Wetherlam and Black Sails

4 May 2008

After a morning visit to the Aquarium of the Lakes and lunch at the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, a mid-afternoon start was made on a walk in the hope and half expectation that the very gentle rain would soon stop. It didn't!

Stephen last climbed Wetherlam in 2002 on a circuit from Little Langdale via Great Carrs and Swirl How; this time the start was made from Tilberthwaite and the ascent via Steel Edge, a route described by Sean McMahon on Stridingedge.net but oddly not mentioned by Wainwright.  Today's route to Wetherlam was extended to Black Sails which hadn't been visited last time.

An array of cars at Tilberthwaite shows that there are quite a few people about. By the time we returned, ours was the only car there.

A dry Ellie as we ascend past the quarries.

Ellie by the opening to one of the old quarries

The top of Wetherlam is disappearing into the clouds, but Steel Edge can be seen running across the photo from right to left, initially a gentle gradient then steepening as it rises to the Lad Hows ridge. Below, the gorge of Yewdale Beck is very impressive.

Ascending the grassy bit of Steel Edge, heading towards the rather imposing looking rocky section

Looking down Steel Edge, with Blake Rigg beyond Tilberthwaite Gill

Ellie looks a bit uncertain as the route becomes more challenging for someone with such short legs

Ellie bringing up the rear, her accustomed position

Ellie comes back to get me, descending this slippery 45 slope

Safely on grass again, looking to a tarn on top of the Lad Stones ridge

After a quick visit to the summit of Wetherlam, it is time for a diversion to the lesser known top of Black Sails, which lies a little way off the route between Wetherlam and Swirl How. A brief lifting of the cloud - the only time all afternoon - shows Black Sails centre-left, with Swirl How behind it, and the main path running along on the right. After this the weather worsened, with the cloud coming down and becoming much thicker, the rain falling heavily and the wind intensifying.

Ellie on the summit of Black Sails

After a thoroughly unpleasant descent of Wetherlam Edge, which was hard work in the rain with lots of slippery rock steps to descend, we have left the clouds and making our way along the miners track on the north side of Tilberthwaite Gill

A backwards view from the miners track

A damp Ellie as we turn to the east and continue the descent on the now easy path

Across the gorge of Tilberthwaite Gill, the waters of Crook Beck descend attractively.

Zoom in for more detail, or see map in larger window: Ordnance Survey | Open Street Map | Google Maps

Total distance 8.1 km with 740 m of ascent in 3 hours and 35 minutes



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson