Published 10 January 2021. Last updated 3 February 2021

Grasmoor – seen from the summit of nearby Whiteless Pike

It’s September 2020 and after a year full of lockdowns, cancelled holidays and just general chaos, I unexpectedly found myself in the Lake District for a week. Day one was spent near Borrowdale, the second in the wonderful Newlands. For the third, I had a lovely horseshoe walk around Grasmoor lined up. After starting with Whiteside, I revisited Hopegill Head and made my way to the tallest fell in the North Western area..

Walking along the ridge from Whiteside, the next fell you come to is Hopegill Head. It’s reached by an epic walk along a sharp ridge with an especially steep and daunting drop to the south of the fell. The good news is that the northern side is a lot tamer.

I’d visited Hopegill Head a year earlier. That time the cloud had clung so tightly to the fells that it was a struggle to see the path, yet alone a view. Now was the complete opposite. The sky was pretty clear. The sun was shinning down. I reached Hopegill Head’s simple summit and got to see what I’d missed the previous autumn.

Coledale, viewed from Coledale Hause, between Hopegill Head and Grasmoor

That done, I dropped down to Coledale Hause, and walked on to Grassmoor.

That’s Grasmoor. Not Grasmore. Derived from “grise” meaning “wild boar”. Did those animals once roam these slopes? I had no idea.

From the valley floor, Grasmoor is one of those fells that can be best described as a “formidable looking beast”. From Coledale Hause, it looked like a friendly puppy. Lots of grass and an easy to wander-along path.

The path up from the Hause followed the gushing and gurgling Gasgale Gill. It seemed to have recently become two streams. One flowed down the gill’s normal course, whilst a second was newer, gushing through a narrow ditch in the grass. It gave the impression that the gill was in flood. Yet further up, the course of the gill was bone dry. For whatever reason, Gasgale Gill had re-routed itself. What would I find if I came here in ten years time? Would tradition have re-asserted itself? Would the new upstart have taken over? I made a mental note to pop back to find out.

A peaty pool on the path up from Coledale Hause – close to the turn off for Crag Hill or Grasmoor.

A junction of paths gave the walker a choice. East for Eel Crag. South for Buttermere. A little dog-leg for Wandope. And West for the tallest of the North Western Fells. Grasmoor.

Going west required going up a steep, rocky path, before swiftly levelling off. A steep, sharp shock to the legs, that was mercifully relieved.

Looking less foreboding that other ways to the summit

I followed the path onwards for what felt like ages as I sought what felt like was an almost mythical summit. The map said it was a mere half mile. It felt four times longer. At least.

I was weary. It had required a lot of effort to get here. Even if I had had a nice rest at the top of Hopegill Head. You don’t get from the valley floor to a height of 852m above sea level without using a bit of energy. And yet this was the easy bit.

The shelter at the top of Grasmoor

Still, it was dragging. Like the start of the last day of the school term before summer. You’ve been in lessons for months, and you know when the bell goes at 3pm that you’ve got five glorious weeks of freedom to enjoy. But urgh, you’ve got six more hours before it starts. Six oh so long hours. Yeah, getting to the top of Grasmoor was that.

So when I finally reached the end, and found the large stone shelter that marked the summit. I rejoiced. I celebrated in the only way I could. By going “yay” under my breathe, and flumping down on the group at a reasonably good view.

The view from Grasmoor, looking towards Buttermere

Next time: Wandope.


Vic Flange

10 January 2021 at 1:19 pm

That’s Grassmoor. Not Grassmore.

As you’re being so emphatic: Or Grasmoor even. :-)

Agree with it looking a right beast, which was the very thought occupying my mind as I looked at it from Robinson.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

10 January 2021 at 2:34 pm

I think when I typed up this piece I managed to type the name incorrectly every time. It’s just so difficult trying to put gras not grass! I see some mistakes missed my subediting too…

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