High Seat & North Central Fells - 1st September 2009
Date 1st September 2009 Description High Seat & North Central Fells
Start Point Ashness Bridge Peaks Climbed Walla Crag 379m
Total Time 6hrs 30min   Bleaberry Fell 590m
Walking Time 4hrs 50min   High Seat 608m
Stopped Time 1hrs 40min   Raven Crag 461m
Distance 12.00 miles   Armboth Fell 479m
Moving Average 2.5 mph   High Tove 515m
Elevation at Start 172 metres Start Grid Ref NY 26974 19647
Total Ascent 920 metres Temperature 14-18°C
Max Elevation 608 metres Weather Sunny Intervals & Heavy Rain
    Walking With Mark

Ashness Bridge - Falcon Crag - Lady's Rake - Walla Crag - Lady's Rake - Bleaberry Fell - High Seat - Shoulthwaite Gill - Raven Crag - Fisher Gill - Armboth Fell - High Tove - Watendlath - Surprise View - Ashness Bridge

North Central Fells
By Neil Haslewood
1st September 2009

This was a day of mixed fortunes and experiences. Mark and I drove to Ashness Bridge on the eastern side of Derwent Water and parked in the car park just beyond the bridge. There was lots of room in the car park as we were quite early for most I suspect. After putting on our boots and organising our rucksacks and equipment we eventually set off at about 8.55am. Although it was mainly cloudy we did have a few glimpses of the sun as we headed back down the road to Ashness Bridge.

We took a path on the right hand side after the bridge which ascended the hillside below Brown Knotts. Still gradually ascending we followed the path above Falcon Crag and round to Cat Gill. Then we carried on to Lady’s Rake and finally the summit of Walla Crag at 379 metres. This was our first Wainwright of the day and was quickly reached in about ½ an hour. The views across Derwent Water were great although some of the high fells were obscured by cloud. In front were the Newlands Fells (including Cat Bells, Maiden Moor, High Spy and Dale Head), to our right were the Coledale Fells and Lorton Fells, and in the distance were Bassenthwaite and Keswick. It certainly was a superb panorama.

After a short stop on Walla Crag we retraced our steps to Lady’s Rake. Then taking a path heading half left, crossing wet and boggy ground, and fording Cat Gill, we ascended to reach a sheepfold below some crags. From there the path curved round to the start of the final steep and rocky ascent of Bleaberry Fell. The summit of Bleaberry Fell has several cairns as well as a very well made shelter. The first few droplets of rain started to fall so we decided to put on our waterproof jackets. Bleaberry Fell stands at 590 metres and looking towards the north-west cairn the views to the Coledale Fells and Skiddaw were fantastic. Moving a little way from the summit and looking south we could see our next target High Seat. The weather was now quite mixed with rain and sunny spells. When the sun was not visible it felt quite cold.

Most of the walk from here on in was very wet, boggy, and nearly every step was a squelch. After a while of “walking” on this terrain it becomes very tiring and it is very difficult to keep legs and feet both dry and clean. However somehow one just forgets the conditions to some extent and just concentrates on the next goal – in this case it was High Seat. With lots of concentration we skirted the bogs and sodden ground and made our way (definitely not in a straight line) to High Seat. The summit is quite impressive with its Ordnance Survey Triangulation Pillar (S5987) standing at 608 metres. From the summit there are good views all round. Nearby to the Summit Pillar is a rocky outcrop called “Man” which is almost the same height as the summit.

From High Seat we crossed a stile in the ridge fence and headed eastwards down steep grassy slopes to Shoulthwaite Gill which was full of water cascading down the valley. We found a suitable place to ford the Gill and reached the other side without getting “too” wet. We then headed for the large ladder stile to cross the high forest boundary fence which is erected along the side of the valley. I guess the fence is so high to in (or out) the deer in the area. The ladder stile itself is in a very strange position as there are no actual paths which run from the Gill side of the stile. After crossing the stile we were then on a very good forestry track. Following the forest track we headed north to a junction of paths where we turned left into the pine forest. Here is a forestry sign for Raven Crag. The path rises steeply up through the trees to the summit of Raven Crag. Raven Crag is 461 metres above sea level and has a small pile of stones as its summit cairn. Just below the summit is an absolutely fantastic viewpoint of Thirlmere and the surrounding fells. Below the viewpoint is an absolutely awe inspiring and “fearful precipice” (as AW describes). It literally is a dead end as far as access is concerned.

