Great Calva

Great Calva

Route: Great Calva

Area: Northern Lake District

Date of walk: 26th May 2018

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 7.7 miles

Ascent: 2,000 feet

Weather: Mostly sunny, but very hazy and very strong winds

On a Bank Holiday weekend (as was the case today), the quiet and remote Back o’ Skiddaw fells are a good choice when many of the better known fells are likely to be a little too busy. We last walked this circuit over 5 years ago, so a return visit was well overdue

We parked in a small roadside parking area opposite Peter House Farm, not far from Bassenthwaite village, and joined a tarmac track which is part of the Cumbria Way. After a while this turned into a stonier path but it was very easy going all the way – apart from a very strong wind which seemed determined to blow us back whence we came. We arrived at a point above the top of the waterfalls of the Whitewater Dash and after crossing Dash Beck by a stony bridge we left the Cumbria Way to joint a faint path leading very steeply uphill beside a post and wire fence, with Dry Gill on our left. This was quite a struggle but fortunately was soon over and as the gradient eased we were able to stroll over to the summit of Little Calva, marked by a small cairn

The views from the top were nothing special and without ado we set off for Great Calva. A beeline approach would have meant an up and a down so we stuck to the contours by following the fence to a stile, and then turning right. The land between Little and Great Calva is potentially very boggy during wet weather. We had no such issues today following a long dry spell. The climb to the summit of Great Calva was a straightforward affair but we were unable to linger there. An almost gale force wind caused us to move on without delaying. Sadly the hazy conditions obscured the otherwise good views – one of which is along the Great Central Fault which runs through the district. As Wainwright puts it, the vista is ‘like looking along the sights of a gun, through the heart of the district to the low Windermere fells in the extreme south’. The vista was not on display today and the views were poor

We made an easy descent down the slopes of the fell, rejoining the Cumbria Way at Dead Beck. From here we soon arrived at Dry Gill to complete our circuit, and then retraced our steps back to the start. Despite the lack of long distance views, we’d enjoyed the walk – this is very remote terrain, there is a real sense of wilderness about it, and we felt we’d found the perfect Bank Holiday refuge

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