walkhighlands

This board helps you to share your walking route experiences in England and Wales... or overseas.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Two lovely ridges - from Dale Head to Ard Crags

Two lovely ridges - from Dale Head to Ard Crags


Postby nigheandonn » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:20 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Ard Crags, Dale Head, Hindscarth, Knott Rigg, Robinson

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

Date walked: 03/06/2018

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

I had wanted to climb Dale Head from Honister every since I was first there - more or less by accident when Borrowdale was full - and watched people come running off in the dark. For a while it had looked like it wouldn't work out, and I would still have a Western Fell to do to reach Honister for a lunchtime start in the North West - but it had, and I just really liked the idea of sleeping halfway up a hill and walking out the front door onto the path in the morning.

Of course Honister only has a back door, but I still only had to come round the building and cross the road to be at the start of the path running up by the fence.

DSC06224.JPG
Starting from the road

In spite of Wainwright's promises, I found it a slightly relentless start - not steep, but going on for a while without changing very much, although the views back across the road weren't bad.

DSC06228.JPG
The top of the fence

The fence really does just run out - one minute it's there, and the next it's not, with nothing to stop anyone or anything just wandering round the top of it - but then there's also nothing to stop anyone wandering round the bottom.

But from the top of the fence the worst of the climbing is done - there's still nearly the same distance to go on the ground, but it's a much gentler walk, and it didn't seem very long before the tall cairn appeared.

DSC06232.JPG
Dale Head summit

And then... I wasn't expecting much of Dale Head as a summit, but as I came up to the edge the world just opened up beneath my feet, and I was stunned - crags all along High Spy on one side, and gentler slopes on the other, and the long valley of Newlands Beck running out towards Skiddaw. I seriously considered giving up my plans and just sitting there all morning, or all day.

DSC06235.JPG
Valley below my feet

I did sit there for about 20 minutes, and then some other people came up, and I decided that I had better get on - I was going on round the head of the valley anyway, rather than leaving it behind.

It's only a shallow dip between Dale Head and Hindscarth, and a nice narrow ridge - yesterday's hills on one side, and a dramatic view of the road and Gatesgarthdale Beck running down into Buttermere together on the other.

DSC06241.JPG
Narrow ridge

Unlike Dale Head with its valley, Hindscarth and Robinson are both long ridges running back from the main edge, although there's not much of a climb up from there to Hindscarth - a fairly flat summit with a wind shelter for its cairn.

DSC06249.JPG
Hindscarth summit

Beyond the edge the views were changing - I was now looking along the Buttermere valley itself and to the hills on the other side, rather than down the pass towards it.

DSC06252.JPG
Buttermere

The dip before Robinson was much more of a dip, and much more of a toil up the other side - the kind of long slow curve where you never have any idea how far you've got because everything above is invisible.

DSC06253.JPG
In between

It seemed like a long time before I reached the start of the summit ridge, with a cairn marking the point where the path turned away from the fence.

DSC06258.JPG
Finally on the ridge

But the good thing was that I was already on the edge of the summit - no walk off along the ridge, just a short climb to rocky outcrops at the summit and the cairn piled into the highest one.

DSC06259.JPG
Robinson summit

Wainwright described a pathless route up from Newlands Hause which would serve as a more direct way down than following the Buttermere path down to the junction, and I was quite willing to try it if it seemed practical, but although I started off on a little thread of path pointing towards the summit of Knott Rigg, which seemed like the right direction, it soon swung back to become the clear but rough path leading down towards Buttermere, and I knew I might as well stick to it.

The car park at Newlands Hause suddenly appearing below me looked far more out of place than the mine at Honister, a tiny perch in the middle of green hills.

DSC06268.JPG
Newlands Hause

This was either a more popular path than any I'd been on earlier, or I was just into the popular walking hours, because I started to pass more people coming up than I'd seen on the tops, although it wasn't exactly busy.

At the start of the moss the path just faded away - it was there, and then it really wasn't. I thought there might be a line of it off skirting the edge, but actually it was so dry - or so nearly dry - under foot that there was no reason to do anything except make a beeline, heading for the right hand side of High Snockrigg at the other side.

DSC06271.JPG
Buttermere Moss

The view was shifting again - I'd been looking down on last time's hill, Rannerdale Knotts, but now I was looking up to next time's hills, with the nice peak of Wandope and the bulk of Grasmoor behind.

DSC06273.JPG
Looking to Grasmoor

At the far side I did meet a tiny line of path, although I seemed to have unexpectedly overshot the junction - but I was soon in the 'rushy groove' which takes the path down towards the hause, quite a sudden drop from the flat shelf of the moss, and then winding down towards the road.

It was a busy little spot, but I found a quiet place away from the road, looking at the waterfall, to sit and eat my lunch - it was about 1.30, and I felt I'd done quite a good bit of work before lunchtime. I'd started off with an ambitious timetable for the first part of the day which I had known I would slip behind, but really I thought that if I was away from the hause by 2 I should be fine, and that gave me a bit of time for a rest.

DSC06281.JPG
Moss Force

My usual 19:58 train to Edinburgh had turned into a bus, so I was booked on a 19:38 to Glasgow instead - giving me the choice of half an hour in Penrith, or making the bus an hour earlier and having plenty of time for dinner. And to do that, I had to be in Braithwaite just before 5:15, and to do that I had to be at the foot of Ard Crags, with not quite 3 miles to go along the road, by 4:15. All that happened if I didn't was that I had to have my pint in Braithwaite and my food from McDonalds by the station, but I quite liked the idea of being finished and able to relax.

The road was running away on both sides, in steep bends towards Buttermere and more gradually to the north, but neither was my way out - instead I was climbing again to the little ridge on the far side. It seemed to me that if it wasn't for the clear boundary of the road, it would be far less obvious that those hills were part of a different group and not just another parallel ridge, the equivalent of High Spy on the far side.

DSC06286.JPG
Road from the hause

Knott Rigg wasn't really very far above the hause, which is at nearly 1100 feet, but the first slope was quite a steep climb to start off with - step counting territory, up for a bit and stop for a bit.

DSC06287.JPG
Knott Rigg

But it was the nice kind of hill where once you're up, you're up - a lovely little grassy ridge with the path winding away along it.

DSC06293.JPG
Grassy ridge

The summit is only a little one, and only has a little cairn, but it has some pretty big views.

DSC06301.JPG
Knott Rigg summit

There's not much of a dip between the two halves of the ridge, but Ard Crag is determinedly a different hill - you come down over grass, and start climbing again through heather.

DSC06306.JPG
Heathery ridge

This was another perfect part of the day - the sun had come out properly, the views were glorious, and I love being surrounded by heather as long as it's not actually snatching at me and trying to undo my laces. I was walking in close company with the edge of the Grasmoor range on the other side of the two burns, with a good view into the dramatic scoop of Addacombe Hole.

DSC06309.JPG
Addacombe Hole

Soon the other side was even more dramatic, with the gully of Ard Gill dropping away just before the summit to Keskadale Farm directly below.

DSC06312.JPG
Keskadale

Another grassy little summit, with a slightly bigger cairn, and good views all around - I was far enough north now to be looking along the northern ends of all the parallel ridges, Catbells with Bleaberry Fell behind and Clough Head behind that.

DSC06313.JPG
Ard Crags summit

But the best view, really, was Newlands spread out below like a map - it wasn't always easy to pick the roads out of the tangle of boundaries and obscuring trees, but clusters of buildings were nicely distinctive. I was coming down into this landscape, along the nose of the hill - down, and onto another fairly flat place, and then much more steeply down through rocky outcrops to the lower slope.

DSC06317.JPG
Descending Ard Crags

The path straight down the hill then just suddenly runs out, and instead you have to slant off to the left to cross wet ground and Rigg Beck and pick up the end of the good path coming over from Buttermere, a nice walk out of another valley. And there I was, on the road just before quarter past four, and perfectly in time for the walk out to the bus stop - a thing which very rarely happens to me.

The road layout here is intriguing, making a sharp loop out of the original line to cross a (relatively) new bridge - I didn't have to cross at all, but went over by the bridge and back by the old ford just to see what it was like.

DSC06326.JPG
Rigg Beck bridge

My only regret about the day was that I didn't have time to go down to Newlands church or Little Town - having walked all round the edges of the Newlands valley, I now don't really have any excuse to visit the middle. But it was a nice walk out to Braithwaite - the steep slopes of Rowling End and then Barrow above me on one side and Swinside across the green valley on the other, and tiny roads winding about, and Causey Pike showing its knobbly head through a gap in the hills.

I arrived in Braithwaite with not quite 10 minutes to wait, and the bus stop was easier to find than i thought it might be. To give up an hour in these surroundings did feel like a bit of a waste, but the journey along to Penrith is lovely, and it was nice to have time for a fairly relaxed dinner instead of the usual rush.


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Last edited by nigheandonn on Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
nigheandonn
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1163
Munros:19   Corbetts:9
Grahams:7   Donalds:26
Sub 2000:45   Hewitts:134
Wainwrights:213   Islands:31
Joined: Jul 7, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Two lovely ridges - from Dale Head to Ard Crags

Postby yokehead » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:40 pm

nigheandonn wrote:And then... I wasn't expecting much of Dale Head as a summit, but as I came up to the edge the world just opened up beneath my feet, and I was stunned - crags all along High Spy on one side, and gentler slopes on the other, and the long valley of Newlands Beck running out towards Skiddaw. I seriously considered giving up my plans and just sitting there all morning, or all day.

Yes I see what you mean, that is a fine location with a view that has clearly been put in place just to be gazed at.

That's a great route too, nice job!
User avatar
yokehead
 
Posts: 697
Munros:68   Corbetts:9
Grahams:1   
Hewitts:87
Wainwrights:23   
Joined: Nov 13, 2008

Re: Two lovely ridges - from Dale Head to Ard Crags

Postby trailmasher » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:32 am

Nice one yokehead, a fine walk and some decent pics in that lot :clap: and you're right about the climb up to Dale Head from Honistor as it's a right trudge and seems never ending especially on a hot day :roll:

The views from Dale Head ARE amazing indeed 8)
User avatar
trailmasher
Walker
 
Posts: 1129
Munros:11   
Hewitts:180
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: Two lovely ridges - from Dale Head to Ard Crags

Postby trailmasher » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:44 am

trailmasher wrote:Nice one, a fine walk and some decent pics in that lot :clap: and you're right about the climb up to Dale Head from Honistor as it's a right trudge and seems never ending especially on a hot day :roll:

The views from Dale Head ARE amazing indeed 8)
User avatar
trailmasher
Walker
 
Posts: 1129
Munros:11   
Hewitts:180
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Outside Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests