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Dale Head Round

Dale Head Round


Postby richardkchapman » Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:20 am

Wainwrights included on this walk: Cat Bells, Dale Head, High Spy, Hindscarth, Maiden Moor

Hewitts included on this walk: Dale Head, High Spy, Hindscarth

Date walked: 29/10/2014

Time taken: 6.3

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 964m

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Track_DALE HEAD ROUND 29-10-2014.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



First (and probably last) decent weather all week, so we grabbed the chance to do one of the walks that made us choose this area as one to stay in - the Dale Head round, up via Cat Bells and down via Hindscarth.

We debated whether to walk from Braithwaite where we are staying - it's not that far - but in the end decided that we would struggle to complete the walk in daylight if we did. Still, we needed a relatively early start to avoid walking in the dark and to make sure that that there was still somewhere to park. We decided to leave the car at Little Town, and get a lift from there to Hawse End, to avoid any need for walking along roads at the end (or start) of the day).

Despite our early(ish) start, the car park at Little Town was full,, but we managed to squeeze into a spot by the side of the road.

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Skiddaw in morning light

Back at Hawse End, and we set off up a very crowded Cat Bells. Not quite queuing to ascend, but definitely had to wait at some of the more popular photo spots. But that's ok, we were not in a hurry.

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Autumn Colours

The weather was delightful and perfect for walking - great visibility, cool enough to avoid overheating on the uphill stretches, and just a light breeze.

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Busy path up Cat Bells

The views over towards Causey Pike and the surrounding fells were lovely (and kept getting better).

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Looking over at Causey Pike

Cat Bells is (rightly) very popular with young families - all seemed to be having a great time (though I did hear a few expressing disappointment when they realised that the first top reached was not the real summit).

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Lots of kids on the Cat Bells path

Beautiful views in all directions.

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Blencathra in the distance

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View over Derwent Water

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Derwent Water and Skiddaw

We didn't pause at the top of Cat Bells (it was pretty crowded) but pressed straight on towards Maiden Moor, leaving most of the crowds behind.

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Looking back at Cat Bells ridge

The view over towards Causey Pike kept changing subtly as we gained height and distance.

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Causey Pike area from Cat Bells

The climb up to Maiden Moor was a lovely ridge walk - gaining height at just the right rate so it didn't really feel like much effort (apart from the occasional stretch).

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Maiden Moor from Cat Bells

The first cairn reached on Maiden Moor is not the summit, but it is probably the best view.

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Cat Bells from Maiden Moor

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Crowds on the summit of Cat Bells

Not sure what this cloud was all about...

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Strange cloud

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Cat Bells and Derwent Water

Wainwright does not seem particularly sure exactly where the summit of Maiden Moor is, and neither were we, but this seemed like as good a bet as any. The main path bypasses this point by quite a distance, but we cut across to it easily enough. The kids found an alternative candidate nearer High Spy that they claim is the real summit.

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Is this the summit of Maiden Moor?

Great views in all directions.

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Looking South from Maiden Moor - Langdales and Glaramara

Maiden Moor to High Spy was more of the same - a lovely climb with easy gradients.

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High Spy summit

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Dale Head from High Spy

We had decided that Dale Head Tarn was to be our lunch spot - best to do the climb up to Dale Head with a full stomach and an empty rucksack rather than the other way round. It did seem a shame to have to lose so much height though!

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Dale Head Tarn

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Lunch by Dale Head tarn

The climb up to Dale Head from the tarn was the first real work we had to do - 900 feet of ascent, most of it on a well engineered path that felt like a long flight of stairs. Pick a pace that you can maintain, and just plod up it, seems to be the best technique. I did pause half way up for a couple of photos, which was probably a mistake - getting going again was hard!

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Looking Southish from the climb to Dale Head

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Looking back at Dale Head tarn

The summit of Dale Head is lovely - amazing panoramic views. The summit cairn is very grand, and occupies a grand position right on the edge of the precipice (I daresay someone with a better head for heights than me could walk around it, but I didn't!). I don't know if the owner of these walking poles was planning to return for them.

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Dale Head summit cairn

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View from Dale Head summit

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View from Dale Head summit

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Heading off Dale Head towards Hindscarth

Our next destination - Hindscarth - looked like it was just an easy stroll away (and indeed, it was).

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Hindscarth from Dale Head

The ridge from Dale Head towards Hindscarth got quite narrow at times, with vertiginous views down into Buttermere.

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Buttermere from Dale Head ridge

Soon we were at Hindscarth with yet another angle of view towards the NorthWest fells.

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Northwest Fells from Hindscarth

The ridge from Hindscarth down to the valley is a delightful series of heathery bumps. The path got a little close to some steep drops for my liking (but didn't seem to bother anyone else).

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Descending from Hindscarth

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Looking back at Hindscarth

Delightful and heathery though it was, the ridge did seem to go on for a long time (and perhaps had a few too many rocky stretches that needed negotiating with care / on backsides).

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Descending from Hindscarth

Finally the car came into sight. Always a good moment on any walk.

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I can see the car from here!

The hills were casting long shadows by this time, but the sunlight that remained was a lovely colour.

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Causey Pike in evening light

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High Spy in evening light

Finally we were down at valley level, and a short walk through a farm led us to Newlands Church, and then round the corner to the car, and on to a well earned drink at the Swinside Inn.

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Evening light on Skiddaw

A great day. making up for the disappointment of the last couple of days weather.
richardkchapman
Walker
 
Posts: 104
Grahams:1   
Hewitts:89
Wainwrights:190   
Joined: Aug 29, 2010

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