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Stonethwaite, Combe Gill, Dovenest Crag, Rosthwaite Fell, Bessyboot, Big Stanger Gill, Cumbria.
[8.4 km]  Sun 24 Feb 2019

Lat/Long: 54.515248, -03.144340
OS Grid ref: NY 26016 13930
Last Wed I had to abandon my Cumbria walk due to rain and wind but as today's forecast was good I decided to try again. I had a slightly earlier start and was driving up the M6 shortly after 5:30 a.m. There was an amazingly clear sky and to the east a lovely pre-dawn red glow. The temperature was 7 degC north of Preston but as I passed Tebay it dropped to 2 and then 1 degC over Shap.

Stonethwaite camp site
Being early Sunday morning there was hardly any traffic on the motorway. I left at Penrith to head west on the A66 to Keswick and once again had the road to myself. I drove through Keswick and down past Derwentwater to Stonethwaite but the wide verge parking area I normally use was almost full of camper vans. I managed to find a place for my car. Considering they have been camping overnight there was no movement anywhere and it was now 7:30 a.m. I set off on the same route as last week and walked through St Andrew's Church graveyard to once again have a quick look at the grave of Bob Graham. The temperature was around 1 degC with a lot of frost on the ground. Through the farmyard I passed the campsite which this morning had quite a few tents on it.
I followed the path along the base of the fell to the old Corn Mill and took a few more pictures as the weather was much better than the last time I was here. I continued up the river to a small water intake and Reservoir then headed up the fellside to start my walk into the valley. I was following the same track I recorded on my last visit here in September 2008.
The Old Corn Mill
Up the Valley I followed a lower path which was generally flat and easier to follow and continued to a stone sheepfold. I then headed straight up the fellside to regain my 2008 route which climbed up below Dovenest Crag. I started steeply up the hillside with the hope of finding some photo locations of Millican Dalton climbing on the crag, probably in the 1920s.
Sheepfold
I came to a shelter cave below the main crags but the route up ahead was too steep and severe. I traversed to the right to find a better way up which was a little scrambly in places. I kept looking down below but there was no sign of the photo location. However across the valley I had a great view of Fleetwith Pike in the sunshine. I climbed steadily upwards until the gradient eased and I was now in morning sunshine. I walked up to Rosthwaite Fell where I found a nice sheltered spot behind a rock to sit down and eat my sandwiches with a spectacular view to the north of Skiddaw on the far horizon 17 km away.
Shelter cave

View of Great Gable

Centre far horizon is Skiddaw 17km away
Below I could see a lone walker descending the root down towards Tarn at Leaves. He was long gone by the time I started my descent and I wandered slowly across the gap then up to Bessyboot summit and its small stone cairn. The weather was quite spectacular and I had lovely views all around. I was now on the route I walked on the 14th of February 2019 and was using it to descend down to Big Stanger Gill. There was a reasonable track to follow and at the top of the gill I knew there was a stone step staircase descending down the gill. It is an ideal way to climb up to the fell but is unsatisfactory as a way down. The reason is it is a deep gully and stone steps which are permanently covered in slime and rarely dry out because the sun doesn't reach it.
Descending to Stonethwaite
I had to be extremely careful and many sections I avoided by descending the steep grass slope. Eventually I reached the bottom and the access track to Stonethwaite campsite which I don't think is open yet. I turned left to head along the track to Stonethwaite Village. After having only seeing one person there were now many people on the track and even 3 motorcycles came along presumably just to have a look as they didn't have any camping gear. It was good to see the Langstrath Country Inn was now open as I passed by to join the road back to my car.
Langstrath Country Inn