Great Crag, from Ullscarf.

Great Crag, from Ullscarf. The little ‘eye’ is Dock Tarn.

Height: 1500 feet above sea level is Wainwright’s estimate, but unlike some of his other approximations, he offers no real evidence for it, almost admitting it’s a hunch. This is one of the few in the 214 where even now, a spot height does not exist on the highest point, but there is no contour above 450 metres which is 1,468 feet, and Memory Map will grudgingly get up to about 1,450 but no more. It looks therefore like AW may have overestimated the height of this fell, and the second edition admits this while retaining the figure of 1500′ on the title page.

Volume: Book 3 (The Central Fells)

Great Crag from Watendlath

Great Crag seen on the ascent from Watendlath.

Date climbed: First visit: 7th October 2011 (walk 45).

Second visit: 15th October 2020 (walk 185).

Bagged as numberFirst round: 143 out of 330. [ << Ullscarf (142)  (144) Rannerdale Knotts >> ]

Second round: 263 of 330. [ << Armboth Fell (262)  (264-266) Stickle Pike (part) >> ]

Route of ascent and descentFirst visit: Approached from Ullscarf – a walk across a moor, not really a ridge. Descended to Stonethwaite.

Second visit: Ascended from Watendlath.  Same descent as last time.

The summit of Great Crag.

The summit of Great Crag.

What Mr Wainwright says(from page 1 of his chapter): “Between the deep Stonethwaite valley and the shallow depression containing Bleatarn Gill rises an indefinite and complex mass of rough undulating ground, a place of craggy and wooded slopes, of heathery tors and mossy swamps and shy little tarns – a beautiful labyrinth, a joy to the explorer but the despair of the mapmaker. Nestling here is Dock Tarn, a jewel deserving a sweeter name, in a surround of rocky heights of which Great Crag is the most pronounced…”

Great Crag again

View of Great Crag, from the ascent of Eagle Crag. The summit is out of shot to the right.

What I say: Like Ullscarf, bagged on the same walk the first time round, Great Crag scored most highly because of its views – obviously not as extensive as its bigger sibling, but still dramatic. The shot of Sergeant’s Crag, with Bowfell behind, that graces the top of every page on this site was taken from close to Great Crag’s summit on walk 45.

It is a distinctive little place too, with a veritable jungle of heather, growing far more densely than is normal, and all the rocky tors that Wainwright mentions, intermingled with flat bits of swamp. All this does, however, make it a very confusing place, even in clear weather; in mist and rain I would not want to be up here. Worth a visit — Dock Tarn is also a fine spot — but it makes you work to experience its charms.

[ << Great Cockup      Great Dodd >> ]

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