Date & Time: Sunday 30th July 2006. 12.25 pm start.

Location of Start : Roadside at Bridgend near the phone box, Patterdale, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 400 143 )

Places visited : Hartsop above How, Priest's Hole, Dove Crag, High Bakestones, Little Hart Crag, High Hartsop Dodd, Brothers Water and back to Bridgend (Deepdale Bridge) along the A592 roadside path.

Walk details : 8 mls, 2700 ft of ascent , 6 hrs 5 mins.

Walked with : Ann and the dogs.

Weather : Blue skies and spectacular clouds, some were a bit too grey. Windy on the tops. Dry.

The non-emergency box at the Priest Hole Cave.

 

Place Fell was the backdrop to our start of this circular walk around Dovedale in the Patterdale Valley.

We parked in the lay-by next to the red phone box and started up the path through the woodland of Deepdale Park.

Clearing the trees, we were greeted with this unusual view of Gavel Pike, a subsidiary summit of St. Sunday Crag.

As we climbed, our view back (north) into Patterdale was expanding all the time.

 

Ahead the ridge of Hartsop leading eventually to Dove Crag, Hart Crag and Fairfield.

St Sunday Crag, with Gavel Pike now blending into the fell side on the right.

 

The weather was beautiful.

(As it happened it was the last day before the recent spell of very hot weather ended)

 

We climbed steadily up the undulating ridge of Hartsop above How and at each minor summit and turn we were greeted by new views of the surrounding fells.

 

Looking back here we could see the distinctive twin summits of Angle Tarn Pikes.

 

Our first view of Brothers Water and the village of Hartsop on the other side of the valley.

A half muddy dog stands near the highest point of the Hartsop above How ridge.

The central fell ahead is Dove Crag.

Looking back over Ann's shoulder at the ridge we have just climbed.

Beautifully clear fells from Birks, Gowbarrow and Place Fell, round to The High Street range which was temporarily in shadow.

Also in shadow at this point was Dove Crag.

Rather than continue on the Hartsop ridge onto Hart Crag we cut off left and crossed to the base of the crag opposite. Our target was the Priest Hole Cave high on the face of the crag, just seen here as a short black horizontal scar about two thirds of the way up the face.

A rough, undulating traverse and a short detour to avoid this colourful peat bog and we were ready for the climb. Having never been there before we were uncertain of the route and exactly how much exposed scrambling was involved.

   
Our signpost for the route - a descending fellwalker
The dogs found the way first - not too problematical after all.

 

   
The shelf at the cave entrance, note the two gentlemen already there.
Exposed, but not too exposed. There was a good path up.

The cave is about twenty feet wide, about eight high at it's highest and about twelve feet deep. . Amongst the contents at the back of the cave were a few odds and ends, candles, a waterproof box, sleep mat and shovel, and unfortunately a few too many empty bottles and cans !

The box held a scruffy selection of bits and pieces, a bottle of wine, a bag of porridge, a carton of long life milk and two visitors books. Not really emergency rations, more an eclectic selection of other people's left-overs. A few minutes reading of the guest book showed it was obviously a well visited location, and several of the visits were in fact overnights stays.

 

A panoramic shot from the cave shows the exceptional view, especially today in the fine sunshine.

The little dwarf wall, here in silhouette, would no doubt be very useful to stop you rolling out of bed should you chose to stay overnight !

Leaving the cave we climbed above the Dovedale path and up towards the summit of Dove Crag

where we lunched in the shelter of the summit cairn.

Great Rigg, Fairfield and Hart Crag form the middle ground with the Scafells, Gable and Pillar filling in the background.

This short section of the walk forms part of the Fairfield Round we walked in extreme heat earlier this June. That was a much warmer day than today !

   
A bit of a breeze and two restless dogs - myself on Dove Crag.
Fast moving and constantly changing clouds were a delight.

Across the valley was Red Screes as we diverted slightly to visit the substantial cairn on High Bakestones.

Ann sheltering from the warm but blustery wind up here on the exposed high fell.

High Bakestones and the Scandale Valley down to Windermere.

We discovered from a couple we passed on our descent, that today was the day of the Windermere Air show. They were on the way up to try and catch a glimpse of the aircraft, but we were about half an hour too early to see the Red Arrows display.

We didn't feel like turning round and climbing back up just to get a very distant view !

Little Hart Crag looking down on the sunshine on High Hartsop Dodd and Brothers Water.

Red Screes and the rounded outlier of Middle Dodd were our adjacent fells.

   
Newly cut hay fields and the Brothers Water Campsite ahead.
Hartsop Hall, one of the classic old buildings of Patterdale.

From the base of High Hartsop Dodd it was a two mile walk past the lake and back to the car.

A permissive path runs conveniently through the woodland to avoid having to join the traffic along the narrow and busy A 592. That was a really good idea !

 

- - - o o o - - -

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

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

This site best viewed with . . . a cool breeze and delightful, fast moving clouds.

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