THE NADDLE HORSESHOE from the SWINDALE ROAD

 


Summary

Date - 5th May 2012 Distance - 8 miles
Ascent -
1900ft
Map - OL5 Start point - Layby on Swindale road (NY 5284 1567)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Scalebarrow Knott 1109 338 NY 5198 1531
Harper Hills 1375 419 NY 5104 1444
Powley's Hill 1526 465 NY 5047 1351
Hare Shaw 1650 503 NY 4976 1314
Naddle High Forest 1427 435 NY 4924 1430
Wallow Crag 1421 433 NY 4964 1492
Hugh's Laithes Pike 1361 415 NY 5021 1515
Naddle Low Forest 1398 426 NY 5022 1498
Unnamed summit 1296 395 NY 5053 1523

 

Preface

Allen was sitting tapping away on Dad's laptop, with Tetley and Little Eric looking on.

"That was a nice walk we did from Whinlatter Visitor Centre", said Little Eric.

"Yes there were terrific views", replied Allen. "Hang on while I bring up the photos that Dad took."

"Just stunning of Bassenthwaite and Skiddaw, and those of Grisedale Pike are especially good", remarked Tetley.

"Grisedale Pike has a special meaning to me, as it marked the completion of my Wainwright challenge", sighed Allen.

"You were certainly a proud bear that day, and we were all proud of you too", said Tetley.

"It would indeed be wonderful to be able to say I had done that challenge too, but it would mean Dad will have to repeat half of the 214", said Little Eric. "Just not fair to put Dad through all those tops again, so I will just have to dream."

"Well at least you ticked off another one that day, when we got to the summit of Barf, replied Allen. "You are getting on with the Outlying Fells, and there are quite a few that Dad may do with Uncle Eric, that you have not done, so completing that challenge may well be on."

"I hope so", enthused Little Eric, "but I am determined that Dad will not be rushed over this."

"Well it looks like you will be making progress with that on Saturday", called out Shaun, as he strolled in with Grizzly, who had just finished watching an episode of Fringe with his pals.

"How's that", said Little Eric brightly.

"Dad is taking us to do the Naddle Horseshoe again, over the fells surrounding the valley between Swindale and Haweswater", replied Shaun.

Pausing a moment for thought Tetley then said, "not only will you tick off four Wainwright Outlying tops, but also 7 in the Birkett challenge."

"I'm going to be a very happy bear on that day, so I think it calls for tea and biscuits all round", enthused Little Eric.

"Great", said Allen. I'm gasping for a drink, as he rushed off to get the mugs.

Then Shaun poured the tea, and Grizzly handed round the biscuits, and we all sat contentedly, chatting about past adventures.

 

The Walk

Saturday soon arrived and we got up early, to make the sandwiches and safely stow these with the biscuits and drinks in Allen's rucksack.

As we heard Dad slam the boot of the car shut, we dashed out, calling a cheery goodbye to Uncle Brian, who was looking forward to a quiet day!

It was a sunny start, and as we drove north on the M6, the Howgills made a majestic sight. However the day was to soon cloud over with just a few sunny intervals, and bitingly cold wind. Will we ever get some warm weather this year?

Tetley said, "For Shaun and I it is the third time we have done this walk. First in June 2004, then again with you Allen & Grizzly, with Uncle Eric in February 2008.

"Oh yes", said Allen, adding, "we were on with the Birkett challenge by then so we took in all the tops, not just the Wainwright summits, as was the case in 2004."

"Quite right", interjected Dad. After today you will all have done them, so I do not expect to return again."

Leaving the motorway at junction 39 for Shap, we joined the A6, turning right for a short distance, to go left on the road that leads to Wet Sleddale. Very soon we turned right, along the waterworks road to its junction with the Bampton to Swindale road, beside which is the concreted parking area.

While Dad was getting ready we settled ourselves in his rucksack, which was duly shouldered by him. Dad strolled a little way on along the waterworks road, to then take the track left over Rosgill Moor.

This picture shows clearly our first objective Scalebarrow Knott, with the substantial wall running over its right shoulder.

"I can see two cairns" said Little Eric.

"Yes, that's right, but we must go to the furthest one, as that is the highest point", replied Tetley.

The track led us soon under the hill, and at the fork, we went right, then going right again on a narrow trod to gain the summit.

"Come on pals, let's settle on the cairn for our picture", cried Little Eric, enthusiastically.

"Where now?", asked Little Eric.

"Harper Hills is next, which is the hill ahead, its summit cairn being in view on the skyline", replied Shaun. "To get there we need to get back on to the main track."

