Sun 4th Jul, 1999

Whitbarrow Climbing/Walking

Intended as a walking or climbing meet.

Members present: Tony Gask, Iain McCallum, Lester Payne, Peter Walker.


This was not your usual Lakeland walk over high fells and rocky ridges but a much lower level outing over a limestone wedding cake rising in rocky tiers above the Kent Estuary; a plateau with steep craggy sides, decorated with wooded slopes and carpets of wild flowers. A fine balcony from which to view the higher hills, making up in interest for its lack of elevation and the figure of eight walk would centre on the highest point, Lord's Seat, giving us a double ascent and a round trip of 15 miles.

Only Lester, Iain and I set out, a quarter of an hour after the advertised time. There was no one climbing as we scrambled past the first crag but it was only 10am. We traversed the top and dropped off to Crosthwaite for a pint at the Punch Bowl, where we were joined by Tony Gask. After lunch by the church yard we set off back through the northern woods, up to Lord's Seat once again and then a steep descent to Witherslack Hall. There were climbers at work on Chaplel Head Scar but I couldn't see if they were KMC. Our route finished over Yewbarrow to the Derby Arms and another welcome pint, sitting outside in the sunshine.

Iain took Tony back to his car before continuing to Glasgow to pick up Jim and Sandy on their return from Greenland whilst I gave Lester a lift to Cartmel. I returned to the Derby Arms but there was no sign of any KMC climbers. If any did attend perhaps they could let me know.

Peter Walker

Meet Promo:

Maps: Pathfinder 627 Milnthorpe or SD 48/58. The SE Lakes sheet is also useful.

Whitbarrow is just off the A590 Barrow road, a wooded limestone ridge running North/South overlooking the Kent Estuary.

Meet on the old road, now by-passed by the A590 at grid ref. 454 843, near the Mill Side, Beck Head turn off. The sugested walk is at least 15 miles. Start time is 9:30am.

The proposed route is a figure of eight with Lords Seat the highest point of the fell at the centre; with many variations possible. Set out by Millside, Beck Head, Chapel Head Scar to Lord's Seat, continuing northwards to the Punch Bowl Inn at Crosthwaite, via the hamlet of Row. Return via Fell Side, Fell Edge, Whitbarrow Scar up to Lord's Seat again. Down to Witherslack Hall, Whitherslack and the Derby Arm's. The cars are a mile up the road.

Climbing: Chapel Head Scar rises straight up from our walking path out of Beck Head - bristling with pegs and bolts! Climbing on White Scar above the old road is more difficult of access - Duncan suggests abseiling in.

Hopefully we will all meet up at the Derby Arm's.

PS extra information on the three crags in the area, from Tony Gask:

  • Chapel Head Scar - easy access as described in the walk. The average grade appears to be E3.

  • Whitstone Crage - a small but pleasant limestone crag with routes from D to HVS. GR 397 849 is 1½ miles from Newby Bridge, above the A59, 10 minutes walk from the road. Handy for the pub in Whitherslack at the end of the day.

  • White Scar - not recommended, access is so difficult with scree, boulders etc at top and bottom. Described as "Utopia for the masochist".

Thanks, Tony.

Peter Walker

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