Saturday, 3rd April 2010




Walk: Gatesgarth Pass, Branstree/ Artle Crag, Survey Pillar, Selside, Swindale Head and Old Corpse Road back to Haweswater.
Start Point: Mardale Head, Haweswater Grid Reference: NY 468 107
Distance: 8 miles Ascent: 2,740 feet
Time: 6 hours    
Weather: Dry but grey to start, becoming misty and damp, then with some quite heavy showers, but cleared and becoming sunny as the afternoon proceeded.
Comments: Our small party of 5 set off whilst it was dry, but misty on all the tops around, which we climbed into, as we proceeded up Gatecarth Pass. By the time we turned off to climb up Branstree it was quite misty and damp and with some small patches of snow. The first cairn and OS trig are very insignificant, but the cairn(s) on Artle Crag are much more impressive. It is then a simple climb over the fence, if your legs are long enough, but help is necessary if not, to head for the Survey Pillar. Built by the Manchester Water Board to survey the construction of the Haweswater Aquaduct. There is another on Tarn Crag, but it was lost in the mist. From there the path passed two small tarns and up to Selside., and the mist was clearing which began to open the views of the surrounding fells for us. As Wainwright says, the hollow cairn, almost a shelter, is surprising in view of the fact that Selside is a grassy top with no evidence of any rock. It was then roughly east along the fence down to the end of Mardale and the drop down into the unspoilt Swindale. At Swindale Head we joined the Old Coffin Road,last used as such in 1736, so the Old Coffin Road is well justified. The sun had now come out and there was a fine rainbow to show for it as we made our way over the plateau. The views as we approached Haweswater again were quite spectacular, and remained with us as we descended to the road and along the water’s edge back to Mardale Head.

Scroll down to see photos of the walk

Select group is ready


Looking north over Haweswater from start of Gatesgarth Pass . . .


and West to High Street in the mist


Higher and Kidsty Pike and ridge come into view


Branstree is up there.


Branstree/Artle Crag Pike cairn . . .


and OS trigonometric point, or is it a dog bowl.


Cairn on Artle Crag . . .


and a second one a little way away.


We arrive at the survey pillar below Artle Crag.


Past the small tarns to Selside


Looking back with the 2 cairns at Artle Crag on the skyline.


It begins to clear as Riggindale and Kidsty Pike come into view again . . .


as we make our way to . . .


Selside . . .


 and a snowy cairn.


Unspoilt Swindale.


Swindale Head . . .


where it is left turn . . .


for the Old Corpse Road.


Rainbow over the fells . . .


as we make our way along the Corpse Road.


Haweswater comes into view


Some TLC needed, but the view is superb


The neighbours have left as well.


Road to Mardale Head.


Dropping down to the lakeside path


Last view of Haweswater.

Return to 2010 Diary                                                                   Return to top