Lake District Walks
Hartsop Above How & St Sunday Crag
Date: 2nd May 2013
Distance: 9.9 miles
Ascent: 3553 feet
Time: 7 hours 10 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY396159
A horseshoe walk above Deepdale finishing on St Sunday Crag, my 214th and final Wainwright.
Route Summary: Patterdale - Side Farm - Becktstones - Deepdale Bridge - Gale Crag - Hartsop Above How - Hart Crag - Fairfield - Cofa Pike - St Sunday Crag - Gavel Pike - Thorneyhow End - Patterdale.
1. Daffodils near Beckstones
2. Gavel Pike from the start of the climb on to Hartsop Above How
3. Approaching Hartsop Above How
4. On Hartsop Above How
5. Looking towards Fairfield
6. Hart Crag
8. Looking back at Hartsop Above How
9. Deepdale from the climb up Hart Crag
10. On the top of Hart Crag
11. Two walkers on the Great Rigg to Fairfield ridge with Great Gable behind
13. A raven on the top of Fairfield
14. Looking down on Cofa Pike
16. St Sunday Crag
17. Looking back at Fairfield
18. On the top of St Sunday Crag - my final Wainwright
19. Enjoying the view of Ullswater on the descent
20. Ullswater from Thorneyhow End
Walk Detail: This walk was a real milestone for me as it was the walk that I bagged my final two Wainwrights thus completing a journey that started off nearly eight years ago.
When I originally planned this route a few years ago I expected to climb St Sunday Crag first and return via Harstop Above How thus saving the gentler ground for the descent. However, I'd always wanted to save one of the higher fells until last so I reversed the route so that I could finish on St Sunday Crag.
While it would have been quicker to follow the road from Patterdale to Deepdale Bridge I decided to take the more pleasant alternative and follow the track via Side Farm, Crookabeck and Beckstones. Along the way I was treated to some fantastic displays of daffodils which proved to be quite distracting as I spent quite some time photographing them rather than getting on with the job in hand.
The climb up the long curved ridge on to Hartsop Above How seemed to take ages but when I finally got there it proved to a worthy objective with the summit providing a particularly good view of Dove Crag and a quite startlingly precipitous drop down into Dovedale.
Although St Sunday Crag was my next objective in terms of Wainwright bagging to get there I had to first climb Hart Crag and then Fairfield. I'd previously been up both via the Fairfield Horseshoe route from Ambleside. As enjoyable as that walk was it has to be said that both Hart Crag and Fairfield are much more impressive when seen from the Deepdale side.
The rocky clamber up on to Hart Crag from Hartsop Above How proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable climb and from the summit I had what was probably the most extensive view of the day. In addition to much of the eastern half of the Lake District I could clearly make out numerous Pennine hills from Pendle Hill all the way to Cold Fell at the northern end of the Pennines. In fact I can never remember being so clearly able to identify so many Pennine tops from the Lake District.
The walk from Hart Crag on to Fairfield was easy even though I largely strayed off the main path so I could walk above Fairfield's impressive eastern crags. Surprisingly I had the summit to myself but I didn't linger long as the prize of St Sunday Crag was now well and truly within my sights.
I'd like to say that in a burst of energy and adrenaline I strided along the ridge to my goal but by the time I'd negotiated the descent over Cofa Pike to Deepdale Hause I was getting quite tired. Thankfully the climb from Deepdale Hause was a fairly gentle one, it also provided great views of Deepdale and particularly of Grisedale. It was a climb to savour than one to rush.
It was about 3.30pm in the afternoon when I reached the top and, as with all the other summits on the walk, I had it all to myself. This encouraged me to leap about taking some celebratory pictures before I settled down for about half an hour to soak up the views, have something to eat and generally enjoy a sense of achievement.
On the way down I made a detour out to Gavel Pike but ultimately decided to leave Birks off the route as time was getting on and I had a long drive home. The path descending along the flanks of Birks featured some stunning views of Ullswater but at the end I had to tackle the steep descent from Thorneyhow End which my tired legs took some offence to.
This was a super walk and a fitting climax to my mission to complete the Wainwrights.