Monday, 3 December 2012

Armboth Fell...The Direct Route

MCWW building at Thirlmere Dam
Beside Thirlmere Dam at the north end of the lake stands this rather fine Victorian structure associated with the dam, probably a pump house. The arms above the door are those of the proud owners; the City of Manchester....they just don't build them like this now.

Thirlmere from the Dam at the north end.

Wainwright suggests that Armboth Fell, up above Thirlmere, is one of the few fells not really worth climbing. I leave you to judge for yourself from our photos or go and try it yourself. The fell is notorious for being surrounded by some of the worst bogs in the district so the best time to climb it is when these are frozen over and last Friday dawned bright, clear and freezing cold offering the opportunity.

Thirlmere from the back road.

It was about 4km, a good hour's walk from the bus stop, over the dam and along the back road to the bottom of Launchy Gill where we took the path which climbs steadily up through the pine woods on the right bank of the Gill.

Thirlmere from the fellside above Launchy Gill

We followed the path up Launchy Gill, across the bridges and up the fellside but soon found ourselves too far to the left of the Gill heading away from Armboth Fell. This was no good, so Pete decided that we'd better take the "direct route"...straight up the fellside.

Thirlmere forms a backdrop to the "Direct Route" to Armboth Fell.
It was steep difficult ground culminating in a desperate trouser filling scramble ( though I don't think anyone did) on wet overgrown rock before we topped out in the woods above Launchy Gill with Armboth Fell beyond to the North.

Launchy Gill from the woods above Thackmell Crag.

Crossing Launchy Gill
Launchy Gill was not frozen though the boggy ground all around was iced over enough to ensure that we didn't get our feet wet.

Looking E. towards Helvellyn from the slopes of Armboth Fell.

The icy ground was solid under our feet and we made good progress, though there were a few pools of water to avoid as we made our way N. towards the summit.

The rocky outcrop at the summit of Armboth Fell

The rocky top of Armboth Fell rises to 1570 ft or 479m in the midst of a barren sea of bog and sodden tussocky grass. Beyond is the top of High Tove, on the ridge between Thirlmere and Watendlath. The best way to High Tove is to go north and join the path that comes up from Fisher Gill. We took a more direct line but it led into an area of wet tussocky grass which was a struggle before we met the path along the crest of the broad ridge.

Looking back to Armboth Fell from the icy path to High Tove

Looking N from the cairn on High Tove
The summit of High Tove ( 515m or 1665 ft ) is a dry oasis to be enjoyed before the wet descent towards Watendlath, it was 3 o' clock and the light was declining when we reached the village. We continued on up beside Bowdergate Gill and over Puddingstope Bank down into Rosthwaite which we reached in good time for the 4 o'clock bus back to Keswick. 

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