Remembrance Day on Great Carrs

10th November 2019

For the first time last year we attended the Remembrance Day service on Great Carrs which turned out to be a very memorable day not just for the poignant two minutes silence but for the conditions which were a tad wet to say the least so much so instead of continuing our route to Brim Fell and the Dow Crag ridge we cut our losses, turned heal and headed back to Seathwaite encountering worsening conditions which if I remember rightly, put our navigational skills to the test.

We had always spoke highly of the route and should we have had better conditions for 2019 our aim was to complete what we couldn't last year, not only did we get some of the best walking conditions but we even had a light layer of snow which had settled over the frozen ground, couple this with blue skies, sunshine and temperatures hovering around zero, well that's what us fell walkers call paradise, well I do anyway.

Knowing the forecast was as good as it was we had half expected the parking spaces at the Seathwaite side of Walna Scar to have been taken up but it seems most who would have been attending todays service have set off from either Fell Gate, Coniston or from the top of the Wrynose Pass leaving myself, Rod and Karl the only ones leaving for Great Carrs from Seathwaite this morning.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.

Ascent: 3,300 Feet - 1,006 Metres
Wainwrights: 4, Grey Friar - Great Carrs - Swirl How - Brim Fell - Dow Crag
Visiting: 2, Buck Pike - Brown Pike
Weather: A Bright But Cold Day On The Fells. Highs of 9°C Lows of 2°C Feels Like -2°
Parking: Parking Spaces, Bottom of Walna Scar Road, Duddon
Area: Southern
Miles: 8.7
Walking With: Rod Hepplewhite & Karl Holden
Ordnance Survey: OL6
Time Taken: 6 Hours
Route: Bottom of Walna Scar Road, Seathwaite - Tongue House - Seathwaite Tarn - Grey Friar - Fairfield - Great Carrs - Top of Broad Slack - Swirl How - Levers Hawse - Brim Fell - Goat's Hawse - Dow Crag - Buck Pike - Brown Pike - Walna Scar Road back to Seathwaite

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code: LA20 6EE
Grid Reference: SD 239 696
Notes: There is room for around three to four cars at the end of the Duddon Valley side of Walna Scar Road. Despite limited parking the Duddon Valley side of Walna Scar Road isn't as popular as the Coniston side meaning if early enough you shouldn't have any trouble parking here. Parking is free.


Map and Photo Gallery


Wallowbarrow Crag taken just outside Seathwaite.
What Wallowbarrow Crag lacks in height makes up in ruggedness as you can see with its steep sided cliffs which are very popular with climbers.

Harter Fell (Eskdale) Slight Side and Sca Fell taken as we ascend towards Seathwaite Tarn 08:45am (aprox) 1°C
With no trouble parking we set about kitting up for a cold day on the fells so hats and gloves are added from the off with full winter gloves in our packs should we need them later, spikes, as a precaution are also packed should we encounter any ice which I can confirm were never needed but it was best to carry them anyway. Within the shade of the Seathwaite fells on one side of the track and Harter Fell blessed in bright morning sunlight we started our ascent towards Seathwaite Tarn while taking in the view towards the distant snow capped Scafells.

Looking back down the track towards Seathwaite.
With White Pike still in shade, Black Combe can be seen in the distance along with Hesk Fell, Whitfell and Kinmont Buck Barrow.

Grey Friar, Swirl Band and Levers Hawse from Seathwaite Tarn (reservoir)
It didn't seem to take long to arrive at Seathwaite Tarn where we were met by a blast of cold wind, I'm sure that I can speak for Rod and Karl if I said we were eager to get into the sunlight now gracing the steep flanks of Grey Friar.

Grey Friar and Swirl Band are seen as we cross the weir via the footbridge over on the left.
As fantastic as Swirl Band is it's looking mighty cold up there from down here.

Brim Fell now comes into view.
This time last year the cloud was so low we struggled to locate the path and I think If I'm correct we ended up ascending part- pathless, well we had no trouble today the only similarity being the ascent was still as steep!

Goat Crag, Swirl Band, Levers Hawse and Brim Fell from the ascent of Grey Friar.
Good grief the difference between ascending in the shade and sunlight was about 8°C couple this with a slight windchill we had the perfect conditions for a steep ascent, so much so Karl even began to de-layer.

The Scafell range from Grey Friar.
There's not many places in the district where you get views as good as this made so much better with todays excellent air clarity.

Looking down on ground covered.
With views towards Harter Fell, Green Crag, Hesk Fell, Whitfell, Kinmount Buck Barrow and Black Combe. This view also shows the length of Grey Friar's south west ridge, we only joined the ridge around half way along to add some scale.

Low sun over Brim Fell, Goat's Hawse and Dow Crag.
With Morecambe Bay glowing in the distance,

Grey Friar summit cairn.

Little Stand, Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell, Esk Pike, Great End, III Crag, Broad Crag, Scafell Pike, Pen, Sca Fell, Cam Spout Crag and Slight Side.
We wondered over to the viewing cairn to take in the views of the Scafell range in all its glory while counting our blessings how lucky we were to have views as clear as this.

The Helvellyn range, Great Rigg, Seat Sandal, St Sunday Crag, Dove Crag and Hart Crag from the Matterhorn rock on Grey Friar.
Who else has thought it would be a good laugh to place some Lego men on the Matterhorn rock to make them look like they were climbing it for real...that'll just be us then...

Karl about to cross Fairfield (col)
Blimey! We were enjoying the views so much we were starting to run out of time and with just fifteen minutes before the 11:00am service it was time to pick up our pace and put the cameras away.

Swirl Band, Brim Fell, Dow Crag and White Pike from Fairfield (col)

Looking back over Fairfield (col) towards Grey Friar.
With just ten minutes to spare it's time to collect ourselves starting with getting our breath's back.

