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Hartsop Dodd, Stony Cove Pike and a rethink at Caudale Head.
by trailmasher » Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:51 pm
Wainwrights included on this walk: Caudale Moor, Hartsop Dodd
Hewitts included on this walk: Stony Cove Pike (Caudale Moor)
Date walked: 16/10/2020
Time taken: 6.21
Distance: 17.09 km
Ascent: 818m2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Seeing as how the LD visitors had thinned out considerably we opted to have a go at Hartsop Dodd, Stony Cove Pike and a return by the north ridge of Rough Edge and the old Caudale Quarry from Caudale Head, a route that I have done in the past, but new to E and Martin but it didn’t quite turn out as planned.
It was cloudy but bright as we drove down to the car park at Cow Bridge that is situated at the north end of Brothers Water with the drive along the west side of Ullswater arguably one of the best in the Lake District any time of the year and today looking especially photogenic as we passed beneath the autumnal trees that stand on both sides of the road. The leaves hung from the branches in all colours ranging from a sickly green to yellow and gold with many already given up the hope of hanging on any longer and lay scattered on the ground and road.
Finding a place to park easily enough we got donned up against the cold breeze and set off along the road to Hartsop from where we would cross over Hayeswater Beck by the footbridge behind the first of the houses as we entered the village. The village has held its charm well enough against the advance of the years that has brought many changes and much modernisation to many rural areas. The houses still look as though they must have done hundreds of years ago with any extension works done being disguised sympathetically, and in many cases well enough to pass as part of the original structures.
As we walked along we could see wisps of cloud hanging over Caudale Head and Middle Fell and the cloud looked high enough as not to bother us much today, but all was to change before long.
A view towards Middle Dodd
Then as we walked along the road towards Hartsop we could see low cloud now hanging over Pasture Bottom and Hayeswater.
Hartsop Dodd with Gray Crag to the left
There were a few more like minded walkers about but none going the same way as us with one group that we passed making their way towards Pasture Bottom. We were by now at the start of the climb.
Approach to Hartsop Dodd
Hartsop Dodd looks what it is, long and steep with three false tops teasing one along the unrelenting grind up the north ridge, the one consolation being that as height is gained so do the views unfold below, especially to the north along the length of Patterdale. But first we have to get climbing. There were some lovely autumn dressed trees scattered about and Rest Dodd was just peeping over the shoulder of Gray Crag.
Gray Crag with Rest Dodd and The Knott to the left
The first bit’s not too bad as we climbed the reasonable bank up to the dodgy stile in the corner of the intake wall and after a steady climb along the wet and greasy path and after clambering over the loose timbers we took a minute for a look around.
Hartsop and Patterdale
From this point on the path steepens considerably and despite the cool breeze our temperatures were up as we made our way steadily up to the wall corner at the 320 metre contour where a welcome lean on it ensued as we surveyed the panorama below us as we regained our breath. Over to the west we had Hartsop above How with St Sunday Crag behind it followed by Helvellyn in cloud.
Hartsop above How and St Sunday Crag behind Brothers Water
Onwards we climbed with the path meandering snake wise sometimes over grass or gravel and at other times through small outcrops of rock made slippery by the damp air and after a good few more metres had been negotiated we stopped for another look around.
Looking down the north ridge of Hartsop Dodd
Low patches of cloud were just touching the tops and sides of Place Fell, Angletarn Pikes and Brock Crag as we looked over Hartsop and beyond towards Ullswater. A few minutes later and we were within easy reach of the summit...
Approaching the cloud covered summit
but it would be another 10 minutes or so before we reached the cairn that is more obvious than the actual summit marker.
Hartsop Dodd cairn but not the true summit
The cairn is an excellent viewpoint exposing the fells in all directions but south that is blocked by the bulk of Caudale Moor. The true summit is also just a little further to the south in the shape of an old wooden post alongside the wall, looking very old but I doubt if it’s the same one as described in the book.
Hartsop Dodd's true summit
We decided to stop for a break so parked up on the wall with the swirling clouds now dropping lower than ever, low enough for us to feel the damp of the cloud vapour that was like a very fine falling drizzle. Due to this there was not much chance of any decent photos so after a quick break we set off along the straight forward and rising but wet path along Caudale Moor.
South up Caudale Moor
This was to be the scene for quite some time as we made our way to Stony Cove Pike.
North down Caudale Moor
We arrived at SCP with no incidents or views apart from a very subdued one towards Windermere...
South towards Windermere
but didn’t linger as we then set out for the cairn on Caudale Moor that was an easy walk following the wall before leaving it to walk across the fellside to the cairn of stones on its rocky outcrop shown in the centre of the photo.
Caudale Moor's cairn on the skyline
We were going to have a break here but two lads had beaten us to the best of the shelter from the wind so we now moved on to John Bell’s Banner as we made our way towards Caudale Head.
John Bell's Banner Memorial
Not a good place to stop for a break today so we followed the path that runs just west of north towards our descent route and finally found a place to stop for a break tucked under the rocks at the highest point of Caudale Head just before the path takes a downhill course.
High point at Caudale Head
The weather was a bit poor by this time, not raining hard, just a light, steady drizzle but cold with also, so a hurried break was had and then we set off on our descent along Rough Edge. There wasn’t much of a view in front of us due to the clag and Martin showed some concern about our way forward despite my assurance that all was well with the route down although to be fair it did look a bit daunting with the cloud swirling about on either side of the ridge blocking the view in all directions. The path is plain to see so there is no chance of going astray. A few years ago Martin had a bad experience when he saw a young girl fall off Green Crag that is just off the side of Haystacks with her mother stuck on the crag above. Due to no phone signal Martin climbed up to her to give aid whilst his wife went for help at Gatescarth Farm. She was critically injured and he stayed with her until the MRT arrived to carry out their sterling work but unfortunately to no avail. He left the scene accompanied by one of the team and is still full of memories of that sad day so we could fully understand why he was reluctant to go down, especially when the views are limited all around. On a positive note he did say that he would love to climb up it on a good day, so we will.
Well the next part of the walk just entails climbing back the 100 metres that we had dropped and to make our way over to St Raven’s Edge where we would drop down to Kirkstone Pass and follow the path back to Cow Green therefore making our 9 km walk into a 17 km one, but that was alright, each of us was happy to walk the extra.
Making our way to St Raven's Edge
The walk back to Kirkstone Pass was a wet one with moisture in the air and very wet paths with slippery stones and it was with caution in some places that we got to the rocky scar of St Raven’s Edge.
The top of Red Screes
St Raven's Edge
Approaching St Raven's Edge
A look back into the clag
We stopped for a break at the cairn on the Edge and managed to grab a few hazy photos.
The three Kentmere fells from St Raven's Edge
The long ridge of Troutbeck Park just off centre
The climb down through the rocks proved to a bit of a slippery affair with the rocks being greasy with the wet and with E having not the longest of legs she needed a bit of assistance in the more awkward of spots. From below the crag I managed to get a picture of Red Screes as the cloud cleared for a few moments and even at this time of day we could see people starting the climb up.
The pub looked busy as did the car park with quite a few parked up, some walkers just returning and some setting off. We didn’t have time to call in for refreshments and passed straight through the car park heading for the path that would take down the pass and around the bottom of Middle Dodd and High Hartsop Dodd.
A view down Kirkstone Pass
The walk down was uneventful apart from the path being badly churned up by a herd of free range cattle turning many places into mud and cow crap.
A good half hour saw us passing below High Hartsop Dodd and well on our way to Hartsop Hall.
A view north along Kirkstone Beck
A Place Fell and Angletarn Pikes skyline
Looking back along Kirkstone Pass
Hart and Dove Crags behind Stangs and Stand Crags
A last look at Middle Dodd and High Hartsop Dodd
We passed through the herd of heavy footed cattle and the going was then much easier with the path as it should be and we made good time to Hartsop Hall and from there back to Cow Green and the car.
Despite the failing weather and extra mileage this has been an enjoyable walk and any chance of getting into the fells during these strange and uncertain times just can’t be missed so we grab what we can and when we can.
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