The Deepdale Horseshoe

8th September 2013

Todays walk saw me back in the East of the district to re-acquaint myself with some old favourites that I really haven’t paid enough attention to, The Deepdale Horseshoe did this fittingly.

The walk was almost in two halves, one of which I witnessed the atmospheric conditions that occur when walking in low cloud over a long period of time, the second was at the far end of the scale under brilliant midday sun as If in the mid, & not the tail end of summer.

A hint of Autumn possibly even winter was experienced on those high summits today as my body was buffeted by strong fresh winds that saw me reaching for my hat & gloves, at times, wishing I was wearing thermals underneath my trousers, this walker was bitten today & a little ill prepared with what to expect during the end of summer.

The one thing I am certain of is that the nights are drawing in a little each evening & the mornings are still dark as I take on the M6 to my beloved fells.

It’s certainly an exciting time for me when seasons end & new ones start… So bring on all the colours of Autumn & the bleakness of winter.


Wainwright Guidebook

The Eastern Fells

-St Sunday Crag:

Every walker who aspires to high places and looks up to the remote summit of St Sunday Crag will experience an urge to go forth and climb up to it. For its challenge is very strong. Its rewards are equally generous , and altogether this is a noble fell


Ascent: ,450 Ft, 1,052 Meters
Wainwrights: 5, Birks – St Sunday Crag – Fairfield – Hart Crag – Hartsop Above How
Weather: Low Cloud Below 500 Meters, Clearing Later Morning, Gust of 40mph, Feels Like 4°C Above Summits, Highs Of 14°C Lows Of 8°C
Parking: Parking Spaces, Deepdale Bridge, Bridgend
Area: Eastern
Miles: 10.2
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken: 5 Hours 40 Minutes
Route: Bridgend – A592 – Glenamara Park – Thornhow End – Birks – St Sunday Crag – Deepdale Hause – Cofa Pike – Fairfield – Link Hause – Hart Crag – Hartsop Above How – Gale Crag – Bridgend

Map and Photo Gallery



Deepdale Bridge, Bridgend 07:30am 8°C

Although the sun is shining a cool breeze blew down the valley as I kitted up besides the car, noting for the first time that in over three months, I am wearing long trousers.

The jacket today does not get left behind nor tucked under the lid of my pack, this morning I am wearing it as I ponder on whether to put my new Montane beanie on, lets not push it too far eh…

Both Deepdale & Patterdale would have been great options to leave the car, as it so happens the parking spaces opposite The White Lion in Patterdale were took up by three cars, one of which was towing a trailer, odd in the fact that this being the first time that I have failed to park up in Patterdale but, it still worked out well as I finished my walk at the wooden gate you see a little further up the stone wall.

It’s a mile walk back to Patterdale so I best get a move on.


The White Lion & The Village Store, as common a sight as any Lakeland cairn.


How Patterdale looked back in 1930

I hook a left after the man walking his dog in the road


Ullswater taken as I pass through Glenamara Park.

The track underfoot resembles a river bed as water drains away from nearby fell side, here I pass two fella’s wearing shorts, T shirts & flip flops, I’m thinking they didn’t know just how wet this area gets…nevertheless we pass on our good mornings to each other.


Morning to you too!


The views really start to open up the more height I gain on Thornhow End.

Here overlooking the southern end of Ullswater with distant views of Great Mell Fell in the background.

The pull up Thornhow End is a steep one with good track underfoot, I knew exactly what to expect as I’ve descended it many times, knowing what to expect is one thing, trying to get my legs to talk to my brain is another, thirsty work, but worth it just for the views.

I press on.


Birkhouse Moor, Hart Side & Sheffield Pike lit up by the morning sun.

After a while the track levels out as I pause for a camera break (getting my breath back break but camera break sounds better!)

Here’s what happened next…


Birks summit cairn shrouded in hill fog.

It was within what seemed like minutes did the whole fellside envelope in low cloud & hill fog, with this came a brutal cold wind which saw me reaching for both my hat & gloves as I wipe away drips from beneath my nose.

What the hell just happened!

This is typical of Lakeland come the end of Summer & start of Autumn, the seasonal changes happen so much faster at higher levels, I think the word character has just been added to todays walk.

The hill fog stays with me until I reach Hart Crag, it was only while standing on Birks summit did the wind send chills through my bones, oddly enough, the more height I gained the less I noticed the wind.

We cannot deny that Autumn is just around the corner & that we should prepare accordingly.


St Sunday’s shoulder as I follow the cairns through the mist.

My senses open up in hill fog, senses you don’t really know you have until presented with a situation when walking in low cloud, you cant really rely on vision alone so unknowingly your brain activates the sense of sound.

There is nothing quite like walking in low cloud as the wind blows through the grasses or the distant tweet of a bird that you cant see, nor recognise averts your attention in what would normally be an everyday occurrence.

It pays to pick up on these small changes, they are, a wonderful thing when walking alone


St Sunday Crag summit cairn.

I had planned on taking a walk over to Gavel Pike & take in the wonders of Deepdale of which this walk is based upon, but with nothing to see within a ten metre radius I press on down the backbone of St Sunday’s summit towards Deepdale Hause


As I walked the south west ridge to Deepdale Hause gaps in the cloud started to appear.


It’s scenes such as this that add the character to a walk…


Deepdale Hause & Grisedale Tarn come into view.


Deepdale & Hartsop Above How through a clearing in the cloud.


The cairn in the photo is on Deepdale Hause and marks the path back through Deepdale or vice/versa


Ascent on the formidable Cofa Pike.

