Lake District Walks
Date: 27th Oct 2013
Distance: 5.6 miles
Ascent: 1828 feet
Time: 4 hours 20 mins
With: Tim and Jack
Start Grid Ref: SD229961
My first visit to the Duddon Valley was this super climb up on to Caw from Seathwaite.
Route Summary: Seathwaite - Old Park Beck - Caw Quarry - Caw - Pikes - Green Pikes - - Walna Scar Quarry - Walna Scar Road - Seathwaite
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Although I'd completed the Wainwrights five months earlier this walk was the first time I'd set foot in the Duddon valley. In truth I fell in love with the valley before I'd even stepped out of the car, the autumn colours on display as we drove from Duddon Bridge to Seathwaite were absolutely stunning.
Parking next to the small church just along the road from the Newfield Inn we retraced our steps a short way along the road before joining a fine bridleway which led us on a gradual climb up with some excellent views back down into the valley behind us. Just before reaching the highest point of the bridleway we then doubled back on a wonderfully engineered path climbing up to Caw Quarry on the northern slopes of Caw.
Once again the views on this section were excellent, my only complaint being that we'd seemed to have left the blue sky behind when we set off from Broughton that morning. In fact, apart from a few brief moments towards the end of the walk the sunshine stayed stubbornly around the Duddon Estuary and refused to penetrate into the valley itself.
The remains of Caw Quarry made a good place for a quick stop and gave me the opportunity to put my head torch to use and head a few metres into the disused mine level which was shin deep in water. From the quarry the path was steeper and less clear than we had hitherto enjoyed but it was easy enough. What we we probably weren't prepared for, having largely been sheltered by Caw itself thus far, was the sheer strength of the wind at the summit. It was barely possible to reach the trig point, which stands on some rocks, on two feet alone and it was impossible to stand still without maintaining a tight grip on the trig point. Certainly the gusts were as strong as I've encountered on any previous walk.
Needless to say it wasn't possible to sit and eat our lunch on the top, which was a shame as it was a wonderful summit and an excellent viewpoint. Instead we descended north-east towards Pikes and half way down, having once again gained shelter from the wind sat and had a snack. The next two tops we visited, Pikes and Green Pikes, are, like Caw, counted by Wainwright as 'Outlying Fells'. Pikes had a nice little top whereas Green Pikes was really just a knoll on the end of Pikes.
From Green Pikes we didn't take the direct route to Seathwaite, instead we followed a wall for a while before striking out for a track which led us eventually to the remains of Walna Scar Quarry and eventually Walna Scar Road. The latter provided us with a fine route back into the valley with Harter Fell looking particularly impressive ahead of us. When the track turned into a metalled road it was then an easy walk back into Seathwaite.
Wainwright may have relegated Caw to an 'Outlying Fell' and it may lack the height of many of the more popular Lakeland fells but I can truly say that this a great walk, particularly the climb itself, and had the day been brighter this would have been one of my favourite walks in the Lake District. Highly recommended.