Lake District Walks
Date: 15th July 2006
Distance: 7.9 miles
Ascent: 2115 feet
Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SD310976
An exploration of the relatively unfrequented Yewdale Fells above Coniston and below Wetherlam.
Route Summary: Fir Trees B&B, Coniston - Far End - Mart Crag - Yewdale Crag - Goat's Crag - Low Tilberthwaite - Tilberthwaite Gill - Yewdale Moss - Miners Bridge - Fir Trees B&B, Coniston.
1. Coniston and Coniston Water
2. A newt
3. Yewdale Crag
4. Holme Fell
5. Coniston Water from Yewdale Crag
7. Penny Rigg Quarry
8. Looking across Yewdale Moss to the Eastern Fells
9. Church Beck and the Coppermines Valley
Walk Detail: After an enjoyable boat trip on Coniston Water in the morning we'd planned a walk in the Dunnerdale Fells. Unfortunately it took us ages to find Broughton Mills and then when we did we couldn't find any parking. By the time we got back to Coniston Lisa just wanted to chill out with a book so I set off to explore the Yewdale Fells.
This proved to be a hard walk in hot weather and in initially very difficult conditions. In fact the initial ascent on the path slanting up across the face of Yew Pike was most taxing mainly due to having to fight my way through gorse and bracken when the path disappeared, as it frequently did.
Despite the initial difficulties I was glad I’d made the effort when I got on to the top of Mart Crag and looked down on the view of Coniston village and its lake. It is a close shave between this top and the neighbouring Yewdale Crag as to which has the best view of Coniston Water though the latter is definitely the most clearly defined top. Strange then to find that Birkett does not seem to list it as a separate top when he names at least four other tops amongst the Yewdale Fells.
Just before climbing Yewdale Crag I discovered a newt in a stream, while on the top itself I was hailed by a paraglider who descended to within 20 metres of me to give me a wave. Having managed to get myself to the top I then had problems following a continuous path down into Yewdale. Eventually I managed it only to be confronted by another ascent of the Yewdale plateau this time via Tilberthwaite Gill.
By this time the sun was in my face and I was really struggling with the heat. It was probably for this reason that I managed to stray off my inteneded route by inadvertently following the only other walkers I’d seen on the whole walk. As a result I missed out on my main goal that was Kitty Crag that I’d identified as being the highest of the Yewdale Fells.
I got it quite wrong and seemed to have ended up on a minor top between my goal and High Wythow. By the time I realised I was far too tired to attempt to find a way round the crags of Kitty Crag to find the right way back and was so quite grateful when the walkers I’d followed earlier (who’d also clearly lost there way) led me to a fine quarry path which descended in a nice zig zag down into Coppermines Valley.
While I can understand Wainwright’s exasperation with the Yewdale Fells I found them quite an intriguing challenge and would certainly like to go up there again. Next time though I’ll either go up when the bracken is not so thick or choose a different way.