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A last 2016 skirmish into the fells around Martindale.

A last 2016 skirmish into the fells around Martindale.


Postby trailmasher » Sat Dec 31, 2016 4:40 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Angletarn Pikes, Brock Crags, Rest Dodd, The Nab

Hewitts included on this walk: Rest Dodd

Date walked: 13/12/2016

Time taken: 3.54

Distance: 12.48 km

Ascent: 875m

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Martindale - Beda Fell to The Nab.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


There were three of us today - Chris, Daniel, and of course, myself - as we set off for Martindale on a not very bright morning with plenty of grey, low cloud hanging about covering even the lowest of the fell tops. It was a pretty dreary start to the day but the MWIS had suggested that the day would get better, albeit with mid-afternoon showers being the sting in the tail. Nevertheless and undaunted with the early cloudy conditions we set off with everything crossed as we made our way over to Pooley Bridge on the B5320 before turning off to follow the minor road on the east side of Ullswater towards Howtown and from there continued on to manoeuvre the short but steep and winding zigzags of the mini mimicking Hardknott Pass section that leads to the car park below the south flank of Hallin Fell. But we are going a little further than that as our starting point was to be on the grass verge just before the road terminates at the farm of Dale Head. A suitable spot at NY435168 was found just south of the lane that leads to the two holiday cottages that at one time were used by the gamekeepers of the Deer Forest that used to occupy The Nab. We know that it is alright to park where we did as the last time we were walking past here we asked the farmer's wife - who confirmed that it was - about the possibility of that option.

If a trip into Martindale is going to be made and the whole of Beda Fell ridge is not included in the itinerary it is an ideal parking place to access the fells by way of the old track that starts from the small watercourse on the right just before entering the farmyard of Dale Head. As well as the track it is also the start of the path that runs behind the wall into Bannerdale, past the site of the old settlement by Heck Beck and then climbs up and passes across the scree beneath Heck Crag and then on towards Angle Tarn and/or any of the numerous fells that are within easy reach once up there. The track which is still in fair condition makes its way right over to Boredale Hause where - according to Wainwright - there used to be a small church; hence the name of Chapel in the Hause marked on the OS maps at the junction of tracks leading into Boredale, Patterdale, and south towards Hartsop. Maybe this collection of old tracks was used for the quarry workings and workers, as well as a means of people of the day getting to the very out of the way Chapel.

In any event this is where we parked and got ready to walk into the clouds that were still sitting woefully low over the surrounding fells. It was quite mild at 7°c but damp enough to don our waterproofs knowing that it wouldn't get any drier the higher that we climbed. The first photo of The Nab that I took from our parking spot relays just how low the clouds were.
1 - The Nab in a shroud of cloud.JPG
The Nab in a shroud of cloud.

Just before entering the farmyard at Dale Head there is an Information Board defining the Red Deer Conservation Area and although there have been doubts and concerns voiced on WH about access to this area the IB quite clearly answers any such feelings.
2 - Information Board just before Dale Head.JPG
Information Board just before Dale Head.

The whole area is Open Access Land and the paths marked in red are the Preferred Routes, not just Permissive Routes. These are not the only routes, some of which are not shown on the IB but are clear to see on the OS map, there being one on either side of The Nab - west and east - and one that is not shown on the OS map from the summit down the north ridge. The western and north ridge paths both lead down to ladder stiles allowing access onto the lane that services the holiday cottages whilst the east one leads into Ramps Gill and then onto the same lane that services the cottages. In contradiction to the ladder stiles and obvious access to and from The Nab there is a 'No admittance, Private Road' sign on the gate of the lane leading from the tarmac road that terminates at Dale Head, and in spite of, and after diligently looking around for any other access apart from the gate none was found, intimating that this sign is either a 'red herring' as is quite often found to deter people and/or its outdated and has not been removed by the owners of the holiday cottages. There are also two access points from Rest Dodd, one by returning downhill on the path and simply walking through the now gateless access through the wall - shown on the IB - or by leaving the summit by the northeast ridge down to the wall and then following it east to a broken step stile at the wall corner and is not identified on the IB.

