The Harry Griffin 2'000 footers Walk 21 -Summits from Kirkstone

25th July 2015

Todays intention was to walk the Mosedale Horseshoe from Wasdale Head as part of my Griffin Campaign, but my legs and my body had other ideas after completing a house move over the last fortnight and that's where the subject ends, never again! so here I am at the bottom of the Kirkstone Pass to 'mop up' three two thousanders as in the fore mentioned title. If you can cast your mind back to my Helvellyn walk where I tagged St Sunday Crag onto an already tough walk was because it should have been included in this walk 'Summits from Kirkstone' except now nearly forty years after Harry had completed it times have changed and so to has the scenery more so with the lack of laybys by todays standards as to when Harry climbed these fells - I guess there was no mention of Pay and Display, and not to mention the many feet that find themselves on the mountain these days. I'm sure Harry will understand from his perch above why I had to chop and change these two routes, which sadly aren't as practical all these years on, in fact, Harry wrote about his disappointment in having to add St Sunday Crag onto todays walk instead as I did, to include it with the Helvellyn Fells.

With only three two thousanders to collect this walk suited my needs well. Back in July 77 Harry had been accompanied by his son Robin who both had parked just off the Kirkstone Pass between Sykeside and Caudale Bridge, of course this is difficult these days which is why I choose to park at Cow Bridge a little further down the Pass from where I navigate my way through Caiston Beck before collecting my first two thousanders with the twin summits of Little Hart Crag, thereafter I double back over the top of Scandale Pass then head up easily to gain Red Screes before a descent over Smallthwaite Band and onwards to Middle Dodd, which isn't collected as a separate two thousander despite its summit being well above the acquired height.

It all started quite early on a beautiful morning just outside Hartsop.
Freeman of the Hills
'Summits from Kirkstone'

On this wet July day, however, there was no temptation to linger on top and we trotted down the ridge to Middle Dodd which does not count as a separate summit since the rise from Red Screes is imperceptible. Here, remarkably, the rain stopped and we ate our sandwiches in an airy, rocky corner in five minutes of sunshine-the only ration of the day, and the only break in the rain which soon resumed.

Harry Griffin

Ascent: 2'561 Feet - 781 Meters
Summits Over 2,000Ft: 3, Little Hart Crag West Top - Little Hart Crag East Top - Red Screes
Weather: Bright and sunny to start turning overcast. Brisk across the tops. Highs of 19°C Lows of 11°C
Parking: Cow Bridge Car Park
Area: Eastern
Miles: 7.5
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken: 4 Hours 35 Minutes
Route: Cow Bridge - Brothers Water - Hartsop Hall - Caiston Glen - Top of Scandale Pass - Little Hart Crag - Scandale Tarn - Top of Scandale Pass - Red Screes - Smallthwaite Band - Middle Dodd - Hartsop Hall - Brothers Water - Cow Bridge

Map and Photo Gallery


Hartsop Dodd, Caudale Moor and Middle Dodd from Cow Bridge 07:08am 11°C

I arrive at Cow Bridge quite early due to my sudden change of plans which saw me able to pick out my parking space almost right away, a rare privilage at Cow Bridge having ealier driven over the Kirkstone Pass which had just been re-laid with a thin layer of gravel which has replaced the tarmac meaning that now, any sudden movements, and you're going to feel like your driving on ball bearings, I dread to think what the cyclists' are going to make of it, in time no doubt, it will bed down but for now, drive carefully.

Looking back over the the top of Kirkstone Pass I can see the Hartsop Fells and indeed the High Street range summits which are topped by morning cloud, but this will lift once the sun warms up. Kitted up I head out towards Brothers Water not before stopping to admire this fantastic view when a Roe Deer is spotted in the high reeds, we watch each other secondarily before the Deer gracefully trots away in the direction of the shoreline all the while disturbing a large Heron in the process, all of this within minutes after locking the car.

Hartsop Dodd reflections.
Shimmering reflections in Brothers Water outflow which later goes on to flow into Goldrill Beck and finally Ullswater.

Caudale Moor, the Top of Kirkstone Pass and Middle Dodd from Brothers Water.
I couldn't resist a quick stop off by Brothers Water which looked so calm and peaceful at this early hour and a world away from how I would find it on my return in a few hours time, this unscheduled stop off would continue throughout the whole of the walk which possibly added a good half hour to the completion time but hey, who's counting anyway eh.

Middle Dodd, High Hartsop Dodd and Little Hart Crag seen with a cloud topped Red Screes.

