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Whinlatter Pass, Ladyside Pike, Hopegill Head, Grizedale Pike, Hobcarton End, Cumbria.
[12.8 km]  Tue 08 Aug 2017

OS Grid ref: NY 20291 24458
Lat/Long: 54.608965, -03.235600


After an easy drive to Keswick and on to Whinlatter I checked out the cost of parking on the main car park. It was an extortionate £8 for the day so I drove on to a wide verge Iíve used in the past. When I got there I found it had been blocked off by a bank of earth. Further on I found another wide verge that is in general use so parked and stared there. I continued walking west down the hill to the minor left branch road that leads in to Lower Lorton.

View towards Whinlatter
It descends to Blaze Bridge where the road is starting to subside towards the river. Up the hill is another left turn towards High Swinside. At the junction is a path over the wall leading up on to the fell. A sign says no through road but the Open Street map site shows a path continuing up the hillside. I followed the OSM route steeply up the hill and came to a wall with no crossing point. OSM is wrong and the sign is right. There was a cattle crossing through the wall further down so I took it and joined the main path. The 1:50K Ordnance Survey map shows it but not the 1:25K, very odd.
Gate on  the approach to Ladyside Pike

The view from Ladyside Pike looking north to the Solway Eastuary and Scotland

The saddle before Grisedale Pike

Climbing Grisedale Pike with
Blancathra in the distance

Skiddaw and Blencathra

There was a lot of heavy dew on the ground but the weather continued fine. The path followed and old track diagonally up the east side of Swinside. Looking to my left I had some new views of Whinlatter Pass Iíve never seen before. The fragrant purple heather was extensive on both sides but subsided as I reached the gate above the pine plantation. After a flat stretch a steeper ridge took me up to Ladyside Pike. It is an interesting summit as there are great views out across the Solway to Scotland and also the surround fells.

Fallen trees are just left
A few old small depressions show where stone was quarried for the walls. Up ahead I could see my next objective, the imposing north ridge up to Hopegill Head. It looks like a featureless slab of rock from a distance but on approaching a way though can be seen. It is an interesting steady climb and a great summit to reach. There is nothing on it, not even a small cairn. I descended to the east towards Grizedale Pike and this is where I saw and met the first people of the day. It was interesting looking down into the Hobcarton valley below which has been scarred by the pine plantations and subsequent felling. There were several people on Grizedale Pike but once again there is nothing to mark the summit.
Through the pine trees
I started the pathless descent towards Hobcarton End but as the gradient eased a path began to appear. The final descent of the ridge into Hobacton Plantation was steep and very muddy in places. Down in the forest there were plenty of muddy sections and some trees across the path meaning a muddy detour. Itís a pity the £8 parking fee canít be used to send someone up with a chain saw to clear them. Some of the tracks have been improved to help mountain bikers and several were out riding as I walked the last length back to the road. As I walked along the road back to my car I noticed the car park was nearly full. Well it is the school holidays.
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