Hayeswater Round.

Start. Cow Bridge.

Route. Cow Bridge - Hartsop - Gray Crag - Thornthwaite Crag - High Street - The Knott - Hayeswater - Hartsop - Cow Bridge.

Notes. Hands up all you seasoned fell walkers in internet land if you've ever been on Gray Crag, the one above Hartsop, not many I guess, I'm ashamed to admit for me it was the second time in twenty years, I reckon I must have had my eyes shut the last time I graced its airy heights. The leg burning lung bursting ascent was soon forgotten when I stepped onto the ridge to be greeted with stunning views and solitude, an airy ridge walk just me and the mountain wind.

My day started at Cow Bridge heading to Hartsop, after passing through the village the Hayeswater Gill path carried me to the final intake wall. From there I left the path to start my ascent of Gray Crag, steep then steeper still before I stepped onto the ridge with legs like jelly, the wonderful ridge walk that followed instantly took my mind off the pain, depositing me on Thornthwaite Crag marked by the eighteen foot tall Thornthwaite Beacon, time for a well deserved brew. From the beacon I made my way north following the Roman high road that gives High Street it's name, leaving it only to access the trig point before descending to the Straits of Riggindale. Still following the main path a short diversion saw me on the summit of The Knott, then it was down hill all the way, crossing the outflow of Hayeswater before the final descent on a good path back to Hartsop.

For anyone fancying a walk along the Gray Crag ridge but not the ascent, try walking the opposite way to me, just take care on the descent, a slip or trip will get you down a lot quicker than you planned.

view route map.


Towering above Hartsop, Hartsop Dodd to the left Gray Crag seen from Cow Bridge.

Hartsop Dodd rising above the grey lakeland slate buildings of Hartsop village.

An icing sugar day over Fairfield and St Sunday Crag, seen from the slopes of Gray Crag.

Ascending Gray Crag with The Knott rising from Hayeswater.

Taking a break before stepping into my crampons, the ascent from here was very slippery, the stunning view, the Helvellyn massif.

From Gray Crag wonderful views over Hartsop Dodd and Caudale Moor, on the far horizon the Coniston fells.

The wonderful winter scene over Helvellyn.

Stunning conditions on the Gray Crag ridge, with views to Thornthwaite Crag.

The striking view from the summit of Gray Crag, Stony Cove Pike over Threshthwaite Glen.

High wide and handsome views looking back along my ascent route.

Seen over the dark ridge of Hartsop Dodd too many lakeland giants to mention, I'll give it a go. across the skyline from left to right, the cliffs of Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike leading to Helvellyn, under deep snow the pyramidal Catstye Cam, followed by the rolling summit of Stybarrow Dodd and Watson's Dodd, in the middle distance St Sunday Crag leading to Birks.

Nearing the summit of Thornthwaite Crag looking to High Street across the valley of Hayeswater.

An icy wonderland seen from Thornthwaite Crag.

Silhouetted on the skyline Thornthwaite Beacon.

The breath-taking view south from Thornthwaite Beacon, Ill Bell and Froswick with sunlight on Morecambe Bay.

I'm about to step back in time almost 2,000 years as I cross High Street, the Roman road almost follows the line of the present day footpath, much more recent a place for shepherds meet's and horse racing, hence it's other not so well known name Racecourse Hill.

Viewing Harter Fell across Mardale Ill Bell.

The stunning view across Thornthwaite Crag taking in Stony Cove Pike and the Coniston massif.

Amazing views from the icy summit of High Street.

Scafell Pike graces the western skyline, to the left the Crinkle Crags, on the right above Hartsop Dodd the dome of Great Gable.

On High Street looking to the run of the Dodds over Gray Crag.

Gray Crag above Hayeswater as seen from the Roman Road over High Street.

Descending to the Straits of Riggindale looking to the shapely summit and shattered rock of Kidsty Pike, rising to the left High Raise.

The Straits of Riggindale provide a splendid view over High Street.

Seen from the summit of The Knott, Rest Dodd leading to The Nab.

Views to hills walked earlier in the day make The Knott a perfect diversion, Gray Crag and the ridge to Thornthwaite Crag to the right, with the icy slopes of High Street rising on the left.

High Street as seen from the summit of The Knott.

High Street seen over Hayeswater with the steep slopes of Gray Crag dropping in from the right.

Sunlight across the summits of The Knott and High Street seen over Hayeswater Gill.

Gray Crag seen from the sheep pens at Hartsop, my ascent route can clearly be seen up the shadowed face far left.

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