Oak Cottage - Loweswater

Retreat to the quiet of the Western Lakes

The Cottage, and  the view up the Buttermere Valley



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Time and place :

Saturday 11th October 2003

Occasion :

A walk with Ann and the dogs from Howtown to Steel Knotts, Wether Hill, Loadpot and on to Bonscale and its unusual towers.

Walk details :

7 mls, 2200 ft of ascent, 5 hours incl. stops.

Weather :

Dry with the occasional patch of sun, but worsening under the influence of an approaching westerly depression.

Our selection of fells today was decided by a rather more mundane reason, that of needing to go to Penrith to get the car back after a slightly expensive visit to the "engine repair shop".

Still to make the best of the day we chose four of the far eastern fells we last did in December 2001. The difference today was that there was the prospect of a better view, due to the fact that this time snow was NOT forecast !!

The Howtown jetty - from the road not the boat.


Climbing up the steep front of Steel Knotts the view of Howtown bay is spread below.

To the east, the weather is fine and the wind calm. Only the motorised boats are moving with any speed today.

Below, sweeping majestically into the bay, Raven, one of the two Ullswater Steamers.

Hallin Fell and its green path to the summit, and Martindale Church in the trees below.

Distant views included Great Mell Fell, Blencathra and the Skiddaw Massif.

The highest point of Steel Knotts is the rock known as Pikeawassa.


It is also a fine place to take a short break and get a view south to High Raise, High Street and the Nab.

Although we thought we heard them on several occasions, there was no other sign of the Martindale deer.

To our right the valley and hills of Martindale, with Thrang Crag and (presumably) Thrang Crag Farm.


At the head of Fusedale, and adjacent to the delightfully named Gowk Hill, an old ruined summer dwelling adjacent to our route. From here the path takes an angled and delightful climb onto the ridge above.

Give way to Centurions . . . the Roman Road from Grasmere via High Street continues over Red Crag above,

and was our route ahead for the next section of the walk to Loadpot Hill.

However the predicted poor weather was moving up the west coast and bringing low cloud to Helvellyn and slight drizzle to us.

By the way,Wether Hill is one of the few hills that you can look down on the summit from higher ground, as the cairn is situated closer to the pathway rather than the true top of this slightly rounded moorland summit.

These lads added a touch of colour to what was getting to be quite a drab day.

All that remains of the old bothy on Loadpot Hill, marked as a chimney on the 1:25,000 but even that has long gone. Now only part of an end wall, and a strange concreted area remain.

(Late Update - click here)

From the top of Loadpot we left the Roman Road in favour of a direct route to Bonscale itself.

Little Mell Fell in the distance lost in the gathering clouds.

Bonscale Edge has this unusual fault line, almost like a defensive ditch of an old hill fort. Possibly it is old stone workings, but more likely a natural feature of the land itself.

No natural feature this - the first cairn perched on the side of the hill.


Further along two more, this time much more professionally built cairns, known as the Bonscale Towers.

Looking back to the towers, and west along Ullswater till visibility ends.


Time to turn for home. A steep descent of the top leads us back to the Durham CC Outdoor Pursuits Centre and Howtown Bay. Down in the trees the jetty stands ready for the next launch of the day.


Right on time, the Raven enters the bay, scattering the ducks as it goes.

They take about an hour to transport you from one end of Ullswater to the other, and as a midway point, Howtown offers a great stopping off point for such walks as Hallin Fell or the lakeside walk around Place fell back to Patterdale.

All aboard - sightseers and walkers alike.


Once the boat has sailed, the birds return to reclaim the bay.


Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon IXUS 400 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed . . . with book of the Far Eastern Fells.

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