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Sleddale Hall, Todcrags, Ulthwaite Rigg, Wasdale Pike, Cumbria.
[ 17.9 km] Wed 28 Mar 2012

NY 5546 1141
With a continuing spell of warm sunny weather I was looking forward to a dry walk. I started from the car park at Wet Sleddale Reservoir and was pleasantly surprised to see that United Utilities, the owners, hadn’t yet put up a ‘pay and display’ machine. Because of a clear night sky it was still cold when I set off but soon warmed up. I followed the access road back to Cooper’s Green farm, having a quick look at the meteorological weather station in the way, and crossed Sleddale Beck by the wooden footbridge.

Sleddale Beck footbridge

I was back on the road and stopped to take a photo of the red post box. It’s fairly unique as the top section has the initials V R for Victoria Reigns.

Victoria Reigns

As I approached Sleddale Grange a couple of builders vans passed me. Further along the track I noticed that they’d driven to Sleddale Hall and work had now started on its refurbishment. I took the steep path up by the wall to where the builders were at work in the sunshine.

Wet Sleddale Reservoir

I stepped over the fence to have a work with them and was delighted to be allowed inside the building to see what was going on.

Sleddale Hall

The builder seemed quite proud of the work they’d done and was keen to chat about some problems with accommodating sloping floors etc. I felt I was delaying their work so continued on my way up the track towards Mosedale. Once at the higher level I was able to see the profile of Great Yarlside, which is where I was heading.

Sleddale Hall - inside the old kitchen

I left the track to cross a beck to reach Todcrasgs. It was pleasant spot with rocky outcrops but the warm weather had made distant views rather hazy. My next objective was Ulthwaite Rigg and I had to cross some rough land to get there. All that marks the summit is a tiny cairn of about 4 or 5 rocks. Then I continued south across even worse ground which must be terrible in wet conditions. It was lumpy with large areas of bog. I was glad to complete the final climb and reach the ridge that connects Harrop Pike with Great Yarlside. The path is pleasant and follows the fence line until a wall begins at Great Yarlside. The wall heads to the right and my way was along a fence to the left. The firm track continued through a gate and on to a series of rocky outcrops.

Hazy SE view from Great Yarlside

I’ve not seen anybody on these fells in the past and was surprised to see a couple of walker as I reached Wasdale Pike. They’d sat down for a rest while I continued to my next objective. I was heading for a boulder called ‘To Stone or to'ther’ on the map.

There is some debate about the naming of this stone.
In Wainwright’s book ‘Outlying Fells of Lakeland’ he says the following.
Resting on a plinth of pink granite, rejoining in the name (according to the Ordnance Survey) of TO STONE OR TO’THER, which doesn’t make sense in the local dialect. One wonders whether the surveyor heard his informant alright – ‘ONE SONE ON T’OTHER’ or ‘TOP STONE ON T’OTHER’ would be appropriate and understandable.
The 1940s map names the feature as 'Rocking Stone'

‘To Stone or to'ther’

Looking towards Shap from the ‘Gray Bull’ boulder.

The trail however wasn’t taking me in the right direction so I had to head off across wet boggy ground again. Eventually I reached the fence line and follows it down to where the boulder sits on a flat rock on the far side of the fence. After a couple of snaps I crossed back over the fence and headed off towards another boulder called ‘Gray Bull’. It soon appeared on the horizon, standing out quite prominently. Although much larger than ‘To Stone or to'ther’ it didn’t have the same appeal. I descended NE bay Howe Gill where a line of shooting boxes started to appear. Then round the bend I saw the wooden hut called ‘Lunch House’ on the map. It was securely locked so I wasn’t able to investigate the interior. Thankfully I didn’t have to struggle across rough and wet ground as I was now descending on the hut’s access track. Through a gate the branch to the reservoir wasn’t as clear as the map suggests and the first part was negotiated using my GPS. The faint ling of the track was visible in places but it was far from obvious. The final stretch was an easy descent across a grassy field then I was back at the car park.

The Lunch House