Walk date – 19th April 2023
Distance – 5.3 miles
Weather – cloudy with some sunny spells, strong wind
Today’s MWIS forecast –
British Mountain Summary:
Based on forecast chart for noon 19 April, 2023
Strong easterly winds, gale force in places with powerful gusts to lower slopes west of higher tops.
Headline for Lake District
Windy, gale force gusts. Mostly sunny, beware sunburn.
With such a forecast we decided that a low level walk would be a wiser choice today and, having chosen to take a walk in Dovedale, we decided to take the opportunity to spend some time exploring the upper reaches of the area and to find out what possibilities there might be for future walks. The higher fells around the valley would offer respite from any strong winds, it was set to be mostly sunny, even to the point of warnings about sunburn, and the surrounding scenery is fabulous so, all in all, we were looking forward to a walk through a delightful valley surrounded by some very dramatic scenery. As you will see from the photos we didn’t need to worry about sunburn.
Cow Bridge – Brothers Water – Hartsop Hall – Terrace path to footbridge – Stangs – Dovedale Beck – Dovedale – Cow Bridge
Its mid-week so plenty of parking spaces were available at Cow Bridge and hardly anyone around, only one person crossed the bridge and turned along the path beside Brothers Water as we were getting ready to set off. Some trees and hedgerows are beginning to show signs of new green leaf but most are still showing bare branches. The cloud cover over Hartsop Dodd and Caudale Moor looked ominous, maybe it will dissipate as the day wears on.
Red Screes in the distance as we walk along to Hartsop Hall and …..
….. across Brothers Water are Hartsop Dodd and Caudale Moor. There is a smidge of blue sky in the distance but the rough surface of the water indicates that it was more than a little draughty across this open stretch of the valley. Jacket hoods get pulled on.
High Hartsop Dodd comes into view and everything is suddenly lit up by an unexpected and very welcome burst of sunshine. The jacket hoods stay on as the cool and gusty wind flares up from time to time.
Hartsop Hall illuminated by some very thin sunshine. Out of shot to the right is a group of cows resting with their very young calves. Also out of shot are the droppings they’ve deposited everywhere across the track, thank goodness we haven’t had any rain for the past few days.
Safely through the ‘drop’ zone now and just beyond Hartsop Hall we bear off to the right on this track which will take us across a higher level terrace path, along the eastern slopes of Hartsop above How, and through the woodlands of Wood Side. The main path bears around to the left and continues on through the valley bottom. Another sunny spell came along but the sky remained overcast.
The valley bottom path is below us on the left, this path and the one we are following eventually converge at the footbridge over Dovedale beck. High Harstop Dodd is over on the left, Dove Crag is on the extreme right and on the skyline between the two is the area known as Black Brow.
Looking back to the former lead mining area just beyond Hartsop Hall. Plenty of information about the mine can be found here – https://www.mindat.org/loc-4752.html
J continues making his way through the trees on Wood Side in another sunny spell …..
….. but this sunny view of the head of the valley below us catches my eye so I stop to take a shot.
The view back along the path towards High Hartsop Dodd. No green shoots showing in the dead bracken at the moment.
We’re doing well as far as sunny spells are concerned even though they are of the short lived variety. Here the area known as Stangs is well lit and provides some incredible detailing, and the darker mass of Dove Crag right behind it is also showing up well in the brighter light. We’re planning on exploring the other side of Stangs when we reach the footbridge.
On the centre left skyline is the elongated shape of Hart Crag while on the right are some of the east facing humps and bumps of Hartsop above How.
Another look over to Stangs and Dove Crag.
The fantastic scenery around Dovedale from the lovely terrace path. We have gained quite a bit of height but although we can hear the wind whooshing like an express train across the tops above us we are not being battered by it at all.
Once we’ve passed through the gate we’ll be out of the woodland and the path will be passing over open ground. The skyline has turned menacing again.
There is usually a fair amount of water pouring over those rocks but today there was only a dribble, so no waterfall to display today.
Approaching the footbridge over Dovedale beck with the hilly area of Stangs right beside it. Two walkers passed over it as we approached, joined the terrace path we have just left, got out an OS map and then proceeded to stare upwards at Dove Crag. Yes, there’s still a long way to go and a lot of climbing left to do from this point but there is a good path and you get there eventually.
The view back down to Dovedale from the bridge. More blue sky has appeared, better late than never I suppose.
After we crossed the bridge we turned right and followed the faint path around the first hump of Stangs. We’re in unexplored territory now as we haven’t been over on this side previously and we begin to see new perspectives.
The track rises above the beck and seems follow a line of old iron fence posts, some still threaded with rusty wire. Most of the posts have fallen to the ground and have mostly sunk down into it. Consequently an upright line of posts is not visible so having noticed the first ones we carried on and kept a sharp lookout for the next ones and, of course, any stray bits of rusty wire which unwary feet could be caught in or tripped over. There were some very squelchy sections to be negotiated along the way.
A closer view of Dove Crag from Stangs.
Over on the extreme right of the shot a couple of the more or less upright iron posts can be seen. We continued to follow them up to the point where the large rock is sited and then turned upwards to the left to find out what was visible from the brow of the slight rise. Over on the right are the humps and bumps of Stand Crags, I think. Its difficult to be certain where one set of hummocks ends and the next set begins.
A view of the first big hump of Stangs, which we rounded after crossing the bridge, seen from a feeder beck as we climbed to the brow of the slight rise.
The view back down to the Dove Crag path crossing a feeder beck on the other side of Dovedale beck.
There wasn’t anything very much to see having reached the brow of the hill as the Stangs area seemed just to spread further ahead of us so we didn’t bother going further on. We could have walked the ridge line over to the top of the first hump of Stangs but we didn’t bother doing that either bearing in mind the strength of the wind. Having seen how the land lay from the vantage point just beyond these rocks that is all we wanted to find out and that’s now tucked away in our memory bank for future reference. The feeder beck had to dribble its way through this particular outcrop on its way down to Dovedale beck. Above the outcrop was a cluster of large rock and boulder just asking to be sat down on so we did and spent a few minutes gazing at the splendid views around us.
On the way back down at this point and a look over to where the Dove Crag path crosses another feeder stream. This is a closer view of the shot shown in the second photo above this one.
Back at the footbridge for a sunny view of Hartsop Dodd and another patch of blue sky.
Dovedale beck at the point where it begins to tumble down towards Dovedale, the footbridge is out of shot on the right.
Dovedale from the descent path. The clouds close ranks again and blot out the sunshine.
Dovedale beck is tumbling down the ravine over on the left and there are various places to view its waterfalls just a short distance from the footpath all the way down.
This one is more of a waterslide than a waterfall …..
….. while a little lower down is this charming set of falls.
Down in the valley bottom now and we’re about to cross the footbridge and make our way back over to Hartsop Hall.
Hartsop Dodd, Dovedale Beck and the footpath back to Hartsop Hall.
The patch of sunlight on Hartsop Dodd grows larger and …..
….. by the time we are back at the farm we are back in the sun again. Angletarn Pikes and Brock Crags aren’t quite so fortunate though. The cow standing in the middle of the track didn’t budge so we had to detour well over to the right to try to avoid the worst of the sloppy stuff.
Back at Brothers Water where the sun shone on us for the remainder of the walk back to Cow Bridge …..
….. where I took this last shot of the bridge as we reached the parking area. It was very nice to have a stretch of unbroken sunshine for the last bit of our walk but as for the ‘beware sunburn’ warning, forget it. We never even took our jackets off!