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 : Sunday 7th March 2004 Riggindale, Haweswater, in Cumbria.

Occasion : A walk with Anne and Andrew Leaney, Ann and Holly (the dog).

Walk details : A steady climb up Rough Crag and Long Stile to the summit of High Street, returning via the Nant Bield pass and Small Water. 4.5 hours, 5.8 miles, 2150 ft of ascent.

Weather : Sunny but with occasional wintery showers. A strong bitter easterly breeze.

Haweswater in the valley of Mardale - Rough Crag is the ridge in the middle distance,

and the outlet tower marks the start of the pipeline which takes water to Manchester.

We parked at the Mardale road end and skirted the top of the lake.

Looking back we could see the cars, diminutive now under the bulk of Harter Fell.

The view from The Rigg looking north up Haweswater.

A glorious day of sunshine and fast moving shadows on the fells.

Rough Crag from The Rigg.

Swine Crag, Heron Crag and Eagle Crag all merge into one as we started our climb.

Climbing to the left of the wall we were out of the worst of the wind, a cold north easterly, which continued to increase as we climbed higher.

As we climbed the cloud rose and fell on the tops giving marvellous frequently changing views.

Rough Crag here was bathed in beautiful sunlight but the temperature meant we were walking in winter clothing from the start.

The Crag lived up to its name. A delightful ridge walk with an element of forward planning needed to find the easiest path up through the rock outcrops.


Blea Tarn from Rough Crag.

As we climbed the views to our left improves and we caught sight of Small Water and then Blea Tarn.

Despite the fine views ahead our attention was often directed back to the valley we were leaving behind.

Beneath us was Riggindale (without it's eagles today) and the beck which flowed directly into Haweswater.

A rainbow heralds the arrival of a wintery shower.

This was the first of several that were to pass our way today.

The final climb up Long Stile Ridge but before it the small frozen tarn at Caspell Gate.

Kidsty Pike cleared temporarily long enough to take a photo over the solid ice of the tarn

A delightful route up the ridge could even be classed a minor scramble as trekking poles were abandoned in favour of handholds at one point..

The snow shower has passed and behind it we now had clear views of the Pennines that we had climbed the day before.

A panorama this time in order to appreciate the depth, not the width, of the view.

Our walk is encompassed in this one photo - Rough Crag, High Street, Mardale Ill Bell and back under Harter Fell.


The summit of High Street as we made the ridge from Long Stile, and also from the wall along the top of the fell.


Catch it while you can - Windermere from High Street - Thornthwaite Beacon to the right.

The view came and went with each passing cloud so I grabbed the photo when I could.

A small enclosure with sufficient height of stones to allowed us to shelter from the wind during lunch. As we sat, one particular shower started to turn the dog white instead of golden.

Any chance of lunchtime seconds ? You always carry enough for two !!

Holly knew that Layla, our older dog, had been left behind. At fourteen it was the first time we had not encouraged Layla up the fells. Yesterdays six hour walk had been quite sufficient for her weekend and and she would not have benefitted from another trip out today. She was still asleep when got back to the house.

Ann ready to rob a bank . . . of stones?

From the summit of High Street we walked along the wall (southwards) and then swung right to Mardale Ill Bell. Photos never show the wind, only the effects of it. Ann well protected with gortex, windproof trousers, mountain hat and gloves, and a multipurpose neck scarf known as a "Buff". It worked well..

Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke on the far side of the Kentmare Round.

Windermere in the distance.

Kentmare Reservoir, full after the winter snow had melted from the fells.


Nant Bield Pass

"Wind Chill - What do you mean" said Andrew.

"Stand out here and you'll soon find out" replied Ann.

Small Water above Haweswater.

From above the two lakes looked almost joined but as we descended the Nant Bield Pass the difference in levels became very apparent.

Consistently cold weather had turned wet paths into ice flows

and we were forced to leave the track for safer ground.

Nant Bield and Blea Tarn.

Small Water like Blea Tarn is held in an impressive upland corrie with just a small outflow into the valley below.

The path down from Nant Bield is marked as a bridleway but would be tough going nowadays for anyone leading a bridled horse down that rough track to the lake.

Homeward bound - the last gate back to the car and the round complete.

Hey Andrew - what's that on your boot?

I don't know but it doesn't smell to good !

( sheepish grin and muffled laughter from the long grass on the left )


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 a spike for getting sheep poo out of walking boots.

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