Route: Whiteside and Hopegill Head

Area: North Western Lake District

Date of walk: 18th September 2020

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 6.6 miles

Ascent: 2,600 feet

Weather: Sunshine and blue skies with weak clouds

My last visit to Whiteside was two years ago, and on that occasion I started from the gated road to High Swinside. In order to get the climbing out of the way early, we decided to start from Lanthwaite Green today, where there is free parking in the small car park at the foot of Whiteside. After crossing the Buttermere road, and then Liza Beck via the footbridge, we arrived at the foot of Whin Ben. This is ‘incomparably the best route up’ according to Wainwright, and here the collar work begins. There are 3 steep sections along the way when hands need to be taken out of pockets: the final section before Whin Ben top, a rocky mount mid way between Whin Ben and Whiteside, and the final push to the summit. These all involve some enjoyable and perfectly safe clambering, though I wouldn’t like to descend this way. There are some lovely views back over Crummock Water and, higher up, dramatic views down into Gasgale Gill

We eventually arrived at the summit cairn, which is not the highest point and, after gazing at the views for a while, we made our way along to the true summit. Beyond here lies the wonderful ridge to Hopegill Head, a temptation which I couldn’t resist. Gilly decided not to follow and she descended via the Dodd ridge. We’d meet up later. I carried on along the ridge, and would return the same way, adding about two miles to the route. It’s a wonderful path and, although there are steep drops on both sides, they’re not so precipitous as to induce feelings of exposure. After reaching Hopegill Head and returning along the ridge I started the gentle descent down the path to Lorton Dodd. This provides an easy way off the fell. On arriving at Dodd Pass I headed down towards Hope Beck and followed a path which contours around the fellside

The path gradually curves round into Lorton Vale, and there follows a lovely elevated walk along the valley, with a dry stone wall on the right being a constant companion. The path eventually brought me back to the bridge over Liza Beck, completing the circuit, and from here it was a short stroll back to Lanthwaite Green

For other walks here, visit my Find Walks page and enter the name in the ‘Search site’ box

Click on the icon below for the route map (subscribers to OS Maps can view detailed maps of the route, visualise it in aerial 3D, and download the GPX file. Non-subscribers will see a base map)

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