Day 5’s walk of 21.1 km with 447 mtrs ascent and 1025 mtrs descent.
Day 5 was primarily about getting me within 5 km of Ravenglass so that I could be at the railway station on time the following day for the early train.
The two unscheduled stops on days 2 and 3 meant that I had to come up with a plan that would get near to Ravenglass before sunset. This is where having a full map of the area comes in very handy. It enables one to consider many options whilst putting a plan together.
In the end I approved of a route consisting of the following phases:
- The descent from the Crags to the Lingcove Beck Stream
- Handrailing the Lingcove Beck Stream Southward to the main East-West ‘B’ road
- Walking approximately 9 km down the road to get near to Muncaster Fell
- Proceeding to Muncaster Fell via various paths and fields
- Ascending Muncaster Fell, followed by water collection and then camp.
All the phases were considered relatively low risk with the possible exception of the descent down from the Crags.
The above map shows my descent down off of the Crags. I knew that I had crossed Rest Gill which meant I would avoid the escarpments seen on the map due South of it. However, the map does show many steep rocky outcrops on the North side of the Gill, so I knew that the descent could be problematic, especially if the visibility was poor.
Even though I was camped above the less craggy parts of the Mountains, I knew that on the way down I would have to negotiate various rocky outcrops with steep drops in poor visibility.
This wouldn’t be a problem, I would just take my time and weave my way around the steeper parts of the descent. Once at the bottom the rest of the walk should be plain sailing!
As usual I’ll let a handful of photos from my Facebook photo journal tell the story:
The Akto tent in the morning. Here one can see it curving sharply downward on the end due to the lack of space for a suitable pitching spot. The morning was very cold, with high winds and exceedingly poor visibility.
As usual I leave the camp spot in pristine condition. Putting a tent away in high winds is a bit of an eye opener, but luckily I have a fair bit of experience in doing this 🙂
The fog had meant that I could see more without my glasses on as they kept misting up! I guess that is one of the downsides of being a spectacle wearer.
Part 1 of my plan was to descend down of off the Crags and make it to the Lingcove Beck stream which I would then hand-rail to the road. I considered this part of the plan to be the riskiest as I knew I would be running into many rocky outcrops, some of which will have steep drops on the other side. As a result I took my time on the descent and zig zagged my way around the bigger outcrops.
I soon clear the snow line, but the descent is a little tricky with all the boulders lying about. The visibility is still poor, but I consul myself with the fact that the Lingcove Beck stream is effectively a catchment feature and will be impossible to miss!
Here I’m weaving between two rocky outcrops and just heading downwards!
At this stage of the descent the winds had ceased to be an issue. Without them there is a tangible difference in the temperature I felt. I was rapidly getting the feeling that I was on the home straight for the first part of the plan.
As I descend further I break through the cloud layer that had limited my visibility earlier. I can now see where I’m going and as a bonus I immediately spot the Lingcove Beck stream!
A look back up to the cloud shrouded peaks of the Crags. It is amazing the difference in ambience between here with no winds and good visibility compared to the Crags that were exceedingly cold, ravaged by high winds and fog. It is like being in two completely different worlds all in a short space of time!
I’m nearly at the Lingcove Beck stream. I breathe a sigh of relief as the rest of today’s plan will be very easy in comparison.
I have now started the second stage of the plan. This stage is all about hand-railing the Lingcove Beck stream Southward to get me to the ‘B’ road that will ultimately take me to Muncaster Fell.
There is something very relaxing about walking down a hill whilst following a stream. I think it’s the sound of running water and the easy walking that contribute to this. Just knowing that there is water on tap helps too!
The scenery as I head Southward is stunning – this is the view to the West. Haven’t got a clue which Crag this is! 🙂
Up ahead I can see the distinctive wall on Throstlehow Crag. I now know precisely where I am!
The view down the valley to the South. For the first time I can see the farmland that marks the bottom of my descent.
The Lingcove Beck stream is very fast flowing in places, but what captures my eye is the sheer blueness of the water.
