The day before the storm

Friday 4th December 2015 A quick ascent of Arnison Crag.

Route map for Arnison Crag by Andy Beck on plotaroute.com

It was a day away from the studio, the first in what seemed likes ages, but with a bit of planning I was able to combine several jobs into one trip and I timed it just right.

First task was to deliver a framed photograph of Lingmoor Fell over to a very nice couple over in Windermere, currently I don’t have the time to set up the photography side of the website but recently a fair number of orders have come in nearly all through social media and this was just one so by making a personal delivery I had the excuse to pop over to the lakes. From there is was a return to Kendal where I spent a fruitful 4 hours in Cumbria Councils Archive. The archive has been a great resource for me in researching information and details for the Wainwrights in Colour book.

By early afternoon with the work in Kendal complete I set off towards Windermere so that Bailey and I could have an hour or two out in the fresh air and maybe to walk a fell. As it was we ended up going over the Kirkstone Pass. The weather at this time was windy and dull but dry so the best option was perhaps a quick walk up to Arnison Crag, we had a couple of hours before the darkness set in and the weather changed.

Arnison Crag Mill Moss tarn
Arnison Crag Mill Moss tarn

From Patterdale village it is simple a case of walking up behind the houses, past Mill Moss Tarn (shown here) and then up onto the fell beyond. It is a route that we have done several times so we were on familiar ground.

Ullswater from near Oxford Crag
Ullswater from near Oxford Crag

Climbing up by the wall we were sheltered from the buffeting wind but behind us the surface of Ullswater showed the effects. Recent rains had even at this time swollen Goldrill Beck at the head of the lake. Little did we know how this would change in the next 24 hours.

Arnison Crag summit
Arnison Crag summit

On reaching the summit the gusts were strong so it was no time to hang about, I grabbed this quick shot looking towards Hartsop from the relative calm between the summit outcrops, even so the shaky shot is due to the wind and not my poor photography skills.

Looking south west from Arnison Crag summit
Looking south west from Arnison Crag summit

From the summit I calculated that we would have time to extend the route slightly to visit the other top, distant fells were covered with thick cloud.

Arnison Crag tarn
Arnison Crag tarn

Dropping down into the col which was really quite sheltered we passed the tarn and then made the simple ascent to the rounded dome of the second summit.

Arnison Crag and Place Fell
Arnison Crag and Place Fell

The second summit with its minor cairn looking back to the true summit. Beyond is Place fell. In the “Walkers Editon” of the Wainwright Pictorial guide it is claimed that this is the “true summit” of Arnison Crag. This is incorrect, this is just an unnamed knoll, one of several south west of the true named and recognised summit of the fell. The light was now fading so we stepped out as we made our descent back to the village this time by taking the shortcut path that goes down the fell side from Oxford Crag to Mill Moss.

Patterdale village
Patterdale village

By the time we got back to the car, just after 4pm, the light had practically gone. The pub and the shop looked most welcoming in the early evening light, but it was time for me to head home. Our route is one that we followed many times, through Glenridding, alongside the length of Ullswater, past the Duke of Portland Boathouse and then up to Penrith. The next 24 hours were to bring such change, Storm Desmond struck. Heavy rains and high winds brought devastation to the area, not only here in this part of the lakes but also as far as Appleby and Carlisle. My thoughts are with those who have lost property, stock and part of their lives in this horrendous event.

A fundraising page has been set up to help in the recovery process, as someone who not only loves the Lake District but also earns some of my income from there I thought that I would share this link: Cumbria Flood Appeal, Just Giving. *This appeal raised over £10,000,000.

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