Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dove Crag & The Priests Hole

1- Looking up to the Stangs.
2- View from the cave to Brothers Water.
3- View from the back of the cave.
4- Looking up to Dove Crag from Hartsop Hall
Dove Crag is a peak situated in the Patterdale area of Cumbria’s Lakeland. It is only 2603 ft high but is blessed with many beautiful features one of which is a cave known as ‘The Priests Hole’ that can be found 2/3 of the way up on it’s north east facing crag. The cave is a popular place for fell walkers to bed down for the night as it provides good shelter with fantastic views towards the Angletarn Pikes, High Raise and many other Lakeland peaks.
To get to the cave however one must scramble up Dove Crag’s north east face but it is well worth the effort. Once in the cave you will find a metal strong box which is generally stocked with goodies that previous climbers have left behind for you , when I arrived I found in the box a bottle of whisky with some candles, raisins, gas canisters and an emergency sleeping blanket wrapped in an emergency bag as well as a bag of self heating food. There is also a visitors book for climbers to leave their signature, reflections & doodles which provides an interesting read.
I ascended Dove Crag from the route Wainwright gives you starting from Hartsop Hall following Hartsop Beck through a very scenic area known as the Stangs , The scenery was of the of lushest green patterned with rock, crag, bracken & a small wood that actually produces Hazelnuts in October. Hartsop Beck provided some wonderful waterfalls and tranquil area’s for one to bed down for the night weather permitting.
Once you reach the area known as Hunsett Cove the ascent becomes quite steep but the National Trust has provided a path using rock & scree as improvised steps, Dove Crag towers above you on your left until you reach a small tarn where you can traverse south along the crag up to the Priest Hole where you can crack open s swift one and take in the magnificent scenery below. Dove Crag remains one of my favourite climbs and I can’t wait to do it again but next time explore a lot more of it’s surrounding area, I may even carry my portable barbeque up there, if your in the vicinity and you get a wiff of honey & mustard sauce climb up and join me. ( Bring a bottle)