Monday, 17 March 2014

#59 Illgill Head, Whin Rigg and Miterdale

12.37 Miles
910 Metres Ascent

The fog had rolled in the previous evening and by the morning the tent was covered in condensation, inside and out.  This led to a slightly slower start to the day.  After the previous walk I had expected to wake with sore legs, but I felt surprisingly OK.  There is a danger that I’m actually getting fitter.

Today’s walk was planned to be easier (in ascent not mileage) than the previous two days and with the murky weather it seemed to fit quite nicely.  Heading from the campsite up past Brackenclose the path climbs steadily up past Fence Wood.  The path is well used and maintained; in fact it was so clear I actually walked past my planned route and kept on going.

The path steepened up alongside Straighthead Gill at the same time I broke through the fog to find blue skies.  The valley was still covered in a deep layer of fog which occasionally crept up the side of the Screes.   The peaks stuck up through this sea of fog, and gave me another day in the sun. 

After Illgill Head the path drops slightly into a saddle before climbing again to Whin Rigg.  I carried on over Irton Fell, where the path became a tad damp underfoot.  I also dropped back into the fog reducing visibility (and temperature) quite noticeably.  I turned into what should have been the start of Miterdale forest only to find a scene of devastation as this area had been clear felled.

With the limited visibility and remains of a forest, this section was quite spooky and for a bridle path quite rough under foot.   The path eventually dropped into the forest following bridle paths into Miterdale.  I took the chance to refill my water, the Sawyer Squeeze again proving its worth, no need to carry litres of water.

I took the road along the valley bottom through Low farm and then back onto bridle paths.  After a boarded up activity centre the path climbs up onto Tongue Moor.  I seemed to run out of energy at this stage and it was a slow hard drag.  This was supposed to be the easy day, yet I was plodding along wondering if someone would invent a helicopter taxi.

After a pit stop (Jelly babies, clif bar and a gaze across the valley) I carried on above Burnmoor Tarn.  Dropping steadily I re-joined the path I had took hours ago up from Wasdale.  Another great walk, even if I did find it a slog at stages.   

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