13th November 2005

The first winter frost on High Street.


Walk Overview
Time 08.45 to 12.45
Duration 4 hr
Distance 6.7 mile
Ascent 2215 ft
Walking with On my own
Mardale Head - Blea Water - Caspel Gate - High Street - Thornthwaite Crag - Mardale Ill Bell - Nan Bield Pass - Small Water - Mardale Head
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Mardale Head, Haweswater

Although I've listed this one as being a car park, the truth of the matter is, if you don't get here early you'll end up having to park along the roadside. At times the line of cars can stretch back along the road for quite someway, but this doesn't really matter. Simply park up at the end of the line and away you go.

Parking is free and despite its popularity there are no facilities at all.


Route Map

The remains of an old bridge over Blea Water Beck.

The sunshine was just starting to reach Blea Water as I got there. The path I took to Caspel Gate can just be seen on the right of the picture going up towards the lowest point on the skyline.

Caspel Gate Tarn with Kidsty Pike behind.

Looking up Long Stile towards the High Street ridge.

And looking back down to Haweswater, Rough Crag and Caspel Gate Tarn.

The wall along High Street's grassy ridge, with Rampsgill Head, Kidsty Pike and High Raise behind.

High Street summit.

A little way below the summit are the remains of a sheepfold / enclosure. I would assume this was used by the dales folk when they held their annual gatherings up here a couple of centuries ago. And while the main aim of these meetings was to round up the stray sheep to allow the shepherds to claim them and return them to their respective valleys / farms; one other activity that took place on these days was horse racing. Older maps of this area actually name the mountain as "Racecourse Hill", but now "High Street" has become the accepted name.
Personally I think High Street is a great name for the Roman road and the ridge, but Racecourse Hill is a much more appealing name for a mountain, especially this one.

Hayswater taken from the route between High Street and Thornthwaite Crag.

Looking back up the path towards High Street.
We had the first frost of the winter this morning and you can see the ice around the edge of this little pool.

A longer distance view of High Street, taken from just below Thornthwaite Crag.
The broad path seen in this picture is part of the Roman (High Street) road which runs for almost 25 miles from the fort near Penrith (Brocavum) to (Galava) in Ambleside.

The stone beacon on Thornthwaite Crag.

The unmistakable three peaks of Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick.

Haweswater from Mardale Ill Bell summit. The dark mountains running across the background are the Pennines.

Approaching the highest point on Nan Bield Pass along the path from Mardale Ill Bell.
If you continue going uphill past the summit shelter the path takes you to Harter Fell whereas the path that drops down to the bottom right of the picture is the Kentmere side of Nan Bield Pass. My route today was down the Mardale side of the pass by turning left at the shelter.

Small Water and Haweswater in the shade.

Shelters next to Small Water.
I don't know exactly why these were built, but I'm surprised there aren't more shelters like this on the fells. These ones were easily big enough to fit about three people and would offer good cover if you were caught out by the weather.

From the roadside along Haweswater, looking across to Rough Crag. Kidsty Pike is the pointed fell on the right of the picture.

This time looking down the lake.

And finally with Kidsty Pike and High Raise in view over the lake.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks