Walk date – 9th June 2023
Distance – 5.5 miles
Weather – very warm and sunny, some high level cloud, slight breeze, very hazy
The good spell of weather continues although here in the east of the county a gusty easterly breeze, which had quite a nippy edge to it, has kept the temperature pegged back to some extent. I tried sitting out in the garden one afternoon this week but gave up after ten minutes as the cool gusty wind swirled every which way around me and just became a nuisance after a while. The forecast for today was for the sunny weather to continue with a slightly stronger breeze so we hoped that today’s walk wouldn’t be too affected by it. The walk over Brown Knotts would be in the lee of Bleaberry Fell and once on the top of that we hoped that the Clough Head/Dollywaggon Pike ridge would also act as an extensive wind break as we carried on over to High Seat. It seemed to work as we experienced very little of the forecasted gusty wind, nothing more than a light movement of air when we were on top of Bleaberry and similarly High Seat. The deciding factor in our choice for today’s walk was the long dry spell we’ve been having, to the extent that neither of us can remember the last time it rained. The area between Bleaberry and High Seat is usually very wet and marshy and always involves long detours to avoid the very worst of the mire but after such a long dry spell we hoped that it would have mostly dried out by now. It had, and the walk across from one fell to the other was a delight and enhanced by the fact that we’ve never walked these two fells during the summer months. Its not a very long walk so we have usually kept it as a winter walk when daylight hours are at a premium. Sunshine, a light breeze, dry ground underfoot and the fells sporting their new summer greenery was a new and very enjoyable experience for us on these two Central fells.
Ashness Bridge – High Strutta – Brown Knotts – Bleaberry Fell – High Seat – Dodd – Ashness Gill – High Strutta – Ashness Bridge
A rare sight as we crossed the road from the pay and display car park to join the High Strutta path, no-one at all at Ashness Bridge. There is usually someone around, a photographer or an artist for example, but today the place was empty. The parking area was the same other than a camper van, which had obviously been there all night, and a couple of cars.
We followed the path up High Strutta for a short distance and then turned left to cross the old footbridge across the beck. Once through the gate beyond the bridge we were out onto the open fellside and walking over Brown Knotts.
The views of Derwentwater get better and better as we climb the path over Brown Knotts so I took quite a few shots as we walked along. There was no breeze at all across Brown Knotts, good thing we started out in t-shirt and shorts then.
The lack of rain and the resulting low water levels has resulted in the very tops of little ‘islands’ appearing in Derwentwater. You can see one of them in the shot between the two nearest and permanent islands. Its having an effect on the routes of the Keswick launches too and some landing stages are not being used at present.
Catbells across Derwentwater is clear enough but the fells beyond are very hazy, it wasn’t a good day for long distance views I’m afraid.
Maiden Moor and High Spy on the western side of Derwentwater flanked by Dale Head (L) and Robinson (R).
The view south from Brown Knotts where, in the centre of the shot, Castle Crag, the lowest of all the 214 Wainwrights, is surrounded and dwarfed by all its neighbours.
The view across Keswick to the Skiddaw group from the Brown Knotts path. Part of the rocky section of Walla Crag, in the bottom right hand corner, managed to creep into the shot while I wasn’t looking …..
….. so here’s a full shot of the same and one of the paths leading up to it.
Another lovely view along Derwentwater as the path passed above one of the gullies along the way.
We passed on going across to Walla Crag and eventually turned off the Brown Knotts path and joined the Bleaberry Fell one …..
….. which leads up to the old sheepfold where we had a short stop to wrap ourselves around some liquid refreshment.
The view across Borrowdale as we round the bend in the path, this is where the heavy lifting begins.
We’re just below the final climb up the pitched steps to the summit of Bleaberry Fell at this point while waiting for three walkers to complete their descent down the narrow stairway. Brown Knotts just below us on the left, Walla Crag to its right and Derwentwater between the two of them. If you peer hard enough you might be able to see Bass Lake beyond it.
Up on Bleaberry now with a good view of Blencathra which would have been even better without all the haze.
The shelter on Bleaberry summit with High Seat, the next fell we’ll walk across to, over on the right. We sat on the grass over to the left and had a Mars Bar stop. Eventually we were joined by the other walkers who had climbed the ‘stairway’ a short distance behind us. Two of them were fell runner chaps, who paused only to get their breath back after the steep climb before setting off again, the other two with their dog had paused at the first cairn, also to get their breath back, before they eventually joined us on the summit. They too sat on the grass and had a break. There was nothing much by way of the forecasted gusty breeze up here and it was very pleasant just to relax for a few minutes on the dry grass, enjoy the sunshine and take in the views.
From our grassy perch we had a fine view of Clough Head beyond High Rigg and below are a couple of skyline shots I took from the summit …..
….. from L to R on the skyline – High Raise, Pike O’Stickle, Grey Friar, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and Esk Pike …..
