Grid Ref NY 478 100
Height 2,333 ft

Branstree always feels like a big bulk of a fell when I'm actually at the top, yet I never really feel like I've put much effort into getting there if this is the first fell visited on a walk. As for the summit itself, this is one of those places where the cairn and in this case the trig point leave you feeling a bit short changed. If like myself you expect to find a proper built up cairn or even just a big heap of stones at the top, then I'm afraid you're out of luck on Branstree. The small collection of stones you'll find up here hardly scream out that you're at the top of anywhere.

I do appreciate that we all have different preferences as far as terrain goes but to describe places like this as dull, uninteresting, dreary or a trudge says far more about the person than the place. If you arrive with the opinion that this is a wonderfully wide open area of grassy fellside, somewhere where you can wonder at will and more often than not have the place to yourself, you might just leave with a feeling of satisfaction and not one of disappointment at the lack of rocks, crags and scree.

Location maps

Route suggestions

Route suggestion: Mardale Head - Gatescarth Pass - Branstree
1.7 mile / approx 1500 ft ascent
This isn't quite the shortest route to the summit, but I'm sure it is the most straightforward to follow. Apart from the final half minute of walking, you have two excellent navigational aids. Firstly there's Gatesgarth Pass and then from the top of the pass you have a fence which takes you almost to the summit. Even in the poorest of visibility it would be difficult to loose either of these. Once you get to the top of the fence however, navigation is a different matter altogether.

The short flattish area you need to cross at the start of the fence will be quite boggy after periods of rain.


Route suggestion: Sadgill - Brownhowe Bottom - Selside Brow - Branstree
3.3 mile / approx 1700 ft ascent
This is the longest route I've detailed for Branstree, although I should point out for most of it the extra distance brings with it a gentler ascent. For the first two mile or so the route follows Gatesgarth Pass, before turning off at Brownhowe Bottom, initially in the direction of Mosedale Cottage. Rather than continue as far as the cottage though, you must turn left at the gate and follow the fence / wall up Selside Brow. To carry on through the gate will take you into a very remote area indeed and not somewhere the inexperienced should be wandering about, particularly in poor weather.


Route suggestion: Haweswater Road - Hollow Stone - Branstree north ridge - Artle Crag - Branstree
1.4 mile / approx 1400 ft ascent
This is an easy route to get started on and in good visibility the whole route is quite straightforward. Should you attempt this when the cloud is down, the path would be very easy to loose. On this route you pass by the big cairns on Artle Crag, these are without doubt the most prominent feature of the fell.

I would say this is the most satisfying route as far as views go. Although you will need to stop walking and look behind to see them.

Photo gallery

Branstree seen from the top of Gatescarth Pass
Branstree summit

Branstree in winter
Branstree summit




Choose a walk that includes this fell
The number of walks to choose from is 11

26th September 2015 - Visiting the Lake District Tarns - Walk No 68
  Tarns from Swindale 14.4 mile 3300 ft
Swindale - Swindale Head - Mardale Corpse Road - Selside Pike - Captain Whelter Bog - Howes - Branstree Tarn - Branstree - Selside Brow - Tarn Crag - Greycrag Tarn - Grey Crag - Harrop Pike - Brunt Tongue - Mosedale Beck - Swindale

25th May 2013
  Seclusion among the far eastern fells 11.4 mile 3300 ft
Mardale Head - Gatescarth Pass - Brownhowe Bottom - Tarn Crag - Grey Crag - Harrop Pike - off path to Selside Brow - Branstree - Artle Crag - Captain Whelter Bog - Sellside Pike - Selside End - Hare Shaw - Old Corpse Road - Haweswater - Mardale Head

30th July 2011
  A long day among the Shap fells. 16.5 mile 3300 ft
Wet Sleddale Reservoir - Sleddale Hall - Seat Robert - Scam Matthew - Mosedale Cottage - Gatescarth Pass - Branstree - Artle Crag - Selside Pike - Hobgrumble Gill - Nabs Crag - Forces Falls - Swindale Head - Swindale - Truss Gap - road near Tailbert - road to Coopers Green - Wet Sleddale Reservoir

12th June 2010
  A long route back from Branstree and Selside Pike 13 mile 2700 ft
Mardale Head - Gatescarth Pass - Branstree - Artlecrag Pike - Branstree Tarn - Captan Whelter Bog - Selside Pike - selside End - Hare Shaw - Harper Hills - Rosgill Moor - road towards Burnbanks - road to Mardale Head

15th november 2008
  Not another soul in site - Branstree to Hare Shaw 6.7 mile 2010 ft
Haweswater Road - Hopgill Beck sheepfold - Branstree North Ridge - Branstree - Branstree Tarn - Captain Whelter Bog - Selside Pike - Selside End - Old Corpse Road - Hare Shaw - Guerness Gill - Aaron's Bield - Haweswater Road

22nd September 2007
  Seclusion at a cottage, but no corpses on the road 8.9 mile 2600 ft
Mardale Head - Gatescarth Pass - Brownehowe Bottom - Mosedale Cottage - Selside Brow - Branstree - Branstree Tarn - Selside Pike - Old Corpse Road - Haweswater - Mardale Head

21st January 2007
  A taste of winter on Branstree and Selside Pike 5.5 mile 1801 ft
Mardale Head - Gatescarth Pass - Branstree - Branstree Tarn - Selside Pike - Old Corpse Road - Haweswater - Mardale Head

12th August 2006
  A walk in the remote far Easten fells from Swindale 13.25 mile 3000 ft
Swindale - Old Corpse Road - Hare Shaw - Selside Pike - Branstree - Tarn Crag - Grey Crag - Harrop Pike - Ulthwaite Rigg - High Wether How - Swindale

1st July 2006
  Two far Easten valleys, a drowned village and an old corpse road. 16.25 mile 5000 ft
Mardale Head - Gatescarth Pass - Harter Fell - Kentmere Pike - Shipman Knotts - Sadgill - Grey Crag - Tarn Crag - Branstree - Selside Pike - Hare Shaw - Old corps Road - Mardale Head

3rd September 2005
  A long walk from Mardale taking in eight fells and two valleys. 15.7 mile 4872 ft
Mardale Head - Old Corpse Road - Hare Shaw - Selside Pike - Branstree - Tarn Crag - Grey Crag - Sadgill - Shipman Knotts - Kentmere Pike - Harter Fell - Gatescarth Pass - Mardale Head

23rd October 2004
  A day in the clouds on the far Eastern fells. 11 mile 2200 ft
Swindale - Hare Shaw - Selside Pike - Branstree - Mosedale - Swindale

David Hall -
Lake District Walks