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Hallbankgate, Tindale Tarn, Tarn House, Cumbria.
[9.5 km]  Wed 22 Mar 2017

OS Grid ref: NY 58687 59244
Lat/Long: 54.926161, -02.646168

The forecast for Northern Cumbria and Northern England generally was bad. I looked on the traffic England website to see that there were serious holdups on the M6 north near Tebay. It turned out that some vehicles had collided on the motorway and there was only one lane open. There was also a considerable amounts of snow on the high Pennines.

Snowy road where I parked the car
I set off north and saw the signs on the motorway saying delays ahead. Later they said long delays on the radio Lancashire announcements made no mention of it. I decided to leave the motorway at exit 36 and head to Kendal and then up the A6 planning to go over Shap summit. I got through Kendal OK but as I started to climb up the A6 the snow became worse and about 1 miles short of the main climb. The police were there turning people around as it was not possible to get through. Unfortunately I had to return back to Kendal and then head towards Windermere and over the a591 to Dunmail Raise. The road was open over Dunmail but was covered in snow. I reach the A66 and turned right heading back towards the motorway at Penrith. There was still quite a bit of snow and the traffic was single file. I reached the motorway and re-joined my original rout which was to head to Carlisle then leave and turn east.
As I approached the start of my walk along a narrow lane there was so much snow I didn't want to risk not being able to get through to the small car park. I left the car at Park Terrace and set of south along the narrow lane which was just passable. At the car park there was one car park there but nobody else around. Fortunately I'd brought my snow shoes with me and decided to pack them in the top of the rucksack.
Snowy road where I parked the car

First outing for my new snowshoes

First outing for my new snowshoes

Gloomy Tindale Tarn
I followed the snow-covered track to the east until I came to a small stone enclosure called Thorn. As I left it I was heading over snow covered open moor and decided to put the snow shoes on. I'm glad I did because it made the going so much easier even though the snow was relatively thin. I continue along the track along Tarn House Rigg and left the track which was no longer visible. I turned right to head down open Ground to Tindale Tarn where I planned to cross the outlet river which is called Tarn Beck by a small bridge which is visible on Google Earth.
On the way to Tarn House
I went through the gate and found that there was no bridge and the beck was too deep to wade and too wide to jump. I had no choice but to head east and follow it downstream and eventually I came to a wide plank crossing. I took the snow shoes off and managed to step across very carefully without incident. I walked up the fellside to a very indistinct track by the old quarries. I turned right to head west and re-join my original planned route. I went up through the fields to a high track on Bishop Hill which traversed through some old quarries. It was above Town House which I could see below. My original plan was to go up to the Cold Fell summit but with the terrible weather conditions and very poor visibility I realised this would not be possible.
Tarn House

Geltsdale Information Centre

Information Centre interior
I decided to descend to Tarn House which has been extensively refurbished but there was no one around and no tracks anywhere in the snow. I follow the track back to the west until I came to a fork which I took to the left to a property called Geltsdale Information Centre which is funded by the RSPB Royal Society for Prevention of Birds. Surprisingly it was open and I went inside to find many displays of local birds but nothing to do with the mines and quarries. I left and continued west along the very rough track until I came to a group of houses called Howgill. I turned right here to follow their access track to the interesting building called Tortie. This track reached the original car park I'd intended to start from and then I re-joined the road back to Park Terrace. Although I had only done about 10 kilometres it has taken me all morning and part of the afternoon due to the slow going through the snow.
Sheep searching for shelter