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My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Thursday, 30 July 2020

Waterfalls I have not visited (2) - Ease Gill and Crag Hill

Wednesday 29th July 2020 - Ease Gill and Crag Hill ( SD 692 832)

Back in November 2018 my friend BC suggested a walk in the Lakes, the objective being to see a couple of waterfalls - that didn't turn out exactly as planned - see the post if you want:

I have a number of unfinished walking projects and more on a vague "to-do" list. In August 2018 I walked up the lower part of Ease Gill from Leck to where I could look down the steep wooded hillside to where the path from Bull Pot Farm joins Ease Gill in a sort of bowl. Much as I was tempted to descend to explore this pothole haven I could see no obvious route and I didn't have time for what would most likely turn into an epic, but a visit there went onto the to-do list along with the ambition to follow Ease Gill back up towards its source.

The drive from Casterton to Bull Pot Farm is on single track road with almost no passing places making for a nail-biting start to the day, but at around 9:00 am I had a clear urn. On the way back I met one car coming the other way just before getting to Casterton and he obligingly reversed for about quarter of a mile - I'm glad it wasn't the other way round.

My walk started from the farm which is the headquarters of the Red Rose Potholing club, a venue steeped in speleological history. I have passed through here on several occasions. The most memorable was on an epic trig point bagging trip when I ended up near Ingleton having run out of daylight with no hope of getting back across country to Bull Pot. Fortunately son and daughter were summoned and I waited in the Wheatsheaf at Ingleton for them to come and drive me back to Bull Pot.

We have had heavy rain recently and I had high hopes of drama picturing myself climbing up the sides of vigorous waterfalls and making dicey crossings of the beck. The track from Bull Pot to Ease Gill was running with water which supported my anticipation.

There was a splendid surprise view down into the bowl of Ease Gill where it turns through almost a right-angle to head north east with Crag Hill overlooking to the north. The descent was steep and needed care.

Initially the path up the gill was away from the water and then when I joined I was surprised to find a dry river bed with a carpet of football sized, and bigger, of boulders. This persisted a long way up the gill and several places where there should have been impressive waterfalls were dry. I dodged from bank to bank where there were faint paths on the grass and some of the time directly up the river bed on the awkward boulders. This being prime potholing country the water obviously runs underground unless here is a deluge to make it flow above and I was surprised not to find that after our recent weather. The gill was not as steeply sided as I had expected but the scenery was dramatic and I would say unique. Eventually the stream came alive with water as the valley sides narrowed. I followed until I could escape to the north onto the slopes of Crag Hill and made the long pathless ascent on rough ground to the trig point. The trig pillar had a strange design sort of stencilled and Googling (only briefly) has revealed no explanation.

The descent straight back to Bull Pot followed a fence line but there were occasions when I had to climb over and there was only a faint intermittent path and much rough reed and tussock hard going. All in all a worthwhile mini expedition and a pretty tough six miles.

Bull Pot Farm front, and below rear view

The wet track to Ease Gill

Lime Kilns

See red lines high on fell side - the single track road in to Bull Pot Fm.

Looking down the steep descent to Ease Gill

Cave and pot hole but no waterfall

The path lead away from the stream here

Dry river bed. Hard going on the boulders
Valley sides getting steeper - still no water

A trickle was coming down here from the bridge above. It went into a deep pool and I suppose continued underground - see below

Just above the previous photos - now there is water flowing

The previous photos of cave and pool and the water coming in from above were taken from that bridge

Now steeper with proper stream. It was not far above here that I branched off left to ascend Crag Hill

Looking back down my route

Crag Hill trig

Anybody know about this on the trig?


  1. Are waterfalls your new checklist?

  2. HH - I'm s bit wary of them ever since I nearly went over a thirty footer in Scotland when I was Munroing.

  3. Well Conrad, we should have met up. I was on Great Knoutberry on Wednesday....

  4. Phreerunner - Although we would have been about 10km. apart I reckon there would be a sight line between the two peaks so at least we may have waived to each other.

  5. As walks to not see waterfalls go, that looks a fine one.

    Your photos have highlighted that I really need to get out to somewhere more than 5 miles from home. I've been enjoying the greenness of the fields and woods around home during this prolonged stay, but there is not a single ounce of drama in any of the landscapes immediately nearby.

  6. What, no water and no map?
    Found this looking for red stars on trig points.
    I think we should track down a bottle or two.

  7. BC - Map was overlooked. Now rectified. Good try with the red stars. Susrprised it dind't come from the USSR.


    Gayle - I know what you mean. I am fortunate having a fair amount of varied terrain within reasonable driving distance.

  8. Which waterfall did you nearly go over Conrad? Almost going over the cliffs at Neist was my closest call and I wasn't climbing.

  9. afoot - It was at the start of my ascent of Ben Starav in Glen Etive - 2008. I had set off from a small car park on the Glen Etive road around NN 138 471 and was traversing the hillside to cross the burn somewhere around NN 138 458. I hadn't realised there was a good path and a footbridge further below me. It was a fine day, and although I had been totally immersed I carried on to Bem Starav and its neighbouring Munro and soon dried out in the sunshine. Here is an account I wrote later:

    In Glen Etive, last year, I was crossing a mountain stream raging steeply down a mountain side. It was in spate. I slipped and shot off at speed down a polished rock slab water slide for about fifty feet. I was heading for a thirty foot vertical thunderous waterfall I had seen on my way up. The waterfall terminated in a heaving pulsating pool of wild yellow foam with steep rock walls all the way round and the outlet leading to rapids and further minor waterfalls.

    The only thought I can remember was saying to myself “well, I suppose this is it”. The force of water had created a deep rock bowl just before the waterfall and I found myself looking over the rim of this bowl and straight down the waterfall. This would have made a good photo from an angle not many people could have achieved, but unfortunately my camera had not taken kindly to this adventure.

    The photo was taken as I set off for this Munro by a fellow Munroist who then went off into the hills. It seems somewhat prescient that I elected to make this pose next to the mountain rescue vehicle. It was the last photo taken by the inundated camera;

  10. A wonderful account Conrad and thanks for telling it.