Dale Head via Rigghead Quarries.

Start. Seatoller.

Route. Seatoller - High Doat - Rigghead Quarries - Rigg Head - Dalehead Tarn - Dale Head - Yewcrag Quarries - Honister Hause - Little Gatesgarthdale - Seatoller.

Notes. Dale Head seldom the only summit visited on a days fell walk, usually the focal point of the Newlands Round, a busy horseshoe taking in Cat Bells, Maiden Moor, High Spy and Hindsacrth, if you're a peak bagger bag away, but if like me you seek solitude and a slice of industrial history follow in my foot fall. We'll ascend through the bones of the Rigghead Quarries where hope and aspirations turned to rubble and dust, like most of the mining industry in the Lake District, our return will be made via Honister Hause home to the re-rejuvenated Honister Mine, a phoenix rising from the ashes, it's a bit of an eyesore but brings much needed employment to the area.

My day started under leaden skies, ascending High Doat from the car park at Seatoller, after crossing the summit I descended to Scaleclose Gill where a ladder stile allowed access to an old quarry track, This is the Allerdale Ramble, it clings to high ground on the western side of Borrowdale. With the steep slopes of High Scawdal to my left and stunning views over Borrowdale my right I wandered on. Just before Tongue Gill a green trod ascends a grassy tongue, at the head of said tongue the Rigghead Quarries await exploration, I climbed said path to explore this industrial grave yard. Shafts and edits, piles of quarry spoil, ruinous buildings supported by a steep climb all made the going slow. I was here out of choice, but the men of Borrowdale had this climb to do every day at the start of a fourteen hour shift, oh the good old days.

I escaped the quarries via a step stile allowing access to peat moors, my route now wet under foot continued to Dalehead Tarn, a gem of crystal clear water nestled in a hollow under the steep slopes of Dale Head, I threw my bag down and brewed tea, just building the energy levels for the final assault on the summit. Brew over I started the steep climb, and it's worth it, no lakes, tarns or mere's just mountains to every point of the compass, “a view of unsurpassed beauty” as Wainwright put it, “well balanced view in all directions”. I sat a while, drank them in before descending to Honister Hause and the hustle and bustle of the Honister Slate Mine. Too many people, too much noise, I turned my back on the scene descending the narrow road through Little Gatesgarthdale, when a stoney track branched off to my left I followed it, I now had the coast to coast path under foot, it guided me safely back to Seatoller and the waiting car.

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Views taken over Seathwaite from the ascent of High Doat.

Looking to the jagged skyline of the Borrowdale Fells with Combe Head kissed by cloud.

Grey on the horizon, Skiddaw over Castle Crag and the Jaws of Borrowdale.

Seen over the slopes of High Scawdal, the Rigghead face of High Spy.

The scene over Borrowdale, Great Crag rising above the village of Rosthwaite.

View taken from the disused Rigghead Quarries.

Quarry spoil guides the eye to the head of the pass.

Looking down on the green fields of Borrowdale with the Helvellyn massif across the skyline.

I've escaped the confines of the quarries, here's my first view of Dale Head.

An infant Newlands Beck and the Miners Crag face of High Spy.

Peaceful, almost perfect, Dale head tarn.

Stunning views the length of Newlands with Skiddaw dominating the horizon.

Fleetwith Pike backed by the Buttermere fells, High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike.

Fleetwith Pike with views down the Buttermere valley.

Descending through Little Gatesgarthdale, stopping to admire the saw tooth skyline of the Borrowdale Fells.

Another view to the Borrowdale Fells, to the left a distant High Tove above Watendlath.

Views into Seathwaite, taking centre stage Glaramara.

Seen over the lower wooded slopes of Grey Knotts, a distant Allen Crags with the Glaramara to the left.

Above Seatoller, almost at journeys end.

Looking down on Seatoller from Wainwright's Coast to Coast path.

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