Foot of Coniston Water

View over the foot of Coniston water, with Top o’Selside rising behind, and Morecambe Bay in the background. Taken from the Walna Scar road on walk 96.

Summits: Four summits are named in the chapter: Brock Barrow (748’ above sea level), Low Light Haw (810’), High Light Haw (860’) and Top o’Selside itself (1099’).

When in the vicinity it is plain that Arnsbarrow Hill, at 1057’, lying half a mile south of Top o’Selside, has a very strong case to be included in the walk and thus in the count of Wainwrights. But it is not.

Date bagged: 9th July 2015 (walk 98).

Top o'Selside summit

The summit cairn on Top o’Selside

Bagged as number: 307-310 of the 330 Wainwrights. [ << Reston Scar (307)  (311) Carron Crag >> ]

Route of ascent and descent: The ascent of Brock Barrow as described in the book sounds rather arduous, but I avoided it by coming at it ‘round the back’, from High Bethecar — though note that involved a six-mile walk from my starting point at Rusland Pool. I followed the route to Top o’Selside as described in volume 8 then went on north-east, into Grizedale Forest, to climb Carron Crag.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 93 of volume 8): “Between Coniston Water and Windermere lies an undulating expanse of low foothills divided by the Grizedale and Rusland valleys and exceeding a thousand feet in altitude in only a few places…. Like many of the smaller fells that carry no frequented paths, the walking is hard though the gradients are gentle, the relatively low altitude, mild maritime climate and unsuitability for grazing inducing a luxuriance in the ground cover — bracken, heather, tough grass — that makes progress even over level ground quite arduous. Top o’Selside and its subsidiary elevations together make an expedition fairly short in distance but demanding in energy. The reward for hard labour is the excellence of the full-length view of Coniston Water and in other directions, the fine far-ranging prospect of distant horizons.”

Brock Barrow from the north

Brock Barrow, the first summit of the day, viewed from the north.

What I say: In that passage and also in the ascent description on page 96 Wainwright is rather insistent that the ridge is a tough walk, but I have to say that I did not find it to be. A path links the four summits (and the strangely neglected Arnsbarrow Hill) and though there might be some awkward patches in high summer, when the bracken is at its highest, at other times of the year there seems no cause for concern. I didn’t try the steep ascent from High Nibthwaite however. All in all the summits were worth a visit but perhaps not the six-mile-long preliminaries.

[ << Thunacar Knott     Troutbeck Tongue >> ]

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One Response to “Top o’Selside”

  1. […] low country between Coniston Water and Windermere and are gathered into two chapters in volume 8: Top o’Selside and Carron Crag. The walk was done in very good weather again (I have picked my days well this […]

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