BB1618 : I'm Not Into Extensions

Thursday 12th May 2016

I was only half listening when I heard Tony utter those words.

“I’m not into extensions.”

What was he talking about?  Enlarging his house?  Or his hair?

Only later did it dawn on me.

Our original plan had been thwarted by the threat of 50 mph northerly winds so we opted for a lower round that would still give Terry two more W ticks to pull back on John,  It also caused me to revise my opinion of my least favourite hill.  Somewhat.

The difficulty in planning the ascent of Selside Pike and Branstree is knowing where, in Swindale, we might be able to park.  Unfortunately the nearest permissible place adds the best part of three miles onto the walk.  The plus point is a more gentle start to the day.  The downside is a bit of a hard surface trek at the end.

Lower Swindale

Spring lambs

The day was bright with the threat of sunburn as we climbed the Corpse Road (so named as it was the route that the dead were carried over from Mardale on their way for burial at Shap).  Near the apogee we turned left for Selside Pike.  

Looking back from Selside Pike

Having reached its summit we followed the fence south in the direction of Branstree.  I have never known the ground underfoot so dry.  It was a far more pleasant walk than some I have experienced up there.

Riggindale with High Street behind

Before reaching Branstree, the second Wainwright of the day, we spotted on the other side of the fence a structure marked on the map as "pillar".  I hadn’t seen it before so it merited examination.  It appeared to be some sort of sighting post for the construction of the Haweswater pipeline.

Comitibus : Branstree Pillar

Tony proudly identifies Kidsty Pike

Crossing back over the fence we noticed two cairns that also merited examination but more so the view from thereabouts over Haweswater and the hills beyond.  And lunch.

It was not far to the top of Branstree from whence we dropped down into Mosedale.  We had encountered two other walkers who were then aiming to cross over to climb Tarn Crag and Grey Crag.  "Should we extend our walk to do likewise?" we pondered.  It was then that it dawned on me what Tony meant when he said that he didn’t do extensions.  

Consequently we headed down the valley to the Cottage.  This is managed by the Mountain Bothies Association and it seems there has been some disagreement with the lads from Shap whom we have seen there previously and who had informally looked after it.  Apparently the MBA had different ideas about what should and should not be in the bothy.  Consequently most of the soft chairs that had previously been there had been replaced by hard plastic seats but the settee remained.

Mosedale Cottage

Comitibus : Ghosts of Mosedale Cottage

Despite the interior coolness, Tony was not enthusiastic about the thought of a large sun lounge being added.  As we now know, he is not into extensions.

It is a bit of a trudge along the dale but much more interesting once Force Falls is reached and the valley drops sharply into Swindale with its falls and pools.  

Terry contemplates a dive

Swindale Beck

Here we were confused.  The map showed the path as being on the west side of the beck but the existence of a bridge and a stile seemed to encourage you to cross over.  This we did but the route we followed to reach the track back to the car was definitely off-piste, a bridge having been presumably washed away by the floods.

No longer a bridge

No longer a farmhouse

Anyway, no harm done, we marched down the lane, passing the post-flood water controls (is a hydro generator?) until we reached the car.

The water controls

The engineer’s road led us to Shap and the Greyhound Inn.  Here we had a pleasant pint in the sun (or at least my replacement pint was fine- the first was vinegar).  Once downed, we pondered should we go as planned or stay for another?  This time we were amazed when Tony (of all people) said “I’m not into extensions.”  Well, there's always a first time.  So home we went.

Don, Thursday 12th May




Thursday 12th May 2016

Distance in miles:

12.0 (Garmin)

Height climbed in feet:

2,178 (Memory Map)


Selside Pike, Branstree


Don, Martin, Terry, Tony


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BOOTboys 2016


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