A Newlands Round

21st September 2019

My current laptop is starting to show its age after ten years it has needed numerous repairs and one day I'm scared I'm gonna switch it on and see nothing, this is the same laptop which hosts my website which I back up onto an external drive after each walk so at least that side of the website is safe but it's come to the time where I need to transfer the website from my old laptop to my new one, for this I required the help of an I.T expert, his name is David Hall.

Admittedly it's been sometime since the trio last walked together which we can only put down to work holidays and I'm hoping within the next few weeks we'll be walking regularly again. We had planned to do a short walk and hit the techy bit in the afternoon but David was forced to cancel after he was needed in work so we rearranged the transfer until next week and set about planning a walk after which, David would drive straight into work.

The night before we came up with this walk, a Newlands round, a walk that we are both very fond of which stems back to the start of my walking career where for the first time, I linked four fells together, that was right here in Newlands so I have an emotional tie to these fells too, we could have missed out on what turned out to be a scorching hot day, chilled slightly by the gusty winds which was just a small price to pay instead of sitting in front of two lap tops.

Wainwright Guide Book Six
The North Western Fells

- Cat Bells

Words cannot adequately describe the rare charm of Catbells, nor its ravishing view. But no publicity is necessary: its mere presence in the Derwent water scene is enough


Ascent: 3,164 Feet - 965 Metres
Wainwrights: 4, Cat Bells - Maiden Moor - High Spy - Dale Head
Visiting: Skelgill Bank
Weather: Warm Bright And Sunny, Gust Across The Tops. Highs of 26°C Lows of 14°C
Parking: Parking Spaces, Gutherscale
Area: North Western
Miles: 10.3
Walking With: David Hall
Ordnance Survey: OL4
Time Taken: 5 Hours 20 Minutes
Route: Gutherscale - Skelgill Bank - Cat Bells - Hause Gate - Maiden Moor - Narrow Moor - Dalehead Tarn - Launchy Tarn - Above Yewcrag Quarries - Dale Head - Miners Path - Newlands Beck - Newlands - Little Town - Gutherscale

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code: CA12 5UE
Grid Reference: NY 246 121
Notes: There is room for around ten well parked cars at Gutherscale which is perfectly positioned for a quick walk up Cat Bells or a full day on the Newlands Fells. Leave the A66 for Portinscale and pass through the village before the entrance to Nicol End (Derwent Water) appears on the left, continue to follow the road which forks right signposted (Stair and Newlands Valley) Keep left here and continue to follow the road which sweeps around a right hairpin bend before passing over a cattle grid. The parking spaces will appear around 300 yards further on the left. Parking is free.


Map and Photo Gallery


Blencathra from Castlerigg Stone Circle.

With a bright sunny day forecast I left home early with the intention to call in at Castlerigg Stone Circle which on a morning like we have today gets pretty busy with photographers. I wasn't wrong finding around fifteen set up in the west corner of the field who as I arrived were taking photos of the sunrise as it breached Clough Head in the East, I asked permission "would you guys mind I nip into shot" while I grab a few close ups "aye go ahead"they replied.

It's a bloody glorious morning with a slight chill in the air which should burn off once the sun starts to climb.

Morning silhouettes from Castlerigg Stone Circle.

Blencathra from Castlerigg.
I couldn't disturb the photographers any longer and I left feeling like I hadn't taken all the shots that I wanted but with time pressing on I span the car around and rejoined the A66 towards Portinscale.

The view over Derwent Water and St Herbert's Island towards Latrigg, Blencathra and Walla Crag from the start of our ascent.

We had arranged to meet at 08;00am and even after my visit to Castlerigg Stone Circle I still managed to arrive early parking into one of three spaces left at Gutherscale. David was already parked up and ready to go and after a hearty handshake having not seen each other since June we locked our cars and set off for todays first summit of Catbells.

It was a wonderful bright morning and that Autumn nip I'd felt earlier was still in the air so I added a layer and instantly regretted it once I got stuck into the ascent. The view over Derwent Water was breath taking with the sun climbing over the central ridge into a cloudless deep blue sky at a point when we knew we were in for a special day on the fells.

Cat Bells casting shadow over Newlands.
The morning nip was soon forgotten about as we caught up on David's holiday antics in the Yorkshire Dales passing the Thomas Arthur Leonard memorial plaque below Skelgill Bank where we stopped for a quick breather and to admire the unfolding views over the Newlands fells. The clarity was near perfect enabling us to view neighbouring summits, ridges and valleys in fine detail.

Cat Bells, Maiden Moor, Hindscarth and Robinson from Skelgill Bank.
With not a cloud in the sky.

It doesn't get much better than this.
Heyho lets go.

Looking down on Skelgill Bank towards Swinside, Carl Side, Skiddaw and Lonscale Fell.
With Bassenthwaite Lake seen left and of course Derwent Water over on the right, its not far to go now until we reach the summit.