We left the car behind and walked along the road for a few metres and upon reaching the farm we took the gate on our right to then cross over the unnamed watercourse by the small and narrow footbridge. A soggy bank was negotiated before we reached the old track proper where we took the right hand fork to take us uphill as the lower path is the one that goes by the scree slopes beneath Heck Crag. The track is more like a green lane and is good underfoot making for speedy progress into the clouds that were looming just above us. Within 15 minutes we were clag bound, the temperature had dropped, and the heavy cloud cover was more like walking in a fine drizzle and we were thankful that we had donned our waterproofs beforehand.

Another 15 minutes saw us arriving at an old sheepfold that is just below Bedafell Knott the shape of which we could just make out through the thick cloud cover. After a quick breather we set off once again with the path now getting a little narrower and stonier as we approached the Beda Fell ridge path which, I am embarrassed to admit, we passed over and continued along the same path that would have eventually taken us down to Boredale Hause if I hadn't have taken us onto a second path bearing off to the left just before we reached the top of Red Scar. This path eventually leads to nowhere only grass, but when we had reached the closest spot to the ridge path above us where we could climb the shortest distance up the easy fellside that is what we did and was soon once again on our correct heading. I'm blaming the poor visibility and lack of surrounding detail for my initial error in navigation, but then again I really blame myself for not taking enough notice of where we were as I have been here quite a few times before.

As we began the short climb to the correct path the cloud lifted slightly now giving us a view of Boredale Hause, the lower slopes of Place Fell, and a glimpse into Patterdale. Within 10 minutes the clouds had lifted high enough to see quite a lot of the surrounding fells with Rest Dodd, The Nab, Wether Hill, High Raise, and Loadpot Hill now all visible to the east. The full length of Beda Fell, Hallin Fell, Place Fell and its outlier, High Dodd can now be seen, whilst over to the southern quarter there is Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Angletarn Pikes, and some of the Hartsop Fells including Red Screes.
6 - Beda Fell ridge from above Heckbeck Head.JPG
Beda Fell ridge from above Heckbeck Head.

9 - Chris and Daniel above Heckbeck Head with Heck Crag left and north Angletarn Pike just right of centre.JPG
Chris and Daniel above Heckbeck Head with Heckbeck Crag left and north Angletarn Pike just right of centre.

Patches of blue were beginning to appear amongst the clouds whilst we did a photo shoot with Daniel being the main subject as he posed at the cairn that is just south of Bedafell Knott. Turning south again we made our way over to the Angletarn Pikes along a narrow path running through the rough grass to soon arrive at the north Pike with its wet, shiny, pointed crag looking slightly out of place amongst the different winter shades of brown and green of the surrounding grassy fellside.
11 - Dove Crag-Hart Crag-Hartsop Fells with Angletarn Pikes just showing in front of them.JPG
Dove Crag-Hart Crag-Hartsop Fells with Angletarn Pikes just showing in front of them.

The summit holds a respectable cairn of small stones and rocks set upon an up thrust of rock, the largest of a semi-circle of smaller ones that splits the grassy top in two.
18 - Daniel on the north Angletarn Pike summit.JPG
Daniel on the north Angletarn Pike summit.

The clouds were still hanging low over Fairfield and with their fickle nature had now lowered themselves to include Hart Crag and Dove Crag. St. Sunday Crag with the pimple of the Birkett of Gavel Pike stuck on its eastern flank, Birks, Arnison Crag, and Hartsop above How were plain to see with just a few wisps of mist hanging around in the hollow of Glenamara Park between Birks and Arnison Crag.
14 - Fairfield under cloud-St. Sunday Crag-Birks-Arnison Crag plus from North Angletarn Pike.JPG
Fairfield under cloud-St. Sunday Crag- Birks-Arnison Crag plus from North Angletarn Pike.

15 - Place Fell and Boredale Hause with Glenridding Dodd to the left.JPG
Place Fell and Boredale Hause with Glenridding Dodd to the left.

Down below in the valley at the foot of Kirkstone Pass shone the bright surface of Brother's Water with High Hartsop Dodd, Middle Dodd, Red Screes, and Caudale Moor forming a backdrop to it and the surrounding farm lands.
16 - Deepdale with Hartsop above How-Red Screes-Middle Dodd-with Hart Crag and Dove Crag under cloud.JPG
Deepdale with Hartsop above How-Red Screes-Middle Dodd with Hart and Dove Crags under cloud.

Despite the wonderful views it was time to leave and make our way over to the south Angletarn Pike from where there is a fantastic view of Angle Tarn itself.
17 - Angle Tarn from the south Angletarn Pike.JPG
Angle Tarn from the south Angletarn Pike.

The tarn is in the most beautiful of locations and in summer when the sun is shining on the tarns still waters and golden reeds it is indeed a most delightful sight sat in the hollow of these high fells. I have seen it in every season of the year and whatever the weather it never ceases to decrease my enjoyment of the scene. A few years ago during one winter there was an abundance of snow lying around and the tarn was completely frozen over, the sun was shining from a clear blue sky making it look like the most wonderful place on earth. Some people go on holiday and pay a fortune to see something like this; it's free folks. I have friends who have no time for the hills, well; a walk to a place such as this may change their minds, even today when the tarn is looking moody it shines like a jewel amongst the muted greens and browns of the surrounding fells and is more than worth the effort of the climb up to it.
20 - A moody Angle Tarn.JPG
A moody Angle Tarn.

Now it's time to drag ourselves away from this top and make our way down one of the many paths that leads down to the tarn itself. The narrow paths all run through grass and all lead to the main path that runs along the east side of the tarn. We passed a couple having their lunch by the tarn but we had chosen the top of Buck Crag to have ours from where we would also get an uninterrupted view along the length of Bannerdale and partly into Martindale. There is a small outcrop of rock on top of the crag where we took welcome shelter from the cold breeze that had sprung up, it smells of rain. Although Beda Fell, The Nab, Rest Dodd, and the ridge belonging to Steel Knotts - Pikeawassa - Brownthwaite Crag, and Gowk Hill are cloud free, the higher ones of Loadpot Hill, Wether Hill, Raven Howe, and High Raise behind them are holding the clouds as though they don't want to see any sunlight today.
Lunch over we set off once again and instead of returning to the main path stuck to the ridge for a while before picking up the main path once again, and after a short climb up towards Satura Crag we then turned south and made our way over to Brock Crags on wet but decent paths, crossed a tumbledown wall and then had a short climb up to the crags that appear before the main summit one. Once over the rise of the first set of crags we were met by a view of Brock Crags summit fronted by two tarns that are surrounded by bog of the best order. The tarns are unnamed, quite small, but have a girdle of extensive bogs encircling them.
26 - And to get to Brock Crags.JPG
And to get to Brock Crags.

Fortunately there is a path running around either side of the morass that were a great help in keeping the feet dry. A short climb onto the summit revealed a large cairn sat on a clump of rock on the otherwise quite large grassy top with once again extensive views across the fells.
30 - Chris and Daniel at Brock Crags summit.JPG
Chris and Daniel at Brock Crags summit.

We had a great view of Gray Crag, its head was in the clouds…
29 - Grey Crag with its head in the clouds.JPG
Grey Crag with its head in the clouds.

with Hayeswater and High Street on its east side and Pasture Bottom below Hartsop Dodd and Caudale Moor on the west, a fine sight indeed.
31 - Patterdale and Glenridding from Brock Crags.JPG
Patterdale and Glenridding from Brock Crags.

We retraced our steps back to the main path from where we followed it behind Satura Crag…
33a - A view along Bannerdale from Satura Crag.JPG
A view along Bannerdale from Satura Crag.

and once over the top we struck off to the east over very wet ground that got progressively worse as we descended into the hollow just prior to starting the climb up the easy slopes to Rest Dodd summit. This is when the rain decided to try and spoil our day, but as we were already dressed for it we stuck two fingers up to it and continued on our merry way along the wet path that sort of winds its way first to the northeast and then swinging around to the southeast as it follows the easiest contours. The last bit of path is a bit steeper and rougher than before but we were soon at the grassy summit with a cairn to match the one on Brock Crags.
35a - Chris and Daniel at Rest Dodd summit.JPG
Chris and Daniel at Rest Dodd summit.

As well as the rain the clouds had now dropped slightly but were still quite thin allowing us to see the fells but not much detail, just the outlines. We could just about see the top of The Knott in the south and to the north The Nab, although that was quite a lot clearer being some 63 metres - 207 feet - lower than The Knott.
36 - From Rest Dodd to The Nab.JPG
From Rest Dodd to The Nab.

The breeze had picked up to being a wind blowing from the south, a nuisance wind, as it was making it near impossible to take any photos looking to the south as the rain was splattering the lens and trying to dry it with disintegrating tissues or wet finger - gloved or otherwise - is not conducive to having a smear free camera lens. So we left.

We left the summit of Rest Dodd behind to make our way down the steep northeast ridge on a narrow path that worked its way around the few rocky outcrops to eventually reach the intake wall that separates The Nab from Rest Dodd. We turned right at the wall for a short distance to the where the wall had collapsed, has had the step stile that was made to get over it. At this point the wall continued steeply down the fellside into the bowl of Rampsgill Head and due to its tumbledown nature had been replaced by a fence that looked as though it too was none too substantial in itself.
39 - A glimpse into Ramps Gill from the intake wall below Rest Dodd.JPG
A glimpse into Ramps Gill from the intake wall below Rest Dodd.

Once over into the Deer Forest the ground eased off and was now reasonably level but the underfoot conditions worsened as we approached the well known and much talked about area of peat hags.
41 - Yes the hags are still there.JPG
Yes the hags are still there.

The approach path was sodden, made worse by the rain that was now also running into the lower reaches of the hags making the already jet black goo into a worsening morass of jet black goo as we couldn't help but churn up and mix water and goo together that had us floundering about looking for something solid - what a hope - that we could get a purchase on, especially at the exit side. Once across this near natural barrier and looking back to Rest Dodd we could see that the clouds were now covering its top and the mist creeping towards us so it was with some fortune that we had arrived on its summit in somewhat clearer conditions.
43 - A look back to Rest Dodd.JPG
A look back to Rest Dodd.

All we were required to do now was make our way along the wet and steadily rising path over grass to the summit of The Nab where the large grassy domed top was home to a small cairn of rocks. It's still raining.

We didn't linger as there was no point with the only thing to see apart from the apology for a cairn was the outline of the nearby fells, mist, rain, and three wet mortals who were now going to make their way off by way of the narrow path down the steep north ridge.
46 - Chris and Daniel at The Nab summit.JPG
Chris and Daniel at The Nab summit.

As we descended to the first grassy knoll we entered a less dense mist and we now had a very soft, opaque like view into Bannerdale and Martindale and as we got lower the view improved. Once the grassy knoll had been left behind the path got a bit rougher as we left the grassy top and slopes of the summit following it as it led directly towards the crags of Nab End only turning to the right just before a nose dive over the crags was imminent.

As we had been descending the rain stopped, the mist began to clear, and the sun made a heroic attempt at lightening up the fells with just a few patches of gold scattered about the otherwise cloud shaded hills.
52 - A view to Hallin Fell-Beda Head-Steel Knotts and Brownthwaite Crag.JPG
A view to Hallin Fell-Beda Head-Steel Knotts and Brownthwaite Crag.

It was just below the crags of Nab End…
55 - Nab End.JPG
Nab End.

where we took advantage of the seating arrangements with the crags allowing shelter from the cool wind as we had our final break whilst giving the legs a rest from the steep grind down. It was also the point where the path decided to vanish leaving us to scrabble our way down through the grass, rocks, and heather to the path that leads in from the west side and just a few metres below us, as was the northern wall of the Deer Park.

There is a gap in the wall to the right of the path but we elected to use the more formal ladder stile at the end of the path although the immediate approach is a rush's filled, boggy affair but once over the stile the way down the rest of the fell is a quite pleasant walk over grass. Just below the wall there are a number of long timbers laid out in the of form rectangles and although it was obviously fencing material we did wonder what was going to be constructed here. A SSSI area, or just sheep pens?

In any event we just continued down the fellside to the next wall where another ladder stile was scaled to put us on a path that led off towards the lane to the holiday cottages. From the lane it was just a few more minutes to walk back to the car and strip off the wet gear as we looked up to the hills that we had crossed today.

Despite the mixed weather conditions it had been a good walk to end a good and productive walking year and would like to think that good health prevailing that 2017 will bring the same.

A happy and prosperous New Year to all Walk Highlanders :clap: , and keep safe. :wave:
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trailmasher
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Re: A last 2016 skirmish into the fells around Martindale.

Postby martin.h » Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:29 pm

I enjoyed reading that trailmasher. I'm looking at something similar, we've still to to Place Fell and The Nab and I'd looked at this approach just wasn't sure about parking.
Thanks for the info, all the best for 2017 :thumbup:
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martin.h
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Re: A last 2016 skirmish into the fells around Martindale.

Postby trailmasher » Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:33 pm

martin.h wrote:I enjoyed reading that trailmasher. I'm looking at something similar, we've still to to Place Fell and The Nab and I'd looked at this approach just wasn't sure about parking.
Thanks for the info, all the best for 2017 :thumbup:


Parking is not a problem :) and if doing both from Dale Head the path from Beda Fell ridge to Boredale Hause is good and clear to see and leads straight to the Place Fell path 8) If Angletarn Pikes not for you that day then bear left when leaving the Beda Fell ridge and straight down to Angle Tarn.

Thanks for your comments and reading. Also pleased that it was helpful to you :D :D
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trailmasher
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Re: A last 2016 skirmish into the fells around Martindale.

Postby thefallwalker » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:52 am

really enjoyed this walk TM, even if the weather didn't hold out for us :(
I will never tire of seeing the beautiful Angle Tarn :D
Looking forward to another great year on the fells with yourself :) & getting somewhere near all the Wainwrights (fingers crossed :lol: )
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Re: A last 2016 skirmish into the fells around Martindale.

Postby trailmasher » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:25 pm

thefallwalker wrote:really enjoyed this walk TM, even if the weather didn't hold out for us :(
I will never tire of seeing the beautiful Angle Tarn :D
Looking forward to another great year on the fells with yourself :) & getting somewhere near all the Wainwrights (fingers crossed :lol: )


Okay and thanks TFW 8) you'd better get some porridge in you before the next one, if you think that you're up to it once you see the route :lol: :lol:
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Re: A last 2016 skirmish into the fells around Martindale.

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:48 am

Thanks trailmasher for posting! - this reminds me not so much of my recent visit to Angle Tarn but years ago, before my wife developed her knee problems, we did a walk up Bannerdale, under Heck Crag to Angle Tarn and returned via Beda Fell. In particular, I remember the "surprise" view of the tarn when approaching from the east.

A stunning part of the Lakes which deserves to be better known!

cheers

Tim
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Re: A last 2016 skirmish into the fells around Martindale.

Postby trailmasher » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:20 pm

HalfManHalfTitanium wrote: we did a walk up Bannerdale, under Heck Crag to Angle Tarn and returned via Beda Fell. In particular, I remember the "surprise" view of the tarn when approaching from the east.

A stunning part of the Lakes which deserves to be better known!


Thanks very much HM :D and the way that you went is a great way to go 8) Many a person has had a nice surprise when seeing Angle Tarn for the first time as it's most unexpected :) and it truly is a most stunning part of the LD :clap:
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Re: A last 2016 skirmish into the fells around Martindale.

Postby ChrisW » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:56 pm

Aaah, the rain, the peat hags and the views....all the good stuff in one place :lol: Given the low cloud at the start mate you did well to get any views at all :crazy: I agree with you about the wonder of places like angle tarn with the sun scattering off the surface, so many people pay a fortune to go see things like this without even knowing they are available for free at home. :roll:
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Re: A last 2016 skirmish into the fells around Martindale.

Postby trailmasher » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:21 pm

ChrisW wrote:Aaah, the rain, the peat hags and the views....all the good stuff in one place :lol: Given the low cloud at the start mate you did well to get any views at all :crazy: I agree with you about the wonder of places like angle tarn with the sun scattering off the surface, so many people pay a fortune to go see things like this without even knowing they are available for free at home. :roll:


It's a good job that I'm not made of blotting paper as I've had some serious wet weather walks lately :? and walking the Pennines last year supplied me with some good tips regarding handling hags, groughs, etc 8). Sometime this year I'll be taking Fallwalker over the fells west of Thirlmere, you know, the wet ones even in a drought ones :lol: :lol: that ought to make his eyes shine :crazy: :roll:
Yes Chris we were lucky indeed to get some decent weather out of the wreckage :) but along with High Street I love walking these fells come hail, rain, or shine :clap: Thanks for reading :D
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