The Harry Griffin 2,000 footers Walk 24 -Place Fell

23rd August 2015

There are only two stand alone summits within the two thousand footer challenge one of which is Harter Fell which I climbed on a cloudy day back in May with the second one being Place Fell. As usual my final summits fall in to their respected places and Place Fell is no differant which is why I chose to have my son Owen with me on todays walk along with our West Highland White, Holly.

It's fair to say that it can be difficult to get a teenager on to fell side but after today I'm hoping I can slowly ease Owen back into fell walking, he has already claimed around ten summits to his name I'm hoping that after today I might have at least planted the seed, for if not present, but future walking, Holly however, might possibly remain the lap dog my wife has brought her up to be.

Back to the walk.

Todays walk takes in two summits of Place Fell, the summit that we are all familiar with at 657' followed by the second subsidiary summit of Round How found on the southern tip of the summit shoulder, but back tracking a little the walk starts from the village of Patterdale taking in the Ullswater shore path before ascending steeply navigating Grey Crag before setting a course for The Knight, shortly followed by the true summit of Place Fell, from where, we trek south collecting Round How before descending to Boredale Hause then steering north west through Rooking before arriving back in Patterdale where hopefully, a short stop of at the White Lion might be in order.
Freeman of the Hills
'Place Fell'
I believe I have seen more red deer on Place Fell than people - once a heard of ten trotting over the summit from Boredale. They say in Patterdale that when the Martindale red deer appear over the skyline they can expect worsening weather, and this particular sighting was followed by days of storms and high winds. As it happened, my visit during the collection of the two-thousands coincided with my worst wetting of the series, although we saw no deer this time.
Harry Griffin

Ascent: 1,662 Feet - 507 Meters
Summits Over 2,000Ft: 2, Place Fell - Round How
Weather: Dry and sunny with strong gusts across the summits, Highs of 26°C Lows of 15°C
Parking: Road Side Parking, Patterdale
Area: Far Eastern
Miles: 4.5
Walking With: Owen and Holly
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken: 4 Hours 10 Minutes
Route: Patterdale - Above Side Farm - Grey Crag - The Knight - Place Fell - Round How - Steel Edge - Boredale Hause - Rooking - Patterdale

Map and Photo Gallery


Patterdale 07:50am 15°C

Patterdale was soon reached under a warm morning sunshine, after turning my car around I grab one of three available parking spaces at the lay by, it was only after I swung my car around did I realise that the White Lion was allowing to park on its beer garden for £4.50 all day, had I of known this I doubt I would have set off earlier given just how limited parking can get here in Patterdale, over the years I have been aware that the White Lion allows parking on its car park for non patrons, my trouble was and still is, who do I pay so early in the morning, which after some thought I can only assume you would pay on your return.

At the back of the car we start to kit up, Owen throws a hoodie on if only to take away the morning nip as I stay with just the one mid layer, we pack for the forecasted high winds but if anything, we would lose layers rather than add but all that's in a little while. Holly is pulling at her lead and wants to get 'her walk' underway as the boot is closed and car locked we head out towards Goldrill Beck while I explain our route to Owen who spots direct routes onto Place Fell through the high bracken, now there's a lad with a keen eye for a path.

Glenridding Dodd and Sheffield Pike seen as we cross Goldrill Beck.
We managed to walk to the junction in the middle of the road with no traffic seen nor heard before we hook a left under a canopy of trees, from here we cross the iron bridge over Goldrill Beck where, despite its calmness of the water here it is actually flowing at pace, evidence of last nights heavy rainfall no doubt.

Arnison Crag and Birks as we pass Side Farm.
After passing through Rooking and its quaint cottages we arrive at the familiar gate sign posted Angle Tarn and Boredale Hause, this isn't the first time we would find ourselves here today but for now we head left and take the high shoreline path with extensive views over Arnison Crag and Birks.

Almost time to start heading up the side of Place Fell.

Deep in the shade of Place Fell we continue along the lower flanks of Place Fell passing Side Farm campsite where people are starting to emerge from their tents getting ready for breakfast or, like the large group I saw, a day out on the fells. Holly is familiar with the sight of sheep but is still wary which is why I keep her close especially when I can see any sheep ahead, not wanting to try our luck we pass our first sheep of the walk as Holly pulls at her lead before coming to an inquisitive stop-ears pointing towards the sky, Holly is wary and keeps close, the sheep don't mind at all as they trot in to the under growth without incident, still, I need to be wary, Holly has just passed her second birthday and is maturing nicely, but every once in a while that 'pup' in her emerges when everything, and every one, is a play thing.

Holly stays close, so close at times she catches our walking poles, I guess today she is out of her comfort zone and is still getting used to her surroundings.

Views over Ullswater into the Grisedale Valley.

Our path leads up the flank of Grey Crag as I point out to Owen the top of the path which by now, is drenched is sunshine, meanwhile it looks like the bulk of Place Fell will not only cast shadow but cool down our ascent and also act as a wind break too leaving our steep ascent feeling much harder than it actually was due to the humidity.

Here during rest stops our views open out extensively over the southern tip of Ullswater into the Grisedale Valley as I point out to Owen more famous of the eastern fells 'I don't know how you remember them all dad' we all start of somewhere, it's just something that comes with time...

Seen with a little zoom St Sunday Crag, Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn and Birkhouse Moor.
It's such a pity there's a little haze hanging about.

Views over Birkhouse Moor, Helvellyn, Catstye Cam, White Side, Green Side, Sheffield Pike, Glenridding Dodd and Hart Side.

