Maiden Moor and High Spy

Walk date – 7th November 2020

Distance – 7.5 miles

Weather – mild, dry and sunny, very light breeze at height


The settled weather continued today so we were out walking again, twice in a week? This is getting to be a habit! We went over to Little Town, near Keswick, for a walk over Maiden Moor and High Spy, and found about half a dozen cars parked up and their occupants already on their way to their chosen destinations. Dozens of walkers were out and about today, hardly surprising though given that it was Saturday and the weather was so sunny and pleasant. The M6 had plenty of cars, travelling in both directions, on it too so it seems as though folks are coming to their own conclusions.


Little Town – Hause Gate – Maiden Moor – High Spy – Newlands Valley – Little Town

A look back at Hindscarth (left) and Robinson (right), with Scope End prominent between them from the path we’ll be following up to Hause Gate. The sun isn’t yet high enough above Maiden Moor and High Spy so the valley remains in their slightly chilly shadow.

The Causey Pike – Scar Crags ridge gets the full glare of the morning sun while the fields below us still retain hints of frost.

We’ve rounded Knott End at this point and heading up towards the old mine workings in Yewthwaite Comb. Maiden Moor is still blocking the sun so it was a bit gloomy and chilly along here.

The little mound of Swinside and the enormous mass of the Skiddaw group are already basking in the warmth and light though. The sunlight was dazzling this morning.

Waterfall in Yewthwaite Gill as we reach the very stony patch up into Yewthwaite Comb.

A look back  at our route as we reached the mining area in Yewthwaite Comb. Jackets came off at this point, the steady climb had warmed us up nicely despite the chilly shade. The steepish path beyond the gill is a jumble of loose rocks and stones, so getting a firm footing is a bit of a pain, thankfully it doesn’t last long.

Derwentwater, the Skiddaw group and Blencathra from the hause. Everything looks very chilly but it was surprisingly mild up here. Lots of walkers using the hause today to pass between Catbells and Maiden Moor.

A look back at Catbells as we follow the path up to Maiden Moor. A tiny figure on the summit and a group of walkers making their way down.

Looking towards Blencathra and Clough Head across a very calm  Derwentwater from a little higher up the path.

More groups of walkers on Catbells as I take a look back from the outcrops above Trap Knotts.

A retrospective view of the Skiddaw group and Blencathra as we reach flatter ground …..

….. a look towards Bass Lake and Binsey.

Lots of retrospective views today I’m afraid as the very bright sunlight ruled out taking any shots looking south.

The north western fells to our right as we continue our leisurely stroll over Maiden Moor towards High Spy, its much too nice a day to rush.

The view  to the east: the Dodds and the Helvellyn range on the skyline with the Bleaberry Fell – High Seat – High Tove ridge across the middle foreground.

We follow the Bull Crag path across Maiden Moor which provides some spectacular views down into the Newlands valley

Looking down to Scope End and the spoil heaps of the old mine workings.

 Hindscarth and Robinson and a very long drop down!

J at the summit cairn on High Spy. We got here just in time to take some uninterrupted shots, just a few minutes later we were joined by several groups of walkers, and mountain bikers, arriving from all directions. Here’s a few shots taken before everyone arrived …..

….. looking towards the north western fells …..

….. looking towards Skiddaw and Blencathra …..

….. the eastern fells …..

….. back to the Skiddaw group …..

….. and finally, yours truly and a very light breeze ruffling my barnet.

Walkers began arriving so we moved away from the cairn to let others take their photos. I take another view of Hindscarth and the north western fells while J wanders off to find somewhere suitable to take a break. Peering over steep drops isn’t his cup of tea at all.

We find a suitable perch and take a break with these smoky fells in front of us. On the left skyline are Great End and Scafell Pike, middle foreground has Base Brown, Green Gable and Great Gable, and below them to the right is Grey Knotts.

The unmistakeable Pike O’Stickle over on the left and Bowfell on the extreme right. Across the middle are Bessyboot and Glaramara although its very difficult to differentiate between them. Eliminating the bright sky was the only possible way to get any sort of a shot at all in that direction.

After our break we left a now very busy High Spy summit and dropped down towards Dale Head and the valley path. On the way down we met a group of cyclists carrying their bikes, the last one of them muttered under his breath ‘ That wasn’t a great idea’ as he went past us, presumably referring to the route they had followed up to High Spy.

A bank of mackerel cloud positioned itself between us and the sunshine as we began our descent into Newlands valley so things became very dull. The cloud bank was considerable so the dullness lasted for quite a while. A little further down we met an elderly chap, who turned out to be a retired local farmer, out for a walk and making his way up. “Ev yer fon a virus up theer?”(translation from the Cumbrian – Have you found a virus up there) he asked us, with a bit of twinkle in his eyes, when we reached him. We told him no we hadn’t. “D’yer naw anybody as as ‘ad it? No we said. ‘Nayther ev I, an’ all them as I’ve asked telled me they dint naw anybody as as ‘ad it nayther.” A natter about the current situation followed and then he set about telling us that he was fed up with hearing about the U.S. presidential election, “Ivry time yer turn it on its all aboot that, goin’ on and on aboot it, yer get sick of ‘earing it, a dunt care who wins, a just wish they’d shurrup aboot it ” A straight talking man, we could do with a few more like him down there in London. It was a long chat.

With the bank of cloud still muting the sunlight we eventually got going again. On the way down I took a few shots of the various waterfalls in Newlands Beck. Above is a shot of one of the higher ones …..

….. and again now with a lower one …..

….. a closer look at the lower one and the pool below it  …..

….. and finally a series of water slides over one of the beck’s rockier sections.

Passing by the old sheepfold as we reach the valley bottom.

Hindscarth in the muted light.

The cloud culprit drifts away and begins to dim the light over Skiddaw. Along the valley the autumn colours return and a couple of hundred yards further on we escape the long shadow of Dale Head.

Rowling End and Causey Pike come into view as we stroll down the valley in the warm autumn sunshine, and also appreciate a dry section in an otherwise very puddly path.

Just lovely to look at, nothing more needs to be said.

Towards the end of the valley is this view of the Ard Crags – Knott Rigg ridge.

Here it is again, over on the left, with Scar Crags and Causey PIke on the right.

We leave the path at this point to drop down the banking and follow the tarmac lane down to the parking area by the narrow bridge over the beck. That large bank of cloud is still dimming the light over the Skiddaw group although from this angle it no longer looks like a mackerel sky. Such a sky usually means rain within a few hours and sure enough this morning, Sunday, it rained. Hence the old saying ‘With a mackerel sky it won’t stay dry’. And finally, a link to another Ivor Cummins video/podcast, he’s the scientist with the lovely Irish lilt, in which he reveals a whole lot more of the truth behind all those statistics, graphs and charts  we keep getting presented with –

and, if you haven’t time for the full length one, a two minute version highlighting the main findings can also be found on Ivor Cummins Twitter page here –

Scroll down to a Tweet with the heading November 7th Crucial Update and click the link to hear what he has to say.