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Selside Pike

Selside Pike

Postby richardkchapman » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:43 am

Wainwrights included on this walk: Branstree, Selside Pike

Hewitts included on this walk: Branstree, Selside Pike

Date walked: 01/11/2017

Time taken: 6.5

Distance: 17.5 km

Ascent: 748m

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2017-11-01 Selside Pike.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Plan today was to drive into Swindale, and from there climb Selside Pike and maybe Branstree, whicl enjoying the waterfalls and hanging valley in one of Lakeland's most secluded valleys.

We knew it was not possible to park in the upper reaches of Swindale, though reports led us to believe it was possible to park by the dam. However, the signs were pretty adamant that there was no parking beyond the open moorland just before Swindale Foot Farm, still a mile and a half from Swindale Head.

ImageLast chance for parking

So the walk started along the road - albeit a very quiet road (though there was some traffic to the dam where the water board folks seemed to be busy all day working on something or other). The area just above the dam where it used to be possible to park is now fenced off.

It's a pretty-enough valley with some dramatic crags at the end.

ImageLooking up Swindale

And some strange trees!

ImageStrange tree stump

ImageSwindale Head

Eventually we reached Swindale Head Farm - which looked deserted though there was evidence of some repairs being undertaken.

ImageSwindale Head Farm

A right turn onto the old Corpse Road took us fairly steeply up the hillside.

ImageSetting off up the Corpse Road

ImageFirst stream to cross

ImageRuby enjoying the water

The path soon levelled off and climbed gently towards the top of the ridge, where a path forked off to the left taking us up the ridge to Selside Pike.

ImageLeaving the Corpse Road

It was getting fairly windy at this point - but at least it was dry and reasonably warm, so the wind was not really a bother.

ImageFirst views towards Haweswater

The summit came into view reasonably quickly.

ImageSelside Pike summit

ImageView from the summit

At the summit was a reasonable-size wind shelter (who builds these, I wonder - and why? Not that I am complaining, it was a very welcome sight and a good spot for an early lunch).

ImageShelter from the wind

We debated whether we had the energy (and whether Lorraine's injured foot would permit us) to add Branstree onto the walk - I reckoned it would add three miles (though I suspect with hindsight this was an underestimate). We had plenty of time and the going - while long - looked like it would be pretty gentle, so we decided to go for it.

ImageView towards Branstree

Not sure why this tower - apparently a survey tower - looks like this!

ImageStrange survey tower

Views over Haweswater towards the High Street area showed it mostly shrouded in cloud, though it did emerge occasionally.


Views out to the east were more extensive.

ImageLooking back over Selside Pike


The pillars on Artlecrag Pike - near the summit - are much more impressive than the actual summit of Branstree.

ImagePillars on Artlecrag Pike

A rare view of High Street without cloud.

ImageViews of High Street

A short stroll from the pillars (via a small tarn) took us to the top.

ImageDogs enjoying water

The best views from the top were to the south, with Morcambe Bay and (I think) the Howgill Fells featuring in particular.

ImageView from Branstree summit

The summit itself was not especially impressive!

ImageBranstree summit

The descent from Branstree was alongside a very substantial wall, which started at the summit and stopped abruptly half way down the hillside, making me wonder why it had been built (and why they stopped building it). Was it a work-creation scheme for a trainee wall builder, did they get half-way down the hill then discover that fences were easier and cheaper to erect, or what? Whatever the reason it provided a little shelter from the wind.

At the col we turned left through a gate into Mosedale.


Mosedale seemed to go on for a very long time, and was rather wet at times.

ImageLooking back up Mosedale

Eventually we reached a plank bridge that seemed like a good spot to rest weary feet and stock up on crisps and chocolate.

ImagePlank bridge

Then further down Mosedale to where it drops abruptly into Swindale - a classic hanging valley. We took a detour out to see the waterfalls.




ImagePath to the waterfalls

I tried to capture the feeling of the hanging valley but it is less obvious in a photo than it was in the flesh.

ImageHanging valley

The moraines at the head of Swindale are absolutely archetypal.


From there it was a bit of a slog to Swindale head, then a further mile and a half along the road to the car.

ImageLooking back towards waterfalls

A longer walk than we had perhaps intended or expected, but fairly easy terrain throughout and definitely enjoyable.
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Joined: Aug 29, 2010

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