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" Dale Head in Winter Sunshine "

Date & start time:    Saturday 21st January 2017, 1pm start.

Location of Start :   The NT car park, Honister Hause, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 225 135 )

Places visited :         Dale Head and back.

Walk details :             2.8 miles, 1350 feet of ascent, 2 hours 45 mins (incl 40 mins on the top).

Highest point :          Dale Head,   2,473ft - 753m

Walked with :             Ann and our dogs, Harry and Dylan.

Weather :                    Sunshine and blue skies, warm climbing, occasional cool breezes.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


With a forecast of clear winter sunshine in the north west of England,

plus being a Saturday, the car parks were all very full.

However there was plenty of space and fine views on offer as we ventured up to the lofty summit of Dale Head.

- - - o o o - - -

We woke in the morning to the sunlight slowly melting the frost on the windows, which told us that the forecast was correct.

Sunshine and a frost start to the day.

Mellbreak, Hen Comb and Gavel seen across the sheep field . . . with Loweswater Church to the right.

Morning sunshine on Rose Cottage and the Vicarage.

My wanderings with the camera temporarily chased the birds from the bird table.

The puffins didn't fly away though.
Our red phone box with a white frosty roof.
Mighty Mellbreak in close up.

From the bottom of the garden . . . a view across the paddock to Whiteside and Grasmoor.

Back up to the roadside and a photo of Low Fell.

" When you've finished there, we'd both fancy a bit of breakfast. "

- - - o o o - - -

Morning chores done, we pack a very small rucksack with coffee and spare warm clothes and head off to . . .


The mining and quarrying machines are silent but the Via Ferrata and Mine Tours are still busy with visitors.

Across the road next to the Youth Hostel . . . there's a clear view of Helvellyn in the distance.

The Mine bus has picked up the people for the climb and is heading up the road to drop them at the start.

An interesting off-road driving location . . . especially seeing that he has to do a three point turn somewhere to get back down !

Harry and Dylan lead the way up the fell side . . . following the fence line.

Ann's picture of the bus taken once she entered the sunshine.

Buttermere comes into view as we climb.

To the left a hidden sheepfold or shelter . . .
. . . to the right another set of walls and another sheepfold.

Most of the four walls are standing.

Beyond it is a chance to see the southern end of the Helvellyn range . . . but there's some cloud starting to creep over Ullscarf.

We're almost level with the top of Fleetwith Pike and the views up here really open out.

The dark ascending ridge is Glaramara heading up to Allan Crags and Esk Hause.

Behind it there's a hint that the cloud is starting to creep up and over Bowfell and Esk Pike.

Great End and Scafell Pike are still clear and would be for the rest of the afternoon.

Those on the Scafells this afternoon would also be having a great view.

Climbing still . . . the ascent of Dale Head is not difficult but it is continuous.

That cloud bank, looking particularly ominous due to the shadows it casts on itself, is slowly creeping north.

There's a mistiness about the head of Borrowdale too.

Still, we are in glorious sunshine and with the climbing we're keeping nicely warm too.

I find a gap in the fence and walk over to the edge of Yew Crag Quarries.

These are old abandoned slate mines and quarries . . . and yes. there are two people down there.

We pass another three folk and that's just a total of six since we started the climb.

The wet path at this point has a covering of ice set in delightful winter patterns.

More ice on this small tarn / large puddle that straddles the path nearer to the top.

To the right on the last photo (yes it is there) is a rather random patch of snow left over from the ice age two weeks ago.

That's me skirting the pool . . . heading off to take the last photo.

Harry has climbed steadily all the way and still seems to have a smile on his face.

The slope is easing . . . so we must be getting near the top.

Yes . . . the large summit cairn announces the summit achievement . . . stop here . . . to go further means a big drop.

The cairn seems a little misshapen and someone tall has placed a single large stone at a crazy angle on the top.

Still . . . that doesn't detract from the fine views which are the reward for climbing Dale Head.

Ann sits and enjoys the view . . . trying out her panorama mode on her camera.

The scene ahead of her is the classic Newlands Valley view all the way down to Portinscale and Skiddaw.

I stood back slightly and spun round for a complete view.

Click here or on the photo above for a Loweswatercam 360 degree annotated panorama

A few slight adjustments of the stone-walling kind . . .
. . . and we can relax and get out that thermos of coffee.

Others have the same idea.

Relaxing in the sunshine . . . with the world at our feet.

Time to play with the bigger lens . . . the cloud is drifting around Esk Hause now.

Looking at the height of the cloud bank behind, Bowfell and Esk Pike may soon be covered.

Scafell Pike, Scafell and Great Gable are all clear.

The highest one . . . funnily enough it is the one on the left.

Through Beck Head Pass . . . the view of the flowing bank of cloud is spectacular.

High above, the moist air is being forced to rise over the summits and forms the classic lenticular clouds that occasionally look like flying saucers

A few more people now and a few more dogs, much to Dylan's delight.

A chill in the air brings out a jacket for some, gloves and hat for me.

One last look around from the top before we leave.

- - - o o o - - -

The rise and fall of the cloud temporarily obscures Helvellyn summit as the cool, moist air flows north up the distant Thirlmere Valley.

The late afternoon sunshine is starting to give the grass a slightly golden sheen.

Heading down now and the scene ahead is subtly changed.

There's a blue haze in the valleys where the moist air spills over, but the thick cloud is staying south of the central fells.

The blue skies reflect on the Dale Head secondary tarns that you pass if you stay on the lower path from High Spy to Honister.

The end of the fence . . . or the start of it as we are on the way down.

The haze and low sun creates nearly 50 interesting shades of . . . blue.

Great Gable above Brandreth and a layer of haze.

Zooming in . . . the new camera has even picked out the people on the summit . . . nearly 3 miles away.

Dylan waits for me before he descends the next section of the walk . . . making sure I'm not left behind.

Ann and Harry are slightly ahead as I have been busy taking photos on this beautiful day.

It is looking a lot colder down there in the shade.

Transition zone.

The sheepfold we passed on the way up is well and truly in the shade.

Honister Crags with a horizontal band of sunshine crossing the valley.

That's Blake Fell in the late afternoon sunshine about eight miles away.

Back where we started . . . crossing the road by the youth hostel.

The views are the same but the colours and clouds are different.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's new Panasonic Lumix TZ60, or my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Compact System Camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . .a thermos of hot coffee on the summit.

Go to Top . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 13th January 2017 - Lanthwaite Hill with Ian

Up here eight years ago, almost to the day (note the snow) - 22nd January 2009 Dale Head on a grey afternoon

Next event - 24th January 2017 - Loweswater's Burns Night