A long Longsleddale Round

Another visit to the Lakes for me and this was a walk that I actually came up with myself, looking at the Far Eastern fells I had left, this walk seemed possible on the map. When I looked online this turned out to be a Longsleddale Round, plus Selside Pike. For some reason this fell (Selside Pike, which is off to one side) wasn’t included in this round, or very rarely. On the map I couldn’t see why, and on the ground it looked ok from Branstree. Its on the descent from Selside that the problem starts, do you go direct to Tarn Crag, return to Branstree or follow the fence. Well the latter didn’t exist for me, until I met a fellow walker on the summit who suggested following the fence down to the Mosedale path and then back to the Mosedale Cottage. I knew the cottage path on the map and assumed it would be good. Well, don’t assume. Its a mistake. This way added to my miles, at a time where I was feeling pretty good, it left me bereft of energy. It also put me into the boggiest ground that exists on a main path that I have seen. It was a strange walk, I started in a cold, damp conditions, but with blue skies in places above. On the ascent to Harter Fell I was hoping the cloud would carry on rising. By the time I was on the Mosedale Cottage path I was peeling off layers and regretting not packing sun cream. It was a fine walk, a really fine walk and one, if you haven’t got these Wainwright’s, that I would encourage. Yes the Kentmere Round is a great walk, however it misses out Branstree and the return leg of this walk, plus the rest of the Kentmere Round can be done as part of a Troutbeck Round or with others from Hartsop village. In my case it was about bagging as many as possible on each visit and still enjoying the walk and I would redo the Far Eastern fells in the same way as I have done them if I have the chance again. This walk took me to 159 Wainwrights, with only 4 of the Far Easterns to do, and I would scoop these up on my next main walk.

Start – Sadgill Bridge
Route – Sadgill Wood – High Lane – Shipman Knotts – Kentmere Pike – Harter Fell – Adam Seat – Gatescarth Pass – Branstree – Artle Crag – Selside Pike – Nabs Moor – Mosedale Cottage – Tarn Crag (Longsleddale) – Grey Crag (Longsleddale) – Great Howe – Sadgill
Distance – 12 miles    Start time – 8.45am    Time taken – 7hrs    Highest Point – Harter Fell 778metres
Weather – Cold with cloud down over the higher fells to start, but the cloud quickly cleared with plenty of sunny spells to turn warm.

© Crown copyright 2019 Ordnance Survey FL 2019 SF

Sadgill Bridge. I was staying in Keswick so this was a long drive to get around here. At half 8 I was the first to arrive which was good and I was soon across the bridge and following the good path through the trees

Looking out of Longsleddale, this is a gorgeous valley

That’s Tarn Crag with its head just touching the clouds and Great Howe to the right of that. Here I was trying to eyeball my descent off Great Howe for later, I spotted the gully that the path leads to from Sadgill, I just needed to find the top of the gully when I got there. A bit of investigation calls this path High Lane, not sure if that’s right but I’m going with it. And like lots of the other paths in this area which link valley to valley such as Nan Bield and Gatescarth they are brilliantly built and graded perfectly for packhorses to carry goods from farm to farm. The bonus for the walker is that they get you to the high places very quickly

I’ve turned right off High Lane and I’m now climbing through the rocky outcrops to Shipman Knotts

Yours truly in shadow with Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick in a line. The cloud wasn’t clearing off the higher fells just yet

A local, always smiling!

I’m on Shipman Knotts now, there are three lumps that stick up around the wall which runs rights through the fell. This one gives a great view down into the brilliant Longsleddale which is fast becoming my favourite valley alongside Newlands

Tarn Crag left and Grey Crag right from Shipman Knotts

There’s another outcrop just left of shot here which carries on over the wall and that one further along the wall. I visited all 3 outcrops just to be sure I got the Wainwright. Kentmere Pike is now in sun ahead, Harter Fell behind is still clagged up and Goat’s Scar is off to the right of photo also in sun.

Shipman Knotts from the ladder stile. Long distance views south beyond

Kentmere Pike and its trig point. There’s a handy stepped stile in the wall here which helps to go from the rocky outcrop to the trig. Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick at the back

Harter Fell starts to unveil itself, looks like I’ve timed this perfectly

Such good views of these 3 fells from this side. The Coniston Fells are away in the distance and also look like they are clearing from the cloud

Looking east to Tarn Crag with the slope/fell on the left being Branstree. The area between the 2 fells looks interesting and boggy!! The weather is clearing beautifully now, blue skies everywhere

Harter Fell had completely cleared by the time I got here to give me some fine views across to High Street, Kidsty Pike and High Raise (Martindale). Harter Fell is quite a large flat topped fell and you need to head off a bit to get some good plunging views down.

Harter Fell summit with Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick behind and further on is the Coniston range

That’s impressive. Looking down to Small Water with Mardale Ill Bell up to the left and High Street behind that

A short walk east from the summit brings you to another outcrop and cairn where you get a superb view down and along Haweswater with the Riggindale ridge rising up to the left

Blea Tarn nestled under High Street. Kidsty Pike is further right catching the cloud and in the bright sunshine at the back is High Raise (Martindale)

I’m on Adam Seat now and at the head of Longsleddale, its taken me about 3 hours to get here. Kentmere Pike is off to the right

The wriggling Gatescarth Pass below and the huge bulk of Branstree beyond. It looks a steep up from this side. It was at this point that I met my first walker (about midday), a local who was praising the quietness of this side of the Lakes and in particular these fells.

