Whiteside Pike
Whiteside Pike viewed from the south

Summits: There are no fewer than nine summits in this chapter, the most of any in volume 8. The order that Wainwright describes them in is: Whiteside Pike (1302 feet above sea level); Todd Fell (1313’); Capplebarrow (1683’); two nameless summits at 1819’ and 1771’; Long Crag (1602’); White Howe (1737’); another nameless summit at 1736’ and Lamb Pasture (1205’).

With regard to the two nameless summits in the middle. The OS map uses the name “Ancrow Brow” to identify a summit at around this point (NY500050).  But the top where this name is placed does not appear on Wainwright’s map (page 266), and so cannot correspond to either of the summits identified in Wainwright’s chapter.

Walkers and Lamb Pasture
Walkers heading towards Lamb Pasture

Actually, the selection of point 1771′ as a summit seems very arbitrary on the ground, and done largely because that’s where the walk turns back south. Ancrow Brow, which is about the same height, would seem to have a more valid case to be the middle top of the walk, and thus one of the canon.

Birkett’s list omits point 1771′, and may or may not accommodate Ancrow Brow depending on whether you look at the book itself — which assigns this identity to the 1819′ summit — or the Wikipedia page, technically based on more up-to-date info, which instead calls 1819′ ‘Swinklebank Crag’. Wikipedia also calls 1736′ ‘The Forest, Bannisdale’; the book calls it ‘Borrowdale Head’. Whatever.

Date bagged: First visit: 10th March 2015 (walk 93): all nine summits bagged in the order given above.

Whiteside Pike
Looking down to Whiteside Pike, from point 1771′.

Second visit: The last four summits listed above, in reverse order (hence, Lamb Pasture to Long Crag) were rebagged on 7th September 2016 (walk 117).

The remaining five were reattained on walk 179, 21/7/20. The order was from point 1771′ down to Whiteside Pike.

Bagged as numbers: First round: 290-298 of the 330. [<< Clints Crags (289)  (299) Faulds Brow >> ]

Second round: The first four were 64-67 of the 330. [ << Whiteside (63)  (68) Grey Crag >> ]

Capplebarrow summit
The summit of Capplebarrow.

The remaining five were 248-252. [ << Harter Fell (Mardale) (247)  (253) Muncaster Fell >> ]

Route of ascent and descent: First visit: Although I followed the walk as described in the book there were variations at the start and end, firstly because I had to walk in from Burneside. I then came up from Murthwaite, in Longsleddale, rather than Mosergh as in the book, which worked OK until I had to climb a high wall. At the end of the walk I used Wainwright’s suggested alternative of a direct descent to Dryhowe Bridge rather than the more circuitous route via Thorn Cottage. [Update: having come down this way on walk 179, the climb of the wall should not be necessary, but the bridleway is easy to lose; I probably did so where it goes through an inconspicuous gate at the top of the small wood.]

Second visit: To do the first four (the eastern of the two ridges), I came in from Burneside again, then effectively reversed Wainwright’s route of descent. After Long Crag, went on to Grey Crag.

Summit of Long Crag
Looking back to the summit of Long Crag

For the remainder, I started in Longsleddale, and came up via Stockdale and Brow Gill.  From Whiteside Pike, I descended to Murthwaite down the bridleway I should have found on my earlier walk.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 261 of volume 8): “…Bannisdale earns a living for two farms deeply set in the shelter of a surround of fells. The lofty skyline forms a horseshoe, consistently above 1500’ for five miles, and provides a good high-level walk all around the valley…. The watershed is everywhere grassy — a sheep pasture enjoyed also by fell ponies — and featureless, one mile being very much like the next except for the distinctive Whiteside Pike, a dark pyramid of heather and bracken and outcrops of rock: much the most attractive part of the horseshoe and worth a visit even if one goes no further.”

View south from Todd Fell
Looking south from Todd Fell

What I say: The Horseshoe is a good walk on a clear day, with fine views, but there are boggy bits around Long Crag and as Wainwright suggests, it’s not going to excite anyone devoted to rock and crags, though Whiteside Pike is, as he notes, an exception.

It’s also a long way from anywhere, but this too is part of its appeal. Longsleddale is a real fossil of a valley, a place where little has changed in decades, and very beautiful, and this provides an excuse to visit.  But bear in mind it’s not an easy place to get to, particularly without a car.

As well as doing the horseshoe one could also use these ridges as a way of getting to Grey Crag, in volume 2, as noted on pages 5 and 6 of that Wainwright chapter: and as I did on walk 117.

[ << Bannerdale Crags    Barf >> ]

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2 Responses to “Bannisdale Horseshoe”

  1. […] slice through the far eastern fringe of the District: several from chapters in the Outlying Fells (Bannisdale Horseshoe, Howes, Naddle Horseshoe) and three from the Far Eastern Fells (Grey Crag, Tarn Crag, Selside […]

  2. […] 179: five summits in the Bannisdale Horseshoe (two unnamed [1771′ a.s.l., no. 248 and 1819′, no. 249], Capplebarrow [1683′, no. […]

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