19th July 2008

Up in the cloud on Whiteside and Hopegill Head


Walk Overview
Time 10.30 to 13.30
Duration 3 hr
Distance 5 mile
Ascent 2375 ft
Walking with On my own
Lanthwaite Green - Whin Ben - Whiteside - Whiteside Ridge - Hopegill Head - Sand Hill - Coledale Hause - Gasgale Gill - Liza Beck - Lanthwaite Green
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Lanthwaite Green

A reasonable sized car park that tends to be quite popular, although having said that, this is somewhere I've never failed to get parked. Presumably the occupants of most of the cars would head straight across to the steep ridge up to Whiteside or the Gasgale Gill route up to Coledale Hause.

Parking Is free.


Route Map

It's a pity about the weather, but after almost three weeks away on holiday it felt so good to be standing with some Lakeland grass under my boots again.

A couple of minutes walk across Lanthwaite Green and you reach Liza Beck. The people you can see higher up the beck are on the path I returned on at the end of the walk.

The view across Crummock Water to Mellbreak, with both its tops under cloud.

A little further up the fell and looking a little further around to the right, you get a fantastic view down to the Loweswater end of Lorton Vale.

I was almost in the cloud already and it did actually cross my mind that I may have been better off doing a lower level walk today; just to retain the views. Ordinarily I might have stuck to the lower fells, but today I just wanted to get up high, even at the sacrifice of the view. Although I have to say that I did enjoy the eerie silence and the feeling of solitude you get when walking in these conditions.

Well, there goes the view.

Looking up the steeper section of the path on Whiteside.


A brief break in the cloud allowed me a view across the remainder of the ridge; which I should add is one of the finest ridges in the Lake District.

And also down to Hope Gill.

That's what I'd been waiting for; the ( tarn / puddle / wet area ?? ) at Coledale Hause. Now I could leave the path and head across to the top of Gasgale Gill, and even if I hadn't known where I was supposed to be walking, the noise of the waterfalls at the top of the gill would have been a dead giveaway.

Heading down into Gasgale Gill. And just as Whiteside to Hopegill Head is one of the finest ridges in the Lake District, the route through Gasgale Gill must rank pretty high as far as routes off the fells go.

There was so much water about today. It looks like I didn't miss a heat wave while I was away after all.

A little while after taking this picture I met a couple who were on their second only visit to the Lakes. They commented to me on the feeling of, not quite claustrophobia, but of being confined by the fells. One thing they said was that they wouldn't like to get caught in here during bad weather. The thing is; this is exactly the type of place you do want to be if you need to get off the fells in a hurry. Navigation couldn't be easier. You have a noisy beck to follow on one side, and as long as you don't head up the steep fellside, then you must be heading in the correct direction.


Looking back up Gasgale Gill from the higher of the two sheepfolds found on the route.

Did I mention there was a lot of water about today ?

This picture was taken near the bottom of the gill; just before the small rocky step. The step isn't too bad as far as obstacles go, although you do need to sit down, dangle your feet in mid air and then push yourself off the edge.

Anyone over six feet six tall may think I'm talking rubbish.

The cloud had just about lifted off the fells by the time I'd finished the walk. Perhaps I should have had an extra couple of hours in bed after all.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks