Over High Street return through Pasture Beck Bottom.

Start. Hartsop.

Route. Hartsop - Hayeswater Gill - Hayeswater - The Knott - Straits of Riggindale - High Street - Mardale Ill Bell - Bleathwaite Crag - Thornthwaite Crag (Beacon) - Threshthwaite Mouth - Threshthwaite Cove - Pasture Bottom - Hartsop.

Notes. Today I washed my face in the morning dew, watched the sun paint the landscape delicate shades of orange and yellow, what a load of shit, I had an early start to avoid the crowds. Destination High Street, a massive tilting plateau, the culmination of the longest ridge in Lakeland, which Roman architects and engineers saw fit to build their high road linking forts at Ambleside and Penrith, still visible today. Later pre 1820s the plateau played host to shepherds meets, a chance for local shepherds to swap sheep that had strayed into neighbouring valleys. An excuse to consume vast amounts of alcohol followed by a horse race, hence the hills other name, Racecourse Hill. What a sight it must have been horses with their mounts thundering across the Straights of Riggindale. Today the hill's a playground for walkers and men and women on cycles with fat tyres.

Seventeenth century Hartsop village nestles at the mouth of the Hayeswater valley, grey Lakeland cottages topped with thackstones retain many of their original features including spinning galleries, dwarfed by the giants of Hartsop Dodd and Brock Crags, it's a lovely little place playing host to a rather large car park, an ideal starting point for the ascent of High Street. I left said car park passing to the left of a number of sheep pens, the lane that guided me leads to a pump house, after crossing a cattle grid I left it to ford Hayeswater Gill, the path continued passing a barn before reaching Hayeswater. I crossed the gill to start a steep ascent over grass, eventually the path rounded the shoulder of The Knott to join a dry stone wall. Said wall accompanied me across the Straits of Riggindale and on to the summit of High Street. The path linking High Street to Mardale Ill Bell was once a delightful narrow peat track walked by few, much of the route pathless, unfortunately the fix the fell people have flown a JCB in, now a grey ribbon winds its way across this pristine tract of upland, in my eye it's a real mess.

I followed this path to capture the views from Mardale Ill Bell before letting the Kentmere Horseshoe path carry me above Bleathwaite Crag across the head of upper Kentmere, depositing me at the beacon above Thornthwaite Crag. Down hill all the way back from here, I descended to Threshthwaite Mouth, steep and loose in places, then north on a pitched path passing through Threshthwaite Cove then under the climbing cliffs of Raven Crag to access the valley of Pasture Beck, a delightful walk out followed, the narrow path guided me along the banks of the beck back to the waiting car.

view route map.


Dawn light on St Sunday Crag seen over Hartsop above How.

The cascading rapids of Hayeswater Gill.

The unfolding panorama on the ascent to Hayeswater, St Sunday Crag and Birks with a cloud capped Helvellyn behind.

Above the valley of Hayeswater Gill looking to Fairfield above the sunlit summit of Hartsop above How.

Spectacular views from the ascent of The Knott, Fairfield with the Helvellyn massif behind.

Nestled in a hollow in the company of Lakeland giants, Hayeswater, to the left High Street leading to the gentler side of Thornthwaite Crag, on the right the long ridge of Gray Crag.

High and lofty with their tops in sunshine, Gray Crag and Hartsop Dodd with Fairfield and the Helvellyn massif across the skyline.

Viewing Brock Crags with a wonderful pooling of Lakeland giants behind.

Sharp against the morning sky, High Street.

A stunning panorama seen from near the summit of The Knott.

Looking to Rest Dodd and The Nab.

Stony Cove Pike and Caudale Moor lurking behind the sunlit ridge of Gray Crag.

On the Straits of Riggindale looking over Gray Crag and Hartsop Dodd to Helvellyn and Fairfield, on the right The Knott,

The many paths onto High Street, my prefered route is to follow the wall, you're looking at 2.000 years of history, the faint path in shadow to the right, the one nobody walks is the Roman Road.

Heading up High Street looking back to Twopenny Crag and Kidsty Pike across the Head of Riggindale.

Stunning views down Haweswater as seen from the summit of Mardale Ill Bell....

....and in the other direction Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick rise from upper Kentmere.

Above Bleathwaite Crag viewing Thornthwaite Beacon just visible through the cloud..

Some of the best views of Kentmere Reservoir are to be had from this narrow path across the head of the valley.

Having a brew on the summit of Thornthwaite Crag watching cloud dance across the summit of Stony Cove Pike.

I've stood here many times over the years, Threshthwaite Mouth, it's a wonderful place to view The Tongue rising from the Troutbeck Valley....

....and hehind me, Threshthwaite Cove and the descent to Pasture Bottom.

Viewing Brock Crags across the scree and rock of Gray Crag.

Brock Crags across Pasture Beck.

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