The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head and Dent

Friday 3 June

Awaking early again this morning (for no good reason - there were no little lanes to be tackled whilst they were still quiet) I peeped outside to find another cloud-free day - the fourth in a row.

Illgill Head (NY169049; 609m)
As I only had one Marilyn on the agenda today (Illgill Head), with an incidental Wainwright thrown in (Whin Rigg) I thought I'd make a decent walk of it by forming a circuit by continuing to the north off Illgill Head towards Wasdale Head before looping back via Burnmoor Tarn and Miterdale.

Somehow I managed to restrain myself from eating my sandwiches at 9am at the top of Whin Rigg, making do with a handful of fig rolls, which staved off the rumbling for, oooh, at least ten minutes (it was a hungry day today!).

The way up to Whin Rigg had been fine, with increasingly lovely surroundings, but the continuation to my main objective was really superb, as I shunned the main trodden line and took to the less obvious path running along the edge of the steep slope which falls down to Wastwater screes.

View from the top

One woman and one backpacker were seen on my way up to the fantastic viewpoint of a summit. A couple and their dog were passed as I started down towards Wasdale. They were the only people I saw until almost at the road end in Miterdale.

Burnmoor Tarn

At Burnmoor Tarn (so picturesque!) I was sorely tempted to throw in a detour over to Scafell Pike (I talked myself out of the impulsive scheme in the end due to a lack of food and the knowledge that Mick would like to do that one with me) and in Miterdale I finally stopped for lunch. Incredibly I managed to last until 11.30 before the sandwiches met their end. A few clouds had formed by then, and for a couple of minutes the sun was obscured - for the first time on this trip.

It was a most enjoyable circuit (10.5 miles, haven't calculated the ascent), but I was back by just after noon, with a whole afternoon stretching out in front of me.

Dent (or Long Barrow) (NY041129; 352m)


As Mick isn't able to join me until late this evening and as he needs to be at work before 8 on Monday morning, the chosen location for this weekend's rendezvous is in the Ambleside area. That left me without any more Marilyns that would sensibly fit into my afternoon ... except that on a perusal of the map I realised that I could go and visit the one on which I'd not even made any notes for this trip, on the basis that it's too much of an outlier.

Then the thing happened which I always knew, when I started pursuing Marilyns, would happen at some point. After a 15 mile detour to visit this hill, it came into sight and my first thought was "I've been up there before".

Yep, Dent lies on Wainwright Coast to Coast route, but for some reason I'd not ticked it off.

What to do? Well, as I'd taken the trouble to drive out of my way and as it was such a nice day, I thought I may as well go up it again.

I didn't join the C2C route until I was out of the forest, right by this bench...

... where, in 2008, I recall pausing for painkillers for a headache (funny the things that can stick in the mind!). Suddenly I was in a snake of people heading up to the top. Many of them paused every 5 paces to admire the view - and who can blame them? It was a gorgeous day and the views were outstanding. Plus, if my memory serves, this is the first hill, on the first day, of the C2C route so could come as a bit of a shock to the system.

Reaching a big cairn where a dozen people had stopped, I paused also for summit photos ...

...before realising that this wasn't the top. Onwards I went, pausing again at the proper summit, where the local dogwalker behind me assumed I was uncertain as to the onwards route and started shouting to me to continue straight on. He was a bit taken aback that I wasn't on my way to Ennerdale.

Once I'd visited the tuft of grass half an inch taller than the rest, which lies five paces off the path (so at least I can justify the return visit on the basis that I have walked those extra five paces with half an inch of ascent) I did continue straight on, as the dog walker was so eager for me to do, as I thought I may as well make a circuit of the outing.

Back at Colin, parked by the river where lots of children were swimming and splashing, I'd walked exactly 4 miles with around 800' of ascent.

Then it was a drive around to t’other side of the Lake District. The long way around. Without the use of any narrow, steep passes.


  1. I did exactly the same thing when i did Dent as an M realising i had done it on the C to C years ago, BUT, I then went and repeated the error as a Wainwright Outlying Fell, ergo, three ascent!s It is almost too embarrassing to relate.

    1. As is often the case when out and about, I can only get on the internet by loitering outside of someone's house to get on their BT wifi hotspot. When the email containing this comment came through, I was sitting on a rock on the side of the road in Elterwater village, with plenty of people passing by, and I did laugh out loud.