Raven Crag Walthwaite and The Wainwright Inn

May 19, 2008

When the weather is good in the lake district we have to take advantage, and so on Thursday evening after work I fetched up at Raven Crag at Walthwaite. To get there head for Langdale (a left turn off the Coniston to Ambleside road) go straight on at the Brittania pub at Elterwater, turn left at the crossroads. Drive past the Wainwright Inn at Chapel Stile, then take the second right.  Take the narrow road with the 20mph limit signs that goes steeply uphill then turn right again. After passing through the few houses in the village of Walthwaite, you’ll see a parking place on the right below some gates that lead up to the fellside. Pull in tight, and park. The crag is visible from the road, so go through the gate with a small sign warning of recent rockfall and a steep 5-10 minutes later you’ll be at the bottom of the crag.

It doesn’t look much, but you’ll soon realise that the journey was worth it as this is an oft ignored gem. I’ve never met anyone else climbing there – just the way I like it – far from the madding crowds.

Route 2 is a wonderful three star, two pitch 37m hard severe (in reality a v.diff first pitch followed by a superb second pitch) and after that there’s an easy VS on the arete to the left, thin on gear but with great handholds (overgraded apparently, though I haven’t climbed it). Around the corner is a steep three star classic in the form of Tritus (27m HVS 5a) Mark led, and I thoutoughly enjoyed seconding. Slightly further right in a darkish corner, you’ll find Walthwaite Gulley (27m VS 4b 4c) a wonderful confidence inspiring route for the aspiring VS leader. I led it in one, and am not a huge fan of laybacking, but this is the laybacking route that dreams are made of. Exit through the tree and belay off the boulders about 10m back from the summit.

We followed the Golden rule which states that you must have a pint after climbing, and that the first pub you come to is the one to quench your adrenalin dried mouth in. In this case it was the Wainwright Inn, part of the large Langdale Estate complex. You’ll get a more authentic lake district pub down the road at the Brittania, but the Wainwright’s ok, at least it stocks some decent beers and has tables outside where you can watch the bats feed on the midges that are biting you.

On the way home we spotted a Tawney Owl hunting, and were held up briefly by a tiny deer crossing the road.

Looks like the weather is changing and outdoors climbing might become a hit and miss affair soon. Sunday’s looking like a possibility though, so maybe one more crag report this week