As a regular walker in the Lakes for years, I am starting to tire of repeated visits to the same tops, so thought I'd give this walk a try and bag myself a Corbett into the bargain. I followed the Walk Highlands prescribed route but stayed along the lip of the crags on the outward route for the views into the valley, which probably added a little to distance, ascent and time.
As previously noted the initial ascent from Blackshope is seriously steep and had my calves screaming for mercy, but once up onto Black Craig the going was very easy. Views up and across the valley were superb, and while it was mostly cloudy [I'd left sunshine and clear blue skies on the English side of the border] the cloud was high. I made the Hart Fell cairn in 2 hours 30, and stopped for lunch, where I was caught up by two couples from Cumbria on a Donald-bagging mission. They told me that in five walks in this area, I was the first walker they had met - sorry to spoil their record.
Cutting across from Hartfell Rig towards Under Saddle Yoke, I lost the path - I probably took too straight a line - but the ground was fairly dry so no problem. The twin Saddle Yoke tops are an interesting feature, and the long walk south of the ridge was pleasant - albeit steep in places.
Total walk time was 5 and a quarter hours, and having discovered I can drive to Moffat in no longer than it takes me to get to Keswick, I'll definitely be back for more of this area.
Photos are here for anyone interested:
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