Wainwrights: Caudale Moor, Hartsop Dodd
Hewitts: Stony Cove Pike (Caudale Moor)
Date walked: 06/03/2020
Time taken: 4.28 hours
I hadn’t had a decent walk since early January and I’d had this walk in mind for quite some time but due to bad weather and other commitments have had to put it off as the workings of the world and life quite often refuse to conform to one’s own personal plans of enjoying some outside recreation.
I had done this walk before, but not for quite some time, and was really looking forward to it after driving past the Inn and looking up towards St Raven’s Edge on many occasions during the past few years and with fair weather in the offing this felt like the right time to once again take myself to the heights of Caudale Moor aka Stony Cove Pike via St Raven’s Edge.
Thinking that maybe some of my walking friends would like to accompany me I made a few phone calls mid-week only to find that out of the four contacted one was ill, one was at his camera club outing whilst a third was off to London, so the planned safari in the Far Eastern Fells was now reduced to a scouting party of two men and Rusk, the Border Terrier, who can’t be let off his lead due to his penchant for never coming back when called and also getting very excited when he sees something smaller than a cow. I think its called cowardice.
Dave and I drove over to the car park opposite the Kirkstone Pass Inn on a cold, dry day with a mixed sky of grey clouds and blue patches with only two more cars already there.
Kirkstone Pass Inn
There was a chill breeze as we stepped out of the warmth of the car to don boots and warm coats whilst looking up towards the lower patches of snow that got progressively larger as altitude was gained. There’s something about snow covered fells and mountains that sets the pulse gaining speed as the snow brings out an entirely different beauty to the fells as it highlights the nooks and crannies, the rocks and the crags, the long dark slashes through the snow where the watercourses run through their dark rocky gulley’s with here and there a flash of silver where ice has formed on some wet rocks. And then of course there is the pure pleasure of just walking in it when all around seems exceptionally quiet due to the muffling nature of snow on the ground. What a contrast to spring with the new shoots of the wild flowers and rough grasses, and then in summer when acres of bracken sprawl across the fell sides with a giant covering carpet of those long fronds of green that hides all below it. Or similar acres of heather when in full purple flower, the scent of them pleasing to the nose as one walks through it watching the haze of the pollen rising from our disturbance . Then autumn drapes the countryside with its multiple shades of brown, orange and gold completing the never ending seasonal changes that make walking the hills and mountains so pleasurable.
Kirkstone Pass Inn, dating back to 1496AD is one of the highest around and at 1,500 feet is the highest inhabited building in Cumbria and the third highest inn in England. It is named after the large standing stone that resembles the shape of a church and is about 500 metres north of the inn on the opposite side to it and can be reached quite easily from the car park that is still one of the few free ones left in the district, but for how much longer? The Inn that used diesel generators now has an alternative method of power supply by way of its three small wind turbines sited just behind it that now provide it with more than enough power to run the place. And what a place to live. Okay a bit rough in winter when the pass is blocked with snow but the views are something to die for with no chance of ever getting built in front of and with the ever dramatic rock of Red Screes leading to the Hartsop range outside the front door and the sloping fell of Caudale Moor leading to further fells and mountains to the back it is a walkers paradise, a perfect place to spend a few nights be it in tent, or bedroom at the Inn.
Now then, booted up and clad in warm gear with Rusk securely tethered to his master we crossed the road and found the fellside path through the gate just at the north end of the Inn, a good path that soon had us at some height from where we could look down onto the road running over the pass and the snow covered Red Screes with the snow filled dark gulley of Kilnshaw Chimney prominent nearly dead centre of the rocky mass above the red coloured scree slopes.
As we gained height I took a few more photos of this great crag so if I get excited and show a few more I will apologise now, but when covered in a sprinkling of snow it does, in my opinion, show it off to its best. Continuing upwards and reaching the lower crags of St Raven’s Edge at 550 metres we looked down on to the Inn and could now see that there were a few more cars parked up.
