Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Lake District Day Two. St Raven's Edge. Stony Cove Pike. High Street. Hayeswater. Hartsop

                                                ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN
The next day, Saturday, dawned bright and clear over Patterdale in the English Lake District so we planned a big hill outing to fit the predicted spell of good weather. This is a view of Helvellyn from the climbing hut window.
And one taken on the road outside.
As a group we travelled in one car from Patterdale,  8 km or so up the same road above to the Kirk Stone Car Park (free) then walked from that spot uphill onto St Raven's Edge, our first peak of the day at 593 metres. This was a new area of rugged summits for everyone with a great range of different views to admire.
The hills on the opposite side of the road. Raven Crag leading around to Fairfield area.
With easy paths over a switchback high level ridge, Stony Cove Pike,763 metres, then the iconic and elaborate cairn of Beacon, seen here, on the summit of Thornthwaite Crag, 784 metres, was soon reached. Graeme, David and Bob Rob were all happy with this outing and turned back to follow the same route back to the car but ace bagger Alex had worked out beforehand that it wouldn't take much more effort to walk back to Patterdale and the hut from here by continuing over High Street, 828 metres, then The Knott then Angletarn Pikes. A distance of around 14km but relatively easy considering the chain of high summits covered. As an outing it's up there with the best hill walking day trips I've done in this district both for views and fine roller coaster ridge lines with only mild scrambling in one place coming off  Stony Cove Pike. Allow 6 to 8 hours at an easy relaxed pace, depending on stops and inclination.
Views of wild ridge lines opened up in all directions as we climbed higher.
As I've mentioned before Cumbria does seem to cram in an incredible number of classic high and low level walks suitable for every age group and taste, from easy valley strolls to serious mountain routes.
And all of them very different.
A landscape chameleon. Hart Crag, The Step, and Fairfield summit at 873 metres seen here I think.
A view down into a busy Windermere. As one of the most commercialized and seething honeypots in the Lakes this is the only place where I've really noticed too many cars, people and general tourist throng that put me off somewhat but it's probably this small district around the A591, the main road running along the east shore of Windermere that gives the impression of being overcrowded and too developed as the rest of this region has handled tourism and large foot traffic padding over the hills really well. Scotland could learn a few lessons here as regards path construction as many popular highland beauty spots are getting badly trashed these days with an increasing volume of  visitors, waterlogged muddy paths, and general year by year erosion. Somehow they seem to have managed that better down here... or had longer to maintain and improve the tracks and more income and resources available. You can see the large number of yachts and other craft  in the photo above yet Thirlmere, Ullswater, Derwent Water, Bassenthwaite Lake, Haweswater Reservoir, Crummock Water, Wastwater, and Ennerdale Water are not like that at all and still retain both a peaceful tranquility and romantic allure.
It was shortly after this point Alex and I parted company on our ridge walk. He was heading on from Kidsty Pike to Angeltarn Pikes but I'd noticed on the drive up the pass how lovely the surrounding countryside was between Hartsop village and Patterdale. I'd also noticed the minor track on the OS map leading between Hartsop and Rooking villages and as I like variety and capturing a range of different landscapes, both low and high, I was determined to return via the Haweswater Gill track instead.
Haweswater and this valley descent, seen above, was a delight but became slightly less scenic and more industrial looking lower down (small dam reconstruction by the looks of it)... then redeemed itself with a stunning low level walk through Hartsop Village to Rooking. An easy level path through a rural setting of pretty farms and cottages but an absolute cracker of a quiet low level valley walk.
Both Hartsop, Bridgend, Crookabeck,then finally Rooking were a delight to pass through and photograph. A bonus treat was that the twisting but easy to follow path did not have many other walkers on it, being late afternoon by now, and around every new corner was a further delight. Entrancing, especially when I was bombarded by falling acorns in a local oak wood rest stop, puzzled at first then looking up to discover squirrels were the culprits high in the canopy above. If Capuchin monkeys had appeared above me at that point I could not have been happier with the day.
 'Eden' it seems is a very wealthy place generally, when transported into reality and out of myth, as you probably need that steady capital income to look this good. A landscape equivalent of a high maintenance female at the top of her game perhaps, pulling out all the stops, as it takes many years of practice, commitment, effort, money and an assured sense of style to produce such 'natural'  elegance and charming surroundings. It certainly doesn't happen with poverty very often as you can tell this effect immediately if you drive out of this golden bubble a few miles west towards the coast, containing less attractive scenery and a noticeable drop in housing standards, job opportunities, and a much more downmarket feel and atmosphere passing through these very different, post industrial  towns and villages. Personally, I like both areas but it did feel like a genuine and real privilege to walk through such an enchanted landscape that anywhere else would normally be out of bounds or not so open of access.
A truly lovely landscape to encounter and a low level valley walk I'd thoroughly recommend in its own right.
Evening sunlight hits Patterdale.
It was a weary old me that arrived on foot back in Patterdale just in time to catch the shops before they shut around 5:30pm. A large bottle of coke and a mint chocolate bar were my longed for carrots to spur me on and a short time later I'd reached the hut and a well earned seat.  After dinner and a rest we all went out to the pub (yes, this one) which is fast becoming my favourite, although they are all pretty good down here. Excellent food as well and I like the informal table layout inside.
A quiet Keswick in early evening the previous day. It was busy and thriving until we arrived... honest... they just seemed to vanish... maybe it's a Glasgow accent thing :o)


I've been a fan of the extraordinary world of Bioshock for years now and there's several complete films in one go of this award winning game. I never play computer games myself but this imagined world completely swept me away with it's vivid landscapes, characters, plot lines, back story and ending. Easily as entrancing as the Lake District and the first sight of the floating city of Columbia is one nobody with a pulse should ever forget. Entrancing- mind-blowing- and visionary in its scope and details. Few mainstream films are as good or as continuously interesting as this. Even if you just watch the first 10 minutes of this you get some idea of the scale and complexity involved. PS... Columbia is also a real place built in Maryland in the late 1960s, a garden village community that ranks in the top ten best places to live in the USA. So not that far removed from the Lake District after all. Another 'golden bubble' locality... as is this.