After leaving the watery delights of Brothers Water behind I now find myself heading through to Hartsop Hall, that's it there hidden beyond the trees. Here I can pick out all three two thousanders and of course my fourth summit of Middle Dodd seen far left despite its summit peaking out well above the two thousand foot mark, due to the lack of depression between it and Red Screes Francis Faulkingham failed to recognise it as a separate summit.

However the twin peaked summits of Little Hart Crag are both recognised and can be seen in this photo lurking behind High Hartsop Dodd just off to the right.

Passing through Hartsop Hall.
Hartsop Hall was soon reached with views into a packed Sykeside Campsite just over the next field. Ahead I pass through a wooden gate where I meet one of the campers who is carrying a toddler on his shoulders while a dog tags on behind, I'm not quite sure what was going on but I pass on my good morning anyway.

Middle Dodd and High Hartsop Dodd seen shortly before crossing Dovedale Beck.
My route will see my flank around the far lower slopes of High Hartsop Dodd before picking up Caiston Beck which is still out of sight but can be found between both Middle Dodd and High Hartsop Dodd.

Middle Dodd seen with High Hartsop Dodd

This has to be one of favourite places in Lakeland as it holds on the right day fantastic views of both High Hartsop Dodd and Middle Dodd together, adding to this are the many erratic boulders which stand alone in the pastures which are thought to have been left behind by what Geologists refer to, as the 'Dovedale Glacier'

I think I may have found that right day today.

High Hartsop Dodd north east ridge.

Middle Dodd.
More erratics are passed as I round the flank of High Hartsop Dodd before entering Caiston Beck seen further right. Ahead the last summit of todays walk in Middle Dodd which as already mentioned oddly wont be included as a two thousander. Here memories come flooding back from my ascents and descent all of which seem to on the back of bad weather days, couple this with Middle Dodd's incredibly steep north ridge I'm hoping todays meeting with Middle Dodd will be more of a pleasant one.

Caiston Beck/Glen
Once High Hartsop Dodd lower slopes have been flanked Caiston Beck soon comes into view, ahead a mile of pleasant walking with the sound of Caiston Beck for company for much of the way. Here a path can be found which leads you all the way towards the top of Scandale Pass, however should the lure of the many waterfalls found here guide you in, be sure to remember where you left the path.

Here, looking back down on Caiston Beck towards Caudale Moor and Hartsop Dodd.

The previous photo is a little deceiving as it shows the head of Caiston Beck almost comes to a sudden end when in fact there is half a mile of steady walking to be had before reaching the top of Scandale Pass. Shortly before stopping to take this photo I cross paths with a father and son duo who appear to have wild camped somewhere close to Scandale Head, I couldn't help to admire the young lad who held his walking poles and stood the ground like he had been walking these fells for the best part of forty years, a nice highlight to see on such a young lad.

I pass his Dad with a morning and a 'beautiful day for it' before a little more ascent needed to reach the top of Scandale Pass.

Commanding views over the Scandale valley seen here with Scandale Tarn and the High and Low Pike ridge.
Beyond, Windermere.

Gaining ground on Little Hart Crag.
With the top of Scandale Pass behind me I continue steadily towards Little Hart Crag, here, from the top of the Scandale Pass you get this magnificent view of the near vertical crags that make up the summit, something of which cannot be seen from valley level.

Views over Scandale Head towards Dove Crag from Little Hart Crag west top.

It wasn't long until I found myself looking back over Scandale Head towards Dove Crag, here I spot a solitary fell runner heading down from Red Screes who I track by sight which takes my mind off taking a photo of the summit, you know the moment when you lose someone you were watching a couple of seconds ago...were'd he go!

Beyond the main summit of Little Hart Crag lies its subsidiary summit crowned as its east top which is where I'm heading next.

Place Fell, Angletarn Pikes, Brock Crags and Hartsop Dodd from Little Hart Crag east top summit.

Despite not really being at any real height the nip in the air blown along by a brisk breeze was enough for me to pull my sleeves down once the goosebumps had been noted.

Time to head back to Little Hart Crag east top.

Heading back over towards the west top.
Found just a short stroll away.

A small diversion to see Scandale Tarn.
The fell runner I had been tracking while descending Red Screes is now sighted crossing the top of Bakestones Moss, not before we both clocked one another followed by a friendly wave. From the summit of Little Hart Crag I retrace my steps back to the Top of Scandale Pass, only on my return I detour slightly to pay a visits to Scandale Tarn who wasn't shimmering under the morning sun the way it was before I summited Little Hart Crag, despite this, I still have a meander around the Tarn as best I could without getting my feet completely wet, after which, I start my return to the cairn found at the top of Scandale Pass.

Heading back over the top of Scandale Pass.
Where eight hundred feet sits between the top of Scandale Pass and Red Screes, it's a steady O'l slog from here but enjoyable all the same.

