Return to Whittle Wanderer

Grike, Crag Fell, Whoap, Lank Rigg, River Calder, Blakeley Moss, Cumbria.
[13.7 km]  Thu 21 Jun 2018

Lat/Long: 54.510695, -03.453760
OS Grid ref:
NY 05975 13793
It is the summer solstice and the longest day which I started by cycling to Denham Hill to watch the sunrise. I was very fortunate as it is the first time I have seen the midsummer sunrise for some years. I returned home to pack the car and drive north on the M6 for a Cumbrian walk.

It is some years since I have walked in the Ennerdale area so I have decided to redo a walk I did in April 2007. A little cloud had rolled in as I drove north to Penrith where I left on the A66 and drove past Keswick and on to Cockermouth where I turn left at the roundabout onto the A5086. I followed this for a few miles and left to follow the narrow lanes to Ennerdale Bridge and check the car park at Ennerdale water. It’s I didn’t know if it was a pay for or not but it turned out to be free. I then continued to the narrow Lane that runs over the moors to Calder bridge. Although it goes over the moors it is fairly busy and seems to carry a lot of traffic presumably for Sellafield. The parking spot I used the last time was off the road and not too visible so I wasn’t too sure about security. I drove back north a short way where the car was in open view and left it there. I set off back up the road then turned east up a rough track heading up to pine plantations.

Grike summit cairns
I reached a substantial forestry road where I could have turn right and followed the road but I headed over the moor and across Heckbarley to my first objective the summit of Grike. Crossing the moor was quite easy as there was a faint quad bike track. The last time I was here I took a route further to the west on the climb hoping for a view down Ennerdale. It turned out not to be visible so this time I took the direct route to Grike summit. There were two large cairns and one of them was formed into a shelter.
The views were extremely good out to the Solway Estuary where I could clearly see the Scottish hills in the distance. It is fairly strange that the Ordnance Survey doesn’t show a path running over the summit yet the online open street map site does. I continued directly east along a gentle descending path heading towards an interesting looking aerial mast. The path continues past it but I stepped over the fence to have a closer look. There is a substantial power supply into it and looking at the microwave dishes it looks like a relay station.
Mast on the descent of Grike
In a fenced enclosure next adjacent was a weather station. I returned to the path and headed towards Crag Hill where I could see a lone figure standing on the summit area. As I approached they moved off to my left and must have descended by another route. Crag fell is a good area for views and after photographing the summit cairn I started to descend to the south east through various rocky outcrops to find a nice view of Ennerdale Water.
Crag Hill and Ennerdale view

Whoap boulder with Grike summit in the distance
I was off the main path but the views were excellent. It was partly cloudy and for Midsummer’s Day surprisingly cool with a temperature down to 8 degC. This combined with a fairly strong north west wind to it feel chilly when standing around. I continued down to a saddle where the forestry track ran along the base. There was a National Trust Land Rover there but nobody around. I crossed through an area of cleared pine plantation to start a gentle climb up to the east following the wall.
Part way up I turned sharp right across open more heading for Whoap. I soon came to a faint quad track and that led me to a faint path which took me gently up to the large summit area at just over 500m. There is nothing of note on the summit other than a large boulder to the west which isn’t quite at the highest point. I visited the boulder then returned the way I’d come to swing round to the right and descend to the saddle above Red Gill on my way up to Lank Rigg. The climb up to Lank Rigg was relatively steep. At the summit trig point I had a partial view of Sellafield to the southwest and a cairn in the way to the south west near a tarn. There is an interesting and amusing tale in Wainwright’s book about buried treasure on Lank Rigg.:
Lank Rigg trig post
Wainwright’s book 7 ‘The Western Fells’
The only existing experience in the lonely life of the Ordnance column occurred on a glorious sunny day in April 1965 when it was a mute and astonished witness to an unparalleled act of generosity. In an uncharacteristic mood of magnanimity which he has since regretted, the author decided on this summit to share his hard won royalties with one of his faithful readers, and place a two-shilling piece under a flat stone: it awaits the first person to read this note and act upon it. There is no cause to turn the whole top over as though pigs have been at it – the stone is four feet from the column. If the treasure cannot be found at this distance it can be assumed that a fortunate pilgrim has already passed this way rejoicing. The finder may be sufficiently pleased to write c/o the publishers and confirm his claim by stating the year of the coin’s issue. If nobody does so before the end of 1966 the author will go back and retrieve it for the purchase of fish and chips. It was a reckless thing to do, anyway.

Waiwright’s further comments on Lank Rigg are:
Die here, unaccompanied, and your disappearance from society is likely to remain an unsolved mystery.
I was glad I walked to the further cairn as it gave me an uninterrupted view of Sellafield I turned sharp right and headed north to begin my descent across an area of rushes then a fairly steep drop down into Whoap Beck. The last part was quite steep and wet but the beck was only a stream and easy to cross. It was fairly tussocky on the far side and I followed that side of the river along a gentle descent below White Esk.
Tarn on Lank Rigg
I crossed a couple of fords before I reached the vehicle track heading up by Bomery Gill. The track headed west and over the raise to join the moorland road between Ennerdale Bridge and Sellafield. I reached the road and walked the kilometre distance back to my car.
Lank Rigg secondary cairn

Sellafield from Lank Rigg
I could just see the Kinniside Stone circle so moved the car and walk across to the stones which are only a short way from the road.

Kinniside Stone Circle
 Wainwright makes the following comments:
Kinniside Stone Circle.
It is a remarkable fact that the Kinniside Stone Circle, although a well known ancient monument, is omitted from the Ordnance Survey maps. The explanation seems to be that at the time of the first, and early subsequent surveys, the Kinniside Stone Circle was non-existent, all twelve stones having long before been taken by local farmers for use as gateposts and building materials. But forty years ago (1925) a grand job of restoration was accomplished by an enterprising working party, to whom great credit is due. Having cleaned out and measured the sockets in the ground in which the stones were originally set, they searched for – and subsequently located – the original twelve, recovered them all, and completely restored the site. Today the circle is exactly as it was when first laid out thousands of years ago, waiting to surprise the next ordnance Survey team. Note for survivors of the working party; one stone is loose.

Wikipedia adds further to the story:
The circle was apparently dismantled in the 18th century by a farmer who used the stones for gate-posts. In 1925 a Doctor Quine of Frizington "restored" the stone circle, setting the stones in concrete. Whether or not he erected the stones in their original stone holes is unclear, and it is unlikely that all of the re-erected stones come from the original circle.