Gray Crag and Hayeswater

Gray Crag and Hayeswater, viewed from High Street

Height: 2286 feet above sea level.

Volume: Book 2 (The Far Eastern Fells)

Date climbed: First visit: 9th April 2010 (walk 12). Second visit: 28th May 2019 (walk 163).

Gray Crag

Looking back along the ridge to Gray Crag

Bagged as number: First round: 42 of 330. [ << Thornthwaite Crag (41)  (43) Fleetwith Pike >> ] [Coincidence corner: it was also Joe’s 42nd Wainwright, on my second round. Perhaps here we have indeed found the meaning of life.]

Second round: 201 of 330. [ << Haystacks (200)  (202) Caudale Moor >> ]

Route of ascent and descent: First visit: Approached from Thornthwaite Crag then descended to Hartsop. Though Wainwright says clearly on page 4 that a direct descent down the ridge is practical, there is a point at which it becomes extremely steep and it may be worth taking the path to the right (which AW says to ignore). I got down safely, and the ground is grassy and firm, but it needed a lot of care.

Summit of Gray Crag

Summit of Gray Crag, looking towards the Helvellyn range

Second visit: Came up to the ridge from Hayeswater. Went on in the direction of Thornthwaite Crag but veered along a traverse direct to Threshthwaite Mouth, then up Caudale Moor.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 2 of his chapter): “A lofty ridge, bounded by exceedingly steep flanks, extends northwards from Thornthwaite Crag with a slight curve to the west, and culminates high above Hayeswater Gill in a level platform from which, on both sides, fall precipitous crags split by deep gullies. This is Gray Crag, a prominent object in the Hartsop landscape.”

Gray Crag, from Hartsop

Gray Crag, from Hartsop (and some very chilled-out cows). Picture taken on walk 66.

What I say: Gray Crag distinguished itself from its predecessors on my first visit by being the only summit I reached in clear weather instead of thick mist, so I felt favourably inclined towards it. The views are good particularly if you go to the edge of the escarpment – most notably down to Hayeswater. The only downer was the descent which my knees nearly did not survive.

Coming up the second time from Hayeswater was very steep too, and basically there’s no way on or off this ridge without encountering stiff gradients.

Note: Not to be confused with Grey Crag (with an E), which is also in the Far Eastern Fells, over in Longsleddale.

[ << Grasmoor      Graystones >> ]

One Response to “Gray Crag”

  1. […] the golden eagle, although sadly that is apparently no longer in residence). Three fells bagged, Gray Crag, Caudale Moor and Hartsop Dodd, the latter having one of the District’s most unsung views, a […]

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