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Monday, 4 March 2013

Armboth Fell – Wainwright or Birkett – Which is best?

bruno finds some snow

The idea for this little trundle was to bag the Birkett top of Armboth Fell – as opposed to the Wainwright top. Non-baggers will immediately see the strong links between hill bagging and train spotting here. I expect that most Wainwright baggers, for instance, will be unaware that there’s a difference and, what’s more, will probably have bagged the Birkett top and not the Wainwright one by mistake – cos it’s obviously a bit higher and has a liddle liddle tweeny tweeny and cute cairn on a slab.

Does it matter, though?

Not really.

raven crag

So anyway, as a starter, and taking advice from a tweet by John’s pal Ria to park on the main road and not allow United Utilities to exploit me to the tune of seven quid (SEVEN QUID? – We’ve been here before , I think.

thirlmere from fisher crag

Me and the Dawg (the surviving Dawg) pottered off down the shoreline road for , well, quite a way, and then took the steep path up onto Armboth Fell. This path goes to Watendlath, apparently. At the top of the path we traversed the heather hillside for the bagging of Fisher Crag – another Birkett, and rather a fine one at that, with a little easy scramble to the top and a fine view of Thirlmere and Helvellyn. We tarried quite a bit here because it was almost warm in the sun, and the view….

birkett armboth fell

Then it was time for the Armboth Fells. We bagged both Birkett and Wainwright to be sure, but tarried not here due to the seeking breeze from off Ullscarf’s snow and battered West over the frozen bogs to join the fence to High Tove. Bruno found various patches of snow and ran from one to another , eventually getting himself excited enough to have a bit of a bark.

ullscarf ridge

The bogs below High Seat were unfrozen. this was causing a party coming the other way some difficulties. Me and the Dawg, experienced in North Pennine boggy bits, trotted across  using only the skulls of departed ramblers stuck in the deep peat as stepping stones to drier land. nobody ever celebrates the sacrifices some people go through to ensure the Pieman has dry boots. (sniff)

more snow for bruno

We got to the top of High seat, where there’s a lovely trig point and a twin peak with a “man” on it. This is not so much a “man” as a “cairn”. We sat for a bit. I finished the coffee and chocolate and stuff and Bruno scampered around some more snow patches, having a little bark every now and then. This set off a movement down below  - no, not another attack of gastro-enteritis, but a herd of around half a dozen red deer, invisible till they moved. Spooked by the dog, they left stage right, in a hurry. Bruno didn’t notice till later, when, on his lead for the safety of the deer and for his own sake, he finally got a whiff of their scent.

helvellyn from thirlmere

The path down by raven crag was closed for the chopping down of trees, so a long diversion was taken around the sides of The Benn.

Quite a nice day, really – almost spring-like, but the ground still frozen, as was Thirlmere, although it had thawed by the time I got off the hill.

We did eleven miles and 2700 feet of upness, which is probably quite good TGO training, I would have thought. Its a start, anyway.

The little car park with the seven quid charge had two cars in it by the way. The roadside verges had eighteen. I wonder if it will ever occur to the accountancy-driven utility and National Park bodies that , say, a three quid charge at a car park could well increase their car parking income significantly. Whereas at the moment, it would seem , 90% of drivers seem to prefer a free verge to a greedy milk-the–motorist charge.  They could double their money by charging a bit less than half. Worth a shot anyway.


FellBound said...

Enjoyed the write up, Mike. I always do all the little tops on Armboth, too.

United Utilites car park charges? Theft! These all used to be free before nationalisation. I thought they were told at the time they had to maintain public access to their land around Thirlmere so they broke the spirit of that one.

FellBound said...

Technology playing up so apologies if this appears twice! I agree - do all the tops on Armboth. They are close together anyway.

Very sorry to hear about old dawg by the way.

United Utilities parking charges -rip-off. They were free before nationalisation. At the time they were told to maintain public access so they have at least broken the spirit of that.

sooz said...

Enjoyed reading your Birkett/Wainwright bagging blog...did The Benn late last year and it's a great fell. Know what you mean about parking. ..noticed a week or so ago that Winlatter have extended the double yellows near the visitors centre car park...still free on the car parks further along the pass...I hope!

Alan R said...

Nice one Mike. I don’t recall ever doing Armboth, not being a bagger. I feel i have missed something there. I must check me map out.