It's just a case of following the wall all the way to the summit shoulder.
With eye catching views into the Scandale Valley.

Distant views over the southern fells from Coniston Old Man to the Scafells.
It was here I pause for thought on how David and Rod were getting on with David's Lambfoot Dub Tarn walk, back when David first penned his Tarn walks this was the one I most wanted to join him on, sadly with my house move I just couldn't commit myself together with just how tired the whole experience has left me feeling.

Looking back on Little Hart Crag, Dove Crag, Hart Crag and St Sunday Crag.

Red Screes summit trig point and shelter.

After cresting the summit shoulder - Red Screes summit was soon reached, too quickly truth be told. If there was anywhere I was going to expect to see anyone else it would have been here at Red Screes but I find the summit including shelter deserted. Beyond the summit I can see the large stone cairns that line a route over the Snarker Pike ridge, another favourite walk of mine as I ponder do I make the small excursion to cast eye over the ridge, a large dark cloud blocks the sun shining down on the ridge leaving it in a mix of mostly pale browns.

Just a few feet away from the summit Red Screes Tarn is also under the cosh of the cloud which leaves it pale in comparison to that of just a few moments ago, Instead of my excursion I decide to take a break whilst sat down in the summit shelter, not that I needed it mind, more so because it was there.

Distant views towards Brothers Water over Smallthwaite Band.

Spending time in summit shelters isn't something that I would normally do, but seeing as time was on my side this morning it was a change to just take it all in, I'm not really the sitting down in shelters type which was why probably after a few moments I kinda got the feeling I was missing out on something else, then I realized what it was.

The splendid view over Smallthwaite Band towards Middle Dodd.

Smallthwaite Band.
Not every ridge in Lakleand offers such commanding views as Smallthwaite Band.

Smallthwaite Band.

If you cast your eye half way along Smallthwaite Band you can just make out a wall running across the ridge, here a stone shelter can be found which is where I stood while the sun started to break through over head, with this came a sudden change in temperature, things were starting to look on the up, sadly however, it was my time to head down.

Slowly that is.

Red Screes over Smallthwaite Band from Middle Dodd summit cairn.
After some general laziness sitting in shelters I soon found myslef looking back on Red Screes from Middle Dodd summit, the scattered cloud had now gone and clear skies were breaking up all around me.

Commanding views over Kirkstone Bottom, Brothers Water, Angletarn Pikes and Place Fell.

A close up of Place Fell and Angletarn Pikes from my descent, in the foreground Brothers Water much closer than it actually is.

Not far to go now.
With most of the steep descent behind me it is here I keep with the path by crossing over the stone wall where moments earlier I had stopped to chat with a solo walker heading her way up towards Middle Dodd and Red Screes, conversation easily turns to how strenuous the ascent is as I add my pen'eth in saying that the descent wasn't too far behind! something of which can't escape any ascent or descent on Middle Dodd when using the north east ridge.

The bottom of the Kirkstone Pass with Hartsop Dodd, Angletarn Pikes and Place Fell in the distance.

Here, looking back on Middle Dodd after the steep descent.

Dove Crag and Hart Crag towering above Dovedale.
After passing scores of walkers all heading for Caiston Beck I soon find myself walking past the erratic boulders which I had passed just hours earlier, with the exception that now it was much brighter and indeed much warmer which kinda left me feeling sad that the walk was over in what felt like no time at all.

Hartsop Dodd and Caudale Moor over Brothers Water.

Down by the waters edge.

Dust rises from my boots as I take in the Lake Path and with it more walkers are passed, ahead families enjoy the rocky tree lined shore throwing frisbees while others eat picnics. It was great to see the families enjoying themselves but inside I was a little sad in that the silence had been broken than that of just a few hours ago.

Kicking stones I arrive at the outlet bound for Goldrill Beck where I find I have this little stone beach to myself, behind me a farm tractor bails hay while a trio of teenagers sit on the stone bridge that divides the two car parks here at Cow Bridge. After passing through the last gate of the walk I find myself gazing over a car park so full it would give Sainsburys on Christmas Eve a run for its money, inside my pack two sandwiches are left uneaten couple this with most possibly a warm bottle of Diet Coke I decide to myself that I'm going to enjoy the remainder of my walk sat up on the banks of Goldrill Beck, no matter how bustling the place looks, I shall have my time.

I down pack and leave it in the boot of the car before finding a good spot whilst I dangle my legs over a meandering river, behind me a car arrives on the carpark and in it, two walkers look for a place to park.

Hang on I smile, I'm leaving in a few minutes, with this I scoff my lunch down allowing my fellow walkers to enjoy the remainder of the day on the fells.

Just as I had.


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