Brock Crags and Angletarn PIkes

Walk date – 5th February 2020

Distance – 6.6 miles

Weather – cloud with occasional sun, windy on tops


A disappointing day as far as the weather was concerned, flat grey skies and low light with a very occasional brighter patch which was nice while it lasted. Pity there weren’t more of them. Hardly anyone was around today, the only person we saw was a fell runner coming along behind us at Angle Tarn who told us he’d been out for four hours, so we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Wonder how many miles he’d covered and whether he avoided the fell tops? I should have asked I suppose.


Hartsop – Brock Crags – Buck Crag – Angle Tarn – Angletarn Pikes (north top) – Boredale Hause – Hartsop

From the car park at Hartsop we walked back to the entrance and down the road just a short distance where we headed off to the right by the signpost marked Angle Tarn Beck. The cloud cover thinned briefly and allowed us one of those bright spells I’ve mentioned. The path leads up out of the village and eventually makes its way to Side Farm at the head of Ullswater. As the path begins to level out though we bear right and follow an old track rising behind the trees beyond the village and the car park.

A look back at the track we’ve been following. It eventually comes to an end at a wall and we turn up the grassy slope beside the wall and up onto the open fellside.

The view along Pasture Bottom as we climb …..

….. and a look back at Hartsop above How and Saint Sunday Crag while I’m about it. The car park, towards the lower left of the shot, only had a few cars parked up this morning.

I had to stop by this derelict building, probably an old barn, to remove my jacket. The steep climb results in a corresponding rise in heat production and I’m becoming much too warm to continue wearing it despite the coolness of the morning. A good view of Hartsop Dodd can be had from this spot.

A little further on and as we reach the grooved path  J finally succumbs and has to remove his jacket too. This route is a long, steep climb and you do eventually build up a good head of steam, so to speak.

The view along Hayeswater Gill as we take another breather.

Still climbing but there’s always Gray Crag to look at and take one’s mind off the steepness.

The torture of steep becomes the bliss of flat when we reach level ground as we round the slopes of Brock Crags and head towards the cross wall.

Shall we have a coffee break? Aye, why not? So we did, after which I took a look back through the gap in the wall at Gray Crag, a little smidge of Hayeswater and not a whole lot of anything else at the moment.

Crossing over to Brock Crags with a view of Angle Tarn. Although they are still cloudy the skies to the north beyond Place Fell seems to be a little brighter than they are over here.

A look back to where the cross wall, to the left, rises to the old gateposts and leads on to Satura Crag, the longish ridge line across the middle foreground. The wall continues on over Rest Dodd on the skyline.

The top of Brock Crags comes into view plus a ghostly skyline ranging from Saint Sunday Crag, left, Catstycam, middle and the Dodds, extreme right.

Not so far away and therefore easier to see is this view of Gray Crag rising up to Thornthwaite Crag, cloud constantly coming and going over their respective tops.

Skirting around the mushy stuff as we head over to Brock Crags summit.

Ta-da! Brock Crags summit.

Brothers Water with Hartsop above How to its right from the summit of Brock Crags.

Very windy up here hence the jacket hood. J manages a cheery wave nevertheless.

A grand view of Angle Tarn from Brock Crags summit where a little glow brightened things up a bit.

We scuttle down as its too windy to hang around up top so a quick look back at the summit cairn as we leave Brock Crags.

We descended off path skirting round any boggy bits we came across and headed across to pick up the Satura Crag path. Rest Dodd on the left with Rampsgill Head and The Knott, centre and right skyline respectively.

On the Satura Crag path now but at the path junction, bottom right, we’ll take the right hand path which will take us up on to Buck Crag. It is still looking a little brighter to the north, although as I took this shot we did have a second’s worth of glow over here as well.

View along Buck Crag with Rest Dodd to the left …..

….. with a very long drop below them. No doubt many viewers will recognise the peat hags of The Nab towards the top of the shot. I wouldn’t want to be tackling those today after all the rain we’ve had.

A few paces further along provides a great view down Bannerdale. On the left is Beda Fell, across the centre are Steel Knotts and Gowk Hill, and on the right skyline are Bonscale Pike and Loadpot Hill.

Last, but by no means least, Angle Tarn. Other tarns may be bigger, longer, deeper and all the rest of it but for sheer charm and loveliness Angle Tarn wins hands down, in my, not so humble, opinion. I could be biased though because it is my favourite tarn and has been ever since I first clapped eyes on it. Perhaps one of these days I’ll take a dip in it. We were treated to another glimmer of sunlight just as I took the shot which was much appreciated.

By the time we walked round the tarn to this point the clouds had moved across once again, the golden glow had disappeared and we were back to square one. Not a soul around other than the fell runner I mentioned earlier and he’s already well on his way ahead of us.

Looks as though we’re about to fall off a cliff edge. Now where have I heard that little phrase before?? We aren’t though, its nothing more than an optical illusion as I stopped to grab another glimmer of light falling on Patterdale and its surrounding fells. No sense in waiting for the perfect viewpoint on a day like today, you just have to grab it while its there.

We make our way up to the north top of Angletarn Pikes, from where we see clouds gathering over Deepdale …..

….. as they move away from Striding Edge, Helvellyn and Catstycam. Oh well, some you win and some you lose. This is the first view we’ve had of Helvellyn today. Birks and Arnison Crag are just below Striding Edge.

Looking across to the south top of the Pikes from the north top.

On the skyline – Bonscale Pike, Loadpot Hill and Wether Hill from the north top of Angletarn Pikes where a right old hooley was battering us.

The full length of Arnison Crag lights up like a Christmas tree as a chink in the cloud lets enough sunlight through just at the right time.

The slopes of Angletarn Pikes fall away dramatically below us as I take a look over towards Glenridding at the head of Ullswater.

A little further to my right and the bulk of Place Fell comes into view, only the western side gets graced with some sunlight though …..

….. as does the western side of Beda Fell as I turn the camera towards it.

A look back to the north top of the Pikes as we make our descent …..

….. and as we descend a little further, I took another look back in order to show where the ‘terrace’ path joins the main path. If walkers simply want to visit the tarn, or are intending to walk the fells beyond, this path by-passes the two tops altogether.

Place Fell looms large as we descend to Boredale Hause.

The afore-mentioned Boredale Hause. Whether walkers have toiled up to this point from Rooking or Bridgend, or jolted their backs, hips and knees  descending from Angletarn Pikes, a very pleasant interlude can be enjoyed  here while they prepare for the next section of their walk.

Our next section involves descending the steep and marble strewn path back to Hartsop. Not actual marbles, I hasten to add, just small stones and gravel, but almost certain to act in just the same way as they roll under your boots, and do their level best to take you with them, potentially landing you squarely on your backside in an undignified and painful heap.

Patterdale and Glennridding from the slippery slope.

Life becomes easier though when we reach the grassy path. Looking ahead to the Kirkstone Pass I am reminded that we saw much the same view at the end of our last walk when cloud was rising up from Ambleside and shrouding the tops of Middle Dodd and Red Screes just as it is today.

We keep straight ahead as we reach the end of the Boredale Hause path and once again pass by the bridge across Angle Tarn Beck. Lingy Crag, the falls and the bridge are sunlit …..

….. as is Hartsop Dodd as we walk along the lane back to Hartsop.

Further along and the sunshine is still with us. Gray Crag and Hartsop Dodd are basking in its glow and the clouds are retreating in a south-westerly direction.

Back in Hartsop village and the sun is still shining. As usual, you spend most of a walk in gloom and poor light and only towards the end of it does the sun finally decide to stay out.  Isn’t that just typical? To add insult to injury, today as I write this report, the sun is shining from a clear blue sky and there isn’t a breath of a breeze. GRRR!