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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Walna Scar (Outlying Fells)

Saturday 23rd April 2016

Walna Scar - SD 257 963

Several years ago I would run from the start of Walna Scar Road at the end of the steep Tarmac from Coniston, going up Walna Scar Road, over Brown Pike and Dow Crag and then over The Old Man of Coniston and back down to the start. The only record I have is for 7th February 1993 - 1 hour 34 minutes. My diary says bad weather caused cancellation of a climbing trip with my late friend Pete, so I drove there with Barney, my springer spaniel, and ran round in foul weather until I turned to ascend Dow Crag from Walna Scar Road, and I came out above the clouds into glorious sunshine with the best views and cloud inversion I can ever remember - peaks poking out all over. From the diary: "I rang Pete to gloat when I got back home".

This Outlying campaign is nearing its end. After today only the Bannisdale Horseshoe remains. I phoned BC to see if he wanted to do Bannisdale today - he has already done all the others, and I only had this Walna Scar remaining. BC quite rightly preferred that we should only do the last round together after we had BOTH finished all the others, thus providing a fitting conclusion to what has been a wonderful undertaking based on a mutual understanding of walking lesser singletons on our own, for logistical reasons and in the interests of completing the list in an acceptable timescale, and cherry-picking the best rounds for superb joint days.

Walna Scar (as a named summit) is only a few hundred yards off the summit of Walna Scar Road, turning left instead of right where I latterly turned to go over Dow Crag. I have climbed on Dow Crag, but never walked up past Goat's Water and up to the col between The Old Man and Dow Crag, so today I decided to make a day of it and do that.

Although the sky was cloudless and sunny there was a bitterly cold wind. I spent a long time looking up at A Buttress on Dow where I followed my friend Pete (mentioned above) leading Eliminate A, one of the best climbs I ever did. Today was all nostalgia.

After Dow Crag I descended and could see Walna Scar across Walna Scar Road - only a five minute ascent from there. There are two other peaks a short way beyond and I included those in my round.

In the old days parking through the gate from the Tarmac was always limited with no more room realistically for more than half a dozen cars. Today I found a two tier car park, and even at 9:30 am it was half full. When I returned shortly after 2:00 pm it was crammed - I counted roughly and there were well over fifty cars. Every week in the Westmorland Gazette there is yet another (or maybe several) more schemes to "attract more visitors to The Lake District." How the heck are they going to be accommodated?

More gloating - after superb sunshine spots of rain fell on the windscreen as I drove off back home.


Walna Scar Road car park at 9:30 am. When I returned just after 2:00 pm it was crammed, and you can only see half of it here!

Dow Crag - A Buttress is second from left - Goat's Water nestles below

A Buttress - red dots = Eliminate A

Walna Scar Road - Walna Scar and White Pike and White Maiden beyond. Although the road looks benign from here it is unsurfaced and a chaotic jumble of loose stones - I once went over the handlebars on my mountain bike descending down the steep bit further down to the left from here - more nostalgia

Harter Fell, upper Dunnerdale, and the distant Scafells from White Pike


Roderick Robinson said...

The Guardian reviewed a book yesterday on not doing mountains that figure on lists; it centred especially on a Scots mountain (beautiful, remote, all the Scottish virtues) that is 50 ft below the limit for a Munro and is, thus, deliciously ignored. Like a red rag to a bull as far as you're concerned, I imagine. Meaning, of course, that now you know about it you mustn't - as a matter of principle - climb this unlisted and therefore irrelevant protruberance.

afootinthehills said...

RR - I suspect that someone will now begin the task of listing these hills.

gimmer said...

Obviously nothing wrong with your knees, legs, lungs or heart - and certainly not your will (power) :
good one .
RR 's comment - sounds like Beinn Dearg in Torridon - a very fine mountain with sweeping airy rocky ridges and plunging corries - it is ONE foot lower than the 3000' mark - thus almost deserted: finest view is from one of the Munro tops of Beinn Eighe : we vowed to visit it when we did B/E in 1988 but I never got there.
I thought there was already a list of 'nearlymuns' called Corbetts ? or are they something different

Sir Hugh said...

All - if you go to haroldstreet website you will find there are 83 different hill lists. The Corbetts are 221 Scottish hills between 2500 ft and 3000ft with a minimum dtop of 500 ft between. So the " nearly " Munros would all be included. That list is harder to complete than the Munros because those hills are more widely spaced - with Munros you can often do more than one in an outing.


Gimmer - the fact that i can still get out on the hills is not any proof of unimpaired physical condition. Both knees are uncomfortable and could disintegrate further anytime, but at the moment it is not enough of a problem to significantly spoil my enjoyment so as long as that prevails i will keep bashing on.

Sir Hugh said...

Gimmer - i remember us looking across at that hill with ambition and i have thought of it often. It would be worth looking for a weather window and making a special trip. The SMC guide says, "BD is a gem of a hill and, if the narrowest of the towers along the crest are taken direct, a steady hand and a good head for heights are required. There are however no difficulties that cannot be avoided."

It is joint highest Corbett at 2999 ft with Beinn a'Chlaidheimh - NH 061 775) which i reckon we climbed as the first top in our Fisherfield round.

afootinthehills said...

It is a superb hill Conrad worthy of your attention. It was our 185th Corbett.

Sir Hugh said...

Afoot - i enjoy these posts where comments lead from one thing tomsnother.

afootinthehills said...

Me too. Looking again at notes I see we did Beinn Dearg in 1999 so had 36 remaining. Now, 17 years later we still have a dozen left. I submit this as overwhelming evidence of not being ( solely) a list ticker!

gimmer said...

I'll have to stop work and start training - Cross Fell is just under 3000' but not quite as demanding as B/D I think - boring though, I recall from my 10 years old ascent. Which may be why I have not repeated it ever.
I can see another July / August Loch Arkaig drama coming up - better be better prepared this time.
Perhaps we can pop up Mont Blanc as a loosener: before work, of course.

Sir Hugh said...

gimmer - Stop doing work and just go WALKING at a level that is enjoyable and comfortable, or for me, a level that induces pleasant tiredness justifying the joys of a hot bath and a chill-out in front of the tele in the evening. Forget about "training", that requires an unwanted mental discipline and is arduous and to be avoided.

Roderick Robinson said...

I am contemplating a non-fiction book: Mountain Climbing As A Sub-set Of Accountancy

afootinthehills said...

I too am contemplating a book 'The Unlisted Hills of Scotland - those 50ft less in height than Munros.' Of course apart from the introduction, the hundred or so pages will be blank to maintain the 'unlisted' status.

I expect it to be a flop but worth the effort all the same.

Fool on the hills said...

Much as I hate to depart from the other surreal comments I thought I'd just say I'm finding the current OLF walks very useful as we are proceeding along similar lines,the plan being to pick off the western and northern ones when on holiday over there and the Shap fells in summer as they are most handy for us in Yorkshire.It's uncanny how you seem to pick out our next walk a few days in advance.

The other odd coincidence is that my Lumix FZ200 just broke and has been replaced with an FZ72 which seems a nice bit of kit.

Sir Hugh said...

Fool on the hills - welcome to the blog. All comments are welcome barring pronity. Good luck with the Ws, we have found it a very worthwhile and rewarding project.

Sir Hugh said...

Should have read profanity