Hard Knott, Cam Spout Crag & Slight Side from Jubilee Bridge

17th July 2021

After last weekends washout the Summer weather has returned this week with a vengeance tipping the mercury into the late twenties on a day which may go down as the hottest of the year. You've guessed it I'm walking from my lock down 'to do list' again yet strictly speaking this walk has been on my radar for about four years, I'd just never got around to doing despite it sitting in the top five of my list waiting for me to cross a line through it, today I did just that.

The main feature of the walk is the ascent of Cam Spout Crag from Great Moss which is gained via the truly spectacular Cam Spout Crag north ridge first ascending alongside Cam Spout falls. Cam Spout north ridge is 600ft of steep rock and grass ledges where once the ridge is gained proper there really isn't any exposure unless the climber veers too far left to take in the views of Great Moss below. An ascent in bad visibility would not be advised. The views of Sca Fell, Scafell Pike, Broad Stand, Mickledore and Pen are truly outstanding perhaps the best without actually setting foot on them but be prepared for a tough climb, after all this is England's highest ground.

Wainwright Guide Book Four
The Southern Fells
Did they admire the massive architecture of the Scafell group as they looked north, the curve of the valley source to sea as their eyes turned west? Or did they feel themselves to be unwanted strangers in a harsh and hostile land?

Ascent: 3,578 Feet - 1,091 Metres
Wainwrights: 2, Hard Knott - Slight Side
Visiting: 4, Border End - Yew Bank - Cam Spout Crag - High Scarth Crag
Weather: Hot & Sunny, Slight Breeze Across The Summits. Highs of 27°C Lows of 15°C
Parking: Parking Spaces, Jubilee Bridge, Eskdale
Area: Southern
Miles: 10
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL6
Time Taken: 6 Hours 45 Minutes
Route: Jubilee Bridge - Hard Knott Pass - Hardknott Roman Fort - Border End - Hard Knott - Yew Bank - Lingcove Beck - Great Moss - River Esk - Cam Spout - How Beck - Cam Spout North Ridge - Cam Spout Crag - Long Green - Slight Side - Traverse Below Horn Crag - High Scarth Crag - Scale Bridge - Taw House - Brotherilkeld - Jubilee Bridge

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post code: CA19 1TH
Grid Reference: NY 212 801
Notes: There is room for around eight well parked cars at Jubilee Bridge with further off road spaces found between Jubilee Bridge and Whahouse Bridge. The parking spaces are perfectly postponed to get into upper and lower Eskdale whether you aim for a walk up Harter Fell, Bowfell or the Scafells these spaces during summer are at a premium and my advice is to arrive early should you want to secure a parking place. Look out for the cattle grid at the bottom of Hardknott Pass (Jubilee Bridge itself cannot be seen from the road) parking can be found on the left if approaching from the top of the Hardknott Pass or just after the cattle grid on the right if approaching from Eskdale. Parking is free.


Map and Photo Gallery


Side Pike and the Langdale Pikes from the bottom of Wrynose Pass.
I couldn't drive past this view of the Langdale Pikes without sparing a thought for David and Rod who, after not being able to complete our walk around the Langdales last weekend will be wildcamping inbetween a tour of the Pikes plus more after setting off from Grasmere this morning.

The bottom of the Hard Knott Pass from Jubilee Bridge, Eskdale 07:30am 15°C
I arrived at Jubilee Bridge around 07:20am and managed to grab the last parking place although the verge seen on the left is often used for alternative parking when the spaces are full. Given how hot the forecast is I'm packing as lightly as possible meaning non essential items will be left behind to make way for extra hydration. I finish off a 1ltr bottle of Summer Fruits then place the empty bottle in my packs side pocket ready to be refilled when I cross Lingcove Beck later. Over my shoulder the chatter of two cyclist's break the morning silence as they prepare for the onslaught of an ascent of Hard Knott Pass both joking "WTF are we doing here" as they cycle past. Rather them than me I thought.

Before leaving I scribble the coordinates NY 207 046 on my left hand which is the grid position for the exact spot I need to leave the path during my Slight Side descent before traversing below Horn Crag which will lead me out above Great Moss, it's a traverse I used last year when I walked the Eskdale Horseshoe. With my car locked and keys packed away I head back up the pass towards Hard Knott Roman Fort and just minutes into the walk I start to get a sweat on, it's going to be a tough day so the key to getting around the blistering heat is to pace myself.

Border End from Hard Knott Roman Fort.
By the time I'd reached the Roman Fort sweat was already pouring out of me and through a mix of sweat and my walking pole handles the coordinates I'd written on my hand only minutes ago had all but vanished. Up ahead three lads carrying packs but wearing sandals pass through the fort then disappear in the direction of the pass below. With a beaming sun directly over head I struggle to plan my ascent on Border End but experience tells me to head left then right through the steep craggy outcrops.

Looking back over Hard Knott Roman Fort towards Eskdale with distant views of the Cumbrian coast.
The direct sunlight was not only causing my eyes to stream I also couldn't see no further than 40 yards ahead, so I had to plan my ascent in short sections at a time, that was until I started to climb higher and the sun dipped behind Border End summit before I was plunged into shade, it was only momentarily but it helped heaps until my body became accustomed to the heat.

Meanwhile in the other direction.
Harter Fell (Eskdale) and Green Crag with a distant view of Devoke Water in the distance.

Hard Knott, Yew Bank, III Crag, Esk Pike, Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags.
Seen as I approach Border End summit.

Looking North West.
Over Silvery Bield Crag, High Scarth Crag, Slight Side, Cam Spout Crag, Sca Fell, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, III Crag, the Yeastyrigg Crags Ridge, Esk Pike and Bow Fell.

This time seen close up.
My route onto Slight Side (seen far left) will via Cam Spout Crag north ridge (seen right) The summit itself requires a 250ft descent from the north ridge which can be seen below the point where the ridge veers towards the right.

Slight Side, Sca Fell, Cam Spout Crag, Sca Fell, Broad Crag, III Crag (above the summit cairn) Great End, Esk Hause and Esk Pike.
I weaved my way over a series of steep grassy ledges which gave way for a short craggy scramble onto Border End, the summit cairn being just a short walk away where I was treated to more spectacular views of the Scafells and beyond.

Making my way towards Hard Knott with Bow Fell, Crinkle Crags, Adam-a-Cove and Little Stand in the distance.
My original plan would have seen me visit the wonderful Raven Crag Tarn but I changed plans after seeing that the familiar unanamed tarns around Border End summit had all but dried up fearing Raven Crag Tarn would have met the same fate.

Slight Side, Sca Fell, Cam Spout Crag, Sca Fell, Broad Crag, III Crag, Great End, Esk Hause and Esk Pike.
I took in the slight descent from Border End and joined the well worn path linked with Hard Knott, after what seemed like a few minutes I was standing on Hard Knott summit.

Slight Side, Sca Fell, Cam Spout Crag, Sca Fell, Broad Crag, III Crag, Great End, Esk Hause and Esk Pike from Hard Knott summit cairn.
When my wife Paula asks why is my wedding ring so scratched I usually reply with it's from that time I did the dishes but the truth is I scratch my wedding ring across the cairns of those special summits, it looks like I'm going to have to tell Paula I've been washing up again.

It's not often you get a mix of good clarity on hot sunny days.
Here looking deep into upper Eskdale towards Throstle Garth, Throstlehow Crag, Pen, Scar Lathing, Long Crag, Pianet Knott, Low Gait Crags, High Gait Crags, Yeastyrigg Crag. and Pike de Bield.

The higher summits from left to right are Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, III Crag, Great End and Esk Pike but you already knew that.

Descending Hard Knott via Yew Bank.
If Yewbarrow and Middle Fell provide the best views of the Scafells from the Wasdale side then surely Hard Knott and Yew Bank do from the Eskdale side, that's my theory anyway.

Slight Side, Sca Fell, Cam Spout Crag, Sca Fell, Broad Crag, III Crag and Great End from Yew Bank.

Pianet Knott, Long Crag, Low Gait Crags, High Gait Crags, Pike de Bield, Yeastyrigg Crags, Esk Pike, Esk Hause Great End and III Crag
Dominate my field of view as I descend Yew Bank towards Lingcove Beck.

Slight Side, Sca Fell, Cam Spout Crag, Sca Fell, Broad Crag, III Crag and Great End.

Slight Side, Sca Fell, Cam Spout Crag, Sca Fell, Broad Crag and III Crag.
Great Moss can be gained by two different routes from the slopes of Yew Bank, one route traverses between Throstlehow Crag (lower left) towards Scar Lathing (centre foreground ) or a second path which can be found far right (below Long Crag) which is the one I'll be using today.

Cam Spout Route.
By following the dotted red line you can follow my ascent from Cam Spout Falls up onto the north ridge before descending to Cam Spout Crag summit. If by chance your thinking that's a steep re-ascent you'd be right!

Almost at the Lingcove Beck as views open out into Green Hole, Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags.
Aside the two cyclist back at Jubilee Bridge I hadn't seen anyone but all of that was about to change as I approached Lingcove Beck as I was joined by two walkers from the direction of Mosedale, a young couple paddling in the Lingcove Beck and two more walkers approaching from Lingcove Bridge. Including myself that was 7 people about to cross Lingcove Beck all at the same time.

The two paddlers crossed first followed by the two walkers from Mosedale then me who stopped half the way across to fill my water bottle not before pouring the contents over my head first before filling it again then realising I had a slight problem. Lingcove Beck looked gleaming but left an irony aftertaste. From here on in I shall have to ration what's left of my 3ltr bladder pack and use the contents of the water bottle for swilling, dousing and spitting out only.

Joining the path below Long Crag (out of shot to the right)
Bound for Great Moss.

The Scafells and Cam Spout Crag from Great Moss.
I continued to follow the path taking in the view over the shoulders of Throstlehow Crag and Scar Lathing before leaving the path as it steered right eventually linking up with the Great Moss path bound for Little Narrowcove and Esk Hause. Here I follow a faint path through Great Moss making a direct line towards the base of Cam Spout Falls all the while feeling thankful it hasn't rained for a few days given how usually wet and boggy Great Moss is.

Esk Buttress, Pen and III Crag from Great Moss.

Cam Spout and Cam Spout Crag.
Sighting two groups of two ascending Cam Spout Falls with two more in tow I took my foot off the gas while deciding which side of Cam Spout Falls I should ascend by.

Sca Fell and Cam Spout Falls.
All had ascended via the craggy scramble to the right, I think I'll go left.

Sca Fell Pike and Pen from the ascent of Cam Spout Falls.
By the time I arrived most, if not all were clear of the crag and were either resting or heading towards Mickledore, those who didn't rest I could only take my hat of too as the temperature was starting to get blisteringly hot.

Broad Stand, Mickledore and Scafell Pike from the top of Cam Spout Falls.
Unseen from Great Moss I picked up a grass / stone path which zigzagged steeply alongside Cam Spout Falls which by now where not only out of sight but earshot too. The gradient steepened the higher I ascended as the rocky buttresses of the lower north ridge towered above me. The heat was sapping what energy I had and I found myself making more frequent stops than I had anticipated.

Down below one of the young couples who had just ascended Cam Spout Falls seemed to be struggling with the heat too, the girl was lagging behind until her boyfriend went back for her, said something before both continuing then she stopped again and they both turned back but whatever her boyfriend said to her he managed to persuade her to turn around and keep going. It isn't for me to say but I'm not sure in this heat he should have been so convincing as she was clearly struggling.

Sca Fell, Broad Stand, Mickledore and Scafell Pike.

Sca Fell, Broad Stand and Mickledore.

Broad Stand, Mickeldore and Scafell Pike.

Sca Fell, Broad Stand and Mickeldore.

Scafell Pike, III Crag and Pen.

Broad Stand and Mickeldore close up.
Back to Cam Spout north ridge...

Pen and Great Moss from Cam Spout North Ridge.
With the temperature already climbing towards the late twenties ascending the north ridge was becoming increasingly difficult to the point when I had no choice than to walk five or six steps then rest. My engine felt as if it was devoid of air - my lungs clearly suffering in the heat the only way to keep forward momentum was to rest on top of my walking pole handles then push forwards then rest again, it actually worked.

Sca Fell, Broad Stand, Mickledore and Scafell Pike.
I wouldn't have stopped so much if the views hadn't been so amazing.

Looking back down the nose of the ridge.
With views of Great Moss, the River Esk, Pen, Scafell Pike, III Crag, Esk Hause and Esk Pike.

Gaining ground.
There was no ledge as such the ridge didn't just 'drop off' rather than fell away which isn't how it looks from Great Moss nearly 1,000ft below. That said it was best to keep near centre during ascent. The ascent got rockier the closer I came towards the bend in the ridge which was my queue to keep an eye out for Cam Spout Crag summit which appeared down to my left.

Descending towards Cam Spout Crag.
Which brought memories flooding back from my last descent with Rod back in 2015 Cam Spout Crag was exactly as I had remembered it.

Passing the head of Peregrine Gully close to the summit.

Amazing views over Great Moss towards Pen, Scafell Pike, III Crag, Esk Hause and Esk Pike.
Despite there still being 600ft of steep ascent left I felt positively rejuvenated by the time I arrived at the summit so much so I think I deserved (another) hard earned rest,

Pen, Scafell Pike, III Crag, Esk Hause, Esk Pike, Ore Gap and Bow Fell from Cam Spout Crag summit.
I might not be able to drink it but the bottle of Lingcove Beck I have with me was poured over my head in one go letting the cool beck water run down my face, neck and back, it was like a having a shower 1.000ft up and it worked wonders.

Not quite there yet o'l boy.
Aye 'just pick at it' I told myself 'soon be up'

Scafell Pike, Pen, III Crag, Esk Hause and Esk Pike.
If by 'just picking at it' meant to take my time I made it to the top of the ridge only managing to stop to take this photo, that wasn't to say I wasn't gasping for air but it seemed at last I'd found my second wind.

