DATE                                 25.04.12

DISTANCE                       About 7 1/2 miles

WEATHER                       Grey and windy

START / FINISH             Free car park at Brothers water



Failed Hart Crag

This isn’t going to be easy & where to start.

I knew something wasn’t going to go to plan the night before when I started getting phantom pains , I did what I always do and try to think about what I done , eaten , drunk ect ect and the only thing I could think of was the air pressure was starting to change .(joy). Eventually I drifted off to a troubled sleep only for the alarm clock to wake me up at silly o clock.

Twenty minutes later I am off to the lakes, feeling slightly knackered  but excited, todays I was on my own and was going to do a “big boy” walk , that is for me a walk in a new area , with what I think would be a lot of stone and rock underfoot (something that I always avoid if I can).

I had two routes mapped out on my trusty GPS and wouldn’t decide until I got there, parking up in the free car park at Brothers water one quick look towards the hills behind   Hartsop rules them out, thick dark low level clouds, that left the other walk, which should have been up the long drag up Hartsop about How –Hart Crag –Dove Crag –Little heart crag –then down and back via Scandale pass.

Taken from the car looking towards the small village of Hartsop.

Sorting out my gear, I couldn’t help but notice that the wind was …………….eh! Starting to gust and set off some silent alarm bell in my head.

I decided to walk to walk along the flat to Bridge End where I would pick up the footpath. This has two advantages it would allow me to settle into arty leg before I started on the uphill section and after sitting in the car for the last couple of hours it would let me warm up. There is a path that goes straight up from brother’s water which would have cut a mile or so off the distance, but I thought it best to get warmed up and settled first.

A couple of sheepy shots to show that it is spring.

Funny looking lambs.

The first section of this long uphill bit involved walking through Low wood , which sheltered me from the wind which was by now starting to pick up a bit , however on leaving the woods , it introduced itself to me nearly blowing me over .

As an above knee amputee I find it extremely difficult to walk in gusty wind, once my weight is all on the arty leg I have nothing to counter balance with, naturally I have spent a silly amount of time training myself to walk in the wind, but to be honest nothing really seems to work, and a random gust can blow me over. This isn’t fun after the first few times. As a rule I keep to wood when it’s windy.

But I haven’t come all this way to pack up now , there is a stone wall that runs along the path, I find if I stick close to this wall I am sheltered from the Worst of the wind . I should go on and say that the silent alarm bells that where ringing in my head earlier are now going full pelt, but ever the optimist I am praying that the wind will drop.

Looking across towards something could be St Sunday Crag ? Dolly wagon pike ? (sorry just dont know)

About 40 minutes later I bump into a walker coming back down, he has been Camping and warns me about how windy is it up there, even pointing out a difficult spot where you are very exposed on a small section where there is a bit of a drop, we chat for a bit, I thank him for the info and inform him that I will go and have a look whilst I am up here and then cut back down, he has just confirmed what I knew in my head anyway.

Bleabery Knott ?

I think the spot he was on about was Bleabery Knott on getting there I was exposed to the full force of the wind.

No that’s it.

 I won’t be going any further today, there is a small section that would require me to use my hands, or if I cross over the wall via the ladder stile there is a footpath that run round the side of it BUT it is very exposed and a bit of a drop onto some rather sharp looking rocks, on a normal day this wouldn’t prove to be a problem but today only an fool would try it.

A couple of photos of that path (not very clear but it was very wind and a long drop)

I decide to get a couple of photos looking down on Brothers water , the wind is that bad that I have to sit down just to take them , That’s it I have had enough and climb back over the wall and sit down in shelter and try to think what shall I do now . It was at this point that there was a loud rustling above me (I nearly sh*t myself only to be greeted by the sight of some black over trousers that had been caught by the stone wall. before I could do anything they were blown free and was last seen heading for Patterdale at about 600 meters . So if you have lost any trousers you know where they are. I’m sorry but I didn’t get a chance to see what size or make , but at a rough guess I would say 38 waist (but I could be wrong on that ).

Looking down on Brothers water

Time to make a decision.

One of my few strength’s (I have many but just can think of what they are at the moment) is the ability to think things over before I do anything daft a sort of planning in the mind so to speak.

I can’t go on (as much as I want to)

Going back via the same route is boring and shows a lack of thinking.

Cutting down the exposed side into Dovedale is a none starter & its seriously steep

So that leaves cutting down into Deepdale.

After much smoking of the brain I decide to cut down to Deepdale.

Looking down towards Deepdale.


First problem, no path …………….no problem , one of the good things about spending a lot of time in the Cheviots is the lack of paths over some rough ground , I have found if you spend enough time studying the ground you can normally pick out a natural path , which wild animals or even better still  sheep would have used moving from one place to another a sort of animal network , the only problem is spotting it , and if I am to get down this way I need one , of course these path may not take you down by the quickest way. I am sure most people don’t bother with this type of path finding but, I need to have at least a small path of some description to allow me to swing arty leg out.

After spend 10 minutes I have a mental picture of the route that I will take to get me down , its steep and rocky in places but there are grassy patches where I can rest if I need to .

Off I go , after I have dropped 20 meters I find that I am out of the wind , this helps no end and I start to relax and enjoy myself , the nervous energy has cut in and whilst it lasts I feel pretty good about things . I have also noticed that it is possible to cut back up to the ridge line bypassing Bleabery Knott,(store that away for future use) anyway I make slow but steady progress down to the bottom without any problems .

Looking to where it is possible to cut back up (sort of grassy all the way)

However if I am to get on the footpath I have to cross over the Beck , not a problem for most , but I am hopeless at stepping across boulders , however I decide to go for it and much to my surprise I get across without falling in .( I am very impressed with myself at this point).

Deepdale beck & my crossing point.

However on the down side the wind has either changed direction or picked up again , and all my downhill’s walking and beck crossing has made my arty leg move and is causing me some grief , time to take it off and sort stuff out .

Made a huge mistake at this point I should have got out of the wind first , as I open my rucksack to get the gear out the wind is doing its best to blow it everywhere , too late now and I press on , I have some trouble getting my shorts back on , it turns out that I am trying to put both feet in the same leg (donkey!) the trouble is they are flapping about in the wind I can see what I am doing and the last thing I want is to wipe the inside of my shorts with my muddy boots . O well too late now.

Job done time to press on , rather than go sulking back to the car I decide to have a wander along to Deepdale common or the head of the valley , there are some very impressive rocks formations and it seems a good place to stop for lunch .

My route

I would like to say that I enjoyed the walk along it was a good path, excellent scenery, but the wind ruined it for me, it was constant struggle to “second guess” the wind. Of what it was going to do and it was somewhat a relief to get to the end, snuggle down behind a huge rock and have lunch.

I had also noticed that I was feeling cold. Now normally I don’t feel the cold, I can honestly say that I can lay naked in the snow and not feel it but today I was starting to feel cold. Fortunately I packed some good gear (always listen to that small voice in your head that says take it just in case) and managed to wrap up warm.

After lunch I had a mooch around and decided to head back, straight back to Bridge end, was blown over twice, and to be honest with you and myself I was feeling very tired, and so pleased that I decided to cut down off the ridge earlier I shudder to think what it could been like to be blown over up there.

Once again the wind decided to either drop or change direction because as I approached Bridge end it all but went away, this gave me some much needed breathing space where I could let my body start to re charge itself, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to walk in the wind plus the amount of nervous energy   (I wonder if that’s why I felt cold today?), however the wind dropping gave me the chance to do a small detour and go look at a small water fall , unfortunately I couldn’t  get any decent photos of it.

Small waterfall.

From here I simply walked back to the car, I was feeling a bit cheated at this point and decided to walk along the footpath alongside brothers water to Dovedale and have a look at the paths coming down off the hills for future reference, when the heavens opened up, that was it time to go back to the car and call it a day.

Brothers water .

My Morning after thoughts.

Always take good warm clothing (even in summer)

Listen to those silent alarm bells ringing in your head

Always have back up plane for windy days  

Find out how to get in Weather gods good books again

On a more personal note I should take a lot of self-pride in how I came down of that ridge safe , planned and very well executed …………………………but I don’t.

 I can honestly say even though I know I did the right thing in coming down I feel like a failure. (I am certain if I was normal I would have done it)

It would appear that I have still got some issues to deal with regards to this limbless business ………sigh I will add this to that  very long list .

A few more photos enjoy

A few photos as I head up  

Mum and little one

My attempt at an arty shot .

A few photos as I drop  down down

Looking back up.

Yet another arty shot .

A few photos as I walk along Deepdale valley .

Very old? stone bridge.

And yet another not so old bridge.


Lessons learnt.