Caudale Moor via Rough Edge Quarries.

Date walked: 14/10/2021

Time taken: 4.59 hours

Distance: 14.7km

Ascent: 752m

Caudale Moor via Rough Edge.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

I had been down this ridge in the past but now in an attempt to regain hill fitness thought that I might like to go up it as a bit of a challenge to the old legs and lungs and have a poke about in the old slate quarry whilst I was at it. As Chris had contacted me about another bout of torture I asked if he would like to have a go at this with me so here we both were parked up at Hartsop village car park, no fee but voluntary donations welcome to aid the local area. The weather throughout the day was a dry and cloudy start with just the odd sunny period, cold strong wind, clouds covering the high fells with light rain late afternoon.

A token of goodwill in the box, boots on and we were away by 8:55am taking the gate from the car park to follow the track/path southwest alongside Pasture Beck and below the northern slopes of the steep sided Hartsop Dodd, another hill climb that taxes the body on the way to its summit. It looked lovely and velvet green under the cloud muted sky with its patches of dead bracken, a couple of grey crags, scattered clumps of rushes and a small stand of pine trees just over the intake wall breaking the flow of green from base to summit.

ImageHartsop Dodd

Another few steps and then looking to the east we had a view of a different fell, this time it was to be Gray Crag, well named for its long stand of rough gray rock with gullies worn through the rock face by countless years of water eroding it feeding the scree below with a continuous flow of debris, A fine sight indeed when walking along Pasture Beck to Threshthwaite Mouth.

ImageGray Crag from Hartsop

Inside a few minutes we had walked along the narrow lane, reached and crossed the road to then walk south along the eastern side of Brothers Water from where we would continue on to Hartsop Hall Campsite. From a shingle beach we had a good sighting of the north ridge of High Hartsop Dodd, another way of doing some good cardio work.

ImageHigh Hartsop Dodd

We continued along the narrow shoreline path as it dips and rises as the ground commanded then after leaving the water behind continued on a similar path below the line of the A592 until we reached the camp site but a couple of shots before then showed Dovedale in a good light.

ImageSunshine in Dovedale

Upon reaching the camp site it was noted that non resident parking was available for £2.50p per day, a gift at that price and had we known previously would probably have used it although walking from Hartsop gave us a good walk in before the steep climb up the forthcoming ridge of Rough Crag. From the camp site we crossed the road to access the fellside at NY40343 11804 where the path was a bit vague on the ground as it first worked its way through the bracken and it was at this point that the steep northern slopes of both High Hartsop Dodd and Middle Fell could be seen.

ImageHigh Hartsop Dodd and Middle Dodd

Still walking south for a short way before turning to the southeast and the climb I took a shot of part of the workout to come.

ImageThe ridge to Caudale Moor

Soon into the climb and on a narrow path through bracken on the lower and easier slopes we arrived at Caudale Beck and an old slate built building sat at the side of the crossing of it. Situated where it is on the course of the old Caudale Slate Mine Sled Track it was obviously part of the mining works but for what purpose...

ImageOld building by Caudale Beck

So far the path hadn’t been too steep but from now on is where the hard work begins as we push through the bracken on the path that’s now grooved and looks more like a sled track getting wider the higher that we climbed.

Climbing steadily and with no great hurry we stopped with monotonous regularity to enjoy the opening views and enjoying the short burst of sunshine that we had just then.

ImageA view into Dovedale

A stop at 300 metres, another view with the Hartsop Dodd’s opening up nicely to the west of us with scattered patches of sunlight brightening up the scene.

ImageDove Crag to Fairfield skyline

ImageHigh Hartsop Dodd

Another few metres higher and Chris stops for a look at the views that he hasn’t seen for quite some time, he’s enjoying looking at the long sweep of Hartsop above How with Hart Crag at its head and there behind Brothers Water his No. 214, Place Fell. The sun is just grazing the tops of some of the higher fells but I suspect for not much longer. The wind is fairly strong and certainly cold here in the shade of the uncaring clouds and though it’s warm work climbing the ridge when we stop the chill soon gets a grip and cools down any suggestion of perspiration on the brow.

The open vistas are mostly to the north and west with Red Screes blocking out the south and the Hartsop Dodd to Stony Cove Pike ridge closing views to the east but no matter, as what we can see holds the attention for long enough, too long sometimes as I have to keep dragging Chris away from them and get on with the business of getting up this ridge.

ImageLooking over Brothers Water to Place Fell

The old sled track was fairly well hidden by the dying and falling bracken but here at the 325 metre point it’s quite a visible feature and looking a lot like a winter sled slalom that we followed gratefully to its termination at the old slate mines. Although this ridge is quite steep the old track makes it a lot easier to negotiate and we were making better progress now that it was fully underfoot.

ImageThe Caudale Mine sled track at 325 metres

We had a good long run along the track with just a few stones in the way of obstacles underfoot and now had only about 80 more metres of climb to reach the old quarries and had a good view of the steepness of the west face profile and south face of Hartsop Dodd...

ImageThe steep southern slopes of Hartsop Dodd

behind a mostly hidden Caudale Beck and The Tongue that forms the opposite side of the very narrow and squashed in Caudale. Caudale is merely the narrow dale that carries the beck of its name into Kirkstone Beck. There are a couple of tracks running along The Tongue with one of them making its way up onto higher slopes between Hartsop Dodd and Stony Cove Pike at around the 600 metre mark.

Just a few minutes later the quarry waste tips came into view and at around the 515 metre point wouldn’t like this climb to work every day and then do a day’s graft underground.

ImageOld buildings and waste tips

This is where we had our first re-fuel of the day before photos and a ratch around was done. It’s a lonely old place but bursting with signs of long gone activity and if these old buildings had memories and could speak, what tales they would have to tell. Of miners climbing the fell and back every day and night stumbling around in the dark on their way, cursing, wet weather, snow and ice to contend with, cold and wet in the mines and the ‘crack’ in the stone huts and mine at meal times. Withstanding accidents and hard times these miners just kept on going, well they had to do because if not, what then...

ImageNorthern view from the old Caudale Slate Mine

ImageView across The Tongue in Caudale

ImageNorth towards Ullswater

ImageTaking a well earned break at the old mine

We could hear the stags roaring away somewhere over the top of Caudale Head, roars that we had been hearing since we left Hartsop, but we caught no sign of them as they were obviously about their business behind the skyline.

ImageCaudale Head

ImageCaudale Head and Beck

There are mountains of slate waste and it makes me wonder just what slate they did use but whatever it was it must have more volume and value than what is piled hereabouts.

The mine entrance is so low that the miners must have gone in crouched really low and one would hope that the working space was much larger once past the entrance. I had a look into it and could see some spoil part blocking the tunnel some way in but I couldn’t see much further than that and wasn’t going in to check it either.

ImageDisused Caudale Slate Mine entrance

Break and exploring over we set off to a short climb to the west up the steep grassy bank onto the ridge above the mine workings.

ImageFairly steep pull onto the ridge itself

Once on the ridge and above the mine we had a good view into Caudale Head and the head of Caudale Beck.

ImageCaudale Head from Rough Edge

Looking towards Hartsop Dodd we could see the old workings below us and the old track running onto the ridge above Hartsop Dodd.

ImageHartsop Dodd from Rough Edge

ImageChris enjoying the views from Rough Edge

The going now is steep but on a good path running right along the spine of the ridge with the only problem being the strong wind that was pushing us about quite a bit and hindering our forward movement making walking harder than it should be. The ridge path is quite plain to see in the next photo as we walk yet further away from the sunshine.

ImageA view north from the 625 point

Apart from a couple or so steeper humps the path is easily walked and from one of these we got a decent view of Red Screes and St Raven’s Edge plus our way back down the pass far below, so a bit to do yet...

ImageSt Raven's Edge - Middle Dodd and Red Screes

And looking towards the west showed the row of the Hartsop Dodd ridges and the skyline from High Pike to Fairfield looking hazy in this less than good weather.

ImageThe Hartsop group of fells from Rough Edge

ImageHartsop above How and St Sunday Crag

From this point on the path eases off and 15 minutes later we were at the Caudale Moor cairn that at 763 metres is the same height as the one at Stony Cove Pike.

ImageCaudale Moor cairn

ImageThe view towards Stony Cove Pike

ImageAcross to Gray Crag and High Street

Just to the east of the cairn the ground is a bit lower where the small outcrops of rock gave some welcome shelter from the strong, cold wind whilst we had a bite to eat.

ImageTaking a well earned break at Caudale Moor summit cairn

All we have to do now is make our way over to John Bell’s Banner and the main path to Stony Cove Pike...

ImageJohn Bell's Banner Monument

that we would follow as it undulates, twists and turns towards St Raven’s Edge with more views opening up around us.

ImageLow Pike getting sunray treatment

ImageRed Screes

Over to the east we can see a bit more now as the three Kentmere Pikes come into view.

ImageKentmere Pikes

Red Screes has now got its head in the clouds.

ImageRed Screes

Looking back from we had just walked from.

ImageLooking back to Pike How

Soon enough we were beginning the short climb up to St Raven’s Edge...

ImageSt Raven's Edge top

with another but alternative view of Red Screes and Middle Dodd.

ImageRed Screes and Middle Dodd

It was just a couple of minutes to climb onto rocky outcrop from where the extra height was used to grab a few photos.

ImageNorthern view from St Raven's Edge top

ImageThornthwaite Crag behind Woundale's Hart Crag

ImageKentmere Pikes from St Raven's Edge

ImageWansfell and a sunny Troutbeck

By now it had started to rain, not heavy, but a nuisance with the wind as it was near impossible to keep the camera lens dry. We descended to the Kirkstone Pass Inn.

ImageKirkstone Pass Inn

Now we could see the southeast face of Red Screes with the gash of Kilnshaw Chimney above the scree run.

ImageRed Screes under cloud

Drops of rain marred the image of the next photo as we descended from St Raven’s Edge.

ImageWindermere behind Wansfell

ImageKilnshaw Chimney on Red Screes

It was a bit slippery dropping down to the pass over the rocks but got down safely enough and walked straight across the road to enter the car park to walk north now for a good few miles passing below Kilnshaw Chimney on the way. I’ve been up it twice and makes for a good little scramble. There were two groups on the fellside and looked like they were on some sort of course, learning some kind of fell craft, maybe orienteering.

The path down is good as it follows the line of the road until it breaks away to the northwest at the foot of Middle Dodd until it heads north again from the base of Bell Knott from where it passes through fields towards Hartsop Hall.

The walk down was uneventful apart from meeting a fell runner who had fallen and broken his little finger and having to squeeze through a herd of free range cattle as they sprawled across the path along with their calves.

ImageKilnshaw Chimney

ImageChris at the Kirk Stone

ImageNorth along Kirkstone Pass from the 360 point

ImageCrag on Middle Dodd

ImageKirkstone Beck

ImageBull Crag on High Hartsop Dodd

ImageThe Rough Edge ridge to Caudale Moor

ImageHigh Hartsop Dodd

Chris was getting a bit tired so we stopped for a break and a drink about halfway down, passed through the fields with the standing stones and site of the Old Settlement before reaching Hartsop Hall where we turned east along the concrete road that runs through the caravan and camping site from where we picked up the path of our outward journey to return to the car park at Hartsop.

This has been one of the more strenuous walks with the steep climb combined with the wind, albeit an enjoyable one, with the clouds more or less remaining above the higher fells summits although the air quality was a bit hazy. An interesting few minutes looking round the old mine workings and a couple of new Birkett’s for Chris rounded the day off nicely before we left to once again walk through the door of our favourite after walk hostelry.

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Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria
Activity: Mountaineer
Mountain: Blencathra
Gear: Map, compass, waterproofs
Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS35
Ideal day out: A good mixed walk with scrambling leading to a good ridge walk.

Munros: 13
Wainwrights: 214
Hewitts: 179

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