Hopegill Head from Grisedale Pike
|Range:||Lake District North Western Fells|
|Summit:|| 2,526 feet NY185221 |
Hopegill Head is the middle fell of three fells on a ridge that starts at Braithwaite and goes west for five miles to conclude at the northern end of Crummock Water. The other two fells on the ridge are Grisedale Pike and Whiteside.
The fell is often referred to locally as 'Hobcarton Pike' as it stands at the head of Hobcarton Gill. However, the Ordnance Survey have officially named it 'Hopegill Head' on maps after Hope Gill, which is another valley that goes north-west from the summit.
The main tops of the fell are:
- Hopegill Head summit: NY185221, 2,526 feet
- Ladyside Pike: NY185227, 2,480 feet
- Sand Hill: NY187218, 2,306 feet
Hopegill Head’s most striking feature is Hobcarton Crag, a cliff 430 feet high which drops precipitously to Hobcarton Gill on the fell's north east side. These cliffs are unsuitable for conventional rock climbing because they are made of crumbly Skiddaw Slate but they do provide good winter climbing with the best known routes being Thompson’s Chimney and Cave Route. The crags, which are owned by the National Trust, are the only location of Viscaria alpina, the red alpine catchfly.
The laminated mudstone and siltstone of the Kirkstile Formation predominated, with the underlyng greywacke sandstone of the Loweswater Formation outcropping to the north.
Hopegill Head can be climbed by various routes. Many people arrive along the ridge from Grisedale Pike or Whiteside but it is also possible to ascend from the Vale of Lorton and from the Whinlatter Pass road by the north west ridge, taking in the subsidiary top of Ladyside Pike. It is also possible to arrive or leave via the Coledale Hause passing over the satellite summit of Sand Hill. This is quite often done as part of the Coledale Round, an 11-mile horseshoe walk which takes in the other Coledale fells of Grisedale Pike, Eel Crag, Sail, Scar Crags and Causey Pike.
The summit of the fell is an exhilarating place, a small pointed peak poised on the edge of Hobcarton Crag giving wide ranging views. The Isle of Man is seen on clear days, as are the Southern Uplands to the north. To the east the Helvellyn Range is well seen.
- Wainwright, Alfred: A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Six — The North Western Fells (1964)
- Wainwright’s Favourite Lakeland Mountains: Alfred Wainwright: ISBN 0-7181-3370-6
- The Mountains of England and Wales, Volume 2, John and Anne Nuttall, ISBN 1-85284-037-4
- British Geological Survey: 1:50,000 series maps, England & Wales Sheet 29: BGS (1999)