18 comments:

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

I've never seen Keswick that quiet! You have some exceptionally clear photos there - excellent. I wonder if you found the 'High Street', the remains of the Roman road that gave that particular lump of rock its name? Mind you, you certainly crammed a lot in - I got breathless just reading it. Next time you're around that neck of the woods, and if you fancy an easier day, take the ferry from Glenridding across Ullswater to Howtown and walk back; it's a peach and fairly effortless.

Linda W. said...

Fabulous scenery! That looks like someplace I'd love to hike.

Anabel Marsh said...

Stunning! I agree about the paths, we always comment about how much better they are than Scotland's.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Mike,
Yes, that looks another fine walk using the steamer. Next post will be on Ullswater.We did indeed pass over the old Roman Road running under the summit of High Street. Very impressive to build an ancient road straight over a major mountain summit.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Linda,
You would certainly enjoy it there and a week's walking both high and low level would
only scratch the surface as I've been going down there for many years now and still have plenty of new hills left.

blueskyscotland said...

Hello Anabel,
Yep, I always expect wet feet every outing in the Scottish Highlands rain or shine, away from the Munro path network but dry socks every trip in Cumbria so far.

Kay G. said...

So pretty, it is my dream to see the Lake District.
Love that evening sunlight photo.

Linda said...

What a gorgeous series of photos!!! I could spend a long time taking a walk in this area, how amazing!

Rosemary said...

Evening sunlight in Patterdale, could there be anything more beautiful? It gives me, perhaps a false impression, that all is well in the world!
We avoid that eastern way around Windermere, the western side is lovely, and thank goodness that the NT, for all its faults, is mainly responsible for having saved that area due to Beatrice Potter's legacy.

Carol said...

Ah - I thought you'd been staying at Hartsop - you were just down the road from us - we were staying at Patterdale Hotel. We normally stay at the White Lion.

We were also getting pelted with hundreds of acorns on the walk between Hartsop and Patterdale but I thought they were just dropping off naturally - I'd have said there were too many for squirrels on our walk. That was the section where my leg had completely gone after descending from Hayeswater Gill (they've removed the dam and don't think they're replacing). Basically that 2 miles took me nearly 2 hours as my fibula started to feel like it was crumbling and wouldn't hold me up! :-o :-(

I agree with you that the only bits of the Lakes which are overcrowded and too touristy are Windermere-Grasmere - we almost never go there due to that. As to the west coast/NW Cumbria being cheaper properties, I find that ideal as it means I should be able to relocate to my beloved Cumbria but not have to live in the busy bits and the National Park. I wouldn't be able to afford the 'Chocolate Box' bits and am not sure I'd want to anyway.

On your photo where you have the edge of Hart Crag and then 'The Step' - we just call that Greenhow End (but it possibly says The Step on the map. It's a great route. Behind that is Fairfield as you say and going down it's right hand side the famous Cofa Pike - nice scramble.

Lux G. said...

Looks like a dreamland. So serene and so majestic.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Kay,
I know you would feel right at home there with all that history, famous poets, steamer tours, film makers and artists of every description. Oh, and the wonderful scenery as a bonus :o)

blueskyscotland said...

Thanks Linda,
Easily the best place in the UK for the highest number of scenic short walks in one small area.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary,
Although it is also beautiful in dull weather or mist we really lucked out with the sun this time as it is an area that gets a lot of rain, as you know. Next post is probably the best, photography wise. Think Swallows and Amazons and Moonrise Kingdom.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Nope, we were in the George Starkey Hut which is a great place we have used before. A real favourite of mine in a great location. Evenings saw me pouring over modern OS Maps of London, the South East,The South Downs and Brighton to see how much they'd changed in the 30 years since my last visits. It is 'the step' on the OS map as I didn't have any other local name for it to hand. I'm sure I've walked down it once as an attractive, interesting descent off that ridge line years ago.

blueskyscotland said...

Thanks Lux G,
It is as a visitor to the area but behind the scenes a huge army of cooks,cleaners, shop assistants,managers, pub, hotel and B and B staff all work like crazy to serve the customers and they are certainly not relaxing but working flat out- long hours- on low pay in most cases. Something you see in the pubs which are always busy with staff serving drinks and meals on an endless cycle, having to squeeze through tiny gaps to get to the packed tables. It's something I've always noticed- how hard they work- to maintain that Disney-like quality and there's always vacancies available. Counted six help wanted ads in the shops on one quick walk through Keswick on this trip and they even offered help with travel costs to attract workers in from other districts as it would be expensive to rent or live there. Great beauty but really hard work to keep it all running smoothly like a well oiled machine :o)

Neil said...

That looked a good trip. Of the hills you climbed, I've still to do Stoney Cove Pike. Methinks I need another visit, one day to do that one and another to do Place Fell, which I also haven't done. Has Patterdale fully recovered from the floods?

surfnslide said...

That's a classic route either the high level one past Angle Tarn or your lower level return. Great photos as always