Walk it this month
The allure of Wetherlam
Wetherlam is a hill overlooking the Great East Road about midway between the Shire and Rivendell in Eriador, a region of Middle Earth. It is home to the ruins of The Tower of Amon Sûl, built in the first days of the north-kingdom of… Hang on, that’s Weathertop from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings novels. Wetherlam in the Lake District is nowhere near as interesting, is it?
Well, at first glance, possibly not. Its summit is of the bluntly-domed rather than the sharply-pointed variety, and the whole hill is a sprawl of lumpen fellside, rather than a distinct shape. But beyond the obvious there’s much more to this mountain.
The most common approaches start from Coniston to the south, Little Langdale to the north, and Tilberthwaite to the east. This latter journey takes you through wooded hillside amongst some of the highest trees in England. On all sides, Wetherlam’s slopes are pot-marked by the scars of its industrial heritage. Quarrying and copper-mining activities have left their marks, but these tend to be in small, isolated pockets and, despite the significant exploitation, have done little to detract from the overall charm.
Despite Wetherlam’s rounded profile, there are still edges to be found. Steel Edge and Wetherlam Edge both provide airy ascents from the east, the snaking ridgeline that traverses Wet Side Edge, Swirl How and Prison Band from the north and west provide plenty of crag-top elevation, and there’s some easy grade off-path scrambling to be found on the walk in from Coniston.
And once you arrive at the summit, the lack of sharpness is irrelevant as the extent of the vista is revealed. The top of Wetherlam is ideally placed for an expansive panorama of the surrounding fells in the southern half of the park, while the views over towards the Langdales and the fells surrounding those valleys are amongst the finest in the Lakes.