MW02 : Bannisdale to Shap Wells
8th February 2013

The snow in which we finished MW01 had mostly gone from around the Selside Community Centre Car Park but nonetheless it was a cold morning.  


After a short distance along the A6 we took the old turnpike track across Bannisdale Beck then onwards and upwards to the west of the A6.  

The old turnpike

Briefly rejoining the main road, the next long stretch was on a minor road, again to the west.  Given there are so few inhabitants up here, it is in remarkably good condition.  

At one point, by the side of the track were some small huts.  Ian and I had a quick look, saw nothing of interest and passed on.  When we stopped for Cynthia and Margaret to catch up, we couldn't understand why it took them so long to reach us.  Seemingly, after we had gone, a boar, a sow and several little piglets made an appearance to entertain them.  No photos were taken so we only have their word for this being the cause of the delay.  

Looking up Borrowdale

We crossed Borrow Beck and climbed gently alongside a meadow no doubt left by the Ice Age.

Huck's Bridge, Borrow Beck

Crookdale Beck

Meadow near Hause Foot, Crookdale Crag behind

At Crookdale Bridge we stopped by the Hause Foot farmyard for coffee and team photo.

Hause Foot garden

Team picture

Conditions under foot, now just a path, became more wintry whilst, ironically, the weather slowly became sunnier.

 * Nearing the summit

The snow princesses

And you!

We left the track near Shap summit in order to see the Memorial to the Drivers and Crews of Vehicles that made possible the social and commercial links between north and south on the old and difficult route over Shap Fell.  And others.  Remembrance Day wreaths still remained.

The memorial...

.... and wreath

What surprised us was the gathering of vehicles at the summit lay-by, all related one way or another to the National Grid and all with at least two and sometimes four people aboard doing not very much.

Summit gathering

One of men told us that it was too cold for them to work on the power lines so once they had had their butties they were going home.

So why were they there in the first place? Don't they know that on Shap at this time of year it is either cold, foggy, snowing or raining or any combination of conditions that don't exactly suit performing, at height, non-emergency work on 400,000 volts?  There must have been thirty or so men that had a wasted day. I wonder how many more they have had and will have this winter?

They had a couple of fun little buggies. Wonder why they weren't playing around in them?

A fun little buggy!

To the right of the lay-by is a group of what looks like inspection covers, but for what puzzled us.  Possibly something to do with the water pipeline from Haweswater?

Inspection covers?

Howgills from Shap Summit

Shap Quarry

We left the A6 a little further on, rejoining the turnpike which crossed over to meet us. However, at Wasdale Old Bridge we did something very naughty.  We went a different way to the guide book.  There was good logic.  

Wasdale Old Bridge

Shap Wells Hotel

Down through the woods

Rather than plod along an unremarkable track until reaching the Shap Granite works, we followed a stream downhill through woods and field until reaching the Shap Wells Hotel where a decent beer, good bar snacks and Ian's car awaited us.

Fortunately, the first coach load of the season had not yet arrived and we more or less had the whole place to ourselves..  

The sun was now shining strongly through the lounge window and I could easily have nodded off.

Shap Wells had not been built at the time of Carr's journey else I have no doubt he would have made a similar detour.  Though in his case, being a Quaker, a glass of spa water would no doubt have been his tipple.

This variation of route was a brainwave of Ian's.  I had been wondering how we were going to arrange the second and third legs to provide suitable refreshment and this proved the solution.

Don, 8th February 2013

Bonus Pictures From Ian *

* plus "Nearing the Summit" above and in header



Friday 8th February 2013

Distance in miles:

7.4 (Garmin E-trex)

Height climbed in feet:

1,190 (Memory Map / OS)

Cumulative miles:


Cumulative feet:



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