Crag Hill

Crag Hill is a mountain in the north western part of the English Lake District formerly known as Eel Crag. However, the Ordnance Survey now denotes Eel Crag as referring to the northern crags of the fell.

It overlooks the valleys of Rannerdale to the west and Coledale to the east. It is the second highest fell in the area of high ground between Whinlatter and Newlands, only to Grasmoor. It is 839 m (2,753 feet) high, and possesses a relative height of 117 m.

The highest ground in the North Western Fells is an east-west ridge in the central sector, starting with Grasmoor above Crummock Water and then gradually descending eastwards over Crag Hill, Sail, Scar Crags and Causey Pike. Grasmoor has the greatest elevation, but Crag Hill stands at the centre of the range. In plan it shows as a cross with ridges running to the four points of the compass.

North of Crag Hill is the col of Coledale Hause, the high level connection to Hopegill Head, main focal point of a parallel but slightly lower ridge. Valleys descend from both sides of Coledale Hause, running between these two ridges. Gasgale Gill, or Liza Beck on OS maps, flows west towards the River Cocker, while Coledale Beck runs east towards the Derwent. Guarding the way up from the Hause to Crag Hill is Eel Crag, the face which gave the fell its previous name.

Crag Hill has also a southern ridge which steps down toward Buttermere over Wandope and Whiteless Pike. The valley of Rannerdale forms the west boundary with Sail Beck on the other side. Both discharge into Crummock Water.

The tallest part of Crag Hill is near the ‘cross’ where the four ridges meet. Moving further eastwards to Sail, the ridge tapers down with crags on either side. Scott Crags stands over Coledale and Scar Crag, not to be confused with Scar Crags, looks down over Sail Beck. Beneath Scar Crag is Addacomb Hole, a deep corrie which is tarn less. By contrast to the west of the summit the slopes are smooth and wide, although remain steep.

The summit areas of Crag Hill are made up of the Ordovician Kirkstile Formation. This is the typical rock formation of the Skiddaw fells and is composed of laminated mudstone and siltstone. Under this are the Greywacke sandstone turbities of the Loweswater Formation. The Causey Pike Fault runs across the south flanks of the fell, beyond which are the rocks of the Buttermere Formation.

Although there is plenty of evidence of mining activity in the surrounding fells, Crag Hill itself has remained untouched. The peak bears an Ordnance Survey Triangulation Column, set on a stony plateau. Views are spectacular, although robbed of some foreground by the flat expanse of the top. All of the major fell groups can be seen with the Scafells particularly prominent.

Although a higher neighbour, Grasmoor detracts little from the westward views.
From the shore of Crummock Water, Rannerdale Beck can be tracked to its source, gaining the ridge between Crag Hill and Wandope. The alternative west route follows Gasgale Gill up to its origin on Coledale Hause. From Braithwaite near Keswick at the opposite end of the ridge, Coledale Hause is also the first and main objective. From here a simple ascent turns Eel Crag to the west, although Wainwright listed more interesting alternatives on the east side of the crag.

Many climbs of Crag Hill are made indirectly as part of a full traverse of the Grasmoor to Causey Pike ridge. Ascents from Buttermere via Whiteless Pike and Wandope are also possible. Finally, rounds of either Coledale or Gasgale Gill, crossing to or from Hopegill Head via Coledale Hause, provide fine return walks for those wanting to get back to their starting point.

Reference: Wikipedia – under the GNU Free Doc Licence