High Gait Crags

High Gait Crags

Route: High Gait Crags

Area: Southern Lake District

Date of walk: 18th October 2018

Walkers: Andrew 

Distance: 9.6 miles

Ascent: 2,000 feet

Weather: Sunny, gradually clouding over later on

For the second day in succession I drove to the remote valley of Eskdale. The weather was fine, and I’d been saving this walk for a day such as this. My target was High Gait Crags, a little known fell and one I’ve not climbed before. It’s not a Wainwright as it doesn’t fulfil his criteria for an independent fell, although it boasts a respectable height of 1.700 feet. The great glory of the fell is its situation, set below some of lakeland’s highest and most dramatic views, and allowing close up views of them

I parked in a small car parking space at the foot of the Hardknott Pass and after walking a few yards back down the road turned right at a dilapidated red phone box. I followed a path beside the River Esk which rose easily up the valley to Lingcove Bridge. After crossing the bridge I followed a faint path which soon disappeared. In the absence of a path I used the prominent rock feature of Pianet Knott to guide me in the right direction, then climbed past Long Crag and Low Gait Crags to my objective, High Gait Crags. This was an wonderful place, and must be one of the finest locations in lakeland. I spent 30 minutes or so gazing in awe at the magnificent mountain scenery all around me, including Scafell Pike, Scafell, Bowfell, the Crinkles and many more besides

All too soon it was time to start the descent and I plotted a course in the direction of the infant River Esk. There was no path, but the direction of travel was fairly obvious. After recent heavy rain I had my doubts about being able to ford the river, and had to divert a little way upstream before a suitable opportunity presented itself. Walking poles were a great help in maintaining balance as I teetered across the slippery rocks. Having made it to the other bank I found a faint path beside the river but it soon became too boggy, so I headed uphill and found an alternative one. It was a long descent back down the valley, but eventually the green fields of Eskdale came into view. I made my way down to Taw House, turning left just before it, and from here it was a short stroll back to the start

It had been one of the finest lakeland walks I’ve ever experienced, and in the 5 hours it took I hardly saw another soul, just a few fellow walkers near the start and finish

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