On the last day in March it snowed in Loweswater.
The following day was so a beautiful that I thought I would go
in search of the snow, combined with a walk up Hen Comb.
By the time I set off most of the snow had melted so I changed
the objective of the walk to climb the adjacent Gavel Fell,
the only one of the Loweswater group that I hadn't climbed this
It was such a nice day I just kept extending the walk as I went
Late afternoon at the end of March, looking up Crummock and the
Buttermere Valley towards Haystacks, as the snow was falling.
Next morning there was a fresh layer on High Stile and the
Hen Comb looked an attractive option for a walk
above the snow line. . . but life got in the way for a short
By the time the chores were done, the snow on
lower slopes had more or less melted,
so I decided to alter my route to include Blake,
Gavel and possibly the other local Fells. This was the
photo of Carling Knott from my house.
I've climbed all the other Loweswater Fells
in recent months so an ascent of Gavel would finish off the
I set off past Rose Cottage, looking resplendent
as a result of the sudden clearing of the skies,
and headed up the road towards the four distant
tops you can see above the field behind my neighbouring cottage.
The Village Hall and Old School House at the
top of the hill.
This would be the scene of Jubilee
festivities in weeks to come.
The view of Carling Knott and Burnbank after
I took the left turn towards Maggie's Bridge.
Late Spring and the pheasant shape of the woodland
really stands out today.
The track to High Nook Farm in the valley ahead.
A new gate and short track ?
The river on the left has undermined the bank
over the winter and the main track is in slight danger of collapse,
so they've constructed an alternative route
to the farm in case another flood takes more bank away.
Up through the farm yard, greeted in the usual
noisy way by the sheepdogs in the kennels.
Unperturbed, my two continue on to the gate that
will lead us to the open fell.
The true "intake" gate where the last
wall is left behind and land becomes "open access".
Gavel Fell ahead at the top of the split, High
The dogs and I divert slightly to reach High
Nook Tarn, tucked away at the side of the valley under Black
Dougal immediately took to the water and ended
up, soaking wet on the small island.
Hold your cursor over the picture to watch
him dry off.
[ This may not work on some computers
In diverting to the tarn we came across other
fell walkers, Peter and Kay Harris.
They had made an earlier start than I and were
heading down towards Mellbreak and Crummock . . . nice to meet
you and chat.
At the head of the valley, White Oak Beck splits
with one arm heading up towards Blake and the
other towards Hen Comb and White Oak Moss.
The stone wall structure is in fact an old sheep
fold at the base of the slope . . . it has seen better days
The wall under Carling Knott, seen in the last
photo, extends in a straight line up the fell, but by this time
it had become a wire fence.
That too has perished, but two old gateposts
and a few stones still define the line.
head of the beck is a small but significant waterfall
. . .
. . . then after a few
more minutes climbing we were above "the snow line".
I called this waterfall "the waterfall of deferred gratification"
as by this time I had added Carling Knott and Blake to the
thereby delaying my ascent of Gavel which I
could have done by simply heading straight up the fence line
From my vantage point above the waterfall, I
had fabulous views across to the Central Fells, still snow covered
even in the sunshine.
The summit and shelter of Carling Knott, with
distant Criffel mountain far away on the other side of the Solway
Good job I had put some suncream on before I
started as the sun really was as bright as it looked here.
Looking out to sea . . . two ravens cross the
slopes of Blake Fell.
Did you spot what was beyond them, fourty nine
miles away as the ravens may fly ?
For once the summit of Snaefell on the isle
of Man lives up to its Viking name . . . Snae Fell . . . the
The sun may have been shining but the cool breeze
kept the temperature down
hence the thick icebreaker shirt and an warm
[ Photo by self timer of course,
there was no-one else about.]
I continued on the extra distance to the end
of Carling Knott
to catch the classic view down over the three
In the distance, the snow covered summit of
Below me the full expanse of Loweswater itself.
The reverse of my earlier photo . . . that's
my house from Carling Knott.
Retracing my steps to the summit and then heading
on towards Blake Fell.
A large pool or small tarn in the slopes of
Blake Fell, with views across to Fleetwith Pike.
A new fence and step stile before I reached
the summit . . . the dogs almost had to jump over till I spotted
the lift up dog gate.
'Sheltering' from the breeze at the summit shelter
on Blake Fell.
Again, moving this time just a short way from
the summit, I get a view of Knock Murton and Cogra Moss.
Time to move on . . . this time towards Gavel
this time with another lift up dog gate . . . hurrah
The sound of skylarks
was a beautiful accompaniment to the walk.
which we easily crossed again.
An old sandstone pillar
is almost lost in the modern mesh of fence wire.
The final few hundred yards to Gavel were a
lot more boggy than I remember.
I started the day with the aim of reaching
this summit . . . and now at last I'm here.
My chance to share the all-round view with you.
or on the photo above for a 360
degree annotated panorama.
It was later than I thought so dug deep into
my small day sack and found some biscuits for me and even some
for the dogs,
which we enjoyed as we looked down on the next
section of the walk.
Below was the White Oak Moss . . a bog to you and I.
The question was "what's the best place to cross"
? . . . I headed for the sheepfold below (also shown
on the map)
and then the adjacent stream junction, where the slope was
greatest, and therefore hopefully the ground was driest.
and again I came across these water channels.
Width you could work
out, depth . . . well that was another question.
- - - o o o - - -
A red stick in the bog attracted me, it seemed strange
to see it there.
It was most probably a fibre glass survey stick that
had been missed or abandoned
by an environmental student.
I thought I would extract it to see how long it was
(and how deep the bog was).
Hand over hand and it eventually came out.
The peat layer was at least five or six feet deep.
It was replaced as found
but I could have been pushed even further in !
- - - o o o - - -
Safely over the bog, dry shod, it was now time
to climb my final summit, Hen Comb.
Here I look across to the snow-sprinkled slopes
of Great Bourne.
After a steep climb, the summit of Hen Comb
. . . not enough snow to even to attempt a snowman !
Pausing to look around, there was still white
stuff on the Helvellyn Range.
Black Crag on Fleetwith protected some northern
facing snow patches
but Buttermere were probably selling lots of
The mountain that caught my eye this morning,
the snow covered High Stile.
The homeward leg was laid out before me now,
as I head down towards home from the top of Hen Comb.
Carling Knott, where I stood and admired the
view earlier, some three or more hours ago.
Down towards "Harry's Pool" and the
river crossing of the Mosedale Beck.
The prospect of liquid refreshment encouraged
So thirsty I forgot the camera till
The hot tub was on so I could contemplate
a second relaxation soon.
Today's short dog walk was extended to a full
fell walk, which itself was extended further by circumstance
along the way.
What a great day it turned out to be.