There's quite a gathering at the Memorial.
I took this photo looking towards the Memorial not realising that Facebook friends Andrew Foster, Simon and Beverley Lockyer were sat down on the rocks to the left of the Memorial.

The Halifax Bomber Memorial, Great Carrs.
The Memorial to the British Halifax Mk V Bomber which crashed here after hitting the steep crags over Broad Slack during bad weather in October 1944 All eight crew members including seven Canadians and one Scotsman the youngest of which was just nineteen years of age died instantly.

It's almost 11:00am and the crowd gathers around the Memorial for the two minutes silence.

I had time for a quick chat with Andrew, Simon and Beverly who had ascended from Coniston before we gathered around the Memorial to pay our respects. There was no reading of the poem Flanders Fields nor the Last Post played via a bluetooth speaker this year but that didn't make the two minutes silence any less poignant. At the stroke of eleven in a minus two windchill hats are removed and placed within clasped hands.

After the two minutes silence was over strangers locked eyes, nodded and smiled.

Swirl How, Prison Band, Brim Fell and Dow Crag seen beyond Broad Slack.
After the service we re-grouped with Andrew, Simon and Beverley, Andrew told me that after they had descended Prison Band on Swirl How they were heading up onto Black Sails from, which they would descend back to Levers Water via its south ridge. Black Sails south ridge ranks pretty high and I'd lying if I said I weren't pretty envious of their choice of descent especially on a day like today.

Views over Little Stand towards the Scafells, Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell.
Taken from Great Carrs summit.

Wetherlam, Black Sails, Prison Band on Swirl How seen over Broad Slack.
Time to leave Great Carrs now and cross the top of Broad Slack and make the short ascent on Swirl How.

Brim Fell, Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag from Swirl How.
We crossed the top of Broad Slack in no time at all passing the last of the walkers who were about to leave the Memorial cairn on Great Carrs. The sun by now was piercing down from a cloudless sky illuminating Morecambe Bay in the distance with a golden afterglow. No matter whats going on in our hectic lives it's scenes like this that make you forget lifes troubles.

Wetherlam and Black Sails from the top of Prison Band on Swirl How.
That's Andrew in the red jacket descending Prison Band, two seconds later and they were out of sight.

Great Carrs seen over Broad Slack.
With Little Stand, Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell and the Scafells in the disance.

Big views from the summit of Swirl How.
This is one of those classic Lakeland views we rarely get to see but with views as clear as todays we get to see beyond the central fells towards the northern, eastern and far eastern fells all in one view.

Looking down on Seathwaite Tarn as we cross the top of Swirl Band.
It's still looking pretty choppy down there just as we left it a few hours earlier.

Swirl Band makes way for Levers Hawse.
As we start our ascent on Brim Fell with views of Dow Crag and a distant Black Combe.

Great How Crags and Swirl How from Levers Hawse.

Black Sails and Wetherlam from Lever Hawse.
With an inky blue Levers Water below.

The silhouette of Coniston Old Man as we approach Brim Fell summit.
Brim Fell is another fell that I'm very fond of and I never tire of its ascent especially knowing the views we were about to receive made that but more magical by the sunlight reflecting in this frozen pool not far from the summit.

Snow, hill and mountain.

Coniston Old Man is just up ahead.
Which after a quick discussion we decide to miss owing that we were all starving and were looking forward to stopping for lunch at Goat's Hawse so we swerve right and make a pathless descent before linking up with the path towards Goat's Hawse.

Lunch with a view.
That's Dow Crag with Buck Pike seen further down the ridge line, it's also were we're heading next right after we've refuelled.

Grey Friar, Fairfield, Great Carrs, Swirl How and Great How Crags taken not far from Dow Crag summit.
With bellies fed we left our lunch spot just above Goat's Hawse and started the steady ascent on Dow Crag passing many a walker descending from the summit, it's not very often I would ascend Dow Crag in this direction but as legs grew heavy we still enjoyed the ascent only stopping the once to admire this view over Calf Cove towards ground covered.

Dunnerdale from Dow Crag summit.
By the time we had reached the summit it was swarming with people and one particular bloke who thought he'd sit down on the summit rock meaning the rest of us had to precariously pick our way around him while he chatted away, this is a pet hate of mine which on this occasion could have caused a serious accident owing to the summit area being no larger than the armchair you're reading this from.

Buck Pike and Brown Pike seen beyond Great Gully.
That's Walna Scar and White Maiden seen over towards the right which are both fantastic summits should you have the time to fit them in but sadly time is against us at a point were it was also starting to cloud over which had actually been forecasted.

Buck Pike and Coniston Old Man from Brown Pike.
In what seemed like minutes we were overtook by large black clouds which filled the sky during our ascent of Buck Pike and although the sun did appear just the odd time there wasn't enough time to reach for the camera. That was until we reached Brown Pike where the sun broke once more with a fabulous show of strength.

Buck Pike from Brown Pike.
I guess there's no need to introduce you to England's highest ground in the distance.


Descending Brown Pike towards the top of Walna Scar Road.
Were once again views into Dunnerdale were about to guide us back along the Walna Scar road.

Harter Fell (Eskdale)

Harter Fell (Eskdale) with the snow capped Slight Side and Scafells beyond.

Walna Scar road draws to an end as our cars come into view.

Besides our moving two minutes silence it was the views of Harter Fell which won this walk for me more so the ones we were treated to as we descended Walna Scar road towards Seathwaite. Like the guardian of Dunnerdale her steep but heart warming slopes filled our vistas as the Scafell range intruded from a distance but it wasn't England's highest ground which stole the view, Harter Fell did.


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