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Hartsop & Martindale Fells / 2 days / 18 miles (29km)

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Date: 07 Mar 2007
Start / Finish: Hartsop. Small free car park.
Maps: Explorer OL5: English Lakes North East.

Day 1Caudale Moor & High Street6.2 miles / 3030 feet (10.0km / 923m)
Day 2Rest Dodd & Place Fell11.4 miles / 2440 feet (18.4km / 743m)

Another forecast of two average days turned out very good indeed for this circuit of eastern fells from Hartsop, returning along the attractive Ullswater lakeside path.

Day 1 - Caudale Moor & High Street

The usual route onto the Hartsop fells is the mercilessly steep ascent of Hartsop Dodd, but this time the objective was to climb the NW ridge of Caudale Moor, an approach we had not tried before. Crossing the river below the car park, a track curves around to the A592 and a gate onto a permitted path that follows the shore of Brothers Water, although the recent heavy rain had swollen the level so much that we were briefly walking in it, with the water lapping around our shoes. Past the camp site, we gained the open fell at an NT sign and slanted up the very wet slopes to join the quarry track that took us as far as the old workings, then climbed up to crest the ridge which gave great views as the mist began to lift. The summit plateau was clear and made a fine easy walk in the broken sunshine to the cairn.

Hartsop Dodd & Brothers Water
Hartsop Dodd & Brothers Water (07 Mar 2007__10:50:43)
Red Screes
Red Screes (07 Mar 2007__11:16:16)

The steep plunge to Threshwaite Mouth and climb to Thornthwaite Crag seemed longer than we remember it, and the first people of the day appeared, the fine columnar cairn acting as a magnet as usual. The High Street area is the culmination of so many circular walks from all directions that it always seems crowded, and there were a couple of people tackling it by bicycle. We collected excellent water at a spring that was flowing just yards from the head of Hayeswater valley, and enjoyed a fine sunny promenade over High Street summit and along the Straits of Riggindale to the Knott. We decided on a pitch on the lip of Rampsgill Head, where more springs were flowing into the headwaters of Ramps Gill and there was a fine view down into the valley and of the cliffs above.

Caudale Moor from Thornthwaite Crag
Caudale Moor from Thornthwaite Crag (07 Mar 2007__13:10:19)
Rough Crag & Haweswater
Rough Crag & Haweswater (07 Mar 2007__14:27:34)
Pitch on edge of Ramps Gill valley
Pitch on edge of Ramps Gill valley (07 Mar 2007__15:52:40)

Day 2 - Rest Dodd & Place Fell

The forecast suggested an inferior day today and there was indeed some rain in the night, but we awoke to an almost clear sky and a little frost. A pathless but easy descent by Well Gill leads to the wet col and a straightforward climb to Rest Dodd, perhaps best known as a launchpad for people bagging The Nab which lies beyond in a sensitive area preserved for deer. A path departs the summit NW, and we left it SW just before a wall to reach the delightful small area of rocky outcrops and pools, including Satura Crag Tarn. Here we spotted a herd of deer over on Brock Crags who watched us closely on the excellent walk towards Angle Tarn.

Rest Dodd & The Nab
Rest Dodd & The Nab (08 Mar 2007__07:05:57)
Satura Crag & Fairfield
Satura Crag & Fairfield (08 Mar 2007__07:57:26)
Pool near Satura Crag
Pool near Satura Crag (08 Mar 2007__08:04:06)
Satura Crag tarn
Satura Crag tarn (08 Mar 2007__08:05:38)

The tarn was superb today, a deep blue in the sunshine with the mountains beyond and totally deserted, quite a surprise even for a weekday in March. The path approaching Boredale Hause was flowing like a stream but presented no difficulty, then the expected hordes of people (by our standards) ascending from Patterdale appeared. Unfortunately almost all of them were heading for Place Fell, but the climb didn't take long and we found a secluded spot out of the increasing chilly wind to eat. The views were excellent and small curtains of white mist were draped over a few of the highest tops to the West.

Angle Tarn & St. Sunday Crag
Angle Tarn & St. Sunday Crag (08 Mar 2007__08:41:22)
Angle Tarn
Angle Tarn (08 Mar 2007__08:46:33)
Angle Tarn & mist on Fairfield
Angle Tarn & mist on Fairfield (08 Mar 2007__08:53:29)
Arnison Crag & St. Sunday Crag
Arnison Crag & St. Sunday Crag (08 Mar 2007__09:40:38)
St. Sunday Crag
St. Sunday Crag (08 Mar 2007__09:55:26)
Place Fell summit
Place Fell summit (08 Mar 2007__10:14:33)

Passing the tarn below the summit and descending to Low Moss, we took a new route NW to Scalehow Beck and noted the enticing area of Birk Fell to the W for a future trip. The cascade at the top of Scalehow Force can just be seen from the path as it descends below High Knott to join the lakeside track. From here the attractive track undulates southwards with good views of the lake to arrive at the road to Patterdale, where another track takes over back to Hartsop, passing Crookabeck with its odd looking Angora goats and the waterfall on Angletarn Beck.

Top of Scalehow Force & Gowbarrow Fell
Top of Scalehow Force & Gowbarrow Fell (08 Mar 2007__11:42:50)