23rd January 2013

Taking advantage of the frozen ground - Walla Crag to High Tove


Walk Overview
Time 09.10 to 15.00
Duration 5 hr 50 min
Distance 8.9 mile
Ascent 2300 ft
Walking with Jennifer and ( Maggie Allan as far as High Seat )
Ashness Bridge - top of Cat gill - Walla Crag - Bleaberry Fell - High Seat - The Pewits- Eddy Grave Stake - High Tove - Watendlath - Road back to Ashness Bridge
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, bottom of the Ashness Bridge Road, Borrowdale

A nice and handy little car park that gets you into the Keswick end of Borrowdale, offering easy access to the Ashness Bridge / Watendlath areas and of course Borrowdale itself.

Parking is free, but there are only a limited number of spaces, most of which are often taken up by inconsiderate parking.


Route Map

Given the recent addition to the car park, Ashness Bridge could be a quiet as this in the middle of summer. More on that later, , , ,

This is the first of a few pictures showing Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake.

"Come on Jennifer, take the costume off and lets get going"

Looking ahead to Walla Crag.

From the other side of the rock I took this picture looking down to Borrowdale.

Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite seen from the top of Cat Gill.

And first prize for coincidence of the day goes to the fact that fell walking friend Maggie arrived at the same car park as us, within minutes of us, and almost had the same walk planned as us. It made sense to join forces and walk together as far as the summit High Seat.

The view from Walla Crag.

Bleaberry Fell seen from Walla Crag.

There isn't just a bit of snow on the fells there's also a lot of ice. If we get a quick thaw helped on by heavy rain, there'll be a heck of a lot of water running off the fells.

The north western fells.
With snow on the ground and cloud in the sky everything seems to blend in more than usual and distances just don't seem the same. I made a remark along here that everything seems to be closer than it actually is.

Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake, taken from the big cairn just below Bleaberry Fell summit.

Bleaberry Fell summit.

Bleak, , , , but as we said at the time, this makes for magical walking.


A view back towards Bleaberry Fell.

Another picture of Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake. This one taken from High Seat summit.

I seem to remember we were promised some sunshine today. Perhaps they were only joking. Never mind, the cloud was high, there was hardly any wind, it wasn't snowing or raining and we almost had the place to ourselves.

High Seat summit.

That's where we're heading next.

okay, perhaps it is a bit hard to work out. So, I've gone to all the trouble of walking down to High Tove, sticking a flag in the ground and then walking all the way back here to take a photo of it. And I've done all that just for you !!

This is where we parted company with Maggie. We continued across the ridge to High Tove while Maggie headed down to Ashness Bridge.


The main reason for choosing to do this walk today was this stretch of the central Lakeland ridge. The Pewits are notorious for being one of the wettest and muddiest areas of the Lake District. So, the best time to walk across here is after a week or so of hard frost or after a few weeks of hot, dry weather.

A few weeks of hot, dry weather was a bit much to hope for so I thought it best to come in winter instead fo taking the gamble of a decent summer.

Helvellyn, seen behind the frozen peat hags, mud and water of The Pewits.

High Tove summit in front of Ullscarf.

Looking back along the ridge to High Seat.

Heading down to Watendlath.

There was plenty of snow but no other people at Watendlath today.

Walking through Ashness Wood.

Surprise View, , , and this wasn't the only surprise up here today.

"If you didn't want to be seen you should have put the snowman costume back on instead of trying to hide behind a tree"

I reckon Surprise View should be renamed to Shock View.

What an absolute disgrace. There's now a pay and display machine at the small car park opposite Surprise View and also one in the car park at Ashness Bridge. It's bad enough, but not quite so bad for those of us that park up for a days walking. I feel sorry for all those folk that simply come here for a drive out. All they want to do is spend a few minutes looking at one of the Lake District most recognisable landmarks and then one of its most spectacular views. Now they're charged twice for the privilege. And, if they happen to drive on to Watendlath they get charged again. I wouldn't blame anyone who said "stuff this" and parked on the roadside instead.

And to add insult to injury, we're told overpayment is accepted and no change is given.

Ashness Farm.

"I'm afraid you've had a wasted journey. You've walked right across the field and we've got nothing to give you and we've no time to stop and chat"  

If you look carefully, there's a donkey in the shed.

"are you sure it isn't an ass"
"Of course it isn't, I can see it's ears sticking up. I might not be an expert but even I can tell the front end of a donkey from the back end"

Well, that was an excellent walk. I always enjoy walking in the snow and I always enjoy the central ridge if conditions allow for dry journey.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks