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Date: 29 Dec 2003
Start / Finish: Patterdale
Maps: Outdoor Leisure 5: English Lakes North East.
|Day 1||Angle Tarn & High Street||8 miles / 3250 feet (12.9km / 990m)|
|Day 2||High Raise & Ullswater||11 miles / 1540 feet (17.7km / 469m)|
An easy circuit culminating in High Street and returning along the Roman ridge and the lakeside path around Ullswater.
This was our first venture in the eagerly awaited snow of the winter and, unfortunately but necessarily, heavy leather boots in case we needed the crampons. As it turned out we didn't need them, and the walking was easy in superb clear conditions up to Boredale Hause and Angle Tarn, where two groups of the famous local deer watched from a distance and one was quickly ushered out of sight by the male.
Passing the small and delightful Satura Crag tarn poised on the edge of the slopes, we collected water at Well Gill and climbed the Knott. As expected people were converging on High Street from all directions, and approaching along the Straits of Riggindale we arrived earlier than anticipated and carried on to Thornthwaite Crag and its famous stone pillar, itself a popular spot. Finally we diverted to Mardale Ill Bell and walked along the High Street cliffs with great views of Blea Water below, and returned to the summit for the pitch. Some people were still arriving surprisingly late, including one from the West side on a bicycle. There was a fine clear sunset to end the day against a backdrop of very hard frost on the snow.
At dawn a thin veil of nebulous high cloud gave an eerie bluish light on the mountains to the West. This was the first time the digital compact camera had been subjected to a very cold night of minus umpteen degrees, but the batteries and electronics were totally unaffected. Returning via the summits of Rampsgill Head and Kidsty Pike we arrived at the final top of High Raise. Further along the ridge where there are several paths, we took the one through the gate that led to the frozen Redcrag Tarn.
Over the next minor hump on the ridge we veered L and took the clear path that descends to the R of Gowk Hill and passes over the shoulder of Brownthwaite Crag, then drops gradually to Martindale Church. Taking the lane to Sandwick we joined the undulating Ullswater lakeside path that we had heard about but never walked, and it certainly is an attractive and easy way to complete the round, leading directly to the lane across to Patterdale.