A snowy walk on Brock Crags

Walk Date – 16th January 2016

Distance – 7 miles

Weather – cold, sunny start, cloud late morning, snow from 2 pm onwards



– 5C when we left to drive over to Hartsop. We were just able to squeeze ourselves into the last parking space when we arrived. It was a lovely sunny morning, but we knew it wasn’t going to last as we could see the cloud coming over even before we left home.

Gray Crag from the point where we turned up the path to the old filter house.

Hartsop Dodd from the filter house path.

A new hydro-electric scheme is being installed somewhere along the beck, judging by the fresh mound of soil beside the path it looks like they’ve only recently started work on it though.

A look back from the tarmac path which only has a thin layer of snow at this point. On the skyline are Saint Sunday Crag on the right and Fairfield and Hart Crag over on the left.

The old filter house is on the left with The Knott behind it.

From the filter house the path turns back on itself and continues on a fairly level traverse towards an old wall. I don’t think it was intended to be a path as I read somewhere that it is the course of the covered over Hayeswater viaduct which crosses the fell side above the walled enclosure.

Looking back to the filter house and The Knott from the viaduct path.

The path turns back on itself once again and now we are heading for the wall which you can see ahead of us. We could have left the viaduct path at the wall and just climbed alongside it to meet the path but there was some drifting alongside it so we gave that idea a miss. The tracks you can see in the path are animal not human, so the native fell dwellers have been using it too. One set was quite large so probably made by a big deer.

Around this point the fleeces had to come off as we were in full sun and it was very warm. Those are our footprints on the track, so no-one has been along this route since the snow fell two days ago. The course of the path runs in the hollow there but it looked to be full of stones so we kept to the higher ground alongside it. As we have left the old viaduct path behind us I don’t know the original reason for this path, but it definitely is one, so it was used for some purpose or other in the past.

The gap in the broken wall, the path continues on ahead or you could climb steeply up alongside the wall. We kept to the path as the snow up by the wall looked to be quite deep in places.

From the same spot a view over to Gray Crag on the right, and The Knott on the left.

An atmospheric phenomenon known as a ‘sun dog’ or, to give it its scientific name, a ‘parhelion’. Sun dogs are commonly caused by the refraction of light from plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals either in high and cold cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. The crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them with a minimum deflection of 22 degrees. As the crystals gently float downwards with their large hexagonal faces almost horizontal, sunlight is refracted horizontally, and sun dogs are seen to the left and right of the Sun. In case you are amazed at the extent of my scientific knowledge I will own up to having looked all that up, to save you the trouble. There was a corresponding one over on the right but it was partially obscured by some thin cloud and it didn’t show up very well on the photo I took of it.

Between The Knott on the left and Gray Crag on the right is Hayeswater Gill. You can just make out Hayeswater at the top of the gill with High Street behind it.

We’ve reached the flattish area just below Brock Crags summit and are heading towards the wall you can see at the top of the shot. Lots of snow here so I decided to see how deep it was! I’m now leaning on the poles to try and lever my left foot out, so of course the pressure on the poles and my right foot caused them to sink down even further. Some hilarity occured at this point. Things get even trickier when you lose your balance and fall into it. The fall doesn’t hurt but getting upright again is difficult when the ground around you just keeps giving way, even more hilarity when that happens.  By the way, that’s not a skirt I’m wearing, its the fleece I took off earlier and couldn’t be bothered to stow it in my pack. I would also like to reassure viewers that I do have a head, although it looks as though the brain inside it has gone on a tea break at the moment.

Hmm, I think we’ll avoid that smooth patch of snow in the middle, it looks like another area of deep snow.

Approaching the wall where we will cross through it, turn to the left and continue over to Brock Crags.

Deep and crisp and somewhat uneven. Wind patterns in the snow drifts and the ice crystals twinkling in the sunlight.

More patterns in the snow drifts alongside the wall. We stopped for a short break at the wall to give the legs a bit of a rest and to enjoy the sunshine while it lasted.

From the wall a view across to The Knott and High Street.

Angle Tarn and Angletarn Pikes from the path over to Brock Crags. That sky is looking a bit ominous.

Place Fell, on the centre skyline, looks as though it has quite a deep covering of snow on it.

A close up of Hayeswater and High Street from the path to Brock Crags

We are slowly losing the blue sky and the cloud is getting thicker and darker.

The path to Brock Crags summit with the cairn at the end of it. Even though the ground was frozen we didn’t risk walking straight through the middle as it is generally a very wet area and you just never know.

More patterns in the snow as we look towards Gray Crag. I wasn’t tempted to see how deep it was.

A view of Rest Dodd across one of the frozen pools just below Brock Crags summit.

Looking eastwards, with the snow covered Pennines on the horizon, across the other frozen pool below Brock Crags.

A very chilly looking Angle Tarn.

Brock Crags summit cairn. Fairfield is immediately behind the cairn with Hart Crag to the left of it.

From the summit a view down to Brothers Water.

Hartsop Dodd in the centre, and a big black cloud coming in from the right so that’s the end of the sunshine I think.

You can have any colour you like as long as its white, brown or black.

The view eastwards from Brock Crags summit.

A different view of Angle Tarn as we start to descend.

Sombeody decided that we’d take an off path route down to Angle Tarn,  that’ll be more deep snow to negotiate then.

Making our way around a frozen Angle Tarn.

All we need now is a big flat rock and then we can have some lunch.

We’ve found a rock, its not that one though, and scraped the snow off it, all we have to do now is to get out the flask of hot soup and the sandwiches.

Its getting harder to see the difference between the land and the sky, and its beginning to snow. A look back to Angle Tarn as we continue on our way.

If the weather hadn’t deteriorated we would have gone up the Pikes, but the sky was getting darker, the snow was getting thicker and we had a thirty mile drive home, so we didn’t.

Below us the fields, which were green this morning, are now turning white.

A look back at the north top of Angletarn Pikes as we make our way down to Boredale Hause.

Making our way down to Hartsop from Boredale Hause and the snow is really starting to settle now.

Brock Crags from the path to Hartsop.

Another victim of the recent storms, an easy enough crossing though using those stones in the beck. The white specks on the beck are the snowflakes coming down.

It doesn’t look like it but it was still snowing as we walked along the lane to Hartsop. Hartsop Dodd is just about visible in the background.

One of the old cottages in Hartsop, complete with spinning gallery above. The road, which this morning was dry tarmac, is now snow covered and the snow is falling thickly. The parking area is just around the corner there, so our walk comes to an end here. It was more of a stumble through the snow than a walk at times but it was very enjoyable nevertheless.