Skiddaw and Blencathra under cloudless skies from Cat Bells summit.
Within no time we had reached Cat Bells summit finding a young family trying to shelter from the winds behind the new summit view point. You'd be hard pressed on any given day to find just three people up here and two of those this morning appeared to be below four years of age. It had been forecast to be windy with strengthening gust over the summits which was confirmed with height gained, the good news was it was a 'warm wind' just like you get when you're on holiday, other than having to raise our voices slightly to chat the wind didn't affect the walk as much as we thought it might.

Maiden Moor and High Crags seen over Hause Gate with Hindscarth appearing over on the right.
Time to descend slightly before continuing over Hause Gate towards todays second summit of Maiden Moor seen in the centre of the photograph.

Looking over Low Crags and High Crags towards Hindscarth, Scope End Robinson and High Snab Bank.
While over towards the right is Red Pike (Buttermere) seen with Starling Dodd.

Latrigg, Lonscale Fell, Blencathra, Walla Crag and Clough Head seen over Derwent Water.
Notice the wind over the surface of Derwent Water.

Big skies over Skiddaw and Blencathra.
We start to climb the shoulder of Maiden Moor which offered fantastic views over Yewthwaite Comb towards Cat Bells and Derwent Water.

Rowling End, Barrow, Bassenthwaite Lake, Carl Side Skiddaw, Lonscale Fell and Cat Bells from Maiden Moor summit.

The wind continued to blow a hoolie but the bright sunshine more than made up for it and we soon arrived at the summit of Maiden Moor after passing a stone cairn at the summit shoulder which to the unknown (like the chap behind us who was photographing the cairn) can appear as Maiden Moor's main summit which is actually found by continuing South Westerly along the Newlands side of the summit plateau until the summit cairn is reached.

From Maiden Moor summit you get the best view High Crags which overlook Little Town below, I can wholly recommend the ascent of Maiden Moor via High Crags but make sure you've eaten three Weetabix first "clutching at grass" comes to mind.

High Spy seen over Narrow Moor.

A Close up of Great Borne from Maiden Moor over 8 miles away.

Cat Bells, Skiddaw and Blencathra from Maiden Moor summit.
We walk most weekends and right now we were struggling to remember the last time we had such good views under cloudless skies, it's very rare here in Lakeland!

Dale Head and Hindscarth from Maiden Moor.
The Newlands valley below is still largely in shadow as is our descent route from Dale Head via the Miners Path, but with the sun climbing high and steady into cloudless blue skies by the time we descend later the valley will be lit up with warm afternoon sunshine.

Head across Narrow Moor towards High Spy.
We're probably a couple of weeks too early to take advantage of the wonderful heather which hasn't quite turned into its Autumnal colours which just might prompt a second walk across here in the next few weeks.

Looking back over Narrow Moor towards Maiden Moor, Derwent Water, Skiddaw and Blencathra.
We all have those 'favourite views' and this is one of mine made that bit more special by todays sunshine.

Looking down on Derwent Water, Walla Crag and Blencathra.
Well at least it's as windy down there as it is up here, still sleeves remain rolled up.

The view over Bleaberry Fell and High Seat towards Clough Head, The Dodds, Raise, White Side, Lower Man, Catstye Cam and Helvellyn.
It was a little murky towards the East when we set off this morning but now it's looking like any lingering mist has all but cleared.

High Spy comes into view with a dramatic skyline beyond featuring Bowfell, Esk Pike, Great End Scafell Pike and Great Gable.
Not forgetting Dale Head todays final summit seen right.

Looking north towards Skiddaw and Blencathra.
With a long distant view towards Binsey seen over on the left.

High Spy summit cairn.
With winds still gusting we reached High Spy around the same time as a chap who had approached from the direction of Dalehead Tarn where Hi's are exchanged over the sound of the wind. We hung around the summit for a few moments then set off for Launcy Tarn and High Scawdel Tarn, two Lakeland Tarns that I've never had the pleasure of visiting before.

Descending towards Launcy Tarn with impressive views of Dale Head.
We left High Spy and descended towards Dalehead Tarn then forked left using a narrower path which passes the top of Rigghead Quarries, you might just be able to make out Launcy Tarn in the left of the photo. If time hadn't have been against us we most certainly would have included a visit to Dalehead Tarn but the ascent over wet ground meant Dalehead Tarn was a Tarn too far today.

Dale Head and Hindscarth Edge seen taken during the descent of High Spy.
The huge cleft seen right is Fat Tongue Gill which we will cross the base of once Dale Head has been descended via the Miners Path later.

Passing the top of Rigghead Quarries with views into Borrowdale and beyond.
Having forked left we continued our descent and passed over the top of Rigghead Quarries, it's about to get pretty wet underfoot while we visit Launcy Tarn and High Scawdel Tarn.

Launcy Tarn.
This being my first visit I was surprised by how large Launcy Tarn is having for some reason only expected it to be smaller, what a cracking view though here looking towards Grey Knotts, Base Brown, Green Gable, Great Gable, Great End and The Scafells.

High Spy and Miners Crag from Launcy Tarn.
From Launcy Tarn we headed towards the corner of the fence which decends gradually towards Seatoller below. We trace south Westerly and follow the remains of an old fence while taking advantage of any high ground between the Tarns if only to avoid our boots taking a soaking.

