Grisedale Pike

Date: 25 May 2020 Weather: 16’C, sun, breeze
Height gain: 1,709 ft Distance: 3.9 miles
Time taken: 4 hours 15 mins Wainwrights: 122 of 214

Route:  From Revelin Moss car park up to the summit via Hobcarton End then straight down the nose back to the car park.


We’ve had a few days recovery after the steep ascent of Barf and another day with good hillwalking weather dawns so we decide to head for Grisedale Pike.  It meets the requirement of being well away from civilisation – in fact this is nowhere near any town, village or hamlet as the car park is close to the Go Ape activity centre tucked into the Whinlatter Forest.

We’re brave enough to head for a well known mountain on a beautiful bank holiday Monday – not something we would normally consider (especially after our experience on Catbells on New Year’s Eve).  The drive is a little busier than it has been recently but nowhere near what we’d expect on a normal May weekday in good weather and certainly not approaching normal bank holiday traffic.

The car park is quiet when we arrive – there are three or four cars and one person just getting ready to leave (he must have been out for an early walk if he’s done by 10.30am).  It’s a pay on exit one so we don’t have to worry about donning the disposable gloves and breaking out the hand wipes before we set off (oh how times have changed).

Boots on and rucksacks heaved onto shoulders we head out of the car park onto one of the many bike tracks built through the forest:

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The signs warn that this is now a shared cycle and walking path so we’re ok on foot.  There are quite a few cyclists out, though, and they come whizzing past us in both directions – keeping at least 2 metres away of course.

There are paths heading off in several directions and we’re not quite sure which one to take.  We head off to our right at one junction and spot a narrow but distinct route up into the trees which we decide we’ll take.  It heads steeply upwards (very reminiscent of Barf) but it’s good to be away from all the bikes.

We make our way up about 250 feet through the trees until we reach the edge of the forest and move out into the open air.  The full horseshoe of our planned walk is laid out in front of us and looks stunning:

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The path ahead of us up to Hobcarton End is very clear and very steep:

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We huff and puff our way up – the path is very steep for short sections then levels out a little for another short section so although we gain height quickly it doesn’t feel quite as relentless as Barf did.

The 800 foot pull up to Hobcarton End takes us about 45 minutes.  We find a good sitting spot on a rocky outcrop and take 15 minutes or so to enjoy the views from here.  We’re looking north and can see Lord’s Seat and then Barf looking quite little about 500 feet below our current height.

We enjoy the sunshine and the cooling breeze and then turn south for the final 500 feet of steep ascent to the summit:

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As we gain height we have great views of Hobcarton Crag and Hopegill Head to our right:

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The wind is picking up and it’s getting a little chilly now.  We find a good sitting spot about 100 feet from the summit and decide to stop here for lunch.  We pull on our lightweight waterproofs to keep out the chilly wind as we eat.  We munch our sandwiches quite quickly – the view isn’t great in our sheltered spot and we’re keen to get to the top now.

We pack up and set off for the short final pull to the summit:

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The top itself is narrow and stony – it was a good move to eat lower down.  The views, however, are stunning all around us.  I have no memory of our first ascent of Grisedale Pike and I’m surprised by how lovely it is.

Derwentwater looks a beautiful deep blue to the west with the ridge of mountains behind it running from Clough Head on the left via Stybarrow Dodd and Raise to Catsycam, Helvellyn and Fairfield on the right:

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I love the view of the ridge of mountains to the south east, although they lose some impact in the photo as they are quite some way away.  We can make out Pike O’Stickle almost centre of the picture then to its right Wetherlam, Glaramara, Bowfell, Esk Pike and Great End then finally Scafell Pike and Scafell ending on a high to the right:

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The spike of Hopegill Head still has impact to the south west, with Grasmoor looming behind it:

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And to the north east we can see Skiddaw rising like a lump above the vale of Keswick, with Blencathra on the right hand side of the ridge:

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We move about the little summit taking photos and oohing and ahhing at the view.  We find a spot looking south east with as much shelter as we can find to take it all in.  There’s a couple of young women with their little dogs sitting a further down looking to the north – one in a sleeveless t-shirt who surely must be freezing.  A couple of lone walkers arrive from the Hopegill Head ridge route but don’t hang around.

We reluctantly drag ourselves away from all this loveliness to start our descent.  We’re heading down the more direct route heading north east straight in the direction of the car park.  It looks relentlessly steep but in fact it very straightforward.  We meet a young couple taking a breather on their way up and another young couple pass us on their way down.  Overall our route has been remarkably quiet today – most people seem to have taken in the summit on their way to or from Hopegill Head today rather than climb the flanks of Grisedale Pike directly.

We’ve descended a very direct 1,600 feet in about 55 minutes – not bad for us – and are back at the edge of the forest:

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A gate takes us back onto the cycle paths for the final short distance back to the car park.  It’s a little busier than it was earlier, but certainly not even weekend busy never mind bank holiday heaving – one small plus for us perhaps in the midst of the pandemic.

Grisedale Pike has taken me by surprise today – I hadn’t realised what a good walk it was or how stunning the views are at the top.  Add perfect walking weather – sunny, cool and breezy – and we are in absolutely no doubt that it’s great to be able to get back out into the national park at last.