This dipped down then began to climb again.

"That's the village of Burnbanks down to the right", called out Grizzly.

"You're right", replied Tetley. "We walked from there in January 2009 to do four then outstanding Birketts. Originally the place was built for the workers constructing the dam that created the Haweswater reservoir, to supply Manchester. The village all but died out, as it was largely abandoned, but eventually the remaining 18 bungalows were rebuilt to revive the village.

At a fork, Dad said, "I am going to go left here off the main track, as it seems to lead more directly to the summit."

He was right too, as after traversing a few knolls the cairn on Harper Hills was duly attained, where we hopped out for our picture. With there being nine summits today, we are conscious of not appearing too often, as it would become rather boring to readers.

"Where now?, asked Little Eric again.

"Powley's Hill, which is the higher hill directly ahead, but first we have to get on to the track, to get to the gate in the fence", said Shaun.

"Thanks pal", Little Eric replied. "Although I have been walking for four years, I am still pretty much a novice, compared to the rest of you."

A rough path of sorts led off from the summit, and gradually dropped down, eventually curving right to the main track that descended towards the fence gate. This can be seen in the shot below, with Powley's Hill rising beyond. Although the landscape is pretty featureless, it gives the reader some idea of the terrain.

Beyond the gate Dad kept right on the track, to gain the crest, Little Eric suddenly calling out, "what's that over there amongst the trees."

"A stone built chimney, and all that remains of a long gone building", replied Tetley.

The massive ridge of High Street (2718 ft) provides the backdrop.

As we approached the crest Dad noticed a narrow trod, going off left, that meandered, climbing steadily to come to the ridge of Powley's Hill, at its north-east end. This Birkett says in his book, is perhaps the highest point, and we cannot disagree, but as he further states the Ordnance Survey show the summit further to the south. We headed to this, to match the grid reference we had recorded last time, and settled on the highest of the small ridged outcrops for our picture.

"There's no cairn", moaned Allen. "Will you get the flag out to add some colour, please Dad?"

"Before you ask, Little Eric, we keep on in basically the same direction, to get to the last top on this side, Hare Shaw, which is also the highest point we will reach today", lectured Shaun.

So, settled once more in Dad's rucksack, off we went. The map shows just ahead a spot height of 474m, and whilst this does not count as a summit, Dad kindly walked over it for us. Then down and up again, passing east of rise with two standing stones.

Further undulations were then crossed, and two cairns passed, before the furthest was reached, this marking the summit of Hare Shaw. That was one side of the horseshoe done, and three of the Outlyers bagged by Little Eric.

Although unseen, Haweswater lay below. Mountains tower all around. To the south were Selside Pike, Branstree, Harter Fell and the Nan Bield Pass. More too in the west to south-west arc, illustrated in the pictures below.

First the unmistakable triangular shape of Kidsty Pike (2560ft), with Rampsgill Head (2598ft) behind,

and below, from the left Mardale Ill Bell (2496ft) and High Street (2718ft). In May 2010, one of the occasions we climbed High Street, we did this via the long ridge in the centre taking in the summit of Rough Crag (2060ft).

"Brr, isn't it cold up here. That wind just cuts right through you", said Allen.

"Too true, Lad", replied Dad. "I've done with the photography, so let's get off down."

We had to get back to the wall, that was in view distantly below. There is no path, so Dad just picked a line through the knolls and over the flat bogs.

"What are those bright objects over there?", called out Shaun.

"Not sure, but let's go and have a look", replied Tetley.

As we got nearer, Little Eric called out, "They're balloons, that have some how got snagged on bracken. Lord alone knows where they have come from"

"And he's not telling", joked back Allen.

"When we get to the wall, we must go left to find the gate that allows access to the Naddle Forest", said Shaun.

As it turned out it was only a very short distance from the point we rejoined the wall.

Once through, we went immediately left by the wall, to, in a few steps, climb the facing hurdle, to gain the path in the Naddle Forest. Wide clear and grassy, it led to a fence gate. This we ignored, instead bearing left and climbing directly to the summit of Naddle High Forest, which was immediately ahead to the left. In Wainwright's chapter in the Outlying Book, this is referred to as the 1427ft unnamed summit. When drawing up his list Birkett allocated the name High Forest, as it is so referred to on the OS map.

"That cairn ahead, marks the summit of our next top Wallow Crag, at about the same height we are now", said Grizzly. "However there is the matter of getting over the substantial stone wall and fence first to reach it."

"There's a gate, that the track we left to get to this summit goes to, but that involves losing height and having to climb up again", said Allen rather dispiritedly.