Another view to the West. I really should take more time when walking to identify things, but in this case hand-railing the stream Southward to the end had made me a little lazy.
Up ahead is a bit of a drop down to the Lingcove bridge. This is the only really steep part of the descent on this leg.
I start the climb down which for the most pat isn’t too bad. I know that after this part, it will be a nice shallow descent all the way to the road!
As I descend I get to see the Lyngcove Bridge and the sheep pen alongside it. The going is a little tricky due to the rocky surface of the slope.
A close up of the sheep pen and bridge. I decide that once I get to the pen, I will stop to munch on some snacks and enjoy the view!
I look back up toward the way I had descended. The water fall makes for a very pleasant view!
I loved the design of the Lingcove bridge and wondered whether it was by the same designer of a bridge I saw on day 3? Looking at it, the bridge looks impossibly thin, almost like it wouldn’t support any weight!
Here I’m in the sheep pen, sat down eating snacks, drinking water and just admiring the view!
The journey Southward continues. By this stage the track is well made which increases my pace.
With a well made track under my boots progress is swift!
Up ahead I see many planted tree saplings. It looks like what the Forestry Commission takes from one hand, they give with the other. I begin to wonder what this area will look like with a forest?
I get nearer to the forest-to-be. It seems a strange place to put one, but I guess the Forestry Commission have their reasons.
Up ahead I spot the boundary wall between the farmland and the hills. This means that I’m nearly at the road!
Up and over! This ladder marks my return to civilisation!
The track in the farmland is well defined, but extremely muddy. The sheep here have the same markings as the sheep I saw up in the hills. I wonder if the ones on the higher ground are escapees or up there by design?
This gate marks the start of the track that will take me directly to the road. It is getting close to midday, so I elect to cross the gate then stop off for a spot of lunch!
Here is my stop off point! I note that the cloud base has got lower since I started my descent. I begin to wonder if inclement weather is on its way?
Drinking a nice warm soup and eating oatcakes with cheese! Stopping off for lunch really does make a big difference to a walk. I used to think that lunch was a waste of time and never did it. That is until I started noticing a lack of pick-up-and-go toward the end of a walking day. A good lunch puts paid to this and provides the energy one needs for the rest of the day!
After lunch I proceed down the short track which finally takes me to the road. This marks the start of the third phase of the plan. The third phase is purely on road and will take me around 9 km West toward the Muncaster Fells. The road is a ‘B’ road, so I’m sure it will be relatively safe. It was at this point that I remembered my misadventure on the ‘A’ road on the last day of my previous walk to the Lake District – that was a misadventure I was keen not to repeat…
The road isn’t too bad. Sight lines are good, so I get plenty of warning for incoming vehicles and there are plenty of places to get out of the way. Progress on the road is exceedingly rapid, but alas, quite boring…
Up ahead is Whahouse Bridge – I remember this bridge from my previous walk. On that walk I had crossed it to this side then hung a left off into the country side! Alas, for this walk there is nothing so exciting – it is a pure road trip. I had debated for a long time during the night whether there were alternatives to using the road, but given that I had to be within 5 km of Ravenglass by the end of the day, this seemed the most reliable route to achieve those aims.
The great thing about these large pubs is that they allow me to get precise fixes as they are named on the map!
Another great navigation feature are wood-lines like the one seen ahead on the left. Just like the pubs, these provide an easy means to get a precise locational fix.
As I head West I spot these rather innovative holiday homes to the North. I liked the modern design!
Another pub – this time the Brook House Inn. Once again it’s on the map too! I’m guessing that in the summer these pubs are a hive of activity!
As I head Westward I spot the end of the Eskdale Railway at DaleGarth Station. This railway goes all the way to Ravenglass the final destination for this walk. I’m guessing the steam train isn’t too good at operating in reverse, hence the turntable.
I stop off at the station to refold the map. It’s a little windy which makes the exercise take a little longer than expected. I guess that’s the downside of paper maps!
I think this is a view back toward Harter Fell – a hill I had climbed on Day 3!
Although the road trip is boring, I’m continually amazed at my progress. It seems that I’m always looking at the wrong part of the map as my speed catches me out!
