A 2-day circuit of the hills flanking Garsdale, a choice inspired by an overlap with a bank holiday weekend to avoid the influx of walkers to the well known areas – it was a good one in that respect, we saw nobody at all and the whole area was completely deserted. The tent pitch was an excellent one with a grand sunrise.
On the north side of Garsdale is the huge sprawl of Baugh Fell, home to two Nuttall 2000′ summits and divided on the map into West and East Baugh Fell, and its vastness is readily appreciated on a traverse like this: usually with a total lack of people it is a study in serene emptiness. Dotted with small curricks, tarns and gritty outcrops with evidence of a few old workings, it would be more akin to its Pennine neighbours to the north but for the lack of heather: this is a landscape of moorland grasses and sphagnum presided over by skylarks, curlews and plovers rather than their ubiquitous grouse.
On the south side is the Marilyn/Dewey top of Aye Gill Pike (Rise Hill), a long shallow whaleback hill that could hardly be less like the popular notion of a ‘pike’. This was to be the day of views, but apart from the brief dawn period the sky was grey and murky all day and the vistas very muted.