I woke before dawn as the stags started bellowing again. The temperature dropped markedly according to my thermometer, so I donned my down jacket inside my sleeping bag. About 7.30 I got out of the tent. Hayeswater was almost still and the first rays of sun were hitting the hills. The sky was completely clear.
It was a bit chilly and I was glad of my Minimus jacket. I was surprised (again) at how little condensation there was inside the fly of the Scarp. The disadvantage of my pitch was that it would be in shadow for some time as the sun started to warm the far end of the reservoir. I had breakfast and packed and was away by about 9.30.
As I walked from shadow to sun, the temperature suddenly rose and I stopped to readjust my clothes. I saw a couple of other walkers before heading up the Knott. The first part of the climb is a bit of a puff, but at least height is gained quickly. There was hardly a breeze and I was sweating profusely. As I hit the ridge and the path from Angletarn Pikes, there was a welcome breeze. Then I spotted the second stag of the trip, some way away on the slopes of Rampsgill Head. This time I was far enough away not to disturb it. Using the zoom on the camera I managed to take a couple of photos.
The path from The Knott to the Straights of Riggindale is a bit of a motorway. I remember sheltering from a snow shower behind the wall a couple of years ago. Today it was beautiful, a warm, sunny autumn morning. On reaching the Straights I turned left for the gentle climb up Rampsgill Head. Although Rampsgill Head is unimpressive as a summit, it is a fine viewpoint. To the north, you can look straight down Martindale to Hallin Fell. To the east, you can look across the Eden Valley to Cross Fell and the Dun Fells. To the south are the Howgill Fells. To the east and the south, the hills appeared to holding back the clouds, leaving Lakeland in glorious sunshine.
From Rampsgill Head, my route was a straightforward ridge walk with glorious views all around. The low angle of the sun was casting shadows I the cwms of the Hellvellyn range and Blencathra and Skiddaw were clearly visible to the north. The haze and lingering mist in the valleys (not a perfect inversion unfortunately) were not ideal for photography, but the panorama was a feast for the eyes.
High Raise with its cairn and shelter was the high point of the ridge and I stopped for a snack and some photos. From here the path became a bit boggy in parts, though not as bad as Wainwright makes out. It is easy walking over Raven Howe, Red Crag to Whether Hill. At Wether Hill, I stopped for lunch sitting on the stones surrounding the modest standing stone. Again the views all round were impressive.
The ascent to Loadpot Hill was the last bit of climbing. Just before the trig point, there are some ruins (Lowther House). There is also another standing stone, which according to Wainwright is a parish boundary marker. I was to see several more on the way down to Moor Divock. On the descent, I met a couple of dog walkers.
I decided to follow the main path rather than go via Bonscale Pike, which was probably a mistake as Bonscale and Arthur’s Pike would have been a more interesting walk. The path down to Moor Divock is a bit boring and the surrounding landscape a bit dreary. After crossing a couple of becks, I turned left along a track, following a tractor with a trailer loaded with rolls of bracken.
Passing a house (Roehead), the track becomes a road leading to Pooley Bridge. After turning left again, it was then a short walk back to Park Foot camp site. I was relieved to find that the noisy party of Geordies were no longer there. Apart from my tent there were only two other tents on the site.
The next morning I woke to thick mist. If I had been up in the fells, I would have seen an inversion. It meant packing a wet tent, but it was better than rain! Remarkably, I had had no rain for the entire trip. It certainly was a good walk, with wonderful views and variations, together with two great wild camps.