Looking down on to the Kirkstone Pass Inn
It was good to be out with boots on rock as we scrambled up the sometimes slippery rock to now get right under St Raven’s Edge, that long craggy rock and grassy face that we shall pass by to its right alongside the wall. Despite its name there was no sign of a raven but maybe it’s too busy a place for them nowadays with the noise of visiting walkers interrupting their life of peace and solitude.
St Raven's Edge
Despite the freshness of the day - 2°c at the car park – we kept lovely and warm making our way up this steepest part of the route from the road and at a suitable spot stopped to take in the view and grab another photo of the scene below.
Red Screes overlooking the Kirkstone Pass Inn
The views from this meagre height were absolutely amazing despite the low cloud and haze in the distance that gave it a sort of ethereal quality.
A glimpse of Windermere and the Coniston Fells
And I just had to take this one from the 580 metre contour and wonder who and why this large cairn was sited just here, maybe something to do regarding the old quarry that is just down the opposite side of St Raven’s Crag sited just above Sattereven.
Red Screes from the 580 metre contour
Now that we were above the crag we could see way in front of us with the wall a leading black line straight to the summit of the fell. It looked bleak and cold with a few snow drifts scattered about. There was an unusual cloud formation above streaked with long lines of blue that allowed the sun to shine on several of the surrounding fells but sadly, not on us.
Looking ahead towards Caudale Moor aka Stony Cove Pike
There was a couple sat on a rock way up in front with another pair stopping to have a chat with them but I was more interested in the surrounding landscape that was beginning to open up around us.
Froswick-Ill Bell-Yoke from St Raven's Edge
A hint of Thornthwaite Crag’s slopes leading into the foot of Froswick and a view south towards the hazy Coniston Fells and a touch of some eastern fells to the right of Red Screes, a sign of views to come.
We were now walking on the snow that was of just the right consistency that held our weight but allowing the boot to sink in just an inch or so with no covering of the hard skin caused by thawing and then freezing over that would require at least mini spikes to prevent slipping and getting hurt.
A bleak looking landscape
In parts the path was lost in the snow but the wall is an excellent guide and although we had to wander around avoiding the worst of the snow drifts we were helped by those that had gone before us.
Looking back to Bields Crag and Broad End
A nice steady pace soon had us at the cairn on Pike How.
At the cairn on Pike How
The three Kentmere Pikes are now more prominent from Pike How...
The Kentmere Pikes from Pike How
as are a few more in other areas of the LD...
Thornthwaite Crag to Froswick view
A view towards some Eastern Fells
but in front of us all we could see was a frozen fellside.
The old boundary wall goes right to the summit
It wasn’t too long before we were approaching the summit of Caudale Moor and a view of a distant Windermere amongst others.
A hazy touch of Windermere
Red Screes and Middle Dodd
Siberian tundra or Caudale Moor
A few minutes after taking in the views from this point we were soon at the cairn at the 763 metre Stony Cove Pike where Dave and Rusk posed before a far background of the snow and sun capped Eastern Fells.
Stony Cove Pike summit cairn
This was a great day out on the fells, everything looking fresh and clean with above us a buzzard being harassed by a number of ravens, maybe the descendents of those that used to inhabit the crags of their name? This nearly all white wilderness was a great place to be today, stark, wild but beautiful with the only noise coming from the ravens above as they showed no fear whilst facing up to the buzzard, a bird many times their size.
Now we could see a multitude of fells in all directions with some gleaming white with the sun on them, others under cloud showing a more of a wintry face, and one that stretched far into the distance along High Street to High Raise...
Thornthwaite Crag with High Street to High Raise ridge behind
and again the three peaks of the Kentmere Round with the ridge of Shipman Knotts and Kentmere Pike behind them...
Froswick-Ill Bell-Yoke from Stony Cove Pike
and over to the east.
The tops of some Eastern Fells
Gray Crag with the High Street ridge behind
Thornthwaite Crag and beyond to Kentmere Pike etc
Unfortunately we had to move on, we couldn’t stay here all day much as we would have liked to as we were now going to make our way down to Hartsop Dodd and a stop somewhere for a fuel up. Once again route finding is easy on this walk as we were to follow the wall once again right to the summit of our next hill.
North towards Ullswater
There was plenty of snow lying between Stony Cove Pike and the low point of the fell and apart from the beauty of it all there was the added bonus of the ground being frozen as it can be fairly wet underfoot in quite a few spots along this fell.
An Eastern Fells skyline from Caudale Moor
A fine snow covered view of Caudale Head was to be seen and the last time I was walking around here I disturbed a herd of deer whilst walking down Rough Edge on the other side and watched whilst they ran across the combe and bounded up the crags on the far side, where I am now.
Caudale Head and Rough Edge
Hartsop above How with Fairfield and St Sunday Crag behind
We stopped for a break sitting on some dry stones of the wall but didn’t linger too long as the wind was bitter and by the time we had set off again I had the hot aches in my thumbs. With a short climb ahead of us it didn’t take long to get warmed up again...
Easy climb to the summit of Hartsop Dodd
and had time to take a couple of more shots.
Northeast towards Rest Dodd
The summit soon appeared and we made our way to the two upright stones that are sat on the wall, the highest point of the fell although the wooden post that Wainwright mentions appears to be slightly lower and I do wonder if it is the same one that he mentions in his book. Now we could see Ullswater at the Patterdale end with Place Fell, Angle Tarn Pikes and the hump of Beda Fell in the distance.
Hartsop Dodd summit
From the substantial cairn of stones we had a superb view of the Eastern Fells running right the way around to Hart and Dove Crags with the long ridge of Hartsop above How making a direct line towards them.
Hartsop Dodd cairn
Looking back from the wooden post we could see the whole ridge of Caudale Moor and into Threshthwaite Mouth to find Thornthwaite Crag and Gray Crag well in view.
Caudale Moor from Hartsop Dodd
From the summit we were to go down the west side of the fell, a path that neither of us had used before and as it doesn’t run right to the top of the fell I just took a bearing from just past the summit to walk down the short, rough grass. As the fellside is quite steep at the top it was quite disconcerting to feel as though we was going to step into nothingness at one point so fast did the ground run away but it was nary an optical illusion as the path, well more of a sunken groove, zigzags its way down and is reminiscent of an ancient track that had been made for the miners/quarry men and then abandoned before they had reached their destination. The higher parts were full of snow so we simply walked alongside of the groove until the snow had run out.
This is a very good way down from the summit of Hartsop Dodd although feels like a long way to the road at the bottom of Kirkstone Pass. Spectacular views across and into the valley are to be seen as one descends and this gave us an opportunity to stop for photo shoots and give the knees a break from the downward pressure. Although Caudale is actually between Caudale Moor and the ridge of Rough Edge I have called the valley below Caudale purely because of the names of Caudale Bridge and Caudalebeck Farm and am really not sure if that small area belongs under Patterdale. So if anyone would like to or could put me straight on this I would be very grateful for their input.
A sun splattered Caudale
Dovedale below Dove Crag and Stangs
The lower slopes of Rough Edge
Middle Dodd to Red Screes and High Hartsop Dodd
At about the 260 metre contour there is a large rock with this tree growing out of a crack that runs right the way around it and one wonders just how old this single stem is. As time goes on and it grows it is inevitable that the rock will split asunder due to growth of the tree roots.
Taking a look back we saw that the sun was chasing us down the fellside although unfortunately it never caught up with us.
The sun came out behind us
Across Brothers Water to Place Fell
Reaching the bottom of the fell we took a turn north towards Brotherswater Inn...
The Brotherswater Inn
from where we would pass through the camping site to make our way to Hartsop Hall from where we would then turn to the south and take the path to the bottom of the steep slopes of High Hartsop Dodd near where the site of the Old Settlement lies...
High Hartsop Dodd
from where a glance across the valley showed the bulk of Hartsop Dodd bathed in sunlight and the zigzag path highlighted with snow in its upper reaches.
A good view of Rough Edge was to be seen also.
Rough Edge ridge from Caudale Moor summit
On leaving the Old Settlement we followed the path around the base of High Hartsop Dodd to start the long walk back up to the car park.