Up ahead I get my eyes on Muncaster Fell – the final destination for today’s walk. I’m happy as it means the road walk is nearly at an end.
This junction is the indicator that I will soon be leaving the road. I just need to hang a right here which should leave a very short walk to the road exit. Looking at my watch it seems that I made good progress on the road and had swallowed up the 9 km very quickly.
Here’s the turn off that will take me to Muncaster Fell! This is the start of the penultimate phase of today’s plan.
The track to Muncaster Fell is exceedingly muddy – but I am glad to be off the road.
I find a relatively dry spot and decide to stop to munch on snacks and drink water. The intent is to top up my energy levels for the climb up Muncaster Fell.
I’m soon on my way again. Up ahead are the Fells. This field is very muddy and waterlogged – even though it doesn’t look like it from the photo!
I’m now on the climb up Muncaster Fell – the final part of today’s plan. This fell is only 231 mtrs tall, but I’m finding it very hard work due to blisters and the fact that it is now toward the end of the day.
As I climb I know I’m going to run into some very boggy areas, as I had been here before on a summer walk. With the rains the UK had been receiving this year, I was expecting the boggy areas to be a lot worse…
As I proceed along the Fell I spot this rather odd rock table!
In the distance one can see that the River Esk has burst its banks from the heavy rains received this year.
The plan is to climb the hill directly in front to get to the trig point marking the top of Muncaster Fell. Alas, that brown area up ahead is deep bog, so I will need to route myself around it.
I’m now on the final climb up to the trig point. I feel exhausted, but I’m heartened by the fact that I am now within 5 km of Ravenglass, so whatever happens from here on in, I have already achieved today’s objective. This means that I’m pretty much guaranteed to get to the railway station on time tomorrow morning.
And here is the trig point in all its glory! Wooot!!!
The view Westward from the trig point. I can see Ravenglass in the far distance – the final destination of this walk. I take the time to observe the tree line up ahead and the lay of the land as I’m going to be making camp around here somewhere!
A rather tired victory pose at the trig point. I know that the next priority is to locate a running water source to top up my supplies for camp.
I now start the descent down from the trig point toward the tree-line. My map indicates a water source to the Northeast, which means I need to walk to the tree-line then hang a right.
I’m now following the tree-line down hill and NorthEastward to try and locate the water source. Without water I cannot reconstitute the freeze-dried meals, so I don’t mind going out of my way to find some.
I find the water source – though I am a little disappointed – I was hoping to see a decent sized stream. However, it is running water, so I decide to use it.
I’m now a happy chappy. All my bottles are now topped up, leaving plenty of time to locate a decent camping spot. However, the additional 2 kgs of weight does make its presence felt…
I now double back on myself up the hill and keep my eyes peeled for a good pitching spot.
The ground in this area is quite rugged and not really too suitable to pitch a tent. However up ahead by a tree I can see a flat patch of grass, so decide to head toward it.
It looks like a great spot. I check the nearby tree to make sure it is structurally intact – as I don’t want any unpleasant surprises! Once the tree is determined to be safe, it’s a case of removing the twigs and branches off the ground to make a flat spot for the tent.
The tent goes up! It’s not a bad location, in that it is well sheltered and right by the track I will need to take to get me to Ravenglass the following day. However, I still do have concerns about the tree as this is the first time I have pitched by one.
The view from the tent isn’t very inspiring, but this is the last night of the walk so I’m not too fussy 🙂
As is traditional on all my walks, the last meal is a curry!
The night would be a rainy one. This is where being under a tree proved to be a disadvantage. Normally when it rains, the tent makes a continuous sound almost like white noise which is very easy to tune out.
But under the tree, water accumulates on the branches then randomly falls down onto the tent in large drops. These drops make loud sounds when they hit the tent and due to their randomness, they are quite hard to ignore.
As a result it took me a while to drift off to sleep.
I didn’t mind though. I knew that the following day was all downhill, on easy terrain and less than 5 km! Easy!
Tune in next week for the final part of this walk.