BB1643 : Moonset, Moonrise

Wednesday 15th December 2016

I awoke this morning to see the most beautiful full moon about to set.  It looked like a promise to be a lovely day. 

Mike was similarly encouraged as he looked out to see the skies anticipating the sun.

When Bryan and I drove north, past Windermere, Rydal Water and Grasmere, the sky continued to hint at glory.  However, on climbing Dunmail Raise (for the first time since the flood repairs), we realised it was a false dawn.  Parking at Wythburn (by Thirlmere and FREE for the winter) where we met Robin and Mike, we knew the mountain forecast of shrouded hills with no sun would prove true.  But what about winds gusting up to 60 mph?

Bryan was on a mission. He had devised an expedition to visit 8 tarns.  Actually he is devising an expedition for his serious walking group to cover 14 or more tarns and this was to be part of his recce.  The prospect of it being very boggy and shrouded in cloud didn’t bother him in the slightest.  It meant it could only be better when the event takes place.  He even chose to travel clockwise despite this having the potential to take us head first into gale force winds.

But did we let that bother us?  Of course not.

Climbing away from Thirlmere

The first objective was Harrop Tarn. 

This required a steep climb on a good path through woods. 

I say good path but actually the rocks were very slippery. 

The arborical cover gave us unfounded hope of a better than expected day. 

Layers of garments were shed.

Harrop Tarn

The next tarn is unnamed on the OS map. 

Actually there are two, one above the other and, according to John and Anne Nuttall, they are known as Bell Crags Tarns.  Bryan was taking his inspiration from their book:  The Tarns of Lakeland Vol. 2: East.

The temperature had now dropped considerably with height; clothes went back on but walking wasn’t unpleasant.  It was just a shame that whilst visibility wasn’t down to the danger zone, it was poor.

Approaching Bell Crag Tarn

Objective number 3 was Blea Tarn.  Far less well known than its Langdale namesake, this one is quite large but little visited.  We had tantalisingly brief views of distant hills and possibly even a glimpse of what we presumed was Bassenthwaite but then the clag rolled in again.

Nearing Blea Tarn

Now we climbed up towards Standing Crag, passing more small tarns en-route which have been given the names- yes- Standing Crag Tarns. Number 4.

Further on, we could look back at these small tarns, the larger Blea Tarn and, in the distance, could that possibly be Bassenthwaite Lake?

Standing Crag Tarns, Blea tarn and ??????????

South we trudged, climbing all the time, the route being marked by old fence posts, one of which holding some poor person's car keys.

Eventually we reached the Ullscarf summit.  Fortunately the gales did not prove anywhere near as bad as predicted but still visibility was limited. We carried on, searching for and following the posts.

Comitibus: Ullscarf

Various small tarns were encountered but if they weren’t in the book, they didn’t count.  Unless of course Bryan decided that they did.  Eventually two did count (as one).  Number 5.  Greenup EdgeTarns.

Greenup Edge Tarns

At the southern end of Greenup Edge we almost lost Bryan in the swirling mist but fortunately his prize (BB1642) florescent buff marked him out.

Spot Bryan!

When we met the Coast to Coast path we didn’t take it. Instead we skirted round just below Birks until we reached Brownrigg Moss tarn, a quite attractive medium sized one.

Brownrigg Moss Tarn

Number 7 was near the top of the dreaded Steel Fell, not that it strikes fear from this side.  This was in a very boggy area although well above the area marked enticingly on the OS map as “The Bog”.

Steel Fell (Rough Crag) Tarn

We were glad to descend to our eight and final objective. Wythburnhead Tarns aren’t, to my mind, tarns at all but somewhat broader parts of the stream.  The most impressive thing here (bearing in mind distant views were scarce) was a huge drumlin.

Descending to Wythburnhead Tarns

Objectives achieved, we could now descend above the burn.  Care was needed- the rocks were slippery.  Eventually we came to a bridge where a decision had to be made.  Cross or not?  Both sides descend to Stockhow Bridge and the cars.  However if you should ever pass this way, I suggest you take the eastern bank in the hope that the path is better established and less boggy.

It was now well after sunset (if there had been one) and a planet, possibly Venus, was shining brightly in the south-western sky when we entered the Traveller’s Rest. It had vanished by the time we left although a lone planet was to be seen.  Venus?.

The moon was starting to rise.  At first it was clear but I was driving, so couldn't take a photograph.  Then it hid behind hills.  When at last we approached Kendal and I could get the camera out, it could be seen but was somewhat obscured. 

Moonrise over Kendal

However by the time I reached home, it could be seen in its full glory- a Moonrise as good as the morning’s Moonset.

Don, Wednesday 15th December 2016




Wednesday 15th December 2016

Distance in miles:

10.3 miles (Garmin)

Height climbed in feet:

2,480 (Anquet Harvey's)


Harrop, Blea and 6 other tarns


Bryan, Don, Mike, Robin

Map shown: OS 1:25k

BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1643 .

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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To see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing see Which Wainwright When? This may or may not be up to date!

For the latest totals of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.
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BOOTboys 2016


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