Start of the walk up Kirkstone Pass from High Hartsop Dodd
No sunshine would ever reach us in the confines of Kirkstone Pass but on looking back we could see plenty of it on the far fells.
Place Fell and Angletarn Pikes in the distance
Despite the near 300 metres of climb back to the car park this is a surprisingly easy walk as the path is very well graded and in decent condition. It was a steady climb after a day on the fells but we were soon in sight of the famed Kirk Stone after which the pass is named.
The Kirk Stone comes into view
The only thing to do now was to grab a picture of the stone and then sally off back to the car and home. We didn’t bother going for a pint as Penrith and Friday don’t go together well as far as traffic is concerned and knowing that we would get held up for a good length of time decided to forego the drink and just get back home.
The Kirk Stone
Part of Caudale Moor is a Birkett and is named John Bell’s Banner that carries a cairn with a cross stuck out of the top of it the story of which is below along with a link to the web page.
William Ritson is synonymous with The Wasdale Head Hotel, Mary Robinson with the Fish Inn at Buttermere and Mark Atkinson with The Kirkstone Inn, leaving his mark, high toward the summit of Caudale Moor, in the form of a crossed cairn.
On Saturday 14 June 1930 Mark Atkinson, the landlord of The Travellers Rest, (the Kirkstone Inn), accompanied by his wife and son Ion, had been visiting Howtown before moving on to his native Penrith where he had indulged in a game of Putting on the Castle Park Recreational Ground; he was in excellent spirits having won the game. With his wife and son he purchased some newspapers and returned to the family car at the station gates. He sat in the back with his wife and passed a remark about the papers he had just purchased; Ion was then about to start the car when his father leaned back and suddenly died at his wife's side. A doctor was called but there was nothing that could be done to resuscitate him and the car was driven to the Police Station in Penrith where the body was transferred to a hearse and conveyed to The Travellers Rest at the head of Kirkstone Pass. En-route they would pass on the right, the inn at Kirkstone Foot (now The Brothers Water Inn) and Caudale Beck Farm; both of these were also owned by Mr Atkinson. He had suffered from a heart condition, which he was treated for but it had caused no great worry previously.
He was the son of a farmer who had farmed at Littlebeck, then Guard House Farm near Threlkeld until 1916 when he became the licensed Victualler at Kirkstone. He was twice married and the father of a son, Ion and two daughters. One of these daughters was Irene, known locally as the 'Maid of the Mountains' due to her intrepid horseback rides to Ambleside in all weathers.
Mark Atkinson had made a will in which he stated he wished to be cremated:
'... and my ashes enclosed in a box and buried on the top of Caudale Moor, facing the Kirkstone Inn, and a cairn of stones and a cross erected at the place of burial.'
In order for the body to be cremated it had to be transported to Manchester for the cremation. On the afternoon of Saturday 21 June 1930 a procession set out from The Kirkstone Inn and headed up Caudale Moor. This procession was to honour the wishes of Mr Atkinson, expressed in his will, with reference to the committal of his ashes which were in a copper casket, itself encased in oak. Present in this procession was his son Ion who was leading out Billy, the deceased's 28 year old pony which was loaded with the materials with which to erect the memorial. Irene was present with her husband Robert McLaren Lees, a Glasgow University Lecturer who had met her when he used to spend his vacations at the inn. The Reverend C.T. Phillips from Troutbeck attended and read the committal rites and the casket was then interred by the mourners, building a cairn over it, picked from the local rock laying around on this, Mr Atkinson's land. It was crowned with a prepared cross, as Mr Atkinson had stipulated and a plaque of green lakeland stone was set in the cairn bearing the words:
KIRKSTONE PASS INN
DIED 14TH JUNE 1930
AGED 69 YEARS"
It was noted at the time as being the highest grave in England, standing above the pass of Kirkstone and the Inn at a height of 2,500 feet above sea level. ('Hic Jacet' meaning 'An Epitaph'
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- Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria
- Activity: Walker
- Mountain: Blencathra
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