The High Hartsop Dodd Ridge return down Caiston Glen.

Start. Cow Bridge.

Route. Cow Bridge - Hartsop Hall - Bell Knott - High Hartsop Dodd - Little Hart Crag - Black Brow - Hogget Gill - Black Brow - Scandale Pass - Caiston Glen - Hartsop Hall - Cow Bridge.

Notes. Creating a striking impression viewed from the valley floor High Hartsop Dadd casts a brooding shadow over the small farming community’s scratching a living at the head of Patterdale. Iron Age man made his home here to, the remains of which can easily be found at the foot of today’s climb. The highest points on the ridge are the rarely seen twin summits of Little Hart Crag, their steep flanks more usually viewed and climbed by walkers ascending through Scandale from Ambleside. With the weather gods out in force, thick mist and heavy rain was the order of the day, the gauntlet thrown down I ascended into near zero visibility, only to be taunted by sunshine after changing my descent route in the name of safety. Staring down into the extremely deep gully cut by Hogget Gill with no visible safe route across, featureless slopes rising on all sides, with visibility almost zero, I turned my back on the gill re-tracing my steps to Little Hart Crag and a safe route off the hill, I think we'll call that a draw.

My day started in the car park at Cow Bridge, a good path cuts a route along the western shore of Brothers Water, I followed this path to Hartsop Hall where a small gate allowed access to fields. On a well trod path I wandered on, crossing Dovedale Beck to reach the Iron Age settlement, a rather large number of standing stones and burial mound, adjacent to the settlement a field barn stands, behind the barn a steep unforgiving path rose up High Hartsop Dodd's northern ridge, you would be forgiven for throwing the towel in now, no embarrassment in shouting “sod that”, but us hill walkers are made of sterner stuff, so up I went.

Ascending in pea soup does have the advantage of not being able to see what lies ahead, ahead was steep, lung burning steep. After vaulting a stile then crossing a dry stone wall the severity eased slightly, I passed the small summit cairn almost unnoticed, the twin summits of Little Hart Crag where the only feature I could honestly say bore any resemblance to anything on the map. On leaving the summits I joined an old rusty boundary fence, hopefully this would guide me into Dovedale, it did straight to Hogget Gill, a formidable barrier. I sat down had a brew, this was no time for rush decisions, I studied the map, took a compass bearing, you know all the things that convince you you know what you're doing, when all the time the weather gods have the upper hand. In the end I re-traced my steps, deciding to return another day. The fence line guided me back to Black Brow were another fence disappeared into the murk, this descended to the south and south was where I wanted to go, I soon reached a dry stone wall that in turn lead to the summit of Scandale Pass.

Perched on a rock in the shelter of said wall, draining the dregs from my flask a shadow suddenly sliced through the mist, within seconds, without taking another step I found myself mysteriously transported from a misty world of grey shadows and rain into another dimension, a dimension containing the walker friendly hills of Lakeland. The drama of the day over I descended Caiston Glen, the many voices of Caiston Beck for company, I soon reached the barn that marked the start of my ascent earlier, all that remained was to re-trace my steps for the second time today.

view route map.


Welcome to the English Lake District.

A view through the rain to a misty Kirkstone Pass.

Seen from Hartsop Hall, High Hartsop Dodd rises into a moody sky.

When you reach this stile you know you've dragged your body to the 1200ft contour.

The lonely summit of Little Hart Crag.

Wrapped in swirling cloud the summit of Scandale Pass.

The summit Scandale Pass.

Under cloud Caudale Moor seen from Scandale Pass.

Stunning views down Caiston Glen, sunlight dances across the slopes of Hartsop Dodd.

From the footpath exiting Caiston Glen views back to Middle Dodd.

Stretching to the north, across the mouth of Dovedale, Patterdale.

Viewing Hartsop Hall with the standing stones of the iron age settlement to the left.

In the distance under cloud Place Fell with the twin summits of Angletarn Pikes in dappled light to the right.

Exploring the relics left by iron age man, looking to Dove Crag, the ridge in the middle distance is Stangs my intended descent route.

Looking to Middle Dodd and Kirkstone Pass with the brooding presence of High Hartsop Dodd looming large to the right.

Caudale Moor as seen from Hartsop Hall.

The ragged heights of Angletarn Pikes rise above Brothers Water.

Walking through sunlit lowlands, viewing the Rough Edge ascent of Caudale Moor, with Kirkstone Pass vanishing into the afternoon haze,

The brooding mass of High Hartsop Dodd looms large above the white washed buildings of Hartsop Hall.

The sun illuminates the pastures at the head of Patterdale, with Kirkstone Pass under a blanket of cloud thrown down by the mountain.

The changing moods of the Lakeland landscape, Kirkstone Pass seen over Brothers Water.

Seen over the outflow of Brothers Water, Gray Crag rises above Pasture Beck Bottom, this is almost the same shot I took at the start of today's little outing, sitting above Hogget Gill in a lonely nether world I'd never of thought the day would turn out like this.

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