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Haweswater, Gatescarth Pass, Branstree, Mosedale Cottage, Old Corpse Road, Cumbria
[ 14.8 km] Wed 11 Apr 2012

NY 4793 1195
I parked in the lay-bye above Haweswater Reservoir near where the Old Corps Road comes off the mountain. It was a nice morning and I had good views across the water as I walked down the road to the car park at the south end of the reservoir. My first objective was Gatescarth Pass which was the old road that connected Mardale with Longsleddale before the reservoir flooded Mardale village in the 1930s.

Gastesgarth with a 'g'

Morning view across Haweswater

The track is now quite rough but hardy 4*4 vehicle drivers go over it judging by the several films on Utube. Looking across to Nan Bield Pass I could see a small party of campers who seemed to be boing nothing but standing around. As I got higher I looked back and they were still standing in the same place!
The spelling of the pass is of interest. The Ordnance Survey maps spell it ‘Gatescarth’ but the wooden sign at the bottom points to ‘Gatesgarth’ and the metal one ‘Gatescarth.’ After the summit my next objective was the summit of Branstree off to the left. The obvious route would be along the fence from the pass summit but it takes the unwary walker into a deep wet bog. I write from soggy experience. The best access is to leave the pass road before the summit and take a diagonal route to the dry part of the Branstree climb. It’s a steady climb with at least one interesting boundary stone on the way. The wire fence meets a stone wall near the summit and just to the left is a small cairn and Ordnance Survey trig point. The type that is a circular concrete ring set in at ground level. The interesting thing is that it isn’t marked on any of my Ordnance Survey maps.

Branstree summit cairn and Ordnance Survey trig point

Instead of following the fence line to the NE I headed for the stone outcrops and interesting cairns on Artlecrag Pike. Another fascinating feature was my next objective. The tall stone survey pillar near the small tarn. It is one of a series of survey pillars that run in a line from the Haweswater Reservoir outlet tower to a point in Longsleddale. They were used during the tunnelling works to align the tunnel that runs under the fells from the reservoir to emerge near Stockdale in Longleddale.

Survey pillar

Wide view with Branstree in the distance

I continued NE over the un-named hill to re-locate the marker stone that was erected in 1911 by Edward Dodds. It was 7 Nov 2008 when I first found the stone after seeing a photo on Google Earth.

Edward Dodds 1911

I headed down the fell to the disused Mosedale Quarry to the SE. It was a steep scramble down in places as I headed for Mosedale Cottage. It’s always nice to call in at the cottage as its one of the few that are open all the year round and hasn’t been vandalised. I headed down the track and path towards Swindale and apart from a brief rain shower I had good weather.

Mosdale Cottage

Mosdale Cottage buildings - wide view

Mosdale Cottage interior - wide view

Descending in to Swindale the sun came out making it very pleasant walking.

At Swindale Head I turned left for the climb up the Old Corpse Road. It was steep at first but after hopping across the river higher up the gradient eases as it heads for the summit. I was fortunate to have clear weather on the descent back to Haweswater and the car.

The stove in Mosdale Cottage

Swindale Beck at Dodd Bottom


While driving home I called at St Michael’s Church in Shap where the occupants of the flooded Mardale Chapel graveyard were moved to.

St Michael's Church in Shap

St Michael's Church interior

Separate from the main St Michael's Cemetery is an extension Cemetery across the railway. In a corner on the left is where the Mardale people were re-buried.

The original Mardale Chapel. The occupants of the cemetery were moved to St Michael's Church in Shap