After a short time at Raven Crag we descended through the forest the way that we had come back to the forest track. We then followed the forest track passing the Ladder Stile we crossed earlier and on to a big (and tall) wooden gate. After passing through the gate we carried on following the fence on our right to a depression in the landscape. From here we cut across wet and boggy ground to Armboth Fell. It seemed like miles as we trudged across the area fording becks on the way including Fisher Gill. On the way we did see a group of deer in the distance. However as soon as my camera was out they had spotted us and were dashing off well away and out of sight. Eventually we arrived at the summit of Armboth Fell at 479 metres. The summit outcrop was quite rocky above the swampy land below. There was a great view to High Tove and High Seat from here. The small cairn (a few stones) is perched on the large summit rock. It is really a disappointing fell to be honest for quite a bit of effort to get there.

As we stood at the summit of Armboth Fell we plotted the way ahead across the boggy ground that lay between us and the ridge to High Tove. Although it looked bad from above it was not too bad in reality. On reaching the ridge I made sure I was leading the way – following the fence – to the summit of High Tove. As I reached the summit of High Tove I through my arms up in celebration as I had completed AW’s Central Fells. Unfortunately I did not have any Champagne to celebrate (mind you I would want to leave that until I had completed all the AW Fells). Still it was an achievement in itself. Hove Tove has a large cairn (which can be seen from quite a distance) and is at 515 metres. After a few photos we could see more rain approaching so we did not hang about. In fact we were in for quite a lot of rain.

From the summit we crossed the stile over the fence and followed the path back to Watendlath. On the descent there is a great view of Watendlath Tarn. From Watendlath we decided to walk by road back to the car near Ashness Bridge. We stopped off at Surprise View on the way to experience the great views across Derwent Water.

We eventually set off back for home at 3.45pm. It had been a good days walking and a great achievement for me completing the Central Fells on High Tove.

Note: On the way back home Marks BMW developed an electrical fault on the M6 near Lancaster. We contacted the AA and we were towed back home via Forton (Lancaster) and Charnock Richard Services. I got back home just before midnight!! It turned out to be a very long day.

Neil Haslewood
Peak and Fell Walking

Picasa Web Albums - Neil Haslewood


Reference Books Used

Walking The Wainwrights with Stuart Marshall (Sigma Leisure)
Maps Used
OL4 Explorer - The English Lakes (North Western Area)
Ashness Bridge
Derwent Water from near Ashness Bridge
Zooming into Derwent Water
© Crown Copywright. All rights reserved. Licence number 100047125
Cat Gill Waterfall
Walla Crag Summit
Coledale Horseshoe Walla Crag Summit
Derwent Water Bassenthwaite & Keswick from Walla Crag Summir
Walla Crag & Mark
Stile near Walla Crag - Ladys Rake
Walla Crag Summit in a brief moment of sunshine
Newlands Fells and Derwent Water from near Ladys Rake
Sheepfold on way to Bleaberry Fell
Over Catbells to Newlands Fells
Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite from near Bleaberry Fell
Large Cairn on Bleaberry Fell
Skiddaw from large Cairn on Bleaberry Fell
Head down approaching Bleaberry Fell
Bleaberry Fell Summit
Bleaberry Fell Summit
Bleaberry Fell Summit Shelter
High Seat from Bleaberry Fell Summit
Path to High Seat
A boggy path to High Seat from Bleaberry Fell
High Seat Summit Trig Pillar and Cairn
Me at High Seat Summit Trig Pillar
High Seat Summit Trig Pillar and Cairn
High Seat Summit Trig Pillar with Derwent Water Skiddaw & Bleaberry Fell (partly obscured)
High Seat Trig Pillar
High Seat Summit
High Seat Summit
High Seat Summit Trig Pillar Flush Bracket (S5987)
Stile below High Seat
Bleaberry Fell from below High Seat
On way to Raven Crag
Tall grasses in a boggy and marshy landscape on way to Raven Crag
The lonely high stile over to the forestry track near Shoulthwaite Gill
Raven Crag Forestry sign
Path through forest to Raven Crag
First view of Thirlmere from Raven Crag
Raven Crag Summit
Raven Crag Summit
Thirlmere from Raven Crag Summit Viewpoint
Thirlmere from Raven Crag Summit Viewpoint
Thirlmere Dam from Raven Crag Summit Viewpoint
High Rigg & Clough Head from Raven Crag
Armboth Fell Summit with High Seat
Armboth Fell Summit
Armboth Fell Summit with Raven Crag
Armboth Fell Summit "Cairn"
Armboth Fell Summit with High Tove and High Seat
Armboth Fell Summit
Path to High Tove
Me at High Tove Summit - I have now completed AW's Central Fells!!
High Tove Summit Cairn looking to High Seat just before the heavy rain came
High Tove Summit Cairn looking to High Seat just before the heavy rain came
Descending from High Tove to Watendlath
Watendlath Tarn from descent of High Tove
Watendlath Tarn
Watendlath Beck
Derwent Water from Surprise View
Derwent Water from Surprise View
Zooming to Derwent Water & Skiddaw from Surprise View

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