Walk Date – 31st March 2016
Distance – 6.2 miles
Weather – mostly sunny with fine weather cloud, dry
Today looks like being the best one of the week, although there was a hint that there might be some showers moving in during the afternoon. With that in mind we opted for something not too high and not too long in length just in case. We parked in the usual spot at the bottom of the Watendlath road.
We start by walking up the road from the car park up to Ashness Bridge.
This small structure catches my attention each time I walk past it so today I decided to have a closer look at it, the inscription reads – ‘In memory of Robert Graham 1889 – 1966 of Keswick, who on the 13 -14 June 1932 traversed 42 Lakeland peaks within 24 hours. A record which stood for 28 years.’ This has become known as the Bob Graham Round, it starts and finishes at the Moot Hall in Keswick and it covers about 62 miles and with a total ascent of over 26,000 feet. I won’t ever be running it.
Its a lovely sunny morning as we approach a deserted Ashness Bridge, when we returned it was packed with visitors and a painting group who had set up their easels on every possible vantage point. I’m glad we got here early.
Looking beyond Ashness Bridge over to the Skiddaw group of fells.
We walked just a short way along the path alongside Ashness Beck and then took a left turn across the bridge, this route would take us across the lower slopes of Brown Knotts.
There’s not a breath of wind this morning so there’s a mirror finish on Derwentwater.
A look back as we make our way along the slopes of Brown Knotts. Over to the right in the trees is the road coming from Ashness Bridge and going on up to Watendlath. The tarmac road ends at Watendlath but quite a few paths start from there so there’s a variety of walks you can undertake from Watendlath.
Looking along Derwentwater with Bass Lake beyond it as we continue across Brown Knotts.
Directly across the water is Catbells catching some of the sunshine while the north western fells behind are under cloud.
Looking south towards the snow covered Great End and the Scafell group through the humps and bumps of Grange Fell.
Of course, somebody had to come along and spoil it all didn’t they? That’s the 10 o’clock launch from Keswick heading on its clockwise route over to the Lodore landing stage. The 9.45 am launch from Keswick will be somewhere back down the water making its way round anti-clockwise.There are 4 landing stages on the far side and 3 on this. Beyond the water is the Maiden Moor to High Spy ridge.
The view along Derwentwater, with Bass Lake beyond it, from Falcon Crag.
Moving slightly to my right the view on the skyline is of the Skiddaw group with Keswick below them, and over on the right is Walla Crag.
We’ve now rounded the corner from Falcon Crag where the path we were on meets up with the one coming over from Walla Crag. Fantastic cloud formations above the Skiddaw fells and Blencathra.
The view behind us as we follow the path to Bleaberry Fell.
Ahead of us is the path snaking around Low Moss up to Bleaberry Fell. This bit is gentle enough but there is a quite a steep section just below the summit, thankfully it doesn’t last long.
The path has rounded towards Bleaberry Fell which gives us this grand view of the snow covered Scafells, in the centre, with Glaramara over on the left and Great Gable over on the right.
Behind us is a fistful of north western fells, in the centre the two pointy ones are Rowling End with Causey Pike, its parent fell, just above it. On the skyline to the right of those two is the Grisedale Pike to Hopegill Head route. Going off to the left, just behind Causey Pike is the ridge going from it across Scar Crags. Behind that is Sail above which a little bit of Crag Hill is just visible.
Three snowy peaks are just visible above the Maiden Moor ridge, from left to right they are Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson.
A lone walker takes in the view from the top of Brown Knotts. There’s a large sheepfold to the left below which came in handy for a short refreshment stop.
Now we’re on the final steep bit with a look back at the path we have followed. We thought the lone walker might make his way up too but there was no sign of anyone else coming along the path so perhaps he had a refreshment stop in the sheepfold too.
A few minutes later and we are on the top of Bleaberry with a view over to the Dodds and the Helvellyn range. Despite appearances it wasn’t especially cold up here, but the clouds were playing havoc with the lighting conditions, brilliant sunlight one minute and deep gloom the next.
We had some rain a couple of days ago which resulted in new snow covering the fells on the eastern side, prior to that it had almost disappeared, winter hasn’t quite loosened its grip just yet it seems.
In contrast Blencathra, which is only just across the road so to speak, has had hardly any fresh snow and Clough Head, which forms the end of the Dodds/Hellvelyn range hasn’t got any at all.
The snow filled basin of Brown Cove below Helvellyn Lower Man was standing out quite well so I thought you might like to see it in close up.
In the shelter and taking a reading. No matter which route over to High Seat you decide on it will not be dry underfoot, this is probably the wettest ridge walk in the Lake District.
From the shelter, a view to the south and Great Gable making its presence felt over to the right.
The north western fells again from Bleaberry Fell.
Here we go then, ahead of us over there is High Seat, a simple walk you might think and so it would be if the area between here and there would only dry out. The journey across would take half the time it does if you didn’t have to keep taking large detours around the worst of the wetness. AW had an amusing take on it – ‘This is a walk to wish on your worst enemy’.
Don’t be fooled by that path, the water has taken it over so now its become a temporary stream. However, despite the all the wet we have managed, so far, to avoid it spilling over the boot tops so we still have dry feet as we get nearer to High Seat.
Rising ground and drier underfoot, we’re just below the summit of High Seat now.
From the same spot I turn and take a look back at the crossing from Bleaberry Fell.
Dry ground at last as we make our way up to the trig point on High Seat.
Looking east to the Helvellyn group from High Seat. Its a bit difficult to pick out the fells with all that cloud activity going on.
Still looking eastwards, but looking over to Clough Head on the left and the snow capped Dodds to the right of it.
Looking north west with a glimpse of Derwentwater and Bass Lake.
Looking south from High Seat but the build up of cloud is covering most of the tops, you can still make out Great Gable though over towards the right.
Below the Helvellyn group you can just see a small section of Thirlmere. Lots of cloud activity across there too.
The cloud suddenly drifted away from Raise so I grabbed a close up while I had the chance.
Another ‘grab it while you can’ shot, this time a close up of Helvellyn, plenty of snow up there too.
Even the summit area of High Seat isn’t completely squelch free. While we were here David Powell-Thompson turned up, instantly recognisable by his long and flowing curly hair, with someone who was taking a guided walk with him. If you watched Julia Bradbury’s walk across Striding Edge, in her Wainwright Walks TV series, you will have seen David guiding her safely across Striding Edge. I did not ask for photos or autographs, I prefer to let people get on with what they are doing, but we had a few minutes worth of chat about the conditions along this ridge, and he did ask us to confirm that the next fell he was heading for was Bleaberry Fell. I think he lives in the west of Cumbria so he will know that area much better than this I expect.
A look back at High Seat as we begin the descent with the luxury of a dry and surfaced path with only an occasional patch of wetness to begin with.
There it is, a dry and firm path with sunshine on it, a sight to make the spirits rise and a chance to get a move on again.
Much further down now and the path runs high above Ashness Beck.
A close up of the waterfall in the beck.
Ashness Beck below us flowing towards Derwentwater.
On the home straight and heading for the finishing line. Care needed down here as the grass was short and slippy and two members of the group ahead each fell over twice in quick succession.
We were completely ignored by this local resident …..
….. until we offered a handful of grass from the patch it had just been tucking into. Well, that was the only way to get its head up. From here its just a short walk down to Ashness Bridge and the afore-mentioned crowds so this was the last shot of the day. We still had dry feet too, in case you were worrying.