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Monday, 28 October 2013

A Mardale Round 29-Sept-2013

The final Sunday of September saw me go back to Hawsewater in the Lake District, the 3rd time this year I have been to this lovely wild place. This time though, it wasn't a walk round the reservoir but one that would take me high above it and onto the surrounding fells of Kidsty Pike, High Street, and Harter Fell to name a few. After my first visit there, back in the snowy month of late March, I had fancied a walk up the Riggindale Crag Ridge that leads on to High Street and all around. Sunday 29th was the only Sunday I had free for quite a time due to work and other things so I was hoping that the fine summer weather was going to last a bit longer. The forecast was set fair but with a chance of low cloud during the morning so it wasn't till about 8.30am that I set off from home making good progress along the quiet M6 reaching the car park at Mardale Head about 10.30am. I started walking about 10.45 in warm but cloudy conditions and at one point it did feel a bit like rain might spoil the day, thankfully it didn't!
The car park was quite full but I managed to find a space before others arrived and started to fill up the verges on the narrow lane. It's quite a popular place but you soon have solitude as there are various paths that lead you in different directions that soon disperse everyone onto the surrounding fells. I took the path that leads around the bottom of Haweswater and along the track that leads you up above The Rigg and on to the ridge of Swine Crag, Heron Crag & Eagle Crag
My route for the day
Looking over to Riggindale Ridge from the road @ Whiteacre Crag
Looking down onto Hawsewater from the climb up to Swine Crag
Looking across to Harter Fell and my descent path Gatescarth Pass
 The path on to the ridge is quite straight forward and it does offer views all round this really quiet place. All the time it took me to walk along the ridge there was six other walkers going the same way so despite all the cars in the car park there were very few people about at this stage.
As I left Eagle Crag and on the approach to Rough Crag, Blea Water came into view as the clouds were hanging about over High Street, making it quite atmospheric

Although there was still quite a bit of cloud about, looking over to Kidsty Pike and also back along my route so far it was looking quite promising that the cloud would lift somewhat and make the way all clear. I didn't expect to turn my back on the cloud on minute only to find that it would be replaced by a clear blue sky the next! Quite extraordinary realy but it changed in a blink of an eye, and it got steadily warmer in the now glorious sunshine :-)
Looking across to a cloud free Kidsty Pike
On to Rough Crag with a cloudy High street ahead
Looking back along the ridge in now sunny conditions
As if by magic the cloud lifts to show off High Street
A sparkling Blea Water below
 It was now just a steady climb up Long Stile on to a clear High Street that offered splendid views all round, especially over to the Helvellyn Range all bathed in warm sunshine
A look back down the ridge with Hawsewater far below
A good view of all the Crags along the ridge
Good clear views across to the Helvellyn Range
 The clear conditions now made for a good easy way round to Kidsty Pike where I had a good rest and took in some fine views of my route so far
On the way to Kidsty Pike
View over to the Ridge and also Mardale Bell 111 & Harter Fell in the background
Looking down to Hawsewater and the start point
Kidsty Pike Summit
The way back and along High Street
From here it was a good straight forward walk retracing my steps back onto High Street where the warm late summer sun was in good supply accompanied by a stiff breeze blowing up the ridges. It made for ideal walking conditions and the views over to the Helvellyn Range and down onto Hayeswater were clear.
Heyswater flanked by Gray Crag with the Helvellyn Range in the distance
The good straight path led me to the trig point of Racecourse Hill on High Street and then following the wall before leading off to the beacon on Thornthwaite Crag and splendid views out towards Windermere and the coastline at Morecambe Bay
Trig point on Racecoures Hill, High Street
A Distant Windermere
Heading towards the Beacon on Thornthwaite Crag
 I got to the beacon just as quite a few mountain bikers had got there, it seems quite popular with bikers as the tracks are wide and flat so they can cover quite an area in a few hours, tough going in places but a great way to see the high fells if you like that sort of thing. I was taking it at a much gentler pace and really enjoying the walk and the views.
Summit view down to Heyswater, flanked by Gray Crag on the left and my route on the right
Thornthwaite Crag Beacon looking down on Windermere and a distant coastline
My way onto Mardale 111 Bell & Harter Fell
Next stop was Mardale 111 Bell and Harter Fell, which again was a good easy, lazy walk along a faint track just taking in the open space. Apart from the group of bikers, there wasn't that many other walkers knocking about. A few groups of three & four and a few like me, just enjoying this last Sunday in September before the change in season and weather no doubt. It really was another great day to be out and about.
Looking back at a distant beacon and the path I came down
Mardale 111 Bell summit with Kidsty Pike & High Street in the background
Looking down on Haweswater
My next summit, Harter Fell
Small water and the way onto Harter Fell
Going up Harter Fell
Harter Fell's highest summit with Mardale as a backdrop
Harter Fell seems to have two summit cairns, one at each end with the highest @ 778mtrs and the lower @ about 760mtrs.

View back towards the high summit cairn
Harter Fell lower summit overlooking Haweswater
View over to the Riggindale Ridge, High Street & Kidsty Pike
View down to Hawsewater and the car park
 As I made my way down I decided to take in the summit of Adam Seat before I made my way down to the car park by way of the zig-zag Gatescarth pass
The path down to Adam Seat
Adam Seat summit looking back to Harter Fell
The descent of Gatescarth Pass with Riggindale Ridge & Kidsty Pike as a backdrop
Mardale Head car park & Hawsewater
Sun going down over the ridge from Whiteacre Crag

Another great day out in one of the quieter parts of the Lake District


  1. What a lovely walk, I really like the look of that ridge at the start, (somewhere else added to me list!) Some really class foties too, as usual. Class!

  2. What a great way to do a 'Mardale Round', definitely the way I want to do it. I've not done Riggindale Crags Andy, but the way you've linked it with other tops looks good.
    Great photos mate, and looks like you got the timing just right. Love the way you've shown the 'cloudy High Street' and then the 'As if by magic' shots together, great idea.

  3. Thanks for the replies folks. Another great day to finish off the summer :-)