Illgill Head G/LD-029

Saturday 14 November 2020 G/LD-029 Illgill head

Another blustery and wet day in the lake district, so I didn’t fancy cycling out to Crumnock Water to make my planned ascent of Grasmoor. Instead I chose my backup plan of Illgill head - much closer to home, and a simpler climb.

I should add - I do not have a driving licence (through choice), but that’s okay as I’m a keen cyclist.

Today I took a fully rigid mountain-bike, h the aim of cycling part of the way up the track from Wasdale head, and leaving the bike near Fence Wood. I raised an alert on leaving home - giving me a total of hours to cycle to Wasdale head, and then make for the summit.

Wastwater looked rather choppy as I cycled past, so I was looking forward to pitting myself against the wind on the summit, and glad of the opportunity to test out a new fibre-glass pole (bought from aliexpress) in the wind.

IMAGE: Climbing out of Wasdale with Wasdale Head hall farm visible, and Wastwater behind.

I managed to get the bike up to Fence Wood, but much of the track was un-rideable. I changed out of cycling shoes into Walking boots, and was soon heading off up to the summit. It is a fairly steep grassy climb along Straighthead Gill, and I was glad I had brought trekking poles with me to help pull me up.

IMAGE - looking back to Wasdale head from the boundary of Fence Wood, where I had left my bike

The grassy slope was quite muddy and wet, and I recalled being here earlier in the year and struggling to find water to drink in Straighthead Gill - it was almost dried up at the time. No such problem today! On top of the hill it was thick mist. There is a clear path, so no difficulty navigating, although the proximity of the 400-500m drop off the screes tends to the focus the mind on ensuring you know exactly where you are.

I was soon at the summit and preparing my equipment. The fibre class pole was raised, with some stout guy lines (and this time I remembered to attach the Slim-G before I raised the pole!). The wind was fairly strong, so I was pleased to see the pole holding its own.

IMAGE - Wind and rain on Illgill head

I connected the VX6 HT and found that feed line was too short to reach the summit shelter, so opted to lie on the ground to shield the microphone. On calling CQ I was quickly answered by 2E0EVD and after a quick QSY to a working frequency spoke to G4UME, 2E0MIX and G0LWU (phew! I had made the four contacts) followed finally by G6LKB. By this time I had been spotted, so I waited for five mins to see if anyone else was calling, to no avail

IMAGE Pole bending in the wind

With no other callers I dismantled the pole and headed down. This is where trekking poles really are useful - I was able to scamper down the grassy slope fairly rapidly to retrieve my cycle. Back on the bike is was a short ride/walk to Wasdale head, from where it is about a 40-50 minute cycle ride home.

Image - Back on the bike and heading home (note this isn’t where I parked the bike - its is just laid down so I can take a photo)

I was pleased to have made the required contacts, and tried out the new pole. I will be back on G/LD-029 in December to collect this year’s winter bonus points.


Another interesting report Matthew, thanks. I’m envious of your cycling ability (I think I’d struggle up Honnister!).

Do you ever go walking in good weather? :wink:

I didn’t recognise the name of this peak but you took a good photo of it in your other thread about Sca Fell. It’s the big bump on the left unless I’ve completely lost my bearings. :slight_smile:

That’s right. The better route onto illgill head is from the far end of the ridge as seen in this photo. This takes you along a pleasant grassy ridge above Wastwater.

Another SOTA summit is just cut off on the right of the image - Seatallan.

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Many thanks for the interesting report Matthew. It is many years since I activated Illgil Head and Seatallan, but I distinctly remember enjoying both summits. The same cannot be said for many others!

73, Gerald

Seatallan, Haycock and Caw Fell are a great cluster of hills, with almost guaranteed quiet walking since most walkers are attracted to further up the valley.

Caw Fell has a WW2 airplane wreck near the top too, and plenty of spots to camp. The valley of Bleaberry Gill (behind Caw Fell) feels lovely and remote and is well worth a visit.

Unfortunately only Seatallan is a SOTA summit.

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