This is a walk I did last week in the Lake District, beginning and ending in the quaintly named village of Little Town in the Newlands Valley just south of Keswick. In true Lakeland style the weather came in with a vengeance and I cut the planned walk short but the ridge between the fell known as Maiden Moor – just to the south of the popular Catbells – and High Spy provided an enjoyable walk and some memorable views of Borrowdale and the Newlands Valley.
From Little Town the path climbs out of the Newlands Valley to Hause Gate, the col between Catbells and Maiden Moor to the South. Looking over the far (eastern) side of Hause Gate provided a stunning view of Derwentwater below and the Borrowdale Valley extending southwards to the high fells above Seathwaite at its head. These pictures were taken from just off the path a little way above Hause Gate.
Once the summit plateau of Maiden Moor was reached I left the main path and followed a faint track around its western edge where crags and steep ground overlook the Newlands side of the fell. Beyond the cairn – the highest point is unclear so we’ll assume the cairn is it – the main track was rejoined and followed on towards the next fell of High Spy. Again I left the main track near the top of the rise to visit a prominent subsidiary top on the left known as Blea Crag and once again overlooked the Borrowdale side with views down to Grange and the the mountains above Seathwaite at the valley’s head.
Blea Crag is a fine belvedere for Borrowdale but is not the summit of the fell which is seen across the plateau ahead. As I approached the top the weather which so far had threatened from a distance made its move and I sheltered behind the huge pillar-like cairn, the wind blowing the rain and hail past me while I stayed dry. The sun put in another brief appearance but it was short lived and as I reached Dalehead Tarn the rain started up again in earnest. My plan had been to continue over Dale Head and Hindscarth descending the interesting ridge of Scope End to Little Town but this would result in getting wetter than necessary so instead I opted to descend the upper part of the Newlands Valley to my start point which is shorter and much more sheltered.
The path follows the right bank (when descending) of the Newlands Beck below the line of crags marking the western edge of High Spy passing a spectacular waterfall and some rough terrain on the way down. Soon afterwards the wide easy track begins by some ancient stone sheepfolds. The route via Dale Head and Hindscarth is described in this post when it didn’t rain though I did encounter winds of up to 90 mph. Lakeland weather is nothing if not varied!
Pete Buckley June 2011