A route I wouldn’t recommend in such conditions if new to Cofa Pike as the ascent is steep & narrow with the odd scramble thrown in.


Cofa Pike summit cairn.

I leave the main path for a wander up to the summit cairn, care again must be taken as the summit sits on a narrow ledge on both sides of the cairn, staying this side of the cairn is the safest route back to the path as I found out after venturing back down ‘the other side’

After leaving the cairn a single path over loose scree zig zags its way steeply to the broad summit of Fairfield.


‘I’m looking for Fairfield’

As I crested the summit plateau I spotted this young man, he was stood still in the cloud looking at his map, as soon as he spotted me he walked over as I bid him a good morning, he returned my gesture as I asked him, you okay?

You know that moment you know someone isn’t okay but they fail to tell you? that’s what happened here. Yes the young man answered, have you come from Ambleside he asked? no I’ve come from Patterdale, oh he says…your on a circular route… the conversation suddenly changed when he asked, I’m looking for Fairfield as he looked down at his map, Fairfield? your on it, you’ve just passed the summit cairns behind you I answer.

Oh I must of missed them, he looks a little shaky with his surroundings (who wouldn’t be) & his mannerism doesn’t speak much of confidence on or off the fells.

I asked the young man where are you heading? he replies back to Patterdale, okay I say as I point at his map, you are here, you need to follow the path that I had just come from & descend via Cofa Pike, Deepdale or St Sunday Crag, lower down the views are starting to open up so you should be able to pick out Grisedale Tarn & St Sunday.

I have to admire the boy for his solo effort, but in the same breath he shouldn’t have been there, caught out I don’t know I just hope he made it down okay.


Fairfield summit shelter.

The summit is eerie silent & shrouded in mist, I soon pick up the path for Link Hause & become familiar with my surroundings from the last time I was here.


Link Hause.

Here I pass a couple who emerge through the mist, the fellow is in front as his wife trails behind some distance away, I bid them both ‘good mornings’ separately always followed by that complimentary, you okay – which is more of a gesture than a question in itself.


Hart Crag summit cairn.

As I reached Hart Crag & although the summit was covered in mist, a chink of light was starting to appear through the clouds.

After taking a few photos around the summit I go off in search of the path that will descend me onto the Hartsop Above How Ridge, easily done in good conditions but not today, from memory I retrace my steps going back to 2010 & stumble upon the path, from there, things can only get better.


As Hartsop Above How & the far Eastern Fells appear through the cloud.


Dove Crag dominates my descent to my flanks which is also, free from cloud.

After walking through cloud for the best part of two hours it is not time to get familiar with the camera again & not to mention, one of the best ridge walks in the whole of the District.

It was only after a matter of moments that I spied…


Walkers emerging form the Priest Cave on Dove Crag

Their voices carried across the head of the valley as I took this photo.


Hartsop Above How, undoubtedly, the best part of the days walk.

It is quite difficult how to put into words how I felt whilst walking the ridge, I had just left four lofty summits with all the hard work behind me, now, all I had to do was descend at my own pleasure under a hot sun with time on my hands.

I’ve never really explored before, usually time is against me but today I explored the ridge wandering from one width to another in great spirit which lasted all the way back to the car, but, that is a little while of yet.


The Hartsop Above How Ridge looks positively inviting.


Here I took this photo looking back on Dove Crag (far left) Hart Crag (Centre) & Fairfield (Right)


Looking back on conversation.

This guy came from nowhere, well I say that, he had a good 10 years on me & ran from the top of Hart Crag & passed me & then stopped for lunch, as I caught up with him he remarked about my Salomon Boots, Are they quest or Cosmic he asked? Quest I answered, ah my boots are the earlier version of yours then as he proceeded to lift his boot & show me his sole.

How do you find Salomon I asked? truthfully there great but not very hard wearing, don’t I know it I said, these are my fourth pair & I’m currently waiting for my fifth under warranty (which are due early this week)

His route was interesting as he had come from Rydal (Grasmere) I didn’t ask him why he was here on the ridge & I never saw him again so I figured he ventured down into Dovedale & back over Scandale somehow, nice fella.


The views & the sunshine made my walk that bit more special.

Here looking over Deepdale towards Birks, Arnison Crag, Angletarn Pikes & Place Fell.


A close up of Place Fell & the distinctive Angletarn Pikes.


Over on the opposite side of the ridge, Caudale Moor, The Kirkstone Pass, as Red Screes dominated my flanks.


Hartsop & a selection of the Far Eastern Fells with Brothers Water in the foreground.


A close up of Angletarn Pikes from Gale Crag.


Place Fell & Angletarn Pikes as I follow the stone wall all the way back to Bridgend.

A walk that was becoming over all to quickly.



I took time away from the path again to take this photo taking full advantage of a higher purchase. From here you can see all the way into Deepdale, those of you might remember the photograph I took of Deepdale from the cairn on Deepdale Hause which is situated at the low point seen right at the head of the valley, rising above Deepdale Hause is Cofa Pike Fairfield & Hart Crag, all of which seem to be heading for low cloud once more


Crossing this sty at around 200 metres.

The final leg of the journey is upon me, between the ridges I spy Bridgend & a very busy car park ahead


Place Fell, Boredale Hause & Angletarn Pikes domineering the ridge descent.


Bridgend & almost back at the car.

It’s not vey often by the end of a walk I am as enthusiastic as I was at the beginning but today I am, yes the mornings ascent was done under low cloud which for me only added to the walk rather than take anything away from it.

The descent down via Hartsop Above How truly made this walk what it was, which makes it a contender for walk of the year.


One final photo of Deepdale Beck before I finish of my sandwiches.


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