Walk date – 16th April 2021
Distance – 5.1 miles
Weather – dry, sunny, light breeze
Another good weather day so we went over to Patterdale and had a walk over Hartsop above How, a long and rambling fell with plenty of ups and downs along its ridge. There are some fells which seem to go on forever, Hartsop above How is one of them. Our return route was virtually the same as the outward one, the only exception being that we didn’t cross the stile and return to Cow Bridge via the steep path through Low Wood. When the path and the wall parted company we kept to the wall, which eventually became a wire fence, and at a suitable point we crossed over and descended through Low Wood until we came to the footpath running parallel with the road a little further down. From there its a straightforward walk back to Cow Bridge.
More or less an out and back route.
Cow Bridge car park – Low Wood – Bleaberry Knott – Gale Crag – Hoggill Brow – Hartsop above How summit – Blake Brow – and returning in reverse order.
The starting point for today’s walk is the path, immediately behind the gates, going up through Low Wood. Its easy to miss so don’t go charging off along the main path.
The path through Low Wood is very steep and this shot belies just how steep it really is. In places the wet weather has undercut some of the larger stones in the path so care was needed before stepping onto them. Today the path was very loose, the recent spell of fine weather has dried it out and getting a firm foothold was difficult in many places. On the way up there are two gates to negotiate, a little awkward to deal with because the fence lines are higher than the path up to it and the gates swing out towards you forcing walkers to step back down a couple of paces.
Once above the tree line the steepness eases and then there’s a slightly easier section rising along the fellside. This traverse section has some good viewpoints along the way and the shot above was taken from one of them. On the left is Brock Crags, on the right is Gray Crag .The little hamlet of Hartsop is tucked in amongst the trees in the valley bottom.
Looking south along Kirkstone Pass with Hartsop Dodd, Caudale Moor and St Raven’s Edge on the left and Red Screes and Middle Dodd on the right. The water levels have gone down considerably recently as the high water mark around Brothers Water clearly shows.
In the opposite direction is this view of Place Fell and Angletarn Pikes on the eastern side of Patterdale. A great place to stop and enjoy the views even if you don’t need an excuse to get your breath back.
The path eventually brings us out onto the ridge where we get this view of Arnison Crag still clad in its winter brown jacket, although with a bit of a squint you could almost persuade yourself that there are hints of green here and there. No green shoots to be seen so far here on the ridge. We continue along the path on this side of the wall until we come to a ladder stile a little further along. We crossed over the stile and turned left to join up with the main path coming up from Bridgend for an uneventful wander over the ups and downs of Bleaberry Knott.
The first real obstacle after crossing the stile is Gale Crag which affords the chance of a little scramble. We passed on the scramble and walked around the crag to enjoy the superb views at the head of Deepdale. On the skyline are Hart Crag, Link Hause, Fairfield, Cofa Pike and Deepdale Hause. Below Fairfield is Greenhow End, a huge, and deeply fissured, wall of cliffs.
Beyond the Gale Crag scramble we return to the main path, from where I took a look back to Deepdale Bridge and Bridgend, and where Deepdale joins Patterdale, more or less.
The two tops of Angletarn Pikes on the skyline as I take a look back along the undulating ridge above Gale Crag.
The ridge wall begins to part company with the path as it drops down into Dovedale as we walk along Hoggill Brow. Hartsop above How’s summit is in sight now although still some way off.
A look back along Hoggill Brow as we begin the approach to the summit.
Still a little more climbing to do before the summit is reached. Hartsop above How doesn’t let you off the hook easily.
On the summit and a superb view of Dove Crag at the head of Dovedale.
The retrospective view along Hoggill Brow from the summit and some of the eastern fells beyond it.
Looking down into Dovedale, Middle Dodd and Red Screes on the skyline.
To the west of us is Saint Sunday Crag …..
….. and directly ahead are Fairfield, Cofa Pike, just visible behind Greenhow End, and Deepdale Hause. Dollywaggon Pike puts in an appearance just above the Hause.
Dove Crag and Hart Crag. We’d had the fell to ourselves since leaving the car then out of nowhere appeared a solo runner with his dog coming towards us, two guys, deep in conversation and ignoring everything around them, walked past heading for Hart Crag, and then two female runners heading in the same direction. All in the space of a couple of minutes.
From the summit we carried on a little further along towards Blake Brow, more or less as far as that first outcrop of rocks, having decided that we would take a break. Once there we would have something to eat and decide whether we were going to go any further. We would normally have gone on to Hart Crag then Dove Crag, Little Hart Crag and descended via High Hartsop Dodd but, after talking it over, we decided to make this our turn around point. My back problems, which have never entirely gone away, have been playing up again recently and at this point in our walk they were becoming more than just an irritating niggle. By the time we got across there I was more than glad to get the rucksack of my back and sink down onto the warm grass.
A look back at the summit of Hartsop above How from our break stop where we decided that it was this far and no further. I still had to walk back but at least further steepish climbs could be avoided by skirting around any high points to avoid putting further pressure on my back, so that’s what we did.
Just before starting the walk back I took this shot of some the fells across Patterdale. First up are Hartsop Dodd and Caudale Moor, left and right respectively, rising from the valley floor. Behind Hartsop Dodd is Gray Crag and behind that High Street is just appearing. Over on the left skyline is Rampsgill Head and below it you might just be able to pick out The Knott. The grass is definitely greener on the other side of the valley and you don’t even have to squint to see it.
J leads the way back over the humps and bumps of the ridge.
Caudal Moor and St Raven’s Edge towering above Kirkstone Pass.
A skyline of fells – left to right are Rest Dodd, High Raise, Rampsgill Head, Gray Crag, High Street and Hartsop Dodd.
Back to the point where we crossed the wall earlier today. In the right hand corner of the shot is the ladder stile I mentioned and the path coming up from Low Wood. We didn’t cross back over when we reached it, the reasons being – a) to vary the route a little and b) I didn’t fancy risking further back problems on a loose and very steep path.
Saint Sunday Crag and Birks Fell from further down the path.
Saint Sunday Crag and the peak of Gavel Pike from the often boggy flat section further down.
Place Fell and Angletarn Pikes as we approach another stile.
Gavel Pike and Saint Sunday Crag again, the scenery doesn’t change much on the way down.
We’ve crossed the fence, dropped down through Low Wood and are about to join the path above the road to make our way back to Cow Bridge.
The car park is not much further along so this is the last photo for today. It was a bit disappointing not to be able to go on any further, because it goes against the grain, but carrying on and possibly making things worse wouldn’t be a sensible thing to do either. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and make the best of it. Better get the stretching exercises back out and dusted off, I suppose., ho hum.