Walk Date – 16th May 2018
Distance – 7.5 miles
Weather – overcast start, sunny spells later, cool north-easterly breeze
Overnight rain was followed by a very overcast morning so we delayed starting out until the cloud began to break as the forecast had indicated it would. Breaks in the cloud began appearing around mid-morning so off we went and drove along beside Ullswater, through Glenridding and Patterdale and up the Kirkstone Pass to the Kirkstone Pass Inn. No problems parking as the car park only had a handful of vehicles in it and their respective owners had already set out on their chosen routes so no-one was around as we kitted up. The day was becoming brighter and we could see the cloud bank drifting away down to the south east helped along by a cool and brisk north-easterly breeze. Shorts have given way to long trousers, jackets are on and zipped up, packs are hoisted and off we go across the road and straight onto the path up St Raven’s Edge which starts pretty much beside the Kirkstone Pass Inn.
Kirkstone Inn car park – St Raven’s Edge – Pike How – Caudale Head – Stony Cove Pike -Hartsop Dodd – Caudale Head -Atkinson Monument -Pike How – St Raven’s Edge – Kirkstone Inn car park
Leaving the car park opposite the Kirkstone Pass Inn with the now well broken cloud drifting away to the south east. The sunshine is very welcome because there’s a very nippy little breeze whipping around as we cross the road and head for the path up to St Raven’s Edge.
Looking down the Kirkstone Pass road towards Place Fell as we start the climb, the wind whipping up through the pass was flapping our jacket hoods every which way. I got so irritated with the constant rattling I pulled mine over my head, yanked it tight and left it there until we gained some respite a little higher up.
Looking ahead up to St Raven’s Edge which is not at all difficult despite its craggy appearance. It took me slightly longer than it usually does since I’m still having to cope with the annoying back pain and which continues to hamper and niggle me no matter what I’m doing.
Its only a little scramble, plenty of rocks to grab hold of, and very enjoyable and very easy …..
….. with a view back down to the inn before …..
….. tackling the next rocky scramble which is just as straightforward and enjoyable as the previous one. My scrambles were accompanied by the occasional ‘ouch’ and worse, which its best not to elaborate on.
Red Screes and Middle Dodd across the Kirkstone Pass Road from just below the top of St Raven’s Edge.
A glimpse of Brothers Water as we reach the top of St Raven’s Edge.
A brief pause at the cairn and a look across see if any walkers were making their way up Red Screes but we didn’t spot anyone.
Looking ahead at the route up to Caudale Moor, there are no difficulties, just the occasional soggy patch, and its simply a case of following the well worn path alongside the wall. AW described this route up to Caudale Moor as being ‘the dullest way up and does not do justice to a fine hill.’ Well, probably, but in present circumstances its fine by me.
On the skyline to the east of us is the daunting western face of Thornthwaite Crag, the almost vertical wall riven by deep gullies and studded with layers of bare rocky strata.
Looking back as we reach a level shoulder for a view of Wansfell and the head of Windermere
One of the soggier patches I mentioned earlier, they’re not a problem as all of them have been provided with substantial stepping stones although a few of the stones are beginning to sink below the water.
A look back at St Raven’s Edge as we cross over the head of Woundale.
The fells to north west of us, the slopes of Caudale Moor in the immediate foreground, then in quick succession those of Middle Dodd, High Hartsop Dodd, Hartsop above How, Saint Sunday Crag and, on the centre skyline, the Helvellyn fells. It always reminds me of an intricate origami exercise.
Another look back to St Raven’s Edge beyond which the green fields of Troutbeck Park are beginning to appear, together with the southern end of Windermere and just a glimpse of Morecambe Bay.
To the east of us the western arm of the Kentmere Horseshoe is in view, the high fell in the centre is Ill Bell, on its right is Yoke and on its left is Froswick. On the left, behind the ridge, is the broad plateau of Mardale’s Harter Fell.
Before heading up to Stony Cove Pike, the summit of Caudale Moor, we branch off over to Caudale Head …..
….. from where the dramatic skyline of Bowfell, the Scafells and Great End, to the south of us, is on view.
Rather less dramatic but no less imposing is the Helvellyn group just behind the Saint Sunday Crag ridge.
A much gentler scene to the east across the Caudale Head plateau where the grassy slopes of High Raise, Kidsty Pike and High Street are filling the skyline.
A wonderful view of Ullswater and its surrounding fells from Caudale Head, followed by a quick whizz around the skylines …..
To the north west are Stybarrow Dodd, Hart Side and Blencathra …..
….. a little further to the left and we see Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn and Catsycam all peeping up behind Saint Sunday Crag …..
….. and a little further round to the left we have Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Cofa Pike and Dollywaggon Pike again.
On the distant south western skyline Pike O’Blisco, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, the Scafells and Great End are also on view. I was so busy taking shots of the surrounding views I completely forgot about taking any shots of the large cairn on Caudale Head, something I only realised when we were making our way across to Stony Cove Pike. I made a mental note to take some when we returned.
We head over to Stony Cove Pike and a sunny spell gave us a lovely dappled view of Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke overlooking the Troutbeck valley.
Things are looking very cloudy and dull over Windermere …..
….. but our sunny spell continues all the way up to Stony Cove Pike, the summit of Caudale Moor. A couple of years ago there was a cairn up here, supposedly marking the highest point, but we could see no sign of it today.
High Raise, Kidsty Pike, High Street and Thornthwaite Crag …..
….. and, as the cloud drifted away, a closer look at the beacon on Thornthwaite Crag …..
….. together with one of High Raise and Kidsty Pike. The cloud stubbornly refused to move away from High Street leaving it so dark it wasn’t worth taking a shot of, so I didn’t.
We decided we’d do the out and back down to Hartsop Dodd so once again it just a matter of following the well trodden path beside the wall.
The sunshine accompanied us all the way providing some lovely illumination on the fells to the west of us …..
….. with Dovedale looking particularly appealing.
A straightforward walk of just over a mile down to the summit of Hartsop Dodd, still in warm sunshine with a bit less breeze as we lose the height.
Looking over to Caudale Head with the remains of the old quarry on its northern slopes.
The old wooden post, marking the summit of Hartsop Dodd, is still standing, although for how much longer is anyone’s guess as the wood is slowly being weathered away.
Not to worry though, there’ll still be the cairn situated just a few feet away from it.
The lovely wooded valley of Dovedale makes a very pleasant start for the walk up to Dove Crag, after which the route becomes rather more strenuous. You definitely get a good workout when you reach the summit of Dove Crag via the Dovedale path.
Looking back to Caudale Moor, Middle Dodd and Red Screes from Hartsop Dodd summit.
The view north from the summit of Hartsop Dodd.
We spend a few minutes enjoying the views and the sunshine before turning around and making our way back to Caudale Head. Despite making the mental note to take a shot of the cairn when we got back there I completely forgot yet again.
The mental note only came to mind when we reached the Atkinson memorial cairn by which time I just couldn’t be bothered going back to take a photo. Another time perhaps.
We continue making our way back to St Raven’s Edge, things haven’t got any brighter to the south of us either.
St Raven’s Edge gets ever closer …..
….. and my back is now really complaining so its a bit of an effort to haul myself up the last few yards and then down all the scrambly sections so …..
….. its with some relief when the inn and the car park eventually come into view.
A look back up at St Raven’s Edge before I totter back to the car park …..
….. passing the three wind turbines just above the inn, which are still spinning at warp speed, despite appearances to the contrary, and generating enough electricity to keep the inn well supplied with power and ensuring its survival. I ensure my survival by limping the last few yards to the car park and sinking into the car seat, for which my back muscles are duly thankful. I think they’re going to need a long soak in a warm bath.