Blea Tarn to give Oakley a chance to cool off in the water.  Once you reach the north end of  the tarn you can see down into Watendlath, my journey today would take me on a detour before I could get refreshments down by Watendlath Tarn.  I took a bearining across the open expanse of Watendlath Fell and picked a distinctive feature on the far side.  My detour was to take in the two Wainwrights Great Crag and Grange Fell.

Before setting off across the fell I was treated to a beautiful sight of a herd of Red Deer Hinds running past me and down into the valley and up the other side.

Great Crag lay just beyond the horizon overlooking the Borrowdale Valley.  Crossing the valley in July means that wild flowers are out in bloom or just coming out.  The area was awash in yellow, Tormental and Bog Asphodel were showing well.  A snipe was flushed out from the area as I crossed near Blea Tarn Gill.

As you reach the rim of the valley (Green Coombe) below Lords How my first fell came into view.  Great Crag was just across the isolated Dock Tarn, I dropped down to the crystal clear water and around the shore.  A nice place to stop for a snack and watch damsel flies protect thier territory, Oakley also enjoyed the water.

On Great Crag I could see Grange Fell and way across to High Tove and the other fells on today’s walk such as High Seat and Bleaberry Fell.  Dropping off Great Crag your soon crossing the path from Rosthwaite to Watendlath and up to the many rocky summits of Grange Fell.

At Watendlath Tarn the path climbs steeply from the National Trust car park to High Tove.  The summit is a large plateaue marked with a cairn.  Armbroth is a one Km across the open fell to a rocky outcrop.  Today the visibility was good but on an other day with low cloud navigation would have to be good to hit Armbroth and back towards High Seat.

After the heavy rains in recent weeks the open fells were soaking, and we had to avoid areas of wet ground to reach High Seat.  The route across to Bleaberry Fell was better under foot, a sheep farmer was up on the fells working his dogs with whistles to move his sheep to a presume better grazing.  The view from Bleaberry Fell looks across the northern fells like Skiddaw, west to Catbells and beyond.  The Helvelyn range completes the view to the east.

The final part of the day’s walk took me off the path and down to the base of Raven Crag.  Negotiating the steep decent I joined a forest road and followed it south and up through the managed forest.  Recent storms had devasted this area, a lot of work has been done to restore the paths.  The final ascent was a new stair case and board walk to the summit of Raven Crag.


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