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Newlands Horseshoe

Newlands Horseshoe

Postby old danensian » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:07 pm

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

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

Date walked: 16/09/2010

Time taken: 6

Distance: 20 km

Ascent: 1240m

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For devotees of the circular walk a successful horseshoe outing can depend on how close the car can be parked to the ends of both descending ridges: Newlands fits the bill. With plenty of places to park on the road to Little Town, there’s a gentle start to the day when getting on to Catbells, and on descending from Robinson there’s not too much of a road trudge for tiring legs to endure.

Hindscarth and Robinson from Skellgill

My choice was a little pull-in by Rowling End Farm that allowed the legs to get going as the valley was crossed by Ghyll Beck and on to Skellgill. The option to head off to the right and gain the ridge just below the summit of Catbells was ignored in favour of the purist’s approach from Hawse End – if you’re going to do a horseshoe, then let’s do it properly, even if it is a path that’s been trodden before.

Robinson and Sail from Cat Bells

Even for an autumn mid-week morning, it is not a lonely place, and I doubt it ever is - even on a dark spindrift blasted afternoon in mid-winter. It’s a route for “hello”s, acknowledgements and passing conversations with like-minded souls. Once the lungs have got going on the steeper initial stages of the ridge, its views can be savoured and the day ahead relished with anticipation, even if the top itself isn’t a place for silent contemplation – it’s a place to move off from promptly, heading for Maiden Moor.

Skiddaw and cat Bells from Maiden Moor

Once on Maiden Moor, don’t be tempted by the main path that heads straight across to High Spy. Instead, enjoy the one that spends its time meandering around the edges above Bull Crag, revealing the tumbling views down the clefts that split this side of the fell.

Low Snab and away across Newlands to Wandope from Maiden Moor

Perambulations and wanderings are the order of the day on High Spy as well, starting with the cairns and outcrops of Blea Crag before heading off to stand above Eel Crag. Finally, the large cairn at the southern end of the summit is a place to ponder the only real slog of the day – the ascent from Dalehead Tarn to the top of Dale Head itself.

Skiddaw from High Spy

As the final slopes of dale Head are reached, the view northwards turns into a geography teacher’s dream with the perfect U-shaped valley that stretches its way towards Skiddaw.

Newlands from above Dale Head Crags

Summit of Dale Head - with Hindscarth, then Causey Pike and Sail in far distance

Another substantial cairn on the summit then heralds the start of gentle traverses, first to Hindscarth, and then round to Robinson. When on the former, don’t forget to visit the lower cairn a couple of hundred metres further north – the extra effort is rewarded by the views. Then it’s back around the head of the next dale to Robinson, this time with views of a different aspect, as the head of Buttermere and the corries of High Stile and Red Pike form the backdrop to the walk to the west.

High Stle and Red Pike above Buttermere

And so to the final descent. I had considered extending the trip to include Knott Rig and Ard Crags, but you can have enough of a good thing. The ridge down High Snab Bank stretches away in front and lures you down There’s no temptation to take any of the paths to the right that are marked on the map, and anyway, they’d offend the horseshoe purist. However, just as you are starting to relax and the closing stages of the day lull you into a false sense of security, you are confronted by a couple of unexpectedly interesting scrambles that need to be negotiated – but nothing too tricky as befits the generally gentle day.

High Snab Bank descending from Robinson

In no time, the grass shortens to a perfect bowling green finish, and you wonder, why can’t my lawn look like that? But I doubt neither our urban neighbours nor the local planning authority would welcome the sheep that are required to maintain it. Then, lanes, fields, fords and bridges and in no time, the car’s just round the corner. A pleasant six hours enjoying what must be a classic Lakeland day out.

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old danensian
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Re: Newlands Horseshoe

Postby skuk007 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:39 pm

Nice report and great pics. Another walk on my to do list, has been there for a while. :oops:
Great weather you had too.
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Re: Newlands Horseshoe

Postby mountain coward » Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:28 pm

Those scrambles down off Robinson can be fun in the wet - they go really greasy!
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Re: Newlands Horseshoe

Postby colgregg » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:42 pm

Great report and pics from an excellent round. My preference is to do that round in reverse to yours which means that at the end of the (Sunny, I hope) day I can take time out on the descent from Maiden Moor to take in the view of Derwentwater and beyond. Simply perfect.
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Re: Newlands Horseshoe

Postby yvonne1973 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:45 pm

My husband and I enjoyed this circuit on the 1st of November. I would agree with the comments about the scramble decent from Robinson. Our weather was damp and windy so the rock was really quite greasy. Factor in the polish from many hands and feet and you can have a tricky and thought provoking time.

I would recommend reversing this route if it has been raining or if rain is expected.
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Re: Newlands Horseshoe

Postby susanmyatt » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:50 pm

Great report and some lovely pics, did this last year but walked from Keswick :( and came off Scope End after Hindscarth, by the time we reached the car was about 16 miles, did see Sir Chris Bonnington as we were reaching Keswick, amazingly we didn't get a photo :o. It is" Dale Head Horseshoe" on my posts if you want to compare photos :D
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