Oak Cottage - Loweswater

Retreat to the quiet of the Western Lakes

The Cottage, and  the view up the Buttermere Valley
Oak Cottage homepage.





Date : Sat 31st July 2004. 10.30 start.

Place : A walk up Rough Crag, Long Stile and High Street from Mardale Head, returning via Nan Bield and Harter Fell.

Occasion : An organised walk with the Wainwright Society and the Online Fellwalking Club.

Walk details : 6.75 miles, 6.25 hrs, 2700 ft of ascent, including lunch and one or two photo and other stops.

Weather : Very warm and humid, with broken cloud. Sunny at times.

Group Photo for the walk, less Jill B, Andrew and myself.

The walk had been pre-arranged as part of the series of Wainwright Society 2004 walks led on this occasion by Andrew Leaney. Keith and John had joined as a result of the society's publicity, and the others as a result of the Online Fellwalking Club's grapevine, Andrew and ourselves being members of both.

Map courtesy of Anquet Mapping Systems

Our route was from the the Haweswater car park at the head of Mardale, across to The Rigg and then a steady climb on to the Rough Crag Ridge. A steep final ascent found us on High Street summit for lunch and it was downhill from there on (almost).

Overcast skies as we drove along Haweswater.

Harter Fell in the background and the outlet tower in front. This is the start of the 80 mile tunnel and pipeline system supplying drinking water to the Manchester area.

Low tide at The Rigg.

The low water level gives the lake and Wood Howe Island an exaggerated shoreline.

10.25 am and we're early for a change, and in time for Andrew's planned start.

Chance to make introductions or catch up with old friends.

The low water level is starting to show up the old field walls

which were drowned by the flooding of the valley in the 1930's.

Andy explaining the route, or perhaps the site of the Eagle's nest to Jill (Bachelor)

Nigel is behind her (in blue, with the two poles).

Speaking Crag from The Rigg

Fellow Wainwright devotee, who was also walking the route and following the master's footsteps. We walked together for a while. If you are, or know the gentleman, feel free to drop us a line.

John (from Kendal) and Keith (from Staffordshire)

Both members of the Wainwright Society

A warm and very humid start to the day.

Jill (Rowland) takes a break as we complete the first upward section of the climb.

Behind her are the trees at the head of the lake and the track down from Gatescarth Pass which would be our final descent route later in the day.


A small walled shelter forms the foreground for this panoramic photograph of Blea Water.

The high ground is Mardale Ill Bell to the left and High Street to the right.

Ann doing a bit of unsuccessful Eagle spotting.
Dave (Newton) enjoying the sunshine and the climb.


Caspel Gate Tarn where we were able to cool and clean the dogs.

Various peaty pools on the way up had achieved neither of these, but now they were returned to a colour somewhat nearer to "golden retriever" standard we know and love.

Blue skies over Rough Crag.

Everyone had their own speed of walking and it was great to be able to chat to the others as we went along. With the fine weather and good visibility, there was no need to keep in a tight group, so we were able to relax and spread out.

Looking back down Riggindale with Haweswater in the sunshine.
David Hall with rucksack casually slung on one shoulder (Eric Robson style !)

Blea Water, taken from the High Street summit ridge.

Andrew taking time off from the strenuous task of leadership in order to take a few shots for the album.

Topping out at the Trig Point on High Street.


Lunch with a view.

Jennifer (Hall) apple in hand at the top.

The wall has been known to make a fine shelter from the wind and rain on occasions, but today it formed an excellent backrest for relaxation while we enjoyed lunch in the afternoon sunshine.




The wall suffering a little from old age.

The trig point is hiding behind the couple on the right.

A short walk across the grass to the west gave a fine panorama of the Lakeland Fells

Click here or on the photo for a larger image with some of the fell names included.

Cross Country.

Making for Mardale Ill Bell after lunch.

Kentmare Reservoir . . .

sheltering under the crags of the Yoke and Ill Bell.

Ian on Mardale Ill Bell summit

Full marks to Ian in that he travelled up from Bedfordshire the day before and was back at work in London by midnight.

It wasn't quite his plan, but that's the way it worked out !

Matthew and Mark on Ill Bell
Richard looking slightly quizzical?


Blue sky and clouds reflecting on Small Water
Haweswater from the climb up Harter Fell


" Haweswater from the Third Cairn "

( Far Eastern Fells - Harter Fell 10 )

In order to be true to the Wainwright drawing a quick consultation was in required to confirm the identity of the stone with the arrow marking and how we should sit.

Missing was the small arrangement of stones as a cairn, and the Harris tweed jacket and pipe . . . but then Ann never was one for a pipe !!

" Haweswater from the Third Cairn "


Homeward bound.

David on the "engineered path" from Harter Fell towards Gatescarth Pass.

The rough track that is Gatescarth, looking down into Mardale.

This route is technically a "byeway open to all traffic" but I wouldn't like to try it without lining up someone else for the repair bill. The track is extremely rough and rocky with frequent width and ground clearance problems. Due to the erosion by off-road vehicles using the route it is now only open subject to permit.

Nearing the car park and the end of the walk.

Once we had said out goodbyes to Keith, Ian and Mark, the rest of us adjourned to the Haweswater Hotel for re-hydration !

Afternoon tea was followed by a visit to the Mardale Inn in Bampton where six of us enjoyed a very acceptable evening meal in the pub. On the way home I managed to catch a few extra photos . . .

The evening sun forming a silhouette of Blencathra

taken from the lay by on the A66 west of Penruddock . . . .

and finally evening shadows on Skiddaw from the lay by on the road to Whinlatter.

For further reports and pictures of the walk try :-

Andrew Leany's Lakeland Fells

Andy Wallace's Fellwalking site

Dave Hall's Lake District Walks

Dave Newton's Lakeland Mountain site

Ian Smith's Archive pics

who also host their own web sites.


Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon IXUS 400 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

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