High Pike (Caldbeck)

Date: 10 May 2019                        Weather: 7’C, overcast, light winds

Height gain: 1,424ft                     Distance: 4.9 miles

Time taken: 2 hours 45 mins     Wainwright count: 80 of 214

Route:  From Fell Side Farm following footpath below Low Pike and back the same way.

We had hoped to walk St Sunday Crag today repeating a walk we did on Mum & Dad’s 40th wedding anniversary 10 years ago but the weather was cold, overcast and threatened rain so we decided to head somewhere completely different and tick off High Pike.

It’s a reasonably long drive to this north-east corner of the Lake District but the journey was uneventful and we arrived at Fellside, a the small collection of farm buildings.  We parked on the verge opposite the good parking area which was full (room for five or six cars in this small hamlet) and listened in as a walker continued what seemed to have been been a long conversation with a farmer on a quad bike – hopefully they knew each other or the farmer had had a long distraction from his day.

As we started sorting rucksacks the two finally finished their conversation and in very quick time the walker drove away in his BMW.  S quickly hopped into our car and took the now vacant spot – a much better parking place, and proving that he can drive with his boots on.

We set off towards the gate that marks the end of the hamlet and start up the distinct track into the hills:


Despite the overcast weather in front of us the views behind us are much brighter:


We plod upwards on easy paths, stopping to consult the map to decide when to keep straight on and when to take a path to our right.

We keep plodding and quite soon make it to the top which has a bench – unusual for the top of a mountain:


I go and have a look at it – the small plaque says “In memory of Mick Lewis who loved all these fells.  He died on May 8th 1944 aged 16 years” – very sad.

The views south are dominated by the Skiddaw – Blencathra range which look dramatic although obscured by swathes of low grey cloud rushing towards us from over there:


Carrock Fell is looking distinct to the east:


It’s cold and windy up here now and the bench is too wet and exposed to sit on so we descend a little and find a relatively sheltered dip to enjoy our home made pasties.  As we sit and munch I’m surprised to see what I think is some kind of small blossom falling onto us.  It takes me a couple of minutes to realise the weather has caught up with us and it’s snowing – in May!!

I have emergency gloves with me and a nice warm hat but S has neither so we set off on a swift descent back the way we came.  As we descend the snow turns to rain but it isn’t too heavy.  We warm up as we walk at a reasonable pace, S trying to ignore his poor knees who like to take descents a little more sedately these days.

We’re back at the car in just over 45 minutes – it’s the only one left in the parking area now.  We saw one other person in the distance today – this is a lovely quiet and atmospheric edge of the Lake District whose climbs are not too taxing.

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