Bridge - Falcon Crag - Lady's Rake - Walla Crag -
Lady's Rake - Bleaberry Fell - High Seat - Shoulthwaite
Gill - Raven Crag - Fisher Gill - Armboth Fell -
High Tove - Watendlath - Surprise View - Ashness
North Central Fells
By Neil Haslewood
1st September 2009
This was a day of mixed fortunes and experiences.
Mark and I drove to Ashness Bridge on the eastern side
of Derwent Water and parked in the car park just beyond
the bridge. There was lots of room in the car park
as we were quite early for most I suspect. After putting
on our boots and organising our rucksacks and equipment
we eventually set off at about 8.55am. Although it
was mainly cloudy we did have a few glimpses of the
sun as we headed back down the road to Ashness Bridge.
a path on the right hand side after the bridge which
ascended the hillside below Brown Knotts. Still
gradually ascending we followed the path above Falcon
Crag and round to Cat Gill. Then we carried on to Lady’s
Rake and finally the summit of Walla Crag at 379 metres.
This was our first Wainwright of the day and was quickly
reached in about ½ an hour. The views across
Derwent Water were great although some of the high
fells were obscured by cloud. In front were the Newlands
Fells (including Cat Bells, Maiden Moor, High Spy and
Dale Head), to our right were the Coledale Fells and
Lorton Fells, and in the distance were Bassenthwaite
and Keswick. It certainly was a superb panorama.
After a short stop on Walla Crag we retraced our steps
to Lady’s Rake. Then taking a path heading half left,
crossing wet and boggy ground, and fording Cat Gill,
we ascended to reach a sheepfold below some crags.
From there the path curved round to the start of the
final steep and rocky ascent of Bleaberry Fell. The
summit of Bleaberry Fell has several cairns as well
as a very well made shelter. The first few droplets
of rain started to fall so we decided to put on our
waterproof jackets. Bleaberry Fell stands at 590 metres
and looking towards the north-west cairn the views
to the Coledale Fells and Skiddaw were fantastic. Moving
a little way from the summit and looking south we could
see our next target High Seat. The weather was now
quite mixed with rain and sunny spells. When the sun
was not visible it felt quite cold.
Most of the walk from here on in was very wet, boggy,
and nearly every step was a squelch. After a while
of “walking” on this terrain it becomes very tiring
and it is very difficult to keep legs and feet both
dry and clean. However somehow one just forgets the
conditions to some extent and just concentrates on
the next goal – in this case it was High Seat. With
lots of concentration we skirted the bogs and sodden
ground and made our way (definitely not in a straight
line) to High Seat. The summit is quite impressive
with its Ordnance Survey Triangulation Pillar (S5987)
standing at 608 metres. From the summit there are good
views all round. Nearby to the Summit Pillar is a rocky
outcrop called “Man” which is almost the same height
as the summit.
From High Seat we crossed a stile in the ridge fence
and headed eastwards down steep grassy slopes to Shoulthwaite
Gill which was full of water cascading down the valley.
We found a suitable place to ford the Gill and reached
the other side without getting “too” wet. We then headed
for the large ladder stile to cross the high forest
boundary fence which is erected along the side of the
valley. I guess the fence is so high to in (or out)
the deer in the area. The ladder stile itself is in
a very strange position as there are no actual paths
which run from the Gill side of the stile. After crossing
the stile we were then on a very good forestry track.
Following the forest track we headed north to a junction
of paths where we turned left into the pine forest.
Here is a forestry sign for Raven Crag. The path rises
steeply up through the trees to the summit of Raven
Crag. Raven Crag is 461 metres above sea level and
has a small pile of stones as its summit cairn. Just
below the summit is an absolutely fantastic viewpoint
of Thirlmere and the surrounding fells. Below the viewpoint
is an absolutely awe inspiring and “fearful precipice”
(as AW describes). It literally is a dead end as far
as access is concerned.
After a short time at Raven Crag we descended through
the forest the way that we had come back to the forest
track. We then followed the forest track passing the
Ladder Stile we crossed earlier and on to a big (and
tall) wooden gate. After passing through the gate we
carried on following the fence on our right to a depression
in the landscape. From here we cut across wet and boggy
ground to Armboth Fell. It seemed like miles as we
trudged across the area fording becks on the way including
Fisher Gill. On the way we did see a group of deer
in the distance. However as soon as my camera was out
they had spotted us and were dashing off well away
and out of sight. Eventually we arrived at the summit
of Armboth Fell at 479 metres. The summit outcrop was
quite rocky above the swampy land below. There was
a great view to High Tove and High Seat from here.
The small cairn (a few stones) is perched on the large
summit rock. It is really a disappointing fell to be
honest for quite a bit of effort to get there.
As we stood at the summit of Armboth Fell we plotted
the way ahead across the boggy ground that lay between
us and the ridge to High Tove. Although it looked bad
from above it was not too bad in reality. On reaching
the ridge I made sure I was leading the way – following
the fence – to the summit of High Tove. As I reached
the summit of High Tove I through my arms up in celebration
as I had completed AW’s Central Fells. Unfortunately
I did not have any Champagne to celebrate (mind you
I would want to leave that until I had completed all
the AW Fells). Still it was an achievement in itself.
Hove Tove has a large cairn (which can be seen from
quite a distance) and is at 515 metres. After a few
photos we could see more rain approaching so we did
not hang about. In fact we were in for quite a lot
From the summit we crossed the stile over the fence
and followed the path back to Watendlath. On the descent
there is a great view of Watendlath Tarn. From Watendlath
we decided to walk by road back to the car near Ashness
Bridge. We stopped off at Surprise View on the way
to experience the great views across Derwent Water.
We eventually set off back for home at 3.45pm. It
had been a good days walking and a great achievement
for me completing the Central Fells on High Tove.
Note: On the way back home Marks BMW developed an
electrical fault on the M6 near Lancaster. We contacted
the AA and we were towed back home via Forton (Lancaster)
and Charnock Richard Services. I got back home just
before midnight!! It turned out to be a very long day.
Peak and Fell Walking
Web Albums - Neil Haslewood