Sunday, 17 January 2016

"Stickle Pike" and "Dunnerdale Fells" (Wainwright's Outlying Fells of Lakeland)

Saturday 16th January

Another foray into Lakeland's perimeter hills with Bowland Climber, and today with BC's friend B. This circuit was another of my favourite runs when I was more sprightly and perhaps my favourite all time part of our Lake District. It is a  concentrated region of craggy mini peaks and small tarns.

Wainwright says:

"The Dunnerdale Fells are low in stature, small in extent and insignificant on the map, yet they assert themselves on the local landscape in a bristly defiance of accepted mountain landscape. Of course they are not worthy of comparison with Scafell or Great Gable, but they  refuse to admit it."

My title heading here refers to the chapters in Wainwright's book which titles refer to the area location of the peaks he mentions, and as in this case there are often prominent peaks in these chapter areas that W does not include, presumably because he just describes the details of the walk that he did for his own satisfaction in that area, so it is often quite confusing to follow as W also uses alternative names for some hills, e.g. Dunnerdale "Tarn Hill" herewith, even more confusing here because there was also another Tarn Hill. On this walk we combined two chapters, the Dunnerdale Fells chapter only having one peak

W's Outlying Fells peaks visited were:

Great Stickle                               305m.         SD  211 915
Dunnerdale Fell (Tarn Hill)        280m          SD 207918
Tarn Hill                                      313m.         SD 209 921  
Stickle Pike                                 375m          SD 212 928
Raven's Crag                               361m          SD223 929
The Knott                                    284m          SD 224 919

On my last post I praised the accuracy of our weather forecasts. Today the predicted snowfall started four hours earlier than the forecast, halfway round our circuit, but we had, in any case been walking through hard frozen snow once up on the tops.

BC had some rudimentary spikes on his boots and I had the Kahtoola Micro Spikes I had given as a present about three years ago. Apart from wearing them briefly one winter on the roads around home this was their first test on mountain terrain. For the first half on the frozen snow and ice they were excellent, but coming back down the eastern ridge of our walk the snow was softer and I suffered severe balling up of snow which accumulated within two or thee steps of  having knocked off the snowball making the going quite difficult. The difference was demonstrated by B who unfortunately had no spikes and was definitely struggling (without complaint), and towards the end slipped and fell quite heavily on his shoulder.

I'm afraid I was a bit over the top about the virtues of my spikes which caused some ribbing. At one point I thought I was going to be manhandled and divested of my precious Kahtoolas, but I did have some comfort in knowing that I had the car keys.

This was a proper winter conditions mountain day with good friends and as good an outing as I have had for some time.

No snow low down, but we were soon in it higher up


Distant Howgills and a good sample of this terrain - click to enlarge and see little tarns

Zoom to Howgills - Carlin Gill behind long ridge descending from left centre

Stickle Pike, the best peak by far on the round. Ascent was by the obvious path up righthand side, but then an almost alpine ascent up very steep, pathless, hard snow covered, rocky hillside to the summit

Caw from the rocky summit of Stickle Pike

Route only approximate on western side - scale too small to identify detail

12 comments:

Bob Andrews said...

On seeing your map I recognised this as a walk my mate and I did a few years ago on our annual foray to the Lakes.
I have a pair of those spikes and on hard snow or ice are very comforting, but on loose snow they do ball up as you say.
Raining down here in Carmarthen area, although there was snow on the low hills of the Black Mountain, not far from here.

bowlandclimber said...

Conrad, thanks for sorting out where we walked on the map.
The jury is still out on the Kahtoola spikes, although interesting comment from B. Andrews which explains your problems - the wrong sort of snow.

gimmer said...


those outliers are making good fare for you: passed many of them by many times but never ever thought of going up them, so you are making me think afresh !
(hot news: london paralysed by 3mm snow this morning)

Sir Hugh said...

Bob A. - Hi Bob. I think we should keep that area "secret" - don't tell too many people. I think most crampons suffer from the balling-up in soft snow.

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Bowland Climber - I certainly value the Kahtoolas - they were a huge advantage in the harder conditions where one needs them most.

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gimmer - If you do embark on these ascents I suggest you obtain the revised version of Wainwright's Outlying Fells of Lakeland by Chris Jesty. It is exactly the same as the original, but with minor revisions where required and some help with navigation round the book which was not so good in W's version. There is a good article about all this on Wikipedia with a printable, sortable list of all the individual summits related to the chapters where they appear in Wainwright, and also with heights converted to metres corresponding with modern Ordnance Survey mapping. Just search "Outlying Fells" in Wiki.

AlanR said...

Great area, may be small but wonderful to walk. Bet you didn’t find the burial sites above Stainton Ground.

Sir Hugh said...

AlanR - Not likely in all that snow.

afootinthehills said...

That's quite the haul Conrad and in snowy conditions which always adds a bit of spice to the day.You'll be finished in no time if you keep this up. I like my Kahtoolas but there are dire warnings from the likes of Heather Morning about the dangers of using them in full winter conditions in Scotland.

I'd be happy to use them in the Ochils but not in places like Gen Coe!

Rouchswalwe said...

I misread it as Stickle Pickle and am still grinning (because I'd probably find myself in a pickle hiking and climbing, however much I'd want to)

Roderick Robinson said...

Stickle Pike, Hawes, Lumholme. Scrithwaite Farm: the hills may be beautiful but their labelling lacks any aesthetic sense. Luckily someone has written a hymn which suits the situation:

Where every prospect pleases,
And only man is vile.


Ay, the anchorites will say, but we call a spade a spade oop here. But what do they call a tin ear?

Sir Hugh said...

Afoot - I agree about the Khatoolas - I wouldn't use them on anything resembling climbing, and in any case, my days of freezing to a belay in a Scottish gully with darkness falling are over.
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Rouchswalwe - Without due care and attention, especially in the winter conditions we encountered one may well find oneself in a pickle on Stickle Pike.
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RR -Here is the full context of your quote:

"What though the spicy breezes

Blow soft o’er Ceylon’s isle;

Though every prospect pleases,

And only man is vile:

In vain with lavish kindness

The gifts of God are strown; The heathen in his blindness bows down to wood and stone."

It implies that heathens who “bow down to wood and stone” are the vile ones because they are not Christians - well I shall continue to bow down to the "pleasing prospects” I encounter in the hills and will have no worries about being labelled a heathen, although I realise your criticism was directed at the indigenous Cumbrians, and not me.

Many of those place names we have to thank the Vikings for so it seems a unfair to blame the present day Cumbrians.

Roderick Robinson said...

So blame the Vikings, then. A taste for ugly names together with a tendency towards pillage and rapine; was that a desirable basis for town and country planning? Place names have been been changed and for the better: Londinium (a real lumberer) was sharpened from four syllables to two to become London, Verulamium (hard to pronounce) is now St Albans, Eboracum (A fungal infection of the foot?) is more concisely York.

Of course Cumbria, itself an evolutionary name, cannot compete with the county of nasty names - the one that wins all the prizes. And we know what that is.

Bowing down to pleasing prospects sounds pagan to me. Checking I find it can be covered by a number of crackpot practices including panentheism, totemism, animism and shamanism. But consider: self-subjugation to a view seems several intellectual steps down from building a boat with a cast-metal keel, watching Shakespeare from a boxed set, reading Proust or cooking casseroles.

Better off like me: I go in for goddess worship, also related to disambiguation. I hope I make myself clear.

Phreerunner said...

Haha - very entertaining. I've enjoyed catching up. Good luck with your knee, and with your ongoing onslaught of the Outliers.
I've also had a few Blogger problems. Open Live Writer now seems to be working vaguely satisfactorily.