The Newlands Beck Skyline.

Start. Gutherscales.

Route. Gutherscales - Skelgill Bank - Cat Bells - Hause Gate - Bull Crag - Maiden Moor - Blea Crag - High Spy - Dalehead Tarn - Dale Head - Hindscarth Edge - Hindscarth - High Crags - Scope End - Low Snub - Little Town - The Vicarage - Skelgill - Gutherscales.

Notes. Glaciers have carved and fashioned the Lake District into a walkers paradise, many ridges and edges divide numerous valleys. A mosaic of fields sculpture the civilised world we all live our lives in, today we left that civilised world to wander the raw ridge lines above Newlands. A grand circuit starts with a family favourite, Cat Bells and continues high for over seven miles introducing the lucky hill walker to some much loved classics, High Spy and Dale Head being but two.

My daughter Kirsten's with me today, or am I with her. We parked in a small parking space at Gutherscales to be immediately welcomed by a friendly finger-post inviting us to climb Cat Bells, it promised an hour would see us on the summit, around an hour later we crested the crown of the hill. No cairn adorns the summit, a small rock platform welcomed us, a small view indicator seems to have sprung up since my last visit, of course this was where all the visitors gathered, a photo was impossible, Wainwright would not approve. The ascent is a lot harder than Wainwright states, a couple of hands on scrambles gets the adrenalin flowing but the effort is well worth it, with views from the minute you set out to the instant you set foot on the tiny summit are stunning, more than an hour is needed to appreciate them, take your time.

From Cat Bells we descended crossing Hause Gate a mountain crossroads before traversing the broad grassy ridge of Maiden Moor. After a short diversion to Blea Crag we made for the summit of High Spy. When I first passed this way a grand pillar cairn adorned the summit, today I'd say it's seen better days, but does gift the lucky walker with a dramatic 360° panorama, with the view to Dale Head the next summit on the round looking quite daunting, it also marks the start of the descent to Dalehead Tarn, as good a lunch stop as you'll find anywhere in these hills.

We sat, ate lunch, drank coffee, all the time contemplating the steep climb we faced next, a ghastly-looking ascent of Dale Heads eastern ridge. Pointless putting the inevitable off any longer we attacked the hill, slow with purpose, a steady plod soon saw us cresting the summit to be welcomed by a fine cairn and finer views. A cool breeze cut across the summit dragging dark rain bearing cloud over Great Gable and the Scafell massif, when the first spots started falling we headed west over Hindscarth Edge with steep drops to our right and left, we soon had the safer ground of Hindscarth under our boot soles.

The toil of the day done, it was down hill from here. After traversing Hindscarth a steep loose descent deposited us at the start of a long ridge terminating at Scope End. This narrow trod guided us through carpets of purple heather, a delight to walk through. Once on Scope End a number of easy scrambles deposited us at a dry stone wall, the path swung right avoiding the massive gash of the Scope End Mine. German minors were shipped in, their superior mining techniques enabled them to extract the copper vein which was 9 feet thick, the richest copper mine known at that time was named by the Germans 'Gottesgab' God's Gift which became corrupted into Goldscope, the name it is known by today.

From below the vast piles of quarry spoil a wooden foot-bridge crosses Newlands Beck, we crossed to access a stoney track leading to Little Town. Did you know Beatrix Potter's Mrs Tiggy-Winkle lived in Little Town, up to date and far more important Little Town Farm has a large tea room come licensed restaurant. We dined before heading over field paths signed Skelgill, the field paths we traversed terminated at Skelgill Farm where we joined a narrow tarmac lane, this in turn guided us under the foot of Cat Bells depositing us back at the parked car.

view route map.


Derwent Water on view from the ascent of Skelgill Bank.

The wonderful ridge lines of the North Western Fells, Rowling End leading to Causey Pike, to the left the Knott Rigg, Ard Crags ridge.

Kirsten strides out eager to reach the summit of Cat Bells.

Let your eye wander, the path over Skelgill Bank to the crown of Cat Bells, yes let us do the hard work.

Skelgill Bank seen from Cat Bells with the Skiddaw massif under a blanket of cloud.

Wonderful views into Borrowdale, seen from the path ascending Maiden Moor.

From the trod across Maiden Moor views to mighty Blencathra.

Heading across the vast emptiness of Maiden Moor, looking to High Spy with Dale head across the valley.

Taking in the view from near the summit of Maiden Moor, looking to Hindscarth and Robinson.

The short diversion to Blea Crag paid off, from the summit fine views over Derwent Water and the Vale of Keswick.

Kirsten gracefully bags the summit of High Spy.

Nestled in a hollow below the steep slopes of Dale Head and High Spy, Dalehead Tarn a gem in a mountain setting.

The riven cliffs of High Spy seen from the ascent of Dale Head.

Taking in the view over Borrowdale to Great Crag with the Helvellyn range reaching across the skyline.

The summit of Dale Head provides a fine viewpoint, cloud tumbles over the summits of Glaramara and Base Brown and.... the opposite direction views down Newlands to the towering mass of Skiddaw.

Rearing out of the Buttermere valley, High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike seen from Hindscarth Edge.

A lonely silent place, the summit, Hindscarth.

The Newlands valley head as seen from the long ridge leading to Scope End.

Approaching Scope End looking to Skiddaw and Blencathra, in the middle distance our first peak of the day, Cat Bells.

Viewing Robinson with the long ridge of High Snab Bank running out of shot to the right.

The scars of man, Scope End Mine.

The pyramid like Scope End with Dale Head dominating the scene.

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