Fellwalking – Hopegill Head

Looking towards Braithwaite from Grisedale Pike

“A high mountain ridge leaps like a rainbow from the woods and fields of Brackenthwaite and arcs through the sky for five miles to the east, where the descending curve comes down to the village of Braithwaite. This ridge has three main summits, of which the central one (and the finest, but not the highest) is known locally as Hobcarton Pike and to mapmakers as Hopegill Head”

The Northwestern Fells (Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells)

I started this walk from Braithwaite, parking in the village and then walking up the road (the B5292) to where a well worn vehicular track leaves on the left to begin the journey south-west alongside Coledale Beck. After passing Force Crag Mine on the right, the track ascends steeply to the east to Coledale Hause before turning north for the final pull up to the summit of Hopegill Head (via Sand Hill). Wainwright’s original guide (North Western Fells) describes there being no path on this final section, but thousands of boots since means there is certainly one now. From Hopegill Head I took the path eastwards that skirts the edge of Hobcarton Crag and then proceeds to Grisedale Pike. From here there is a well trodden path along the ridge back to Braithwaite.

The previous day I had climbed Glaramara, and it had rained all day, almost without respite – when I returned to my car at Seathwaite I had to literally pour the water out of my (Goretex lined) boots. Suffice to say that when it started to rain on the morning of this walk to Hopegill Head, I started to get rather grumpy and occupied myself on the haul up to Coledale Hause muttering to myself about the ****** English weather. Indeed I almost gave up on the final ascent when the clouds drew in and an icy wind started to blow, but in the end decided to persevere – and a good job I did. Just as I reached the summit, the rain stopped, and in the space of five minutes I went from a “view” of about 40 metres to a magnificent vista out to the coast, as the cloud dispersed as fast as it had appeared.

My rating: A.
Map: OL4 – The English Lakes: North Western area (1:25,000)
Wainwright’s guides: The North Western Fells (50th Anniversary Edition): Book Six (A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells)

Hopegill Head panorama (from Grisedale Pike)

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