The views to Crag Fell in one direction and to Steeple in other were lovely as we headed down the forestry track alongside Ennerdale Water. The track is easy walking and helps to stretch our legs before we have to ascend the dizzy heights of Caw Fell. After not too long the last group including myself arrived at Irish Bridge to cross the River Liza. This is also where we caught up with the second group.
The River Liza looked lovely in the sunlight as the water flowed over the stony course from Ennerdale Water. At this point we had walked 1.5 miles. We all gathered for a brief rest on the far side of Irish Bridge before heading off along the path through the forest which followed Woundall Beck. After a short distance and climbing to a footbridge over Silvercove Beck we caught up with Dave and Josie taking photos and absorbing the scenery. From now on we were a “full” group.
The next part of the walk was a little more strenuous. Not only was it the first main climbing of the day but also it was slow as we trudged our way along the narrow paths through the heather. During this time Ann felt that her heel was sore and therefore had to stop for first aid and socks. Although we could not find any socks to fit she really did not want any chance of a blister to develop.
I accompanied, with others, Neil Haslewood on his 214th Wainwright fell top... Steeple above Ennerdale. We first took in the tops of Caw Fell, Haycock and Scoat Fell. A good meal in fine company at the Kirkstile Inn in Loweswater followed, congratulations to Neil, a well organised and fun day! Thanks to all who where there, a walk and evening to savour. Dave Dimmock
We then carried on up the rising ridge between Deep Gill and Silvercove Beck. Liz was starting to struggle so she decided to walk at her own slower pace while the rest of us kept on going to the top. The views back to Ennerdale Water were great as well as over towards our goal today ... Steeple. We continued straight on across open fell to reach a wall on the top of the ridge. This is where we turned right to the summit of Caw Fell - our first Wainwright of the day. The summit is a flat and mainly stony one. The sun was not shining at this point but the views from the top were still very good. This was my Wainwright 213!! It was while we were retracing our steps from Caw Fell that we met Liz again. She had now decided that she would return back down the way she had climbed and back to the car. We would see Liz again when we all returned to the car park later in the day.
After retracing our steps we walked eastwards following the ridge wall to Little Gowder Crag. A short and easy scramble to the top gave good views back to Ennerdale, Caw Fell and Iron Crag in one direction and Haycock in the other. We did not stop there long before we set off again for our 2nd Wainwright of the day – Haycock. The summit is very stony and has several cairns scattered across its top. The main cairn is next to the wall. We had now travelled about 5 miles since leaving the car park at Bowness Knott. There was a bit of a debate as to which of the cairns was the true top of Haycock and therefore we reached for our trusty AW guide. Even GPS coordinates were taken to prove the point. However I sure we all knew really ... but it just added to the fun of the day.
A great day out in excellent company. Well done Neil on the 214. All the best. Andrew Leaney
Continuing we descended from Haycock following the wall once again all the way down to the col 95 metres below. This is where a few of the party decided to take a lunch break. The rest of us climbed the 140 metres to the summit of Scoat Fell. The weather was really starting to improve now and the views across to our target ... Steeple ... were great. Scoat Fell has a rocky top and also has one of those very strange cairns ... on top of a wall!! As we sat for lunch we admired the view to Steeple and Pillar as well as all the way back to Ennerdale. While Josie was sitting admiring the view she had some visitors ... 3 sheep who were very interested in what she was eating. They did not seem to be frightened at all.
At last we had finished our lunch and we were heading for Steeple. This was also the start of the return back to Bowness Knott. Looking down from Scoat Fell to Steeple is quite impressive. I led the way down the narrow ridge path. It’s only about a 5 to 10 minute walk from Scoat Fell to Steeple but it is now one of the most exciting ones for me. The drop to the col is about 45m before ascending to the summit. After almost 6.5 miles of walking we arrived at the summit of STEEPLE.
I arrived at the summit first to touch the top of the cairn and throw my arms in the air in celebration. I had actually completed AW’s 214 fells! It had taken since 20th June 2002 when I climbed my first Wainwright Fell ... Loughrigg Fell until today to mark this great achievement. Just over 8 years ... I can’t believe it. From Loughrigg Fell all those years ago to Steeple today both summits had sunshine and great views. The only difference today was that I was with lots of friends who have helped me on this incredible journey. What a great feeling it was.
While on the summit and after lots of photos there were great champagne celebrations. I have never known a champagne cork come out so easily ... is that something to do with the altitude or is that just excitement? Even a bottle of Thwaites Wainwright Beer was placed at the top of the cairn and a copy of AW’s guide. Unfortunately the bottle of beer fell and smashed on the rocks. I guess it will have been well washed away by now!! We also had a group photo taken by a couple of walkers who had met us at the summit. At this point Richard left the party to return back to his tent at Syke Farm via Pillar, Memorial Bridge, Scarth Gap Pass, Buttermere Lake, and Buttermere Village.
Hearty congratulations from me,too!..... Now get started on the Munros Ian Smith
After quite a while celebrating we started to head away from Steeple descending the Long Crag ridge. The rocks near the top and on the edge of ridge were really impressive almost looking like teeth. Continuing down the path we went through a boulder slope before heading downhill through grass. The views to Ennerdale Water were great especially as it was such a nice afternoon. Eventually we crossed Low Beck before slowly ascending to Lingmell (one of the 541 Birkett Fells). There were two cairns on rock outcrops on its summit. Lingmell stands at 435m (1,427ft). We then went through more heather and descended very steeply down to the Ling Mell Plantations walking through a muddy section at the end. We rejoined the forest path which we walked on earlier in the day and then crossed Irish Bridge once more. The walk back to Bowness Knott car park was straight forward as we retraced this morning’s route. On reaching the car park we met Liz again. It must have been quite a long day for her. It was a fantastic walk on a fantastic day with some fantastic friends.
After the walk we all met later on for an evening meal at the Kirkstile Inn in Loweswater. We were joined by Jennifer Hall and Mark Richards who could not join us for the walk today. It was certainly a great evening and I was presented with a 214 t-shirt from Mark Sims.
Thank you to everyone who was involved in the days activities (including the bottle of Champagne) as well as all those who attended the walk and the meal. I would also like to thank everyone who has sent me congratulations either via the OFC or via personal email and texts and lastly, thank you for everyone who has published photographs via websites or online photo albums.
This will certainly be a day that I will never forget.
On the Sunday the weather stayed fine and the valley enjoyed a full programme of events at the Loweswater Show . Neil and others were able to stay for a while to enjoy the sights and sounds of the day. Next year's show is on the 4th of September, so book that in your diaries! The following presentation comes from Roger Hiley at Loweswatercam :