Carrock Fell, High Pike & West Fell

26th December 2013

With the unsettled weather frustratingly continuing getting out onto the fells during December was starting to become more & more difficult, gone were the dry periods during the month when at least you could pick the best day out of the weekend or weekday. Sadly much of the northwest & more so; the Lakeland fells had become a wash out with high alerts on floods & high winds fast becoming the norm every time you watch the news.

I think its fair to say that I can’t remember a period of wet & windy weather continuing for such a long period of time, or if I could it’s been long since forgotten. Now as I look back on winter 2012 much of the Lakeland fells were by now, under feet of snow.

I previously spoke about being patient is easier said than done. The fells will get their snow & this conversation will be long since forgot about.

It was Christmas Day late afternoon when I first spied a weather window in the east of the district, at first I couldn’t believe what the forecast was saying in that the best of the light & clear weather would be found in the east of the district, this gave me the green light for a walk that I had in mind where I would take on St Sunday Crag via its east ridge, or more commonly known as Gavel Pike, an idea planted some time ago now by friend Maggie Allan.

The forecast looked concrete enough to go ahead & make a pre-planned draft on the website, all I had to do was fill in the missing bits, well, a lot really but you do get my drift.

Through the evening I kept a beady eye on the forecast which was all looking great up until around 10pm when the inevitable happened, the forecast had changed dramatically from widespread sun to mist which would linger throughout the valleys throughout the duration of the day.

My walk had just been torpedoed, I had nothing else to do than to scuttle it, so that’s just what I did, then I sulked with a few beers in hand that evening.

I woke up the next morning with the alarm still set at 5am, not knowing if I should just go back to sleep or check the forecast one more time – so I switched the laptop on after returning from the bathroom & checked the BBC forecast, it was only then after scurrying the district for dry, or even clear weather did I realise that a northern edge of Lakeland was going to escape the valley mist.

With this I returned to bed & set my alarm for 7am thus allowing any lingering mist to clear if the forecast was going to be right.

You know what?

They almost got it right.

Wainwright Guidebook
The Northern Fells



Ascent: 1,743 Feet – 531 Meters
Wainwrights: 2, Carrock Fell – High Pike
Weather: Brisk With Sunny Spells, Fresh Winds When Exposed, Cloud Base At 600 Meters, Highs Of 3°C Lows Of 1°C Feels Like 0°C
Parking: Roadside Parking, Bowscale
Area: Northern
Miles: 9.2
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL6
Time Taken: 4 Hours 30 Minutes
Route: Bowscale – Mosedale – Apronful of Stones – Further Gill Sike – Carrock Fell – Round Knott – Miton Hill – Drygill Head – High Pike – Low Pike – West Fell – Carrock Beck Ford – Apronful of Stones – Mosedale – Bowscale

Map and Photo Gallery



Passing through Mungrisdale.

I past this wonderful view as I drove through the hamlet of Mungrisdale as the sun cast silhouettes through the trees & surrounding countryside.


Parking spaces, Bowscale one hour after sunrise. 09:35am 1°C

It had been quite an eventful drive up north; more so as the M6 on both carriageway’s hadn’t been gritted at all, this allowing the early morning travellers to be caught on a pitch black motorway by black ice.

This occurred between Preston & Blackpool where I witnessed eight vehicles most of which were facing on-coming traffic as they had un-expectedly skidded on the unforeseen black ice, it was all very scary to witness more so; because some of the vehicles involved where absolute right-offs adding to this that the emergency services hadn’t yet reached them, I can only add that luck was purely on their side it being so early in the morning, I shudder to think it happening just an hour later when the traffic would have been much busier.

After passing through a deserted Mungrisdale & stopping for a quick photo I soon arrived at the parking spaces in Bowscale. Only one car was there before me & looked as though it had been there all night given the frost covering the windows.

I choose to park in Bowscale rather than Apronful of Stones which is an area around Mosedale Moss where up to half a dozen cars can park almost right opposite the path that I would be using this morning, the reason that I didn’t park there today was because I wanted to absorb as much out of the walk as I could & if that meant walk an extra three miles to & from my car then so be it.

With this I lock the car & take on the frosty tarmac towards Mosedale Moss.


Who needs the Met Office when you have one of these!

This height of metrological surveying can be found on the side of a cottage, sighted as I walked through Bowscale.


Light, shadows & silhouettes.

Here as I pass through Mosedale End farm, I just so happen to take a look behind me, after a few footsteps sideways I took this photo which pretty much sets the scene for the conditions over the next few hours or so.


Mosedale Moss.

You’ve another good mile to walk before Apronful of Stones is reached. so here I press on in a timely fashion, making sure not to hurry too much.


The Sheepfold found just above Apronful of Stones.

The Sheepfold cant be seen from the road but the large boulder can, below me is the road I have just left together with the parking spaces where right now two walkers have just arrived & are just starting to kit up.

Over my shoulder starts the steep path for Rake Trod & Further Gill Sike.


Rake Trod.

Rake Trod can be seen from the roadway which lends a steep & narrow path towards Carrock Fell summit shoulder, ahead the path bends right into Further Gill Sike, where it actually becomes a little less steeper…I did say little less though.


Rowan Tree.

The Rowan Tree indicates a right turn into Further Gill Sike


Fothergill Sike.

Here I pause for breath looking back on ground covered. That was a steep little ascent! The Rowan Tree seen previously can be seen at the base of Further Gill Sike bottom left.


Ancient Sheepfold found along the summit shoulder.

It was only after leaving the steepness of Further Gill Sike could I start to really enjoy my walking again, here I am met by scattered snow along the ground which had no real depth to speak of, it just made that reassuringly crunching sound as I walked over it.

Good times.


The sun beats down as I now head for Carrock Pike summit.


Bowscale Pike is about to be lost under cloud.

I couldn’t help put carry a little grin as I headed towards the summit, for now I had my views, even a little warmth from the sun, meanwhile looking south it looks like the district is in the process of being gulfed up by the low cloud while at the same time oddly enough, the sun shines from above.


Carrock Fell summit.

I think that’s what you would call, a classic case of speaking to soon!

With the wind hurling the cloud high above I didn’t think I’d have to wait too long until the cloud shifted & I had my views again so I hung around in the shelter for a while when after five minutes or so I started to feel the cold, so I soon got myself on the move again.

I spied my chances with a Broken Spectre as I left the shelter, I could see the distinctive arc forming as I uttered the words, keep coming-keep coming, but before I had chance to reach for the camera cloud had already blocked the sun.

I drop a little ascent to take on the ridge towards High Pike. 


Where I was lucky enough to have views of the route ahead.


As I topped out above the clouds for a while looking south of the district.


Round Knott appears.

The cloud pattern was sporadic to say the least, but it didn’t matter, the wind blew cold & my nose ran like hell & at times my eyes streamed, but this is why we walk; right.


Here Glancing back towards Carrock Fell summit from shortly before arriving at…


Round Knott.


Round Knott summit (Birkett)

I was lucky enough to spend some time around this summit top, if not only to witness the cloud gaining fast upon my position, which was very dramatic indeed.


Light ebbs away as I leave Round Knott for Miton Hill.

Moments ago I was under a brilliant sun, now the light has faded to all but nothing as I continue towards Miton Hill, it was one of those moments when you had to be there, standing silently as this happens cannot be recorded by camera, it’s a memory that only your senses will take away.


Miton Hill stone summit cairn.

(Apologies in advance for the lack of creativity in this photo!)


Navigating Drygill Head.


Passing other walkers en-route to High Pike.

No matter your experience it’s always nice to pass other walkers when conditions change so quickly, here a chap with his Wife & Daughter pass on their good mornings as I return the same.


High Pike summit shelter, trig point & memorial bench.

High Pike summit was a fantastic place to spend a few moments soaking up the silent atmosphere.


Low Pike summit cairn.

Apologies again as it appears I have a whitish yellow huge dot attached to the lens of my camera, not the most pleasant of photos but sadly, the only one I took.


Crossing Carrock Beck Ford.

It was much easier just to use the bridge today! towards the middle of the Ford it was nearing on 2’ft deep in places.


Carrock Beck seen after crossing the Ford.


Two miles back to Bowscale.

I think if you can plan a walk that involved taking as much as you can from walking back to the car this walk had it all, which was just another reason why I left the car back in Bowscale this morning rather than just up the road where you see the other cars parked to the right (Apronful of Stones)

Here I down pack within the shade of Carrock Fell & take out my sandwiches together with an apple, the sandwiches go down well within my backdrop – washed down with Robinsons fruit juice from my Camelbak.

I dawdle upon the lanes as cars pass every now & again as I chomp away on my apple, kicking stones, the stillness of the afternoon as the light begins to fade.

A fantastic bow out to 2013


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