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A591, Raven Crag, Thirlmere, Dale Bottom, High Rigg. Cumbria.
[12.9 km] Tue 29 Jun 2021

OS Grid ref: NY 30204 20484
Lat/Long: 54.574730, -3.081205

I drove via the M6 to Keswick then south on the A591 to park on a short length of the old abandoned road near Rough How Bridge. At the northern end was a faded sign saying parking limited to 2hrs near an abandoned car. I parked on the grass by the south end then started walking east along the busy pathless main road. I tuned off to head south onto the minor road to Thirlmere and noticed plenty of parking space on the verge where others had parked. I continued south then turned sharp right up the forestry track up Smaithwaite Banks.

 Raven Crag in the distance.
The track was easy to follow and I took a path shortcut up through the trees to rejoin the track higher up. I crossed over to follow the continuing path with the imposing cliff of Raven Crag above. I reached a fence then up a well made path with sinding steps up to the main viewing platform on Raven Crag. The expanse of Thirmere opened up to the south and north was Blencathra.
Looking down to the Thirlmere Dam.

 Thirlmere from the viewing platform.
As I was returning down the steps I met a man walking up then further down three young ladies coming up. One seemed exhausted and was taking a rest. None were dressed for the mountains. I followed the forestry track north for a while and looked for a way through the dense trees to try and get up Sippling Crag on Benn Man. Over a gate I followed a track but came to an impassable deer fence so had to return. Further along the track was was a faint route up through the grass. It was going in the right direction so I followed it. Higher up it became more distinct and eventually took me to my objective of the summit. I was above the trees and had good all round views. There was an easy descent path to the north which took me to a forestry track which I followed down to Shoulthwaite Farm and the caravan park. I stopped to chat to one man by his caravan as he had a satellite dish mounted on a tripod and I wondered if it was battery powered. It wasn't as he had the site’s mains power in his caravan. I returned to the busy A591 and headed north towards Dale Bottom Farm. Although busy there was a path for part of the way.

 “In memory of David Gerald Pennycook
who loved these fells Died 13 June 1964 aged 10 years.”
Dale Bottom Farm is a large camping and caravan site. Last week at Yew Tree Farm I spoke to the far about the stone memorial above the the Church Youth Centre. The wording on the stone says “In memory of David Gerald Pennycook who loved these fells Died 13 June 1964 aged 10 years.” He didn’t know anything about it but said the old farmer at Dale Bottom, may know. I saw a farmer in a field with his tractor so asked him where I could find Mr Kitching. He was his son. He said his father was away sorting some sheep but said the retired vicar of St John’s in the Vale Church may know and he lives in a house which we could see across the valley. I walked there and spoke to him and he said the young lad lived in Cockermouth and died at the age of 10 from leukemia. He loved these fells so his parents set up the memorial stone and brought his ashes here. I thanked him and headed up the fell towards William’s Beck following the same overgrown path I used last week.
Over the beck I continued up to search out an old camp location but had recorded the wrong coordinates. There are several paths across High Rigg that aren't marked on any path. I headed south on a route that was easy to follow. It took me up to Moss Crag whe I joined the main path across the top of the fell. Down at the wall I turned right to head west down by the wall to a gate. Through the gate I tried to follow a patha cross to Rough How Bridge and my car. Part way in the path vanished completely and there definitely wasn't anything on the ground to follow. With difficulty I reached the lower path and then had an easy walk back to my car.
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