Hopegill Head (via Whiteside)

I first became interested in this peak when I saw it, as well as the long, rugged ridge of Whiteside leading up to it, on a ‘horseshoe’ circuit of Coledale last year. I left it out on that occasion, however, because I doubted I had the stamina to include it, with Grisedale Pike and a long return to near Stair village still lying ahead of me. But thereafter it was always tucked away in the back of my mind to do both, this time starting out from Crummock Water.
The ascent was up to Whin Ben, thence to the summit of Whiteside, and from there on via one of the crowning glories of the walk, its long, airy ridge, narrowing and angling upwards all the way to the beautifully-profiled summit of Hopegill Head. Wonderful views back along the ridge to Crummock Water, over to the head of Gasgill and the flanks of Eel Crag and Grasmoor to the south-west, of Ladyside Pike to the north-west, and to the north, in the distance, of the Skiddaw massif.
The summit reached, the great drama of the sudden fall-away of its north-western face, and the looming, finely-proportioned north-eastern profile of the whole of Grisedale Pike reaching up from the floor of Hobcarton vale, as well as the expansive views to the west and north-west in particular, all conspire to make this one of Lakeland’s greatest scenic ‘coups de theatre’.
The descent was via Gasgill, though the recent floods have badly eroded the path, and so is not recommended until repaired (I had to cross the beck several times, with the cold weather making it very difficult in places, because of ice on the boulders - the same cold froze up my water pipe for long parts of the walk).
(Highest point: 2,525 ft/766m. Distance: 4.94 miles/7.94 km. Ascent: 2452 ft./748m.)

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