Date - 25th July 2009 Distance - 9 miles
Ascent - 3266ft
Map - OL4 Start point - Car park above Chapel Bridge, Little Town, Newlands Valley (NY 232194)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Scope End 1352 412 NY 2240 1830
Red Knott 1483 452 NY 2210 1795
High Crags (Newlands) 1736 529 NY 2175 1749
Hindscarth 2385 727 NY 2156 1651
Dale Head 2472 753 NY 2230 1532
Robinson 2418 737 NY 2018 1687



Grizzly, Little Eric and Tetley, came in, to find Allen sitting in the corner looking very miserable.

"Whatever is the matter?" asked Grizzly.

"The weather for Sunday is heavy rain and wind so it looks like we won't get to go out on the hills", he replied

Just then Shaun trotted in, having overheard Allen's remarks. "Cheer up" he said. "It is Dad's Saturday off from the Lifeboat Shop, it is a brilliant forecast to boot, and he says we are going Saturday."

"Where too?", enquired Tetley.

"The Newlands Valley to climb Hindscarth, Robinson and a few other tops", he replied.

Allen jumped up and ran round the room cheering, and saying, "wonderful, that will be a few more of my outstanding Wainwrights ticked off, and for you Little Eric too."


The Walk

Saturday dawned with clear skies, and we were up early and eagerly ready for the off. As soon as we heard Dad loading his kit into the car we dashed out and settled on the front passenger seat. Our route took us north on the M6, passing the Howgill Fells, and we mused about the walks we had done in the past on those hills. Then it was up over Shap summit at 1035ft, and then the gentle descent to Penrith where we joined the A66 heading west.

The high fells began to come into view with Blencathra towering above on the right.

"That was some day when we climbed that last time", called out Shaun.

"It certainly was, and we reached all the numerous tops too", replied Allen.

Soon we were passing above Keswick, and then turned off along a narrow road through the village of Portinscale. As we continued up the valley we could see Causey Pike and the fells making up the Coledale round. Then ahead we could see the objectives of today. Soon though they disappeared as the valley sides closed in. Now on a very narrow road we reached a rough parking area and the start, near the tiny hamlet of Little Town.

Dad got his boots on and we settled into the rucksack, and then off we went. Just a few yards took us over Chapel Bridge, then a few yards further a track led left passing the pretty Newlands Church.

It was rebuilt in 1843 on the site of an earlier Church. The tiny building adjoining the Church was the school, built by parishioners in 1887. It finally closed in 1967, and has recently been restored.

In May 1826 William Wordsworth and his daughter were on a walking trip, and the poet was so impressed with the appearance of the Church through the trees, that he wrote a poem 'To May'. It is on display in the Church.

Just along the narrow road towards Keswick, is the hamlet of Little Town, beside Catbells. This area was made famous by Beatrix Potter as the home to Mrs Tiggy Winkle, the story of which was dedicated to Lucy Carr, daughter of the vicar of Newlands Church.

It is not often that we can see most of our objectives from the start, but today was an exception. Here is Robinson, which was to be our last summit today.

We were to make the steep descent along the rim of those dark crags and then continue on along the level ridge. That was however for much later in the day.

To the left stands Scope End, which was to be the focus of our initial ascent.

You can clearly see the wide green path snaking up through the bracken, and then continuing much narrower as a rocky scramble. To reach this we strolled left from the church along a track that led to Low Snab Farm. As Dad passed through the gate at the end of the farm yard, he noticed this sign on the wall.

"It's closed", cried Allen.

"Too soon for tea anyway", scolded Shaun.

"OK", replied Dad miserably, as he plodded his way up the path.

Then Tetley shouted, "just look at that view along the valley, it's just incredible. That summit is Dale Head, Allen. Dad is taking us there so you and Little Eric can tick it off."

"Ooh, do take a picture Dad", implored Grizzly.

The spoil heaps you can see on the right are from the old Goldscope Mine. This operated intermittently over a period of six centuries, eventually closing in 1864. One of the oldest mines in the district, it was also the most important in output, having rich veins of lead and copper. Silver and gold too have been extracted. Its early development on a large scale was undertaken by Germans, and its long history has been marked by many adventures and much litigation.

Now the real climbing started and soon we were on that green path through the bracken and then the rocky path. The first top was reached, but as is often the case there was another climb to be made before we reached the summit of Scope End. There is no cairn, and indeed the narrow path crosses the highest point. After having our picture taken, we sat and looked in awe at the view behind.

Here we were looking back over the valley towards Keswick, and part of Derwentwater can also be seen. The mountains behind are the Skiddaw group, with Blencathra away to the right.

The ridge now continued, climbing very gently, reaching first Red Knott, its summit on a rocky outcrop, then to High Crags. This was a rather flat top with no cairn, so Dad got the flag out to brighten up the picture.

Those three Birkett tops done, which incidently we had all bagged, our next objective was to be the first Wainwright summit of the day, Hindscarth. Looking ahead we were dismayed to see how steep the climb was to be.

We jumped into the rucksack, and Dad shouldered it. Then taking a deep breath he set off. Initially there was a descent to the col before the climb started in earnest. He strode on and taking just the odd stop to catch his breath, we reached the crest, and in a few yards the large shelter/cairn on the summit. What wowed us though was the fact that the view ahead had opened out, and was breathtaking to the fells above Wasdale and Buttermere.

Dale Head was the next objective seen here ahead and to the left.

The path cut the corner under the end of the Hindscarth Ridge, to join the path along Hindscarth Edge that you can see leading up quite steeply to its summit. As we looked away to the left we could see the sheer precipitous Eel Crags below High Spy, whose summit cairn you can just make out a little to the right of centre.

The distant fells behind are the Helvellyn Ridge. From left to right - Clough Head, the tiny pimple of Calfhow Pike then rising to Great Dodd. In the dip is Watson's Dodd, then rising to Stybarrow Dodd. This then drops away to the Sticks Pass. Then right again to Raise and White Side.

Just before we reached the summit Dad paused so that we could all enjoy the breathtaking view of the length of the Newlands Valley.

"You've just got to take that" called out Little Eric.

"You bet", replied Dad as he got the camera out.

To the left of the valley is the ridge that we had climbed earlier, while to the right are Eel Crags, and behind that Catbells. Skiddaw and its associated fells dominate the background.

Now it was just a short climb to the tall shapely cairn on Dale Head's summit. We immediately jumped out, and Allen called out, "come on Dad, take our picture."

Sitting near the edge looking down over the valley, we now had our lunch, which was especially well deserved for Dad. Normally from the way we had approached Dale Head the round would now lead on to High Spy, but that was not our objective today. Instead Dad retraced the route towards Hindscarth. As we descended we could see Honister Pass far below us. This leads from Borrowdale to Buttermere, seen here backed by High Crag and Red Pike.

Across the pass was Fleetwith Pike, backed by the massif of Kirk Fell, with Yewbarrow behind.

At the col the path we had walked before curved off right to the summit of Hindscarth. We however, kept on ahead, Dad having to endure the steep ascent to cross the end of the ridge, before dropping down once again, along Littledale Edge, to make the final sweeping ascent right to the summit of Robinson. The name derives from a Richard Robinson who purchased an estate including this unnamed fell at Buttermere. Just as well he was not called Shufflebottom, we thought. The summit is a broad plateau, with two ridges of rock about a roads width apart. The westerly one is slightly higher and has the main cairn fashioned into a shelter, where we posed for our picture.

Of much more interest was the view. We all said "wow" in unison, and then Grizzly went on, "get snapping Dad."

The near lake is Crummock Water, seemingly split by the rib of Rannerdale Knotts. Mellbreak is the fell behind it. The more distant lake is Loweswater. Behind Mellbreak, are some of the Western Fells, the highest being Blake Fell. In two walks recently Dad had taken us over all these tops.

We were reluctant to leave as we could have sat all day looking at that view, but we had to be on our way. At first the descent was quite gentle but then it steepened significantly as we walked along near the edge of Robinson Crags. There were three rather awkward rocky steps, but Dad got down safely if a little inelegantly. Here looking back one can see the steepness.

Now the ridge levelled and we walked along High Snab Bank. This was a joy, with now once again the superb views towards Keswick and Derwentwater with Skiddaw and Blencathra again dominating behind. The heather covered fell in front of Skiddaw, is Ard Crags.

The path meandered along the ridge until finally it turned right and steeply down to the valley and joined the lane to Low High Snab.

This led through patches of woodland, and eventually became a road that brought us to Newlands Church, and so the short distance to the car.

Well after all this effort we reckoned that Dad deserved his tea and cake, and he went to the excellent cafe and shop in Portinscale, while we sat in the car to have the rest of our picnic. We discussed all we had seen today, and considered how lucky we had been to see all those wonderful views. It was hard too, to think that there was to be such an abrupt change in the weather for tomorrow.

And finally the summit tally for today - we all, Dad included, bagged those along the Scope End ridge, while Allen and Little Eric also bagged Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson.

Thanks Dad for an absolutely magic day out!


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