"When Tetley and I originally did this walk in 2004, that was the only way through, but it did not matter, as Wallow Crag is a Birkett, so we did not bother to climb it", said Shaun. Then reading Birkett, he went on, "the instructions suggest keeping to the ridge line."

Having listened patiently to this debate, Dad said, "right, that's what we will do then."

The ridge undulated as the narrow path led us on, and over the last rise the wall and fence faced us, and there was no possibility of climbing them.

However looking left Dad exclaimed, "the fence changes sides there, and the wall is breached." Then as we got nearer, he said, "look there is a gate too."

As can be seen for this picture, this is just great and once through it is just a few yards of climb to the cairn on Wallow Crag. This too, we are sure is the 1380ft nameless summit, referred to in Wainwright's Outlying book chapter.

We hopped out to have our picture taken at the cairn, then sat to have our lunch, while enjoying more fine views. Earlier we had seen two walkers on Harper Hills, and looking back we saw then again, now on High Forest. These were the only other people we saw all day.

"Right that's just three tops to go", said Little Eric enthusiastically.

"Last time we went to Low Forest next", recalled Tetley.

"That's right Lad, but there seems to be a good path just down there, that meanders by that tall fence, which bars access to the cairn on Hugh's Laithes Pike. So we will go there first today" announced Dad.

The path ran clear and true, even through the patches of heather, as it rose and dipped with that tall and unclimbable fence to the left. The cairn on the other side of the fence came into view and we climbed to the highest point on this side, as on previous occasions.

We were about to jump out for our picture, when ever eagle eyed, Tetley called out, "look the fence has been cut over there. It is a section about 3ft square hinged at the bottom."

So, Dad taking off his rucksack and camera, which were duly passed through the gap, he then climbed through himself, and for the first time ever we got to the actual summit and cairn, which we promptly climbed up for our picture.

This is a Wainwright Outlyer. The book was originally published in 1974, when we suspect that then there was no fence. Good to have access to the cairn again, however and by whom the gap has been made, as it does indeed stand at the highest point.

"Naddle Low Forest is next", said Little Eric.

"Yes, replied Shaun, "it is that rather unprepossessing rise to the south."

The fence was recrossed and Dad pulled the fence flap up, to leave it has we had found it. Low Forest is thickly covered in heather and with no clear path Dad just forced his way through to reach the grassy patch at the unmarked top. This is just a Birkett summit.

"Just the truly unnamed summit to go", called out Little Eric.

There is no doubt about this, as the neat cairn marking the top could be clearly seen to the north-east. We descended from Low Forest, which on this side exhibits a few small crags, to then cross some bog, and climb gently to the cairn at an elevation of 1296ft, as shown in the revised second edition of the Outlying book (in the original 1974 edition, Wainwright showed the height as 1320ft).

From here, there is a nice view of Haweswater with the fells behind. Dad took this shot on the day we did this walk with Uncle Eric in February 2008.

Shaun said, "we need to find the hurdle in the fence to get down to the valley. Birkett does not include this summit, so his instructions do not apply. He says go north, but this is from Low Forest. So, from here we need to loop back south towards it."

There was a path running in that direction and soon the hurdle came into view. This was climbed and the path beyond followed as it made its descent of Highfield Crag to the valley track, which we followed left to Naddle Farm. There had been no sheep, and with luck we thought, the story would conclude without any such pictures. However it was not to be as along this track, this lamb posed for Dad. Oh well, never mind!

At the farm, we took the signed gate on the right, and crossed the stream (almost completely dry) by the ford. The steep zig zag track now faced Dad, ascending the opposite side of the valley.

"I have not been looking forward to this", he remarked, pausing to catch his breath. "I am not a fit as I was, so we will have to get more hill walks in", he went on.

Great, we all thought.

The track eventually led to a gate in the wall so regaining Rosgill Moor, where the route was retraced below Scalebarrow Knott, to the car.

"I speak for us all in saying what a super walk Dad", cried Little Eric joyfully. "It is not often that we do 9 summits in a day, all of which I have bagged, of which four were Wainwright Outlyers, and seven Birketts."

Now as you know, Dad likes to round off the day with tea and either a meal or cakes and the like. He had got it all planned, to have a heartening meal at Junction 38 Services at Tebay. However to his dismay the cafe was closed, and did not reopen until 18.30. As these services are primarily for lorries, we guess it was closed as it was bank holiday weekend. So instead we just drove home. Uncle Brian laughed when we told him the services had been closed.

back

shopify analytics