Brock Crags and Angletarn Pikes

Walk date – 8th August 2022

Distance – 6.8 miles

Weather – sunny start, turning overcast mid morning, lighter cloud and sunny spells later


We made an early start today, as the forecast indicated that the day would be very warm, to the point of warning people to ‘beware of sunburn’, with fair weather cloud building later in the day. It didn’t quite work out like that but it was a reaasonable weather day nevertheless. The car park at the top of Hartsop village had only a few cars already parked up so we had no difficulty at all in parking up. None of the occupants of the parked cars were in evidence so they were either resident in the village or already on their way. In fact, there was no sign of anyone at all and no sound to be heard anywhere, which seemed to me to be most unusual.That seemed to set the scene for the rest of the walk, we saw very few people out walking and we saw only two birds fly by when we were on the summit of Brock Crags. The absence of both was quite noticeable.


Hartsop – Hayeswater Gill – Hayeswater – Satura Crag – Brock Crags – Angletarn Pikes (North Top) – Boredale Hause – Patterdale – Hartsop

Clear blue skies everywhere as we walked from the car park up to the track beside Hayeswater Gill. Hartsop Dodd looked very summery and benign in the morning sunlight.

The view back to the livestock pens at the top of the village, the car park is hidden in the trees just below them. We were followed up by one young man who drove into the car park just as we were getting ready to set off. He soon left the main track though and followed the one leading up to the old filter house so that was the last we saw of him.

We’ve just crossed the functional, but ugly, metal bridge across Hayeswater Gill just above which is the building housing the two turbines for the hydro-electric installation. The scheme began in the summer of 2015 but was delayed by Storm Desmond during December that same year. Work began again in February 2016 and was completed in December 2016. It has weathered in well over the past few years and now blends in very well with its surroundings.

Looking over to Brock Crags as we plod our way up the rough path. We haven’t walked this path for a few years and its steeper than we remembered.

The walk up became very warm work indeed with the sun directly in our faces so a pause was badly needed just to dry our necks and faces. By now beads of sweat were dripping down our necks and noses and my sunglasses kept sliding off. I decided to do without them because they became too much of a nuisance. As we’d stopped I took a shot at the lovely view behind us, Hartsop above How’s wooded slopes across the middle foreground, and behind it, from left to right, are Hart Crag, Fairfield, Cofa Pike and Saint Sunday Crag.

From our high vantage point I zoomed in on the view down to the old filter house which looks as though it has been made into a holiday let. Two cars were parked there and there was garden furniture on the lawn so someone was in residence.

Higher up the path now where the cascades in the gill looked very inviting.

We’d just crossed the bridge and were taking a short break when ‘traffic’ appeared, first of all was a pair of walkers who we’d seen coming up behind us. They too had a pause at the bridge for a break, photos and to dip headbands in the cold water and we exchanged greetings as they passed us. They didn’t get very far up the path before they had to step to one side to give the quad bike coming down the path enough space to pass by them. As can be seen in the photo the driver and his companions were accompanied by several already very wet dogs which proceeded to get even wetter when they reached the gill. The two young men on the bike had been walking beside the bike as they went by us but climbed on it as they got nearer the ford crossing just below the bridge, the bridge not being wide enough to accommodate it. The driver then took several careful minutes to get the bike safely across. Given the nature of the path the journey back down would have been quite a bumpy ride.

The view back down the ‘new’ path. Anyone familiar with the Hayeswater area will know that the dam was removed some years ago. When it did exist walkers used to follow the path from it straight up the hill side. That path is still in evidence, although not seen in this shot, and this one now leads directly from the footbridge and seems to be the one most walkers have been using. It looks to have been created by a quad bike, perhaps the one we have just seen, and leads directly up to the path between Satura Crag and The Knott.

A look across at the view to our left as we make our way up the hill side. Being on grass all the way it was much easier on the feet than the one we left earlier. The view now includes the Helvellyn range and Catstycam over on the right skyline.

We’ve just stepped onto the path leading us over towards Satura Crag. The couple who passed us back at the footbridge have turned right and are making their way over to The Knott. Satura Crag is directly ahead, i.e. the one with the lighter coloured outcrops on its top. To its left Brock Crags are under a patch of cloud and the slopes of Rest Dodd are over on the right.

The fells to the west beyond Brothers Water start gaining a patchwork of shadows as the clouds begin to build and thicken …..

….. but looking ahead we still have some blue skies …..

….. although it is getting much murkier in the High Street area. What happened to that ‘fair weather cloud later in the day’? We understand later in the day to be sometime during the afternoon not 10.15 in the morning. As we walked along we looked back and saw two more walkers coming down Rest Dodd and then we met a group of three ladies on their way over to The Knott, so we’ve seen only eight people out walking so far. Including the quad bike trio, who weren’t walkers, only takes the count up to eleven so very few people were out and about on the fells in these parts today.

Crossing the undulating and rocky nature of Satura Crag …..

….. and passing by the charming little tarn perched on a ledge just beside one of the many paths over the crag. The cloud thickens, darkens and spreads over Little Hart Crag, Dove Crag, and Hart Crag. Is this the Met Office’s fair weather cloud?

Even Bannerdale has turned murky now although one or two splashes of sunlight still get through.

Approaching the familiar gateposts on Satura Crag …..

….. and once through them its a quick left turn down the hill and then onwards over to Brock Crags. This can be a very squelchy walk at times.

It was a long time coming but eventually some sunlight managed to get through and lighten up the view toward The Knott, High Street and Gray Crag. A slight breeze has sprung up too and although it not at goosebump level I’m planning on adding a long sleeved layer when we get on the summit.

Pretty much everything and everywhere is under cloud at the moment. I was looking forward to seeing a lovely blue Angle Tarn twinkling and sparkling in the sunshine but it wasn’t to be.

Continuing across the grassy humps and bumps of Brock Crags in a brief splash of sunshine. The fells beyond are more or less greyed out at the moment.

A lone patch of blue sky above the summit cairn on Brock Crags greets us on our arrival. The breeze is a bit stronger up here too and the long sleeved layers go on without delay before the goosebumps arrive.

Oh dear! Not much of a view beyond Brothers Water from Brock Crags today. Never mind, a torchlight beam has landed on Hartsop above How, every little helps as the saying goes!

The difference a couple of hours makes. I looked over at Hartsop Dodd and thought about walking up the path in dazzling sunlight and having to remove my sunglasses because they kept sliding off my perspiring nose, and now I’m standing in a very cool breeze wearing a long sleeved layer. Well, it is high summer in Cumbria so its pretty much par for the course.

Another shot of the summit cairn, more to show the thick cloud layer we are under at the moment. Any sunlight which does manage to get through is very weak too.

The view towards Rest Dodd across the squelchy area below the summit of Brock Crags.

Angle Tarn from Brock Crags. There really wasn’t much by way of views while we were up here on the summit. The fells nearby lacked definition and the more distant fells had been reduced to a blue-grey smudge so we headed back down towards the tarn.

As we were crossing over to Cat Crag some sunlight landed on the South Top of Angletarn Pikes. The North Top, right behind it, wasn’t so fortunate though.

By the time we reached Cat Crag the dull conditions remained so a rather muted shot of Angle Tarn was the only option.

A slightly different angle of the same sombre tarn. There wasn’t a soul to be seen anywhere around the tarn, nobody paddling or bathing, although that’s not surprising in such dull conditions, but not one person was to be seen anywhere along any of the many paths around here, it was utterly deserted and quite eerie.

Zooming in on the south top of Angletarn Pikes, with the darker north top peeking out behind it on the left. Nobody over there either, where are they all?

We’ve reached the lower of the two paths leading around the Pikes so I took a look back at the tarn and the fells around it. Everything still in deep shade and looking decidedly gloomy thanks to all that ‘fair weather cloud’.

The view across to Brock Crags from the lower path. There is one young woman making her way down to the tarn on the higher path behind us, and two young men, out of shot on the right, making their way over to Brock Crags. Another three to add to the number of walkers making eleven in total. That’s it!

There was no summit cairn on the north top to include in any of the shots and the views are still on the gloomy side but at least Arnison Crag, Birks and Saint Sunday Crag, across the middle, are close enough to show a little more detail …..

….. which also goes for this view of the south top just a short distance away.

Glenridding and Ullswater not illuminated by sunlight either …..

….. and much the same can be said about Place Fell too. Nobody on any part of the path over there either or coming across from Beda Fell.

