Wetherlam

Date: 18 Sep 2016 Weather: 13’C, overcast, light wind
Height gain: 2,250 ft Distance: 4.5 miles
Time taken: 6 hours Wainwrights: 18 of 214

Route:  From Low Tilberthwaite via south path and steep final edge to top then along Wetherlam Edge and less steep descent back to Low Tilberthwaite.


I’ve been wanting to revisit Wetherlam for some time – it was one of the early ones on our first round, last climbed in 1998.  I don’t remember much about the last ascent and am keen to visit it again.

The parking is good and we set off aiming for an alternative route but get the location wrong so retrace our steps and get back onto the traditional route.  We meander up through a lovely valley with cloud swirling around us.  We’re not in great condition so the going is slow even though the gradient isn’t too bad.

We stop for a breather at the top of the pass we’ve been walking up before turning left and heading towards the summit.  It gets steeper and handy steps have been engineered on the path to help us.  We carry on upwards until we find ourselves at the bottom of a lot of vertical rocky scramble – about 700 feet of it.  I don’t remember this at all from our first ascent (though a look back at the log book when we get back tells me we did exactly the same route in 1998).

I normally enjoy a good rock scramble but this is proving hard – although the cloud does lift a bit as we climb.  For a moment we can see something just as there’s a great viewpoint across to the Langdales:

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We turn back to the interminable climbing – it seems to be taking us forever and as we approach the top the cloud comes down again.  Finally, nearly three and a half hours after we set off, we reach the top:

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We can’t see a thing, really thick cloud has come down that obscures not just any views but also any paths we might want to use for our descent – we don’t want to go back the way we came.

The GPS proves itself here and we take a bearing south in the cloud as we head for Wetherlam Edge.  It’s not too long before we find what looks like a path down to the Coniston mine track, but it then disappears again.  We start slipping and sliding our way slowly down the hillside in the hope of meeting the main track.

We’re now underneath the cloud and see our ascent route across the humps and bumps:

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At last we find a good track and follow it until we finally join the path from our route up:

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The descent is easy now and we cross the footbridge and take the path north of the beck and back to the car.  We’re exhausted and, like last time, the weather didn’t allow for any views.  Is nature trying to tell us something?  We must try it again on a nice day, though perhaps not on that particular ascent route again.