Sunday, 2 December 2018

The Yewdale Fells

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Route: Coniston, Hole Rake, Kitty Crag, Long Crag, High Wythow, Low Wythow, Brackeny Crag, Low Tilberthwaite

Date: 02/12/2018
From: Coniston

Parking: Coniston / Low Tilberthwaite
Start Point: Coniston
Region: Southern Fells

Route length: 4.0 miles (8.3 km)
Time taken: 02:11
Average speed: 2.8 mph
Ascent: 527m
Descent: 437m

Wainwrights on this walk:
None

Additional summits: Kitty Crag (435m), Long Crag (421m), High Wythow (410m), Low Wythow (372m), Brackeny Crag (364m)

Other points of interest: Coppermines Valley

After a day squelching around the fells above Tilberthwaite, we set our sights on the southern group around Yewdale. From Coniston, this small collection of peaks look unassailable to mere mortals, though they are easily accessible from the Coppermines Valley. This walk makes a good alternative to the better-known favourites of the area.

Weather-wise, we were in for an almost carbon copy day; rain, rain and, perhaps more rain if we were lucky. Bearing this in mind, we used the opportunity to use two cars; one parking in Coniston and one at Tilberthwaite. We set off, with the rain pouring, following the road into the Coppermines Valley. As we reached the hydropower weir, we branched off to start our climb up to Hole Rake.
Climbing up to the Coppermines Valley
The Miners Bridge
The path climbs steadily up the hillside above the Coppermines valley and, despite the cloud and rain, views were rather impressive. There was even the slight hint of blue skies as we reached the top. This, however, was short-lived.
Looking down into the Coppermines Valley
The path to Hole Rake
Clouds swirl around the valley
We departed the path onto the pathless area of Yewdale. The rain became heavier, driven by a strong wind, dousing the vague hints of blue we'd seen earlier. The Yewdale fells are an interesting collection of hills and a worthy place for exploration, even on a day like today. From the south, the first is Kitty Crag.
Looking across to Long Crag from Kitty Crag
Beyond Kitty Crag is a marshy depression, made all the marshier by the weather. We managed to pick a way across, keeping any water out of our boots before climbing to the top of Long Crag. Views from these little fells are supposed to be very good as the look over Coniston and the lake. Sadly, no views for us today.
Looking along the Yewdale Fells
Immediately next to Long Crag is High Wythow and then Low Wythow, both having enough prominence to be classed as separate fells.
Coniston Moor and Low Wythow
Further still is Coniston Moor, the high point being Brackeny Crag. The clouds had lifted a bit as we made our way across the undulating terrain between Low Wythow and Coniston Moor. The final climb up to Brackeny actually involves a little bit of scrambling which was a welcome change to the grass and marshes.
Goat's Crag
Brackeny Crag
 With the Yewdale fells in the bag, it was time to plot a route down to Tilberthwaite. Using a combination of luck and judgement we picked up a path heading into the old quarry workings below Goat's Crag. Here, the path winds down through a delightful valley filled with Juniper trees to until it reaches a path traversing the Tilberthwaite valley.
Heading back to Tilberthwaite
As you can see from the photo above, it was still raining heavily as we made the final walk back to the car. We passed the disused quarry at Horse Crag which itself is interesting. Ultimately we made it back to the car, soaked through but having managed a half decent outing on the fells.
Penny Rigg quarry at Horse Crag

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