Dovedale

Walk date – 14th September 2019

Distance – 5.1 miles

Weather – cloudy but dry, occasional sun, a cool blustery wind


We just had a short morning walk today as the forecast was for the cloud cover to increase and the wind to strengthen from late morning onwards. We drove over to Cow Bridge in Patterdale where the car park contained only three vehicles so we parked up without difficulty.  As we were getting ready the occupant of one of the cars came through the gate, stowed his photography gear in the boot of his car and, after exchanging greetings with us, drove away, more than likely to find more views to take shots of. We were pleased to have the warmth of long trousers, jumpers and windproofs as we got under way, the morning was very cool and the wind was already strong and chilly as we set off on the path beside Brothers Water.


Route

Cow Bridge, Patterdale – Brothers Water – Hartsop Hall – Miners path through Low Wood – Dovedale Beck – Hartsop Hall – Brothers Water – Cow Bridge, Patterdale

 Our walk begins here as we pass through the hand gate and follow the main path towards Brothers Water. The path going up the grassy slope to the right is a steep short cut up to the ridge of Hartsop above How and we might have considered walking up there had it not been for the forecast for strengthening winds. It was already very windy down at valley level and the thought of battling something even stronger during the day didn’t hold any appeal whatsoever.

The brisk wind is ripping along Goldrill Beck and the trees are taking a battering as it blasts through them, branches are swaying, leaves are torn off and whirled wildly around, and there’s a constant roar coming from the tree canopy, it definitely felt like autumn this morning.

A quick nip down to the shoreline to the point at which the Brothers Water outflow turns into Goldrill Beck.

Back on the main path now and a sunny, if slightly hazy, view of Brock Crags through the trees.

Further along its much easier to leave the path and gain the shoreline again where the views open up once more. Here’s a look back to Angletarn Pikes, on the left, and Brock Crags on their right.

Looking to the south where a great deal of cloud is shrouding the fells around the Kirkstone Pass although High Hartsop Dodd, in the centre, is clear enough.

Caudale Moor, Middle Dodd and Red Screes appear and disappear like ghostly apparitions as the cloud drifts around them.

A closer look at the shrouded fells as we carry on into Dovedale. The cloud doesn’t seem to be moving at all despite the strong wind. We get a little sunny spell as the cloud above us thins a little.

Its clear from the shot that this is a very user friendly path and provides a really enjoyable stroll for everyone. It wasn’t quite as enjoyable as it might have been at the time though, we’ve lost the protection of the trees and the cool wind is barrelling towards us resulting in its predictable effect on our eyes and noses, out come the tissues again.

Arriving at Hartsop Hall, a working farm of about 3000 acres, the farm house is  …..

…..  a 16th century Grade 1 listed building owned by the National Trust. The adjacent building on the left is a self-catering holiday cottage.

Over to our left is the path for Caiston Glen and High Hartsop Dodd but that’s not for us today so we keep to the main path for a short distance.

Just a few paces further along we branch off to the right and follow the path leading up to the old lead mine. A man, his young son and three dogs are spending the morning indulging in a bout of ferreting. The dogs, with their tails up, were rootling about enthusiastically in the dying bracken, as the man, toting his ferret box, went in search of rabbit holes down which to send the ferret. We weren’t there long enough to see if he caught any rabbits though.

A view of High Hartsop Dodd, with Middle Dodd just behind it, from the mine path. The low cloud has just about obliterated the Black Brow skyline to the right of High Hartsop Dodd. The main path through the valley is just below us.

The path takes us high above the valley floor but the views around us are restricted. The low cloud has completely hidden Dove Crag although it isn’t quite low enough to mask our view of the Stang ridge beyond the trees. The old mine area is just in view on the extreme right of the shot.

We climbed up to the mine area from the path and did a little exploring. Known as the Hartsop Hall Mine it dates back to the late 17th century and was worked sporadically until 1942 when work ceased as war intervened. It was intended that it would re-open after the war but after the death of Lord Lonsdale the land, and the mine, was sold to the National Trust.

It seems that the National Trust imposed numerous restrictions on the mining operation which resulted in future work at the site becoming impractical and it didn’t re-open. The remains of several buildings can still be seen dotted around the hillside. We clamber down back to the path which then climbed steadily through the woods across the lower slopes of Hartsop above How. We were protected from the wind by the trees during this section so we soon worked up a sweat as we climbed up through the calm woodland air. Tissues were now employed wiping moisture from our faces rather than our eyes and noses.

We’re beyond the woods here and so I took a closer look at the rugged terrain of the Stangs ridge. Dove Crag is right behind it but remained hidden from our view …..

….. although we did have a partial view of Hart Crag, on the right skyline, when the cloud briefly cleared as we gazed towards the upper reaches of Dovedale. Its a pity there was so much cloud around because the scenery up here is magnificent.

Zooming out for a longer view of upper Dovedale as we left the woods behind at this handgate.

Recent downpours have swelled the streams and becks and the sound of water rushing down to the valley bottom was constant. When combined with the rumbling wind the sound of silence was noticeably absent this morning. The percussion section of an orchestra couldn’t have created much more clamour.

Further up the valley the cloud descended once again as we approached the bridge where a fell runner was just crossing the beck. The path carries on up to Dove Crag but we left it here and made our way to the bridge. This is our turnaround point and from here we’ll descend to the valley using the lower path alongside Dovedale Beck.

The view into upper Dovedale from the bridge …..

….. and the view back down to the valley bottom from the other side of the bridge.

There are some impressive falls in the beck although in places it is a little difficult to see them clearly, especially when the surrounding trees are fully in leaf. The torrents of water flowing down created some spectacular sights and sounds.

A series of smaller cascades in the beck.

More of a slide than a fall but still a lovely sight.

A zoomed in view of the previous shot.

Another couple of fabulous falls a little further down the path although a slight diversion is necessary to be able to view them at close quarters.

This is a charming little spot where the beck drops over a lower fall and flows on quietly through a grassy clearing.

The sun put in another appearance just as we arrived so it was the perfect place to linger and enjoy the sunshine and the view for a couple of minutes.

I’m indulging in a spot of rock hopping here in order to get that ‘perfect’ shot! Perfect shot or otherwise its just a very pretty scene and absolutely enchanting.

Descending to the valley bottom now having been stopped a minute or so ago by a couple of visitors who were just out for a walk and were following an outline map in a little booklet of walks. They weren’t quite sure exactly where they were on the map they were following and were concerned that they may not be where they thought they were. We were able to point out exactly where they were and, reassured that they hadn’t gone wrong, they continued on their way. By now there were quite a few walkers coming up the path so there were several exchanges of greetings and stops for short chats.

Almost down in the valley bottom now where the nature of the beck has changed substantially. No longer a dramatic series of falls, cascades and slides, it has calmed down into a steady flow of water gently making its way down around the stones in the stream bed.

Finally down in the valley bottom where we cross the bridge and make our way over to the path towards the right of the shot which will lead us back to Hartsop Hall and eventually Brothers Water.

Looking back towards Black Brow after crossing the bridge with nothing but white skies above us.

Heading towards the path with a hazy view of Hartsop Dodd ahead of us. The sun is still managing to pierce through the cloud cover which is more or less total by now.

Looking back from the valley path to the junction of Dovedale Beck with Hogget Gill. Hogget Gill rises in Hunsett Cove which is just below the skyline in the centre of the shot.

Hartsop Hall’s Aberdeen Angus herd are busy doing nothing apart from giving us some disinterested glances as we passed by them. Brock Crags on the centre skyline.

Another look back for the briefest of glimpses of Dove Crag above the Stangs ridge as the cloud lifts slightly. Perhaps it was just as well we decided to stay low today.

Another look back from the valley and at last we could see a bit more of Dove Crag over on the right. High Hartsop Dodd on the left remained in the clear all morning though.

It was just begging to have its photo taken so here’s another shot of High Hartsop Dodd …..

….. and a not quite so clear one of Caudale Moor.

Back at Hartsop Hall and  framed by the trees is a view of Angletarn Pikes and Brock Crags. ….

….. with a much better view of them as we approach Brothers Water.

Looking across the start of Goldrill Beck towards the hamlet of Hartsop with The Knott and Gray Crag on the centre skyline.

Back at Cow Bridge where the car park is absolutely thronged with cars and people, and more cars being driven round and round in the hope of finding a recently vacated parking space. A couple of them were lucky, some continued on their merry-go-round while others roared off down the road towards Patterdale and Glenridding. Before we did the same I took this shot of Gray Crag and Hartsop Dodd from the bridge. Some people are walking around with jacket hoods up while others are in t-shirts and shorts, and probably wishing they weren’t as the weather has turned very cloudy and cool and the wind hasn’t abated either. By the time we were driving alongside Ullswater towards Aira Force it was hard to believe we were in the same day. The sky was blue and peppered with occasional streaks of thin white cloud and the sun was shining brightly while behind us the sky was thick with cloud and not a ray of sunshine could be seen. Perhaps we should have stayed closer to home as the best weather seemed to be over in the east today.

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N.B. In case you don’t already know there is no bridge crossing at Pooley Bridge now until the Spring of 2020. The temporary bridge installed following Storm Desmond is being removed and a new and permanent one will replace it, by Easter 2020 it is hoped. A temporary footbridge is being installed for pedestrians but there will be no vehicle crossing until next spring. The Dunmallard parking area beside the river has been closed but a car park for about 30 vehicles has been created where the A592 meets the road coming out of the village close by the Ullswater Steamer pier. From there its just a short walk into Pooley Bridge. Drivers wishing to get from one side of the river to the other by car will need to follow the diversion signs and go the long way round.