Dow Crag

The magnificent rocky eastern face of Dow Crag, hanging high above Goat’s Water, is a sight I never tire of, especially when seen in its full sweep from near Goat’s Hause. On this occasion the objective was to get further ‘up close and personal’ with this wonderful part of Lake District scenery than I had hitherto managed. In other words, rather than the normal routes of ascent via the Walna Scar road, Coniston Old Man or Goat’s Hause, I decided to attempt a direct approach from Goat’s Water, via what Wainwright (comparing it to true climbing routes) dubbed the ‘coward’s way to the top of the crag’, or as he also refers to it, the ‘South Rake’.
As shown in the appropriate shot below, this gully can be reached by ascending the scree ‘fan’ below the crags to up to near the blue stretcher box (comforting object!) and then traversing left past the entrance to Great Gully to the mouth of Easy Gully. The previously concealed South Rake runs up to the left from near here. Going up it has some similarities to parts of Jack’s Rake (Pavey Ark) and Fox’s Tarn Gully (Scafell), and it is nowhere exposed or really difficult - just a steep but straightforward and exhilarating scramble, with great views and more than enough clambering to preoccupy you all the while, so that the top is reached more quickly (and enjoyably!) than expected.
Once the summit ridge and then the summit itself were reached, the route went down the northern shoulder of the summit area to Goat’s Hause, and then down along the eastern shore of Goat’s Water, and from there finally back to the starting point at Walna Scar Road car-park. An especially satisfying outing, despite the rather cloudy and windy conditions (the latter miraculously absent on the rock-face), because of the very close acquaintance with the chief glories of Dow Crag which this route makes possible.
(Highest point: - Dow Crag 2553 ft/ 778 m. Distance: 5.2 miles/ 8.4 km. Ascent: 1876 ft./ 571 m. Time: 5 hours.)
For further details of this walk, see the following:
Richards, M. (2009) Lakeland Fellranger series - The Southern Fells. Cicerone. Dow Crag Section. Cicerone
Wainwright, A. (1958) A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book 4: The Southern Fells. Westmorland Gazette. Dow Crag Section
Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps OL6 (1: 25 000) The Lake District: SW Area [or equivalent].

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