Whiteside and Hopegill Head

Well this was certainly the hottest I’d experienced in the Lake District in the 14 years that I had been coming up. Temperatures touching 30-35 degrees were being seen around the area. Places to swim rather than fells to walk were the order of the day. We were staying 10 mins walk from Derwent Water and we were using that regularly, alongside just chilling in the hottest parts of the day. However driving 400 miles and not having at least 1 or 2 walks would have been foolish. We’d done Low Fell and Fellbarrow on the Monday, and decided that Thursday would be good for another outing. I was hoping that Whiteside would be good, as I reckoned its westerly facing ascent might give us shade, if we went early. Plus the descent would be by a gill, meaning cooling off spots. I’d been eyeballing the ascent when walking Low Fell a few days before and figured it would be possible if we went early. Announcing to my two teenage boys that they would need to be up on holiday at a time starting with a 7, was equivalent to asking them give up ice cream during this hot weather. However they managed it and we arrived at Lanthwaite Green at 8.15am, unfortunately the ascent to Whin Ben looked like it had just started collecting the suns rays, Grasmoor next to it and the front face of Whiteside still had full shade, but not our ascent. Even at 9am we were sweating heavily, but we’d brought water, sun cream and hats and managed fine. By finishing the actual walking by 1pm meant that it hadn’t got blisteringly hot and the cool off at the end was a perfect finish to a brilliant walk. It meant that this visit we’d managed only more 4 Wainwrights, taking me up to 189 done, with my eldest on 60 and my youngest on 57 now.

Start – Lanthwaite Green

Route – Whin Ben – Whiteside – Gascale Crags – Hopegill Head – Sand Hill – Coledale Hause – Liza Beck – Gascale Gill – Lanthwaite Green

Distance – 5 1/2miles    Start time – 8:30am   Time taken – 5hrs  Highest Point – Hopegill Head 770m

Weather – Sunny and hot, hot, hot

© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey FL 2022 SF
Lanthwaite Green with Whiteside behind the boys. They are both delighted at the early start as you can see. Our ascent of Whin Ben runs up that sunlit section curving upwards left to right and then turning and climbing.
Low Fell and Fellbarrow where we were a few days before this
Vale of Lorton as we climb Whin Ben
Looking across towards Loweswater
Crummock Water was a mirror on this day, with Mellbreak looking magnificent behind. The shade off Grasmoor on the left was what I hoping to be duplicating over here
Gasgale Gill our return route, it was around 9am at this point and the sun was certainly showing its warmth
Above Whin Ben now, the colour of the heather was lovely up here and the view beyond was fantastic. Even in the heat the air clarity was fab
And again that view of Loweswater on the right, Blake Fell the high point centre back and Crummock Water on the left
Gasgale Gill and Liza Beck running along the bottom, I could see plenty of water coming down the gill meaning we had plenty of cooling spots for our descent. Hopegill Head back left, our second target today
The Isle of Man in the distance beyond Blake Fell
Top of Whiteside, not too much sweat pouring from us as there was a nice breeze rising up Gasgale Crags and we were taking advantage of it. Lots of water consumed here and a sit before onwards along one of the best ridges in Lakeland
The boys on Whiteside and the ridge behind them
North to Scotland and Criffel in view across the Solway Firth
Hopegill Head on the left, then, Sand Hill then our descent route down Gasgale Gill. Crag Hill is back right
Same view from further along the ridge, the ridge gets better as you walk this way. Its not long but brilliant in this weather
Getting to the really good bit
Love this photo of the boys, I remember them saying at this point that its not as bad as it looked from further back and the way ahead looks ok as well. And it was.
Looking back along the route to Whiteside
Straight up the front of Hopegill Head, or one of the final climbs to the summit
Ladyside Pike, another fine route to Hopegill Head. With Skiddaw back right as we near Hopegill Head summit
Summit selfie number 2
On from Hopegill Head is Grisedale Pike and Hobcarton Crags. I’d done those on my Coledale Round (here)
Down to Sand Hill next with Crag Fell behind
Time for an early lunch stop at 11.30am. But then again we did start at 8.30am. The Isle of Man still in view away in the distance
After the lunch stop we dropped to Coledale Hause and then down into Gasgale Gill, Liza Beck was visited for refilling water bottles, dunking heads, caps and tshirts. I wore a soaking wet tshirt all the way back. It was glorious. There was also a nice breeze blowing along here until we reached the far end. Gasgale Crags up to the right
Looking back along the gill to Sand Hill at the far end
The path down here wasn’t too bad. I’d heard stories that it was horrible. Not for me, some parts had been washed down but the replacement went a bit higher up, or you could drop down to the beck and walk the other side for a shirt section. Either way we stayed down so we could dunk hats in the water
At the end we reached the bridge and a couple of pools to cool off in, no hesitation we were straight in for a proper soaking. Brilliant way to finish the walk, we sat under the bridge for a bit, in the shade and had something to eat and the last of our juice.
Low Fell and the fells around Loweswater at the end of a fantastic walk. The ridge from Whiteside to Hopegill Head has to be one of the best in the district, not a soul seen on it unlike Striding Edge. It will live long in the memory.

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