High Spy from High Scawdel Tarn.
Next was High Scawdel Tarn, infact there are three tarns this one being the largest.

High Spy seen beyond Dalehead Tarn.
We kept to high ground when we could otherwise we followed a narrow path at the top of Yewcrag Quarries, here we had the option to start our ascent by means of a narrow path but agreed that it would be best if we continue towards the fence from which we could link up with the quarry path.

Fleetwith Pike, Kirk Fell, Beck Head, Pillar, Red Pike (Wasdale) and High Crag.
After a slight ascent we linked up with the quarry footpath and started our Dale Head ascent, David went on to explain that gaining the summit via the quarry path is longer but less brutal on the lungs than the Dalehead Tarn approach, I had to agree but couldn't make up my mind which ascent I prefer.

Fleetwith Pike, Pillar, Red Pike (Wasdale) High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike (Buttermere)

A close up over Grey Knotts towards Green Gable, Great Gable and Kirk Fell.
Kirk Fell looked so close today you could almost touch it.

A long distant view towards the head of the Seathwaite valley.
It's so clear today we can see the Langdale Pikes, Bowfell and Esk Pike, Great End and The Scafells while in the foreground we have Base Brown, Seathwaite Fell, Glaramara and Allan Crags, thats some view!

Newlands, High Spy, Maiden Moor, Scope End, Causey Pike, Skiddaw and Blencathra from Dale Head summit.
It was approaching midday by the time we arrived at Dale Head summit by which time the sun on our backs no doubt creating tan lines because it sure felt hot. We were in luck for a few moments prior to a couple arriving from the direction of Hindscarth Edge we had the place to ourselves and when the couple did arrive, oddly, they didn't stop not even to pass comment.

High Spy, Maiden Moor, Lonscale Fell and Blencathra from Dale Head.
Blimey it appears that the cairn has been rebuilt to the highest of standards, well done to those involved.

High Spy and Maiden Moor dominates our descent as we head towards the Miners Path.
Located at the end of the ridge marked by a small cairn.

Dale Head Miners Path.
Back into the shade we go until we emerge on't other side.

Newlands, Hinsdcarth, Scope End, Ard Crags, Causey Pike and Grisedale Pike from the Miners Path.

We followed the Miners Path taking care not to slip over wet rock which slowed our descent slightly, it was along the Miners Path did we bump into a couple from Settle in Yorkshire who we got chatting to some extent about the wonders of Lakeland together with the emotional attachment the Lakeland Fellscan bring after the woman said she had been up here alone and cried for no reason other than the joy the fells can bring, that's a bold but honest statement coming from a complete stranger so while we were at it both David and I replied saying that we, in our own ways had shed a tear or two while on the Lakeland fells.

The connection, and the emotion attached to fell walking is real and I was really pleased to hear a complete stranger come out with the same emotion that at times we all feel while fell walking whether it be here in Lakeland , the Dales or anywhere for that matter the connection is real.

Lunch with a view.

It was about 12:30pm so with rumbling bellies we decided to stop for lunch by the ruined building which was once part of the mine that used to thrive here during the seventeenth century where copper was extracted by Cornish mining engineers.

High Spy, Red Crag and Miners Crag dominate our descent as we head for the valley floor.

Newlands from Newland Beck.
It's fair to say that we were both pleased by the time we crossed Newlands Beck where from here on in, it's the pleasantness of walks through the valley. It was also here we pass a woman who was sunbathing/reading on the banks of Newlands Beck were Hi's are exchanged followed by "now that's the way to spend your Saturday afternoon"

Causey Pike as we pass the heaps above Low Snab Farm.

Wandope, Knott Rigg, Ard Crags, Scar Crags and Causey Pike.
Newlands, despite the gorgeous afternoon sunshine was quiet and I for one enjoyed the wonderful views over Scar Crags and Causey Pike as the hot afternoon sun tanned the rear of my neck on a day which could easily be mistaken for the middle of a Summer heatwave.

Dale Head, Hindscarth, Scope End and Robinson seen as we pass Chapel Bridge.

Newlands Church, Ard Crags, Knott Rigg, Scar Crags and Causey Pike.

Ard Crags and Knott Rigg.

Causey Pike from Little Town.

After passing Chapel Bridge over to our right we passed through Little Town while observing the masses now swarming on Cat Bells summit and although it wasn't spoke about sharing Cat Bells with just three other people earlier was the right way to enjoy one of Lakelands most popular fells. Back at Little Town Tea Rooms one farmer had opened out a paddock allowing cars to park all day which would ease parking back at Chapel Bridge. Instead of walking along the flanks of Cat Bells back to Gutherscale we took the permissive footpath through the fields while enjoying views of Skiddaw, Causey Pike and Barrow before arriving at passing through Skelgill were we joined the tarmac lane back to Gutherscale. Water was still seeping from the fell side and spilling across the car park which might be a sign that today could be the last of the hot weather before mother nature prepares Lakeland for Autumn, my favorite time of the year.


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