LITTLE HART CRAG, HIGH HARTSOP DODD, MIDDLE DODD & RED SCREES from AMBLESIDE

 


Summary

Date - 6th September 2009 Distance - 11 miles
Ascent -
4250 ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Ambleside-main car park (NY 376 046)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Little Hart Crag 2091 637 NY 3872 1002
High Hartsop Dodd 1702 519

NY 3935 1076

Middle Dodd 2146 654 NY 3973 0957
Red Screes 2546 776 NY 3964 0867

 

Preface

Allen and Tetley were looking miserably through the window watching the rain pouring down. "Will it ever stop", moaned Allen.

"I know pal, the weather has been appalling this week."

Shaun trotted into the room, "I bring tea and news that will cheer you up."

Grizzly and Little Eric came in behind with the biscuit tin.

"Tea", cheered Allen. "Always guaranteed to lighten my mood", as he went and got the mugs.

Tetley said, "I'll help pour pal."

"Thanks."

"We've stocked the biscuit tin", said Little Eric.

"Lovely", replied Tetley, as we all dug in.

Then content, Shaun gave us the other news. "Despite the awful weather Dad has decided to take us walking tomorrow. Hopefully we will get most of it done before the rain comes in."

"Where are we going?", asked Allen, who had visibly cheered up.

"Well it is good news for you and Little Eric. We are going to climb the three Wainwrights that we were prevented from doing last December due to the snow. We got up to Red Screes, but then had to abandon the rest of the walk.

"So that means Little Hart Crag, High Hartsop Dodd and Middle Dodd", said Tetley.

"Yes pal."

"That's wonderful", cried Allen. "I will nearly have completed Book 1 and got closer to my goal of completing the Wainwrights."

"Roll in tomorrow", cheered Little Eric.

 

The Walk

Dad parked in Ambleside's main car park. Once Dad was ready and with us snuggled in the rucksack, Shaun said, "we start up the Kirkstone Road then take the first side road left that leads to Nook End Farm."

At the farm the road ends at a gate, there becoming a track that we continued along.

A few minutes later the view opened up left.

"That's Nab Scar, Heron Pike and Great Rigg on the Fairfield Horseshoe", said Tetley.

Looking right, Allen said, "and there's Low Pike and High Pike on the other side of the horseshoe."

"I remember the day we did that round back in May 2006", commented Grizzly. "A day of contrasts in the weather. On that ascent of the Low and High Pike side we had rain, then it tried to snow when we got to Fairfield. Then it was glorious sunshine on the return over Great Rigg etc. A true example of experiencing four seasons in one day."

Dad strode on his progress being stopped nearly a quarter hour later, as Little Eric said, "that looks a bit like an amphitheatre by the track."

"Hmm, it does", replied Shaun, "but pal I think it is a small quarry long abandoned."

Shortly we arrived at a path junction. "Straight on is the route of the Fairfield Horseshoe, towards Low Pike. Today we go right for Scandale", stated Shaun.

This path soon brought us to pretty High Sweden Bridge, under which flows Scandale Beck.

Crossing the bridge it was through the gate and onwards into and up the wild lonely valley of Scandale, with Low and High Pike towering to the left. After about half an hour, Tetley pointed, "in front is our first objective Little Hart Crag. Of the two peaks the west one on the left is the summit."

After all the rains, it was unsurprisingly muddy in places and the streams were swollen, but Dad forded them safely.

"There's one of our lovely Herdwicks", said Allen. "I don't mind sheep pictures of them, as they are our very favourites."

"And there's its lamb", said Little Eric. "So cute."

The steady ascent started leading to the Scandale Pass, but just past a wall there was a crossroads of paths. "We go right by the wall", advised Shaun.

The ascent steepened as we approached Little Hart Crag, Dad striking right to the west summit that is the highest point.

"Yippee", cheered Allen, "that's one down Little Eric", as with the rest of us he scrambled out to sit on the substantial cairn.

Grizzly said, "the name means 'the rocky height frequented by the hart or stag', from the Old English heorot or Old Norse hjortr."

Settled again, Shaun said, "we cross to the to the east summit, and then take the path down the ridge towards High Hartsop Dodd."

As Dad took this, Tetley set the scene. The lake is Brothers Water. The fells left to right are Place Fell, Angletarn Pikes, then round right Brock Crags and Rest Dodd. In front on the right is Hartsop Dodd. In front on the left is part of the ridge that rises over Gale Crag and Hartsop above How."

"Thank you" said Little Eric. "This all helps me to get the names in my mind and make sense of the landscape."

Crossing a number of small humps, we came to the small cairn marking the summit of High Hartsop Dodd. "Two down", called out Allen.

To add colour to our picture Dad got the flag out, and from the blur you can see that whilst dry the day was pretty windy on the summits.

"Right", said Shaun, "we have to return up the ridge and cut left below Little Hart Crag, to gain the path at the Scandale Pass."

The steep 900 ft ascent to Red Screes now faced us, and our little hearts sank, Little Eric saying, "it's very steep is there no other way."

"No lad, but all we can do is to climb steadily", replied Dad.

This he did taking rests now and then, and finally gaining the Scandale Pass path.

"We are going to Middle Dodd first", said Tetley. "What's the plan Dad?"

"Keep on this path until I judge we are at the level of that summit then go left."

In fact a path branched off that brought us to the bottom of Smallthwaite Band.

Along here Tetley called out, "look there's another cute Herdwick lamb."

Then is was just a gentle stroll to the substantial cairn marking Middle Dodd's summit."

"Great" cheered Allen and Little Eric in unison. "That's the three Wainwrights bagged."

Grizzly said, "the Hartsop in both Hartsop Dodd and High Hartsop Dodd, refers to their proximity above the Hartsop valley that means the 'valley of the stag', again from the Old English heorot or Old Norse hjortr. Dodd refers to 'a steep compact rounded summit'. Of course here we are between Hartsop Dodd and High Hartsop Dodd, hence Middle Dodd."

"Wow", said Shaun, "what a fine view to Brothers Water, with Place Fell behind and Angletarn Pikes to the right. Distantly to the left of Place Fell is Great Mell Fell that we climbed a month ago."

We got settled again and turned our back on the view looking upwards at the ascent we now had to make of Smallthwaite Band, with left the steep rocky and forbidding north face of Red Screes.

So with a sigh, Dad put best foot forwards to tackle the steep climb. "At least it will be basically downhill after this."

In all with a few stops to rest it took us about 40 minutes, to arrive at the shelter on Red Screes...

...and the trig point. "Last time we sat there was snow all around", reminisced Allen.

You can see that this is situated just yards from the edge of that vertical drop of the north face. It was very windy as can be judged by Grizzly's scarf, so we were glad to get safely tucked up again in the rucksack.

So far it had been dry, but soon now the rain came on, which together with the strong wind, made for a rather unpleasant descent of Red Screes.

Setting off we almost immediately passed this small tarn.

Dad descended as quickly as possible just stopping to take this atmospheric shot of Rydal Water with the Langdale Pikes looming behind.

By now we were nearly down, the path exiting onto the Kirkstone Road, and about half a mile or so to the car.

By now the rain was getting ever heavier, Dad saying, "we will be all glad to get into the dry and I plan to just drive straight home."

"Yes, it will indeed be good to get out of the rain", replied Tetley.

"Thank you for a super walk Dad", said Allen, "Little Eric and I have finally ticked off these summits"

"You are the very best Dad in the world", added Little Eric.

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