….. Esk Pike again, the Scafells, Lingmell and Great Gable. As we were leaving the couple with the dog asked us where we were heading so we replied accordingly, after which they, well him really, said that they were thinking of going back down and treating themselves to an ice cream, they didn’t in the end but more of that later.
Well before we reached this point a solo male walker making his way up Bleaberry stopped to talk to us. A very sociable chap from St Helen’s who we chatted to for some time, it seemed quite a long time before we got going again. He obviously wanted to have a chat with somebody having been by himself since 7.30 am when he got off the bus somewhere along the A591 and began making his way up to Armboth Fell, High Tove, High Seat and Bleaberry Fell. He mentioned that ‘we’ have rented a cottage and that ‘we’ were going back home on Saturday, so obviously whoever formed the ‘we’ had decided not to accompany him today. A nice pleasant chap who knew a lot more about the pubs in Keswick (and their beer) than we are ever likely to. Anyway, getting back to our walk, at this point in the shot we were about halfway across and about to reach one of the wetter spots. We needn’t have been concerned as the worst we encountered was a very slight amount of ‘give’ under our boots.
A tarn we passed on the way across, it obviously hadn’t dried out and didn’t look as though it was likely to either, so perhaps its topped up by an underground spring.
The view back to Bleaberry Fell where we can see two figures coming down the hill, was it the couple with the dog who were going to go and get an ice-cream we wondered?
Crossing the stile where I startled J into looking round as he heard the camera shutter click.
Approaching the trig column on High Seat.
Looking eastward to Clough Head, Calfhow Pike, Great Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd and Raise on the skyline behind the trig column. The craggy outcrop with the cairn on it is known as Man and is a subsidiary top of High Seat. The two are separated by a wire fence.
Still looking to the east the skyline continues with Raise, White Side, Catstycam just putting in an appearance, Helvellyn, Nethermost Pike and Dollywaggon Pike.
Ahead of us is the path we’ll use for our return leg with some of the north western fells behind Catbells. A few more skyline shots from the summit coming up…..
….. Ullscarf, High Raise, Pike O’Stickle, Grey Friar, Pike O’Blisco and the beginning of the route up to Crinkle Crags …..
….. Pike O’Stickle again followed by Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Esk Pike and Glaramara …..
….. Esk PIke, Glaramara, the Scafells, Lingmell and Great Gable …..
….. Lingmell, Great Gable, Kirk Fell (just showing behind Green Gable) and Black Crag and Red Pike over in Wasdale …..
….. Black Crag, Red Pike, Pillar, Dale Head, the tip of High Stile and part of Hindscarth …..
….. the top of High Stile, Hindscarth, Robinson, Maiden Moor and Whiteless Pike …..
….. Whiteless Pike, Wandope, Grasmoor, Crag Hill, Hopegill Head, Hobcarton Crags, and a little bit of …..
….. Grisedale Pike, and finally…..
….. a view of Clough Head. We dropped down a little from the summit area to have an early lunch break in a sheltered sunny spot away from the slightly stronger breeze we had up here. The couple we chatted to on Bleaberry Fell came by as we were having lunch with the male of the party telling us that he was having to wait for his ice-cream because she (i.e. the person he was with) had talked him into walking over to High Seat instead. (We females are good at talking chaps into doing things they themselves had no intention of doing. aren’t we ladies?). They didn’t pause for a break on High Seat and carried straight on down the path back to the car park. I’m guessing that Luchini’s ice cream parlour in Keswick would be the next stop on their itinerary. Anyway, our lunch break was very relaxing but the time eventually comes when you have to begin the return leg of the walk so …..
….. with a look back at High Seat we take to the path leading back down to Ashness Bridge.
A view of Bleaberry Fell from the return path which …..
….. stretched away into the distance as if it would go on forever …..
….. with some lovely views of Derwentwater along the way.
No waterfalls in Ashness Gill today, just a few dribbles here and there and a few pools of water. The path had turned very rocky by now so we were pleased to see the back of it when …..
….. we saw the gate in the wall below us and the grassy path going down High Strutta.
A short stop for drinks and to let our legs recover from the rock strewn descent before passing through the gate and making our way down High Strutta.
Another lovely view of Derwentwater from the descent path beside the gill and it doesn’t take us much longer to reach …..
….. the mountain hut beside the path which we started out on earlier. We’ve yet to see this hut actually being put to use and yet, situated as it is beside the well used path, with a car park immediately opposite and a very popular bridge attracting hundreds of visitors no more than 100 yards down the road, you would think that opening it up and selling hot or cold drinks and snacks would be an ideal way for the National Trust, who own the hut, to earn itself a little extra cash. Perhaps that sort of thing is beneath the National Trust’s dignity nowadays. Anyway folks, that’s the end of our walk for today, not a very long one in terms of distance but very enjoyable nevertheless, especially the bone dry saunter we had between Bleaberry Fell and High Seat which, for us at least, was a very unique experience.