Mountain Journeys

Lake District Rock Climbing Guide: The inspiring Dove Crag, Dovedale


Lunch at the base of a cold Dove Crag

Lake District Rock Climbing Guide

Today we walked to a major mountain crag, from home. It would have been considerably easier to drive over to Patterdale and approach Dove crag from there, but for the sake of saving a few km's on foot it seemed well worthwhile to start the approach from home. This worked out very well and definitely something I'd opt for again on a hopefully soon return visit to this magnificent venue.
It's an 8km walk from Church Street in Ambleside. Lots of uphill and some seriously rough terrain as the crag nears, but an adventure every step of the way.

For over 10 years I've had in mind to climb Westmorland's Route on Dove crag. I have put it off time and time again, always going for the more reliable crags of Langdale and Borrowdale. Well today this was addressed, partly. Approaching the crag I immediately felt intimidated by the steepness, aspect, and remoteness. Just wow, this place is magnificent and that's why we're here, to be intimidated. I love it.

Dove crag is almost exclusively open for the hard and bold climber, and when I say hard, we're talking north of E5. This isn't me. But the route we are here for is a little easier assuming it is in perfect condition, and today it will be. At Severe, our chosen route weaves a magical line up the left arete of the crag, finding easy yet interesting ground to reach the summit.

All information we had gathered suggested to only attempt the route in perfect conditions when the rock would be bone dry. After many days of dry weather this seems a good time to try and scale its 6 pitches of impressiveness.

Alas it was not to be. 50mph winds coming straight from the east and battering the crag head on caused us to pause for thought. The roar of the wind made it difficult to communicate even when standing next to each other. We all knew the climbing plans were off so took some time to enjoy lunch in the sun whilst looking out over Dovedale.

The route looks amazing and I can't wait to get back there to climb it, so fingers crossed for some kinder weather with less wind.

We aimed for the Priest Hole then followed a mildly scrambling route up onto the summit of Dove Crag before following the broad ridge back to Ambleside.

Distance was only 16km which is pretty good going for a visit to a major mountain crag from the doorstep, happy with that.
Thanks to Anna and Kristina for joining today and being happy and cheery about the change of plan to just taking climbing gear for a walk 🙂



Seeking shelter in the Priest Hole


Topping out on the summit of Dove Crag



© Copyright 2024. Website by Freshspace.