Climb to the Summit
Location of Dove Crag in the Eastern Fells of the Lake District (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dove_Crag)
Climb To The Summit- Arrival This journey began on a rainy day in the middle of February. Myself and my Father set off from his home in Blencarn, Cumbria, into the Eastern Lakes, to end up South-West of Glenridding, the beginning of our adventure. As soon as we parked the car, the rain began. This worried us a little as we knew from previous experience how tricky the summit of Dove Crag could be, especially in extreme weather conditions. But we were determined to conquer this
mountain. Apart from personal preference, I do believe my father was the best person to take along with me on this Expedition. He has a vast experience in mountaineering, especially in Cumbria, as we have lived in this area for two decades now. So I felt very safe in going up the crag as if you are not familiar with a walk or climb, then accidents are more likely to occur. We had all the right clothing gear with us, to keep us warm
against the wind and cold rain. This photograph shows the beginning of our journey, the first full view we had of the incredible crag in the distance. It looked so small and far away from this view, but as we scrambled closer, we were reminded of how powerful and large the Crag stands above the surrounding fells.
Face of Dove Crag- Half way there Already, at the beginning of the walk, the ground was rocky and muddy, so incredibly unstable to walk on, this slowed us down a great deal. We also soon discovered how much trickier I was making the walk, with all my photography equipment, including several large lenses and a tripod. But this was all the equipment I would require if I were to document this Expedition in a media style. We did spread the
weight of my equipment, so it was a fair share of extra energy needed from the both of us. As you can see in this photograph (to the right), we began to reach the face of the Crag, standing tall over us. But we also discovered how snowy the summit actually was, this was our second worry and my dad didn’t think I’d be able to reach summit without certain equipment. We took a break here to look upon the fells behind us, as the
view was already tremendous from the height we were at. We still had to scramble around another 1000ft to reach the summit of this mountain, the total elevation of this mountain being 2,598ft. We also took this time to have a break to have some lunch and a breather just to re-boost our energy, or we wouldn’t be able to manage the rest of the climb.
Face of Dove Crag
Closing on the Crag
Snippet Images taken from Alfred Wainwrightâ€™s Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells- Book One: The Eastern Fells First image: Eastern Aspect of the Kirkstone Pass Fells, Second image: Dove Crag Altitude (Scanned in from Arthur Wainwright, Book One: The Eastern Fells)
Closing on the Crag By this point of the walk, I was already astonished by the view we were witnessing behind us, which meant that I was constantly stopping the walk and turning around in all directions to document the walk. But I did have to reduce this as we were becoming wary about the weather and how it will affect us on the end of our journey. The wind, rain and sleet came in and made it incredibly
tricky to keep stable whilst scrambling the steep edge. This photograph (to the left), is the start of our scramble up this incredibly steep and snowy edge. The snow was probably around 2 foot deep and already hardened by the cold temperatures, this made it incredibly difficult even to scramble up the fell and soon made us realise how much easier it would have been if we were more prepared
and brought crampons for the both of us. So we know that if we were to repeat this expedition, then we would be fully prepared with all equipment for all potential situations that might occur. It was incredibly tiring to scramble up this icy edge but I was determined to see the view of the fells from the summit of Dove Crag.
Snippet Image from Alfred Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells The View: NE, E, NW & N all views I saw from our expedition (Scanned in from Arthur Wainwright, Book One: The Eastern Fells)
Snow way down- The Departure Once we reached the summit, we realised we were unfortunately not going to be able to reach Priest’s Hole, the very famous and well known cave which lays just above the crag’s itself. Dad did have his own ice pick that he could possibly use to climb to the cave, but I would not be able to join him, so we decided against it. I was quite disappointed about this, but I still saw our climb as a success as we did reach the summit of Dove Crag, which was
my original ambition. We decided that the best plan for us was to not scramble back down Dove Crag as it would be incredibly difficult and too many risk factors were involved, the main one being that we would most likely slip down the snowy edge. So instead, we made the decision to take a detour, which would ultimately increase the walk by an extra hour, but would be a lot less risky. So we left the fell by going along the ridge, Hartstop-over-howe. This departure
was lengthy but safer. It also became incredibly difficult in the wind conditions, nothing I’ve ever experienced before, being knocked over by the wind at several points. This walk down almost took around 2 hours in total, incredibly tiring after the initial walk up the fell. Other fells we could see from the ridge were Hart Crag and Fairfield.
Snow way down
View from the Summit
Mountain Contour Map showing Dove Crag (bottom left), St Sunday Crag, Hartstop and the Kirkstone Pass (Walking English Man http://www.walkingenglishman.com/lakes40.html)
View from the Summit This photo (to the right) was taken just round the corner from the summit, on our way back down the fell. Looking out from the crag, eastwards we could look upon High Street and St Sunday, which were also incredible fells. This shot was taken right at the summit and the fell we can see in it is High Street. I personally think this whole expedition was a great success; we reached the summit, which we originally thought
would be impossible with the weather conditions we had to deal with. I’d of also like to of spend longer at the top of the fell, mainly so I could document more of the mountain and the surrounding landscape, as on the day, the sky was incredibly misty and covered in clouds, but we weren’t able to on this particular day. This is also a very memorable day for me, as I haven’t reached the summit of Dove Crag before and I’m
proud of how well we coped with the conditions. Although my dream is now to organise a day later in the year, with better weather so I can one day get to Priest’s Hole and see the incredible view from there.
Photographer & Author Sarah Rush-Williams