Sunday, 10 November 2013


Above Little Langdale Tarn.

Our expedition to climb Wetherlam earlier this week was also intended as a reconnaissance of the area to help us decide on routes for our two-day expedition which we plan this summer. The dates on which this will take place are Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3rd July. We've not yet found suitable accommodation for the two nights but we're researching this right now.
Lyn, Pete and Bella set off up the Greenburn Valley in bright sunshine but soon found themselves in deep shade in the gloomy valley, the sun being low in the south, behind the mountain.

Deep shade in the valley, Langdale Pikes in the distance.

Our objective, Wetherlam 762m/2,500ft, forms the southern wall of the Greenburn valley. We walked up as far as the ancient Greenburn mine workings, the ruins of which stand just below the 1,000ft contour some way up the valley then turned onto a path that led up the steep fellside.

Above the Greenburn mine workings.

A sporadic path led upwards through rough boulder strewn terrain passing by several old mine workings until we reached the col at about 500m between Birk Fell and Wetherlam where, though the path improved, the going became increasingly rocky.

Ascending Wetherlam Edge
Wetherlam Edge, which leads to the summit, was still in deep shade, far below Birk Fell was enjoying the November sun.  We seemed to have picked the coldest and gloomiest route of ascent possible, there was no wind however the temperature continued to spiral downwards as we gained height and the path became  increasingly icy. We turned back about 120ft short of the top as the path was dangerously iced up. From now on this winter the crampons will go in the rucksacks as a matter of course, without them retreat was the safest course.  We plan a return to Wetherlam with full winter gear...soon.

View from Birk Fell on the descent.

We walked over Birk Fell intending to descend the ridge beyond in the sunshine rather than turning down into the sunless valley.  We followed the wall which you can see going straight ahead in the distance.

View from the wall towards Wrynose Pass.

We followed the wall over the next top (405m) expecting to pass through old quarry workings marked as disused on the map, but we came to the edge of the workings and found them impassable. We retreated back along the wall to a gate then walked down into the workings by an easier path. The quarry turned out to be a working one and we found that we had little option but to follow the mine road that led down to High Tilberthwaite. It was a bit out of our way and not quite what we'd planned but we followed a good track that led directly back to Little Langdale and were back at the car in an hour. It was a very useful recce, we learned a lot, and a great walking area too we decided for the two-dayer in July...we'll be back.

If you're interested in joining us for the two days in July ring or e-mail us. You can stay in a hotel, hostel or camp, it's up to you, I'm sure it'll be fun.