High Scawdel and Little Gatesgarthdale.

Start. Rosthwaite.

Route. Rosthwaite - New Bridge - Rigghead Quarries - High Scawdel - Launchy Tarn - Yewcrag Quarries - Honister - Little Gatesgarthdale - High Doat - Scaleclose Gill - New Bridge - Rosthwaite.

Notes. On a day like today every man and his dog, not to be sexist his wife and probably the rest of the family can be found wandering the hills of the Lake District, who can blame them, it's a magical place when the sun shines and there's snow on the high fells. But if you prefer the quiet as I do, follow in my foot fall. I'm not anti-sociable just prefer my own company when I'm in the hills. My thoughts are my own, I feel at one with my surroundings, I can chop and change my route without having to please a third party. You ought to try it, once described by a friend as a spiritual experience, on a day like today I would probably agree with him.

To escape the crowds that will most likely turn up later I made an early start, as I left the small car park at Rosthwaite the sun was just rising over the hills to the east. I wandered west with tarmac under foot, after passing through Yew Tree Farm a stoney track guided me to New Bridge, I crossed the River Derwent before ascending through sheep pastures. The path eventually joined the tumbling waters of Tongue Gill as I climbed into the confines of Rigghead.

I ascended through the detritus left by the hard rock miners of Borrowdale, a place where hopes and aspirations turned to rubble and dust like most mining in these parts. It did occur to me whilst puffing and blowing like an old nag, the miners of Rigghead would have to embark on this walk every day before the start of a fourteen hour shift, I doffed my cap to them and continued climbing, escaping the confines of the quarries via a small step stile allowing access to peat moorland.

Yes we all know what it's like traversing peat moorland, well this walks been on the radar for ages, I just needed a cold snap, last night was it so here I am storming along a fence line towards tiny Launchy Tarn, frozen ground under foot, the walking is easy. Passed the tarn I walked, when the fence turned sharp left I continued over frozen ground a row of posts my guide, these sentinels steered me through the vast tract of bog safely depositing me at Yew Crag Quarries where I descended to Honister and the unavoidable hustle and bustle of Honister Slate Mine.

I'd seen two people all morning, things had just changed, I shuddered then turned my back on the tourist attraction following the narrow road east through Little Gatesgarthdale, on reaching a finger-post inviting me to walk the coast to coast path I left the road, this route avoids the traffic, it was most probably the original road linking the villages of Borrowdale to Buttermere and beyond. Because I took a wrong turn it guided me to the slopes of High Doat, I climbed the hill because it was there, I didn't need to but it was such a nice day.

Once back on track I wandered on to a path that descended to Scaleclose Force, the waterfall was illusive, hidden in an icy gorge, I struggled to safely get close enough to take photos. I continued descending entering Johnny Wood at a large gate before a step stile allowed access to sheep pastures. With a green trod under foot I wandered back to New Bridge, all that remained to re-trace my steps of earlier back to Rosthwaite, in the inevitable queue I'd had the pleasure of avoiding all morning.

view route map.


High Scawdel and Low Scawdel guard Rigghead, the notch in the skyline.

High Scawdel captures the first light of the rising sun.

From near the confluence of Tongue Gill and the River Derwent, on a blistering cold morning views to Grange Fell.

Entering Rigghead looking across the lower slopes of Low Scawdel to Castle Crag.

Taking a breather, looking back to Rosthwaite backed by Great Crag.

In the confines of Rigghead, surrounded by the ghosts of an industry passed, viewing Helvellyn, under snow on the far horizon.

The past endeavors of man.

Another wonderful view from the bones of Rigghead to the snow capped hills of the Helvellyn massif.

An icing sugar day on Dale Head.

Viewing Hindscarth from High Scawdel.

The icy waters of Launchy Tarn with views to Great Gable.

The ridges of Blencathra seen from Launchy Tarn.

Miners Crag backed by High Spy as seen over Launchy Tarn.

Blencathra under a light dusting of Snow.

Stunning views from the vast tract of peat moorland above High Scawdel, the Dodds leading to Helvellyn, Nethermost Pike and Dollywaggon Pike.

View taken across the peat moorland and tarns on High Scawdel, looking to Bleaberry Fell with Clough Head carrying a little snow, to the left mighty Blencathra.

High Seat and High Tove as seen from near Yewcrag Quarries.

Buttermere over the shadowed cliffs of Honister Crag.

Descending the old road through Little Gatesgarthdale heading to High Doat, the low hill lit by the sun in the centre of the shot.

The old and the not so old lead the eye to Grey Knotts.

The sharp snow covered summit of Skiddaw seen from the slopes of High Doat.

Brund Fell rising above Borrowdale.

Long shadows across the sheep pastures of Borrowdale, looking to Eagle Crag and the steep slopes of Ullscarf.

The beauty of the River Derwent at Rosthwaite Steps.

back to top

back to list