BB1530 : Nothing to Commend it ?

Thursday 19th August 2015

That's what Wainwright had to say about Grey Crag.  "In mist, the ascent has nothing to commend it."  Mind you, he was talking about the way up from Stockdale so we took his advice and went up from Sadgill.  However, the same comment applies.


A Sadgill tree and derelict barn

We nearly didn't go up at all.  The forecast was for the mist to have cleared by now but it hadn't and didn't look as if it would.  We set off walking on an alternative- the wimp-out of the three valleys (see BB1340).  Not in itself a bad walk but not one that would gain more Ws for Terry.  After a hundred yards we had a change of mind and decided to brave the mist in the hope that the forecast clearance had merely been delayed.

Preparing for the off

The path goes diagonally left up the gully

AW does warn about these hills:

Very lonely territory ..... visitors are infrequent ..... desolation profound
..... if an accident befalls ..... in this wilderness .....
bones are likely to adorn the scene until they rot and disintegrate.

He goes on about peat-hags and marshes and ridges only to be undertaken after a period of dry weather, being best left alone during a rainy season.

However, as this is mid August, clearly such concerns don't apply do they?  

Oh Yes They Do!

We battled the steep brackened ground to find the gully that is the safe way up Great Howe.  I was in walking shoes, not boots (they are cracked and I need a new pair), and my feet were soon very wet with water coming over the top. James, Martin and Terry all smugly declared their boots to be dry.

Up the bracken path.....

..... and into the gully

We have to thank AW, or more probably his reviser, Chris Jesty, for marking the path so clearly on the pages and, also, the few brave souls (soles?) who had been that way before and left their trail on the ground.  

Not a lot to see!

The mist was quite thick but we managed to find our way to the summit without too much difficulty.

Finding the way off was more of a challenge but the compass training given by Bryan some years back has to be commended.  When taking a bearing we aimed for the safe side of the target.  We had a lead man some yards ahead whilst the compass bearer trailed behind with a hand on the tiller.

In such fashion we found our way off Grey Crag across the very boggy area to the fence then from the fence to Tarn Crag summit.

Grey Crag summit.  Or was it Tarn Crag? !

Brownhowe Bottom

On the return to the fence we found some rather damp ground that wobbled when we bounced on it.  Martin feared that it could disintegrate, opening up deep crevices into which we might be swallowed.  He suggested that we might like to consider desisting.  We did and descended to the exceedingly wet Brownhow Bottom.  By now, to my secret delight, everybody's boots were full of water.

Where the trail meets the Gatescarth Pass, I thought rather more than boots were going to be filled with water.  The three took what, to my mind, seemed a very risky way across the fast flowing and deep stream, some with more success than others but no disasters.  They were encouraging me to take the same route.  But when you know that the stream drops under a bridge only fifty yards further down, what is the point of takings such risks?  To be fair to them, I had forgotten about this until they were across and I was standing there like a wimp.

Leaping the stream

Comitibus :  Gatescarth Pass

By now we were down out of the clag and the odd glimpse of sunshine could be spotted illuminating small parts of fields way down the valley.  It was dry enough to shelter in the lee of a wall for a late lunch.  I think even Tony would not have wanted to stop earlier.

Sadgill Falls

Looking down to Longsleddale

The stroll down the valley passed without incident as did the drive to Staveley. There I saw two sights that definitely had something to commend them.


The first of course was the Hawkshead Brewery.  

However, I found myself financially embarrassed and unable to chip into the kitty,

Then I looked across the yard and what should I see but a mobile Nat West bank.

It was just waiting there to give me some money before it drove off to rescue some other cashless soul.  

A highly commendable service.

Don, Thursday 20th August 2015

Bryan and the Corvus

In case you were wondering what Bryan was doing rather than stumbling around with us in the mist, he had been out on the Corvus- a climb on Raven Crag, Glaramara.  This is an altogether more serious business and he admits that he was pretty nervous when he started.

He explains that “The part of the route that makes it a classic is The Hand Traverse.  This is a short section – about 15 metres – which goes across the crag. There is a crack going across it which provides good handholds but the footholds, particularly towards the end, aren’t there and you have to trust to friction.”

Click picture for Keswick Mountaineering Club video

Bryan had been dreading this but when it was his turn it went far better than he thought it would and he almost enjoyed it!

Rather him than me.

If you want to get an idea of the climb, have a look at the Keswick Mountaineering Club's video A Route For All Seasons.

The Hand Traverse section starts after 9 minutes 30 seconds but I found the whole 15 minute video of interest and with a surprise twist at the end. 




Thursday 20th August 2015

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:



Grey Crag, Tarn Crag


Don, James, Martin, Terry


BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1530 .

To discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing - although it may not be that up to date - or for the totals of the mileages and heights (ditto) see the Excel file: BB Log.

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BOOTboys 2015



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