All the Fells: Whiteside

Whiteside ā€“ The North Western Fells 2,317′ (48)

Date: 10 September 1986/17 September 1996

From: Lanthwaite Green/ Lanthwaite Green

Though both my ascents of Whiteside were just as the first step in a circuit of Gasgale Gill, it’s still a fine fell in its own right, with a nice, engaging approach along steep ridges, offering an openness that you don’t get on every fell. From Lanthwaite Green, at the base of where Gasgale Gill issues from its long ravine, just ’round the corner’ into the Vale of Lorton, there is ample car parking. The mouth of the Gill is the obvious starting point, and a path breaks off, up the heathery slopes, almost immediately. This makes for the subsidiary summit of Whin Ben, crossing its crest. Except for up the fellside, there are splendid views all round, of Gasgale Gill, of the Loweswater Fells and the Fellbarrow range, which gave me ample excuses for breathers: on a sunny day, the walking was great but it was also draining. But that’s the North Western Fells for you and why I loved them more than anywhere else. You sweat it up steep slopes to get to that first summit, but then you’re up in the air all day, treading narrow ridges, and all the coming down is in one lot at the end. The path from Whin Ben led next to a rock shoulder with a bit of scrambling in its upper section, and from there to the end of the ridge, just a dozen yards short of what Wainwright identifies as the summit of Whiteside. It’s a fine, open top but it’s another of those tops where there’s a higher point further on, the much less satisfying and distinguished East Top, which is actually some forty feet higher. I was going to cross it anyway, so it hardly mattered, on the long and splendid ridge to Hopegill Head, but Wainwright’s choice feels like a summit and the eastern point just feels like a point on a ridge.

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