The Vault Regulars

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Saturday 12th May. Wetherlam from Tilberthwaite.

  Yesterday evening we were told by a local farmer that tomorrow was going to be a fine day. You have to believe farmers, they are usually right.
So we had a look at the map and decided that we would go up Wetherlam from Tilberthwaite.

  I recalled the last time i did this top and it is quite a while ago, unfortunately on that day we were accompanied by an old walking friend, always up for a laugh, now no longer with us.

  Again this was to be a first for Sheila. She has looked down on this summit numerous times from our Marshalling position on Swirl How during the Duddon Valley fell race. Which, will soon be on us again this year. June 8th i think. Hopefully summer will decide to show by then.

  I knew the car park at Tilberthwaite gets full pretty early in the day and as it was when we arrived, we managed to squeeze in. We hadn’t need to worry though as a new car park has been built just on the other side of the ghyll. Still free as well. In the Lakes! Shh keep it quiet. Or everywhere else take note.

  Wetherlam is in a fine position and commands great views 360 degrees. It can be climbed from numerous valleys. Coniston, Little Langdale, Yewdale and the Duddon relatively easily. I prefer attacking the summit from Wetherlam Edge because there is a bit more scrambling up rocks to be had rather than just a slog to the top.

  Opting to ascend Tilberthwaite Ghyll via it’s north bank we set off. Almost immediately you have to stop to admire the wonderful old cottages and especially the one with the spinning balcony.  It was such a shame to see that the front of the cottage had been wire mesh fenced off, to stop dogs bothering people or visa versa. But it detracts from what is/was a stunning place to photograph.

     Cottage with spinning gallery, Low Tilberthwaite, by Tom Richardson.

This photo which i borrowed from the internet shows how it used to look.

   In years gone by, the Ghyll was a must see for travellers to walk up the ghyll changing banks via the numerous footbridges, to admire the gorge at it’s best. Sadly the bridges, apart from one, have all been washed away and never replaced.

  We soon started shedding layers as the day warmed up. The farmer was right, it was a lovely day. 
Height is soon gained and the aspect to the NE is stunning looking across the forestry to Brathay.
As the path starts to level out at the top of the gyhll the views just get better and better. This has to be one of the most picturesque spots for me. Considering the amount of mining that had previously been carried out here we are so lucky that it hasn’t the ugly scars that offend Coniston Coppermines valley. 

   I had it in my mind that we would explore the area between Blake Rigg and Birk Fell but the day was so good that we just wanted to get to the top. 

  Looking back down Crook Beck and over the Yewdale Fells from high above Dry Cove Moss was a pleasure.

From the track below Blake Rigg we could see the small silhouettes of numerous people almost at the top of Birkfell Hause. It was like when you see a large group roped on a glacier but here it was sky and not ice.
Now we knew where the occupants of the cars were. On reaching the hause ourselves the wind was quite fierce coming up from Greenburn. We walked on the leeward edge to keep out of the cold but the views across to the Langdales and Bowfell could not be missed. I put on a layer and took some photo’s.

  Although black clouds were rolling in, we stayed bathed in sunshine. It was our chosen day. 
The route up Wetherlam edge is quite steep but isn’t difficult. You can feel a little exposed if you suffer from vertigo but otherwise it’s very nice. You can make the ascent as easy or as hard as you want. There are numerous variations on this route. Not only did we catch up to the large group that we had spotted from much lower down but we passed them with relative ease.
They were struggling with hand holds whilst carrying walking poles. Please, whats it all about.

A small section of the edge path.

  As is always the case, Wetherlam has it’s false summit. You level out at the top of the edge only to find that the cairn is at the top of the next rise. Albeit a short rise. 
It was quite cold on top and time to put the layers back on after the exertion of gaining the edge. There were plenty of people milling around the top, all wrapped up. We asked a chap to take the Cairn shot for us. Thanks for that whoever you are.  
Sheila asked him if it was a good one and he replied “well its a good one of you”. You can make up your own mind, below.

  We needed to find a lunch spot out of the biting wind which we found about 100 metres south of the cairn. It was an east/west gully and so we had good protection. In fact we couldn’t feel the wind at all.
  Post lunch we had a quick meander around the summit, taking a few photos across to Swirl How and Carrs, Coniston Ridge etc then found our path to descend South along the top of Lad Sones. The numerous undulations of this path gave us some respite from the wind until eventually the path drops off the ridge towards hole Rake.
 Wetherlam, from South of summit.
 Track above Lad Stones
 Looking down to Tilberthwaite.
 Some hardy souls sheltering.
 Coniston Ridge in the background.
 Old Man of Coniston with Levers Water, centre, Low water just out of shot below summit.
 The well trod old mining track of Hole Rack is an interesting route as long as you deviate just slightly east. There are numerous old workings to investigate. Most people just walk past on the way to Coniston or Tilberthwaite oblivious to the heritage available for free.
 Another wooly watcher.
Descending this time on the south bank of Tilberthwaite Gyhll the hills of the Helvellyn and Fairfield Group looked wonderful being mottled with cloud and sun and all too soon we were back at the car.
Now lower down it was really quite summery and we wondered if this was high pressure to stay. 
We must have another word with that farmer.
A cracking good day and a bit of a sun tan too.


  1. Excellent post Alan and good photographs. You may be a long way from Scotland but you're handy for the beautiful Lake District. It's years since I did Wetherlam so I've popped it on the list for our visit in July. I must speak to a farmer in late June!

    Yes, it is a good one of Sheila....

  2. Hi Gibson,
    Yes your are correct. The Lakes and the Dales are within easy reach but we are missing out up north.
    It’s difficult to pick out a favourite mountain in the lakes but Wetherlam is a good one i enjoy.
    Farmers always have the answers to the weather.

    1. You're not missing much up here at the moment: it's cold, wet and with snow forecast down to 300m.

    2. I wish we had as much good weather as we have bad. We had some really big hail stones yesterday. Today it's started calm but rain forecast for later.
      I'm going gear mooching later and maybe treat us to a Holts or two.

  3. Nice walk. I must add that to my ever increasing list.
    Looks like you are back into full action now.
    I am on gardening duty after the 2 weeks on Challenge. I will get round to that write up in due course.

  4. Hi Andrew, well done btw. looking forward to reading yours and Alan's account.


Find it Here

About Me

My other blog.