Return to Whittle Wanderer

Hartsop, Hayeswater, High Street, Thornthwaite Beacon, Hartsop Dodd, Cumbria.
[13.8 km]  Wed 05 Jul 2017

OS Grid ref: NY 41018 12992
Lat/Long: 54.508790, -02.912456

Todays walk starts in Hartsop and the shortest route there is via Windermere but it’s not a particularly good drive. I decided to continue along the M6 to Penrith then drive along the west side of Ullswater. I almost had major problems as road closed warning signs were going up and it looked like road patching was about to start. It was before 8am as I drove along Ullswater so managed to get through OK.

Hydro Electric Building
I reached the unsurfaced car park at Hartsop and I arrived before anyone else. I set off up the track towards Hayeswater. Originally it was a naturel tarn but a dam was built in 1905 to raise the level so water could be abstracted and sent by gravity to via a pipeline to the Penrith area. It was no longer needed as a water supply in 2005 and the dam was removed around 2015. I visited in 2010 when the dam was still there and I now wanted to re-visit to see what work had been done. The track was loose, stony and steep. I came to a new stone building which appears to be a turbine building for a hydro-electric generator for the area.
The steep track up to Hayeswater

Hayeswater minus the concrete dam

The dam in Sep 2010

Hayeswater below the cloud
Further up I came to footbridge but didn’t cross it as it took the path away from Hayeswater. I didn’t have to continue much further before I came to the dam area. It hadn’t been very high, probably 2 or 3 metres and all they’d done was take out the central concrete section. The outlet was now just a river with no bridge but it wasn’t deep and there were some stepping stones to aid getting across.
High Street trig post
I crossed then followed the path steeply up towards The Knott. Hayeswater was just below cloud level so I was soon in the mist. With nothing to see I pressed on upwards towards High Street. I found some shelter behind a wall to have my sandwiched then continued to the High Street trig post. It was still in cloud but thankfully it wasn’t raining. I continued south then south west to Thornthawaite Beacon which is a very tall cairn which seems to be leaning slightly.
Thornthwaite Beacon
I couldn’t get a decent view due to the mist so continued west to start the steep descent to Threshwaite Mouth pass. I briefly descended below the cloud and met a man coming up, the first person I’d seen so far. I carried on and started the steep climb up the far side and back into the mist. On the final approach to Stony Cove Pike cairn I came across a group of lads with rucksacks and camping gear. One had a map and asked if I could tell them where they were. Their objective was Glenridding so I pointed them back along the path I’d approached from.
Threshthwaite Mouth pass
I told them to keep the wall to their left and be extra careful on the steep descent to Threshthwaite Mouth. I continued through the mist to the west as I wanted to investigate the area called John Bell’s Banner on the map. It doesn’t mean there is a banner or cairn and apparently refers to a John Bell from hunting days and banner means a boundary. The map shows a monument which I found in the middle of nowhere. Some people call this John Bells Banner but it isn’t. It is Atkinsons Monument and two stone tablets in the pile of stones have inscriptions:
Atkinson's Monument
“Hic jacet Mark Atkinson of Kirkstone Pass Inn, died 14 June 1930 aged 69 years” which is weathered and indistinct. The second is easier to read saying:
“Also his son William Ion Atkinson, died 2nd April 1987 aged 83 years”
The Atkinson family ran the Kirkstone Pass Inn which is at the bottom of the descent path.

Tarns on Caudale Moor
I headed the other way and crossed the plateau area across Caudale Moor and several small tarns. I camped here 10 years ago on a back-packing walk and it was misty then as well. I turned NW towards Hartsop Dodd and soon dropped below the cloud level. I could see the long ridge before me and followed the path down as a few other walkers were coming up. Hartsop Dodd is on a small raise at the end of the ridge but then a very steep descent starts.
Ullswater from Hartsop Dodd
The descent was on a faint path but was deeply rutted in places. I was glad to reach a wall where the gradient eased a bit and then down to the right down to the valley floor and Pasture Beck. I crossed over the stone bridge and back to the car. There was no parking charge but I put £1 into a donation box. I took the road home over Kirkstone Pass.
Looking down on Brothers Water