Brothers Water and its surrounding fells from the north top of Angletarn Pikes. If you’re wondering what that strange pattern is in the bottom right hand corner of the shot …..

….. here’s a closer look. I think I mentioned some time ago that Goldrill Beck had been diverted away from its course alongside the road leading to the Cow Bridge car park due to flooding and undercutting concerns. The patterns showing below are the various run off channels which have been created to prevent the undercutting and flooding of the road. Flood water is thus meant to drain into the channels to slow the flow and allow any overspill to collect in the surrounding land before draining away into Ullswater. Time will tell whether the practice fits the theory. If you want to read more about it here’s a link

We descended from the north top and began our return to Hartsop via the higher of the two paths around the Pikes, so we arrived at this junction from the left hand path. The path on the right, often called the terrace path passes well below the Pikes and leads directly to Angle Tarn.

The terrace path cuts across the lower slopes …..

….. and passes well below either of the two tops. Its perfectly safe but some people may not be comfortable with the way the slopes fall away sharply below the path, in which case opt for the higher path. Although it was a little too early for a lunch break we had a stop a little further down and got the sandwiches out. It was either that, eat them back at the car or take them home with us. While we were taking a break two young men came up, they were followed by a youngish couple neither of whom were really dressed for it or carrying packs. Those last two came back down again while we were still there so probably they were just having a short walk up to a viewpoint. That’s another four walkers to add to the day’s total. The young girl we saw approaching the tarn also passed us by on her way down to Boredale Hause.

A sunnier view of Place Fell as we descend towards Boredale Hause …..

….. which was bathed in sunshine when we reached it. The couple sitting on the grass were the ones who went up and came back down as we were having our sandwiches, and the solo walker just beyond them is the afore-mentioned young girl. She remained about the same distance ahead of us all the way back down to the Patterdale path. This place is usually busy as walkers arrive and depart but except for those three and ourselves the place was deserted.

Only a partial view into Deepdale but the cloud layer seems to be breaking up a little and sunlight is getting through here and there.

The young girl has just disappeared around the bend below after indulging in some very odd arm waving, the sort of waving you might do with both arms if you wanted to attract someone’s attention from a distance. J even asked me who she was waving to since that was what it looked like to him. He was some paces behind me at the time so I was obscuring his view to some extent but he could see all the arm waving and wondered whose attention she was trying to attract. Perhaps it was just her way of loosening up some tight arm muscles.

This old building alongside the path tells you that you are not too far away from Hartsop at this point. It may be abandoned but somebody doesn’t want you entering, there’s a big shiny lock on the gate. Not that anyone determined to enter would in the least be put off by a lock, all they’d have to do would be to climb over the gate! The fencing beside the gate would be just as easily climbed over too.

Approaching Angletarn Beck now which has two bridge crossings, the upper one is in the shot, the lower one isn’t. We’ll be taking the higher crossing on our final leg back to Hartsop, its a more interesting route and it ends almost at the car park entrance.

Some of the upper falls in Angletarn Beck can be seen as the upper bridge is approached …..

….. the upper bridge and the gate leading to the path back to Hartsop …..

….. and the view from the bridge.

Brothers Water and its surrounding fells still on the gloomy side but there are more blue bits in the sky now so things are looking better for a much brighter afternoon. Just a few yards back we passed the green bench on which a chap was taking a little snooze. We didn’t notice him until we drew alongside him and our approach woke him up. He didn’t mind though and we had a short and good natured chat before we went on our way.

Turning up the concrete driveway and heading for Hartsop which is just below the crest of the rise.

A collapse in the wall alongside the driveway allows us to see the rooftops of Hartsop village below Hartsop Dodd.

The path led us down into the village and brought us out onto the road just beside the house up there by the bend in the road. Behind me is the car park where there are a few more cars than there were this morning although it wasn’t full by any means. I had a count up of all the walkers we’ve seen today, it amounted to eighteen walkers in total which is not many for the height of summer in the Lake District. More holidaymakers were in evidence as we drove through Patterdale, Glenridding and Pooley Bridge on the way home but it seemed to me that the numbers were much less than they had been during 2020 and 2021 when overseas travel restrictions were applicable. Perhaps more people are taking holidays abroad, maybe inflationary/recessionary pressures are having an effect but for one reason or another visitor numbers seem, to me at least, to be down this year.