Saturday, 11 July 2009

High Street

This was my first Lake District Walk of 2008. Apart from a short walk to Helm Crag the previous year, it was also the first walk that I did since Scafell Pike in 2006. After a pleasant drive over the Kirkstone Pass, I dropped down into the Patterdale Valley and parked in a layby close to Brothers Water.

I walked a short distance back along the main road before turning up a narrow lane which headed up to the small village of Hartsop. After crossing the stream I headed into the Pasture Beck valley between Hartsop Dodd on my right and the impressive ridge of Gray Crag to my left. The weather at this point was warm and sunny and the walk up to the head of the valley was very agreeable. Here the valley head was a steep rocky cove which I found suprisingly tiring to ascend. I think I had forgotten how strenuous fell walking in Lakeland could be. At the top of the climb I reached the ridge joining Stoney Cove Pike to Thornthwaite Crag. After a brief rest I headed east which involved an even steeper climb up a rocky slope towards Thornthwaite Crag. Although tiring, the scenery around here was fantastic.

When I eventually reached the top of the climb, I made my way across to the Summit Beacon at Thornthwaite Crag. To my right was the ridge that lead to Ill Belle where I had walked from Kentmere in 2006. Today though I was going to the long dome-like ridge of High Street. The view across from the Beacon was most dramatic, and I was pleasantly suprised at how magnificent the fell of High Street was. I followed the path which descended slightly before making a moderate climb onto the High Street ridge. The main path would have bypassed the summit so part way along I turn off and made my way up the gentle climb to the summit where I sat down to eat lunch admirring the fantastic view. At this point the sky which had started to look quite gloomy, brough a light shower of rain. This did not affect visibility or the great view across towards the Helvellyn range of fells that seemed so inspiring as I sat on the remains of a part fallen stone wall looking across the Patterdale Valley.

I would have loved to have stopped at the summit longer, but had to leave this special place as time was pressing on. I followed the wall as it it slopped downwards to the Straights of Riggendale. To my right there were some fantastic views down the valleys leading to Haweswater. Past the Straight there was a junction of ridges leading in different directions. I headed north east back towards Hartsop. Before I descended though I climbed a small hillock know as the Knott to look back along the High Street ridge. A stunning view well worth the small climb.

From here the path descended to the reservoir of Hayeswater before heading back down the valley to Hartsop and then back to the layby near Brothers Water. This had been a most enjoyable walk.

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