4th September 2011

High Street to Shipman Knotts from Mardale Head


Walk Overview
Time 09.30 to 15.30
Duration 6 hr
Distance 13 mile
Ascent 4100 ft
Walking with On my own
Mardale Head - the Rigg - Rough Crag - Caspel Gate Tarn - Long Stile - High Street - Mardale Ill Bell - top of Nan Bield Pass - Harter Fell - The Knowe - Kentmere Pike - Goat Scar - Shipman Knotts - Sadgill - Brownhowe Bottom - Gatescarth Pass - 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

Despite the amount of rain we've had, and the lack of consecutive sunny days throughout the summer, the water level was quite low in Haweswater today. Perhaps the good folk further south have been drinking more tea than usual.

Harter Fell taken from the path I followed to The Rigg. There is actually a path leading up to the Rough Crag ridge from here which cuts the corner and removes the need to walk to the end of the ridge. However, if it's a nice view of Haweswater you're after, then I'd recommend walking to The Rigg.

Kidsty Pike; easily recognisable in this picture because it's the only one of the fells with any shade on it.

A view down Haweswater.

Blea Water below High Street and Mardale Ill Bell.

This is Long Stile; the steep climb off the ridge and onto the High Street plateau.

Blea Water from above.
The crags above the tarn are part of Mardale Ill Bell and the big bulky fell behind is Harter Fell.

A photo looking back down the Rough Crag ridge.

Splashing my way to High Street summit.

High Street summit.

and before you know it, you're standing on Mardale Ill Bell.

On route to the top of Nan Bield Pass, Small Water and Haweswater come into view. In the distance is the Pennines.

Approaching the top of Nan Bield Pass.
Turn left for Mardale
Turn right for Kentmere
Go straight past the shelter and up hill to Harter Fell.

Small Water taken from the walk up Harter Fell.

Kentmere Reservoir below Ill Bell; not to be confused with Mardale Ill Bell.
In some of the old books I have and on some of the old maps I've seen Ill Bell is called Hill Bell.

Harter Fell summit.
I hung around here in the hope of a sunny picture, but gave up in the end and started walking to Kentmere Pike.

Mmmmm, I guess I should have waited a bit longer.

Looking across the side of Brown Howe to the top of Branstree.

It's easy walking along this terrain and you can rattle off the miles fairly quickly, although I wasn't moving as fast as the runner coming towards me. "What runner", you might ask. Well, I've had a good look at the picture and I can't see her, but I can assure you that shortly after taking this picture a lady and her dog passed me in the opposite direction.


Kentmere Pike summit.

Looking back to Kentmere Pike summit.

A view down to Kentmere.

I spy a good spot for a bite to eat; Goat Scar, the higher ground on the left of the ridge.

The aptly named Longsleddale taken from Goat Scar.

Lunch on top of Goat Scar and looking across to Branstree and Tarn Crag.
The line below the shadow is Gatescarth Pass. I'll walking up there later.

Looking back up the ridge.

Another picture looking across to the Ill Bell ridge.

A close up of Kentmere.

That way to Kentmere.

and this way down to Sadgill.

The walk down to Sadgill isn't too far at all, but it was so much like summer walking down here I was wishing it was twice as far as it actually was.

Almost at Sadgill now and I feel like I've been walking down hill for such a long time.

Low Sadgill Farm.

Shipman Knotts (left) and Goat Scar (right).

It was gorgeous walking along here this afternoon. And I suspect it was because we're not used to it, but it felt much hotter than it probably was.

Looking back through the valley.

Climbers on Buckbarrow Crag.

Isn't it nice to see a section of one of the passes in such good condition. It certainly makes it a bit easier to walk on than you find in most places as steep as this. I wonder how old this actually is. It would be nice to think the track was laid in the days of the pack horse trains, although I suspect it might be from the time when Wrengill quarry was in use.

Brownhowe Bottom.
When you walk up here from Sadgill, "Bottom" seems like a totally inappropriate name for this spot.

The sign tells me I have 2 miles to go.

Branstree; but not today.
Now I feel like I've been walking up hill for such a long time.

Zigzagging my way down the Mardale side of Gatescarth Pass.

What a fantastic walk.
For the last couple of hundred yards I was accompanied by a long term visitor of the website. We'd emailed each other numerous times over the years and it was nice to finally put a face to the name.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks