Looking up at Rosthwaite Fell, from Stonethwaite

Looking up at Rosthwaite Fell, from Stonethwaite. The cleft at centre right is where I should have ascended – the notch visible to the left, where I did ascend.

Date completed: 4th June 2010

Weather conditions:  Another very sunny and warm one, with only a little cloud around; quite hot all the way round.

Fells climbed: Rosthwaite Fell (1807 feet above sea level, no. 60), Glaramara (2560’, no. 61), Allen Crags (2572’, no. 62)

Distance: 11.75 miles approximately.

Total ascent: 3300 feet approx.

Stonethwaite Road End

Bus stop, pillar box and foliage at Stonethwaite Road End

Start and end points: A proper round trip today, starting and ending at the same point (pictured): Stonethwaite Road End, bus stop on the #77 and #78 services from Keswick (the latter running all year). The open top #78 bus back to Keswick in the late afternoon was a very pleasant way to end the sunny day.

Pub at (nearly the) end: Langstrath Country Inn, Stonethwaite. Looks like one of the pubs where you fear for its future in an era of anti-alcohol legislation, voracious pubcos, etc., but actually I suspect the nearby campsite and its general charm keep it solvent. NOTE: according to a sign outside the pub is closed on Mondays: I do not know whether this includes Bank Holiday Mondays.

Route card: Click on the link to download a route card (2Mb, .doc format), showing summary information, a map, the elevation profile and waypoints with grid references.Route card for Walk 19: Glaramara ridge and Langstrath

Route: I walked along the lane from the bus stop, through Stonethwaite and past part of the campsite before reaching the gate on the right, with Rosthwaite Fell’s crags visible above – and then went wrong almost straight away. I should have headed slightly right, instead of left as I did. The whole tough climb which resulted was a result of that immediate decision which was only a big mistake with hindsight. You will, presumably, go right and have what still looks like quite a tough climb up past the line of crags, but not as difficult as mine. See the commentary.

Langdale Pikes from High House Tarn

View of Harrison Stickle (left) and PIke O’Stickle from High House Tarn, between Allen Crags and Glaramara

Once up there it is easy enough to follow Big Stanger Gill to its source, and then a path will lead below the summit of Rosthwaite Fell (known as Bessyboot) at NY 258125, but it does not go up to the top; there are no problems picking your own route, however.

From there to Glaramara is not easy, and is no more helped by paths than it was in Wainwright’s day. In the book, on both fell’s ridge route pages this walk is somewhat denigrated and it is easy to see why. In mist this would be very difficult, in the clear weather I had there is just enough path to find one’s way but it’s not always easy. Hard to be more specific than that except to say that you should stick to the watershed as much as possible, keeping right-flowing streams to your right and left-flowing to your left. In general, the path keeps to the Langstrath (left) side of the ridge.

View of Borrowdale from Glaramara

View of Borrowdale, Derwentwater and the Skiddaw range from Glaramara

The Glaramara – Allen Crags ridge path isn’t always that clear either, but the ridge is here narrowing and, again, in clear weather it shouldn’t be a problem: the objective is clearly in view ahead (though there are points at which a first-time visitor may think the peak on the horizon is Allen Crags, but in fact it is Esk Pike).

Incidentally, should you wish to find the small mountain tarn that Wainwright eulogises on this ridge route – and it is worth trying (I had lunch there) – note that it cannot be seen from the point at which the path is nearest to it, being up on the left; you can see it from a distance, however, as you descend towards a small cluster of three or four other tarns.

From Allen Crags descend to Esk Hause and turn left, following the well-used (and surprisingly good) path down to Angle Tarn, whence I turned left again, before the crossing of the tarn’s outlet (Angletarn Gill), and followed this path all the way down Langstrath staying on the left bank. From that point on routefinding should not be a problem as the path is clear all the way down to Stonethwaite – the only problem being, it’s a long way.

Definitely-not-doing-any-more-of-this-for-four-weeks commentary stuff: It is the last day of this holiday, and including today I have walked on five of the six full days we have been here, doing a total of at least 40 miles (if walks from Braithwaite to Keswick bus station are included), 10 fells and God-knows how many feet of ascent, 10,000 at least I should imagine.

And I’m knackered.

I think I was anyway, but the first 90 minutes of today’s walk sealed it. I make a simple error of navigation right at the start of the ascent of Rosthwaite Fell; when I return past the same point six hours later I can see where I went wrong with hindsight but, well, that’s with hindsight. The becks are so dry at the moment that I wasn’t completely clear whether I was following up Big Stanger Gill or not, and I ended up far too far left, ascending the face of Alisongrass Crag instead of going for the obvious cleft to its right (see the caption to the picture at the head of this page).

Whatever Alisongrass is, or whomever she was, I became quite acquainted with the crag of that name over the next short but strenuous period of my life, ending up climbing the gully visible above the first ‘s’ of its name on the 2½” OS map (NY 266129). It was less exposed than the scramble I did on Pillar, but harder, and longer, and if I’d have stopped to think about it too much I might have freaked out so I just kept going up, grabbing hand- and foot-holds in rocks and tree trunks until eventually I made it up to the top. It gave a certain sense of achievement to the bagging of Rosthwaite Fell which it probably wouldn’t otherwise have had, but I could have done without it physically. After that I really feel the week’s marathon-and-a-half seeping through my bones and the soles of my feet, a sense of fatigue that never really goes away for the rest of the day.

Tray Dub, Langstrath

Tray Dub, Langstrath

I didn’t dislike this walk but it’s a little ordinary, with no real highlight. There are some good views, definitely – particularly of Great End, which is a highly impressive mountain. But it was a hot day, and I was tired enough to drop the planned fourth fell of the day, Rossett Pike, which I could have reached easily enough ‘from the back’ at Angle Tarn, but I’ll get it on another route easily enough. It’s a long way back from Angle Tarn to Stonethwaite anyway, down Langstrath, a very long valley, a fact so self-evident that’s why they called it Lang-strath (which means ‘long valley’: QED).

Back in Stonethwaite the population increased as I got near the campsite and to these holidaymakers frolicking in the river I probably looked like the Man With No Name coming out of the wilderness. I felt like it too. I needed the beer from the Langstrath Country Inn, I needed a rest. I have really enjoyed this week but it is time to go home.

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