Sergeant’s Crag – The Central Fells 1,873′ (179)
Date: 14 September 1993
From: Eagle Crag
Sergeant’s Crag comes as a matching pair with Eagle Crag, both of them small but rugged, solid peaks forming the abrupt end of a long spur from High Raise. Of course I was going to do both as part of the same walk. Though it’s actually higher, Sergeant’s Crag suffers in comparison, by being a part of the ridge and thus not having the same kind of terminal architecture that its colleague boasts. By the time I’d reached the top of Eagle Crag, the weather was deteriorating, and it came on to rain before I’d gone as much as two hundred yards. At the bottom of an awkward step, I tucked myself into a corner of the rock to pull on my waterproofs before carrying on. The path ran behind the ridge crest and Sergeant’s Crag was far from obvious from this angle, but I got it right and stood on its top. What now? The original plan had been to carry on to Stake Pass and return to and walk Langstrath from there, but from here I could see the long spur curling up to hidden High Raise. It was a lonely place with no guarantees that the already low cloudline wouldn’t descend further, enveloping me in country with no features. It was clear the rain had set in for the day. So I decided on a direct descent. The slopes were grassy, broken up by rocks. I chose a line and started down, cautiously, constantly monitoring the slope for places where it looked to get too steep for continued progress, and veering away from any such. It was still raining steadily, the grass was slippery underfoot, the valley seemed to be getting no nearer. But it was not as hairy as my descent off Brim Fell, and a slip would (probably) not have been so dangerous. Besides, I was a decade more experienced: I could do this. I reached the bottom safely, and without draining myself. It left me a long trudge along a glacial valley, under low cloud, between widespread, uninteresting slopes as far up as I could see them. At Blackmer Pot, I got across the beck, partly for the variation of the route, but mostly because it was a shorter route on that side, curving through the wood. I’d long since taken off my glasses so that I could at least see something and, in the wood, something was a flash of red, squirting along a tree branch that disappeared before I could get my glasses on to verify, but which was almost certainly my first, useless sight of a red squirrel. Back in Keswick, I hung my sodden waterproofs over the shower curtain rail to drain, a process that took well into my night’s sleep.