Now if you are doing this walk you will get to the crossing of the Gatescarth Pass with fairly dry boots, all the paths to this point are very good, and whilst it can be a bit soft around Kentmere Pike there’s nothing to worry about. Crossing Gatescarth however was like entering a different path realm. Immediately I went knee deep in a soggy bog which was everywhere, I just powered through it to reach the steep fence incline and started up. However from here to the finish the paths where soggy most of the time. Great views along Longsleddale from here with Tarn Crag on the left and Shipman Knotts to the right

That’s the bog down there, it stretches out of photo to the left as well. Don’t be fooled by the planks and fence poles laid across the bog, they sink!! The steep side of Harter Fell is in shade

The OS ring at the top of Branstree. Harter Fell is over on the right. Like Harter Fell this one is also fairly flat topped so the views from the summit are hidden a bit.

High Street in the distance from Branstree’s summit

Now at this point you have a choice, follow the fence out of shot to the right, that takes you down and then up to Tarn Crag. Or go this way, following the grassy path to Selside Pike which is the one over there

Artle Crag with Selside Pike just left of the cairn an unnamed hill to the right has a tarn in front of it, and a couple of pillars on it. My plan is to go to Selside Pike then over the unnamed hill with hopefully a path on it and down towards the quarry by Mosedale Cottage

Now the sign is a bit worn but it says Ponder Point. So I did. And enjoyed one of the best views in the National Park

Having rested at the Ponder Point I was quickly on Selside Pike and the views east opened up all the way to the Pennines

It really felt like I was on the edge of the higher areas here as the ground dropped away towards the M6

From the summit of Selside Pike, left to right. Mardale Ill Bell, High Street, Kidsty Pike and High Raise (Martindale). I would take a walk that way to see if I could get a bit more of the view

Oooooo, me like. The grassy path at my feet leads to the start of the Riggindale Ridge which heads up to High Street. Glacial valleys either side.

I headed back to the summit shelter and had a conversation with another walker about the best way to get to Tarn Crag. He’d parked at Swindale Head and climbed High Wether Howe before coming across to here on a grassy path from Mosedale. That would do me and I headed off following the fence down. This photo is from Nabs Moor looking out towards Swindale Head

Mosedale, very wet paths, soggy ground. And for some reason getting quite warm now that I’m down out of any breeze

Now I knew it was the rutting season but I wasn’t expecting to see any deer this far east as they normally congregate around Martindale and Fusedale. But I could hear the stag bellowing and see a small group of deer on the hillside

Mosedale Cottage is just around this corner. Tarn Crag is up on the left at the head of the valley

There it is

Inside Mosedale Cottage, very cosy.

Mosedale, very remote

Having navigated an extremely boggy section at the foot of the climb to Tarn Crag, here I am about half way up looking across to Harter Fell

Tarn Crag summit looking towards the Howgills to the east over Grey Crag

That’s Branstree in the centre with High Raise (Martindale) and Kidsty Pike behind and left.

Surveying pillar for the Haweswater aqueduct on Tarn Crag, which takes water to Manchester. That’s Windermere away on the right

Far left of this photo is Grey Crag, now most people head off left of shot here and follow a path through an extremely boggy section by a fence. I went much further right (west of the tarn) and followed those rocky humps you can see down there, then hopped over the narrow overflow stream and then up to Grey Crag, probably the driest part of the walk since Adam Seat

Grey Crag summit and some superb views east to the Howgills

Zooming in a bit on the Howgills. The clarity in the air was amazing as the temperature started to drop

Wainwright talks in his Far Eastern book about seeing the Scafells through a dip in the near fells. Well I can confirm he is bang on. Scafell Pike in the far, far distance from Grey Crag. Kentmere Pike up on the right

Heading down to Great Howe

In truth I missed the path off Great Howe which takes you to the top of the gully I had seen earlier. I ended up about 30 metres further south than I should have been, a bit of downwards ghyll scrambling and bashing through dying bracken had me on the right path, which lead me here, and a view down to Sadgill Bridge below

The head of Longsleddale, Goat’s Scar up on the left. The shadows are lengthening and its getting chilly again. As you can see it was steep coming down here. Not sure I would head up this way, far prefer the steady High Lane route. And that was that, through a gate and a short walk back to the car at the end of a great walk. A beer or two back in Keswick to ease the aching limbs, the soft soggy ground was tough on the calf muscles and my groin seized as I was driving out of Longsleddale, which meant I had to stop and get out and do a full stretch of everything.


9 thoughts on “A long Longsleddale Round

    • Not too bad Tessa, I got there on a Monday at 8.30am ish and was the first. I reckon you could get 6-8 cars in there (in fact there were 5 easily parked when I got back). I would say on Monday-Thurs you need to be there before 8.45 to be sure. Earlier at the weekends so before 8.30


  1. That’s an epic walk. Have walked up from Haweswater to Small water, that’s as far as I got. Lol. 🙂 My other half has a book on bothies and Mosedale cottage is in there. It must have been great seeing the deer but not finding yourself in bog. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • The boggy ground wasn’t much fun. Mosedale bothy was bigger than I expected, 3 rooms and you could get a dozen people in there. The two sofas in front of the fire wouldn’t be too bad either

      Liked by 1 person

    • Looking back it was my toughest walk in the district that I’ve done. And bagging all of the fells in this area in one go was a good plan. The route up to Harter Fell was pretty easy, gentle slopes and I was feeling very fresh when I started the ascent of Branstree. Its from there that it gets tough, however you could miss Selside Pike out and that would shorten the walk by a couple of miles at least

      Liked by 1 person

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