Not far from the summit now.

We soon crest the summit shoulder passing the sound of waterfalls which can only be seen through the thick undergrowth of the fell side. We take a rest top as we break through shadow into strong sunlight passing The Knight along the way where I ask Owen did he fancy an excursion purely for the view, is it on Harrys route Owen asked? I reply no, well, best stick to the route Dad.

A young man after my own heart...

Looking back along the shoulder of Place Fell with The Knight, Gowbarrow Fell and the Mell Fells seen in the distance.

This was fell walking at its best, by the time we were beneath the summit we had succumbed to the strong winds but making up for this was the strong sunlight and the pleasant conditions underfoot having only to detour around the boggy bits on just a few occasions, Owens pace and mood lifted immensely here knowing that the hard work was behind us and the summit, was just a stroll away, maybe we do have a budding fell walker in the making afterall.

We press on.

There's a look of mischief in them there eyes.

Place Fell summit soon comes into view.

The summit Trig Point soon came into view as we took in the last few yards before arriving at the summit, two things were more than evident here, the wind, and just how strong it was, so much so Owen and certainly Holly were now struggling to walk in a straight line with gust reaching up to 55mph.

With Holly on the lead I give Owen a quick brief on what to do once we arrive at the summit, not forgetting that both Owen and indeed Holly have probably never experienced wind like this before I simply say, don't summit just yet, just follow me and we'll take some shelter first, compose ourselves and maybe even, have some early lunch.

Looking north east over Place Fell Tarn towards the head of Ullswater.

Owen and Holly trying to avoid being blown over at Place Fell summit.

Having spent the best part of twenty minutes sheltering in front of the summit Owen goes for the summit, his reason was 'Dad' the summit has OS (Ordnance Survey) written on it, and that's my initials!

Holly follows and for a moment I'm thinking what I suppose any parent would think, in these winds is it worth the risk but no sooner had I looked and Owen was clinging onto 'his' summit while Holly seemed to find a sheltered spot just below the trig point. Summit time on Place Fell far exceeded half an hour while at the same time, created some great memories.

Owen takes the camera and now it's my turn to be photographed.

Extended views over Red Screes, Middle Dodd, Little Hart Crag, High Hartsop Dodd, Hartsop above How, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, St Sunday Crag, Nethermost Pike, Birks and finally Arnison Crag in the foreground...phew!
After packing our things together we head south along the summit plateau from where I would pick up my second and final two thousand footer in Round How, here a short excursion towards the edge sees extensive yet hazy views over a quantity of eastern fells.

Round How, found at Place Fell southern tip.

The Kirkstone Fells and Brothers Water seen from Round How summit cairn.

The steep section found at the top of Steel Edge.
Soon after leaving Round How we head steeply down the rocky section found at the top of Steel Edge. Here Owen was hot on the heels of myself but poor Holly couldn't manage the steeper parts which meant I had to keep checking was she ok, Holly just looked at me whilst at the same time almost jumping into my arms when she knew she couldn't go any further, I think Holly will need a bit more time on the fells before I can call her my mountain dog!

Descending Place Fell with more hazy views over Boredale Hause and Angletarn Pikes.

No rush to get back today.

Owen suggested we stop and again I instantly agreed, I can't remember a time when I wasn't looking on towards my next summit or thrusting walking poles into the ground when my last summit can't even be seen, down time like this was fantastic knowing we were in no rush to be anywhere.

Good times.

The old ruins of 'The Chapel of Patricksdale' thought to date back to 1348

Looking back up to Place Fell.

Descending to Boredale Hause.
Boredale Hause was very busy today with walkers accumulating on a bank set into the fell side where maps were being viewed and thirsts were being quenched, around the corner and out of view, our descent back to Patterdale will soon start, but not before we pause ourselves and take in the views, and maybe let a couple of dozen walkers past.

Owen leads the way as we take the higher of the two paths to descend.
It wasn't just Boredale Hause which was busy today so was the route in order to gain it, but with no agenda other than a pint and a packet of crisps we were happy to hang on a while and let the walkers pass, more Holly as she received her fair share of pats on the head and awws.

Owen wait for me I've only got little legs!

Original Victorian bench dated 1897
Owen lead the way for all of the descent sometimes breaking off as I would stop to take photos. How's the legs son? fine Dad, good man.

Patterdale pastures.

We soon found ourselves back at the wooden gate from where our walk started from a little over three hours ago - Place Fell is now glowing in sunshine and looks a world away from our shaded ascent, just look at all those people going up Owen says, I'm so glad we had the summit to ourselves.

There's method in my madness Mr, getting you out your bed in the early hours of the morning - seriously though, after what you have experienced wouldn't change a thing would you?

Definitely not Dad.

Back in Patterdale.

Enjoying refreshments with views of Place Fell.
It still isn't quite midday but we make for the White Lion anyway having already eaten our sandwiches whilst sat over looking Boredale Hause. Patterdale is starting to get busy with cars and bikes, the over spill car park is starting to fill up too as I arrive back at one of the wooden benches which Owen has laid all of our gear around.

Fine White Lion pale ale to celebrate a morning on the fells.

With the sun on our backs we take in the memories of a ramble on the fells whilst sat people watching and gazing back upon Place Fell. We are forced to switch tables however after being attacked by a tribe of wasps who seemed to have a sweet tooth for Owens Diet Coke. Having re seated we could rest again as I sip upon my pre lunch pint when Owen asked? Why did you buy those crisp when we have the same ones at home.

Cause pub crisps taste better son.

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