One last look back at Cam Spout Crag summit before she disappears from view.
It was while here I de shouldered after remembering I'd forgotten to see how much hydration I had left. After groping my hand over my hydration bladder I estimated I still had 2ltrs of hydration left which meant I could sip at free will from here on in.

Slight Side seen beyond Tom Fox's Crag.
Joining Long Green wasn't the experience that I expected after finding who appeared to be a mother and teenager son arguing to the point I swear I could see veins popping out of their necks who weren't holding back either and seeing me didn't stop them. Feeling slightly bedazzled I quickly started my descent until I was out of earshot which took some minutes!

I hope they both made it up afterwards after all we walk to forget lifes worries.

Slight Side summit.
After passing two walkers who had just left the summit I made straight for the summit rocks and breathed in the summit breeze which was most welcome. Even though it was now past midday I still hadn't eaten making use of a pack of Fruit Pastels instead which seemed to keep me going.

Distant views over Burnmoor Tarn.
Towards IIIgill Head and Whin Rigg.

The traverse below Horn Crag/Slight Side.
The breeze continued during my descent which by now was helping to cool my core temperature. Passing a group of mostly young girls I was asked "is this the way to the the pike" erm "yes it is" I replied pointing back towards Slight Side first. "We're heading towards Scafell Pike but we don't want to summit Sca Fell instead we'll ... one of the girls waved her hand towards the right as if to flank Sca Fell. I looked on slightly puzzled ok ..."if your heading for Scafell Pike you're more or less going to have to summit Sca Fell ..."what are your plans to reach Mickeldore, Lord's Rake or Foxes Tarn" I asked? the girl waved her hand again "we'll go right" "Foxes Tarn" I asked "yes that's it" she replied. I went onto explain their route in full detail explaining that from Sca Fell to look down right and locate Foxes Tarn "yes we will" they nodded "you've got a big day ahead of you" I smiled.

In the end I didn't end up using my map and compass to locate the point where I was meant to exit the path and did it by eye instead. I was slightly higher than anticipated but that was easily corrected by descending further until I met a sheep trod which lead me towards the low point in the foreground.

Cam Spout North Ridge, Scafell Pike, Pen, III Crag, Esk Hause and Esk Pike from the unnamed tarn below High Scarth Crag.
My traverse below Horn Crag had been a relative success and it was time to ease off the gas again while enjoying the hot afternoon sunshine.

Great Moss.
What a view.

Cam Spout North Ridge, Scafell Pike, Pen, III Crag, Esk Hause and Esk Pike from High Scarth Crag.
There wasn't much ascent required to reach High Scarth Crag in fact I could see its summit cairn from the unnamed tarn below so ascent was gained pushing forwards poles held aside. I'd been doing so much sweating I hadn't noticed that my head was beginning to burn, my hair was physically hot to touch! so out came my North Face lightweight cap and I was soon feeling the benefit of not having what's left of my brain cells fried.

Cam Spout North Ridge, Cam Spout Crag, Scafell Pike, Pen and III Crag.
Taken from a second unnamed tarn on High Scarth Cap.

What a place.

Looking back in Rowantree Crags, High Scarth Crag, Slight Side, Scafell Pike and III Crag.
Taken as I made my way towards the top of Scale Gill.

Scale Gill.
Instead of passing Scale Gill via the footbridge I left the path and went in for a closer look.

Passing through Taw House Farm.

Slight Side and Scafell Pike from Brotherilkeld.
Drawing on air I emptied my hydration bladder as I passed through the field back at Taw House where I sighted groups of teenagers either heading for Lingcove Bridge or paddling in the River Esk, you couldn't blame them. After passing the outskirts of Brotherilkeld Farm I kicked my feet into the backs of my boots which nulled the ache I'd been feeling for the last mile or so before passing a group of Gill Scramblers who'd also been enjoying the River Esk under a blisteringly hot afternoon sun, I was feeling somewhat envious but nevertheless I was looking forward to the drinks I had waiting for me back at the car.

I was expecting chaos at Jubilee Bridge but it was peacefully serene where after easing myself down on one of the boulders in front of my car I unlaced my boots leaving pockets of dust in the air while being watched by a chap dozing behind the wheel of his car. I'd already set my air conditioning to full blast but it had little effect in cooling me down, I was cooling down it just didn't feel that way. The cars outside temperature was recording 33°C which after a few minutes settled at 27°C It still felt like an oven inside my car and not since the ascent of Cam Spout did beads of sweat trickle down my neck and forehead. Even though I had changed into a pair of North Face mids my feet still ached and no amount of toe curling inside the shoe eased off the pressure. Slowly I could feel my heart rate returning to normal and I began to take in my surroundings where despite this heaving, overheating wreck Jubilee Bridge remained as peaceful as I had left it this morning.

I think I can spare a few more minutes before it's time to leave.


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