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Haweswater, Riggindale, High Street, High Raise, Low Raise, Castle Crag, Fieldhead Bridge, Cumbria..
[13.0 km]  Wed 25 Jul 2018

Lat/Long: 54.489185, -02.820421
OS Grid ref: NY 46951 10737

It was a clear morning as I drove north along the M6 motorway. I left at the Shap turn off then through Shap Village and Bampton Grange to Haweswater Reservoir. There were a few cars along the narrow lane and even some cyclists as I approached the car park at the southern end of the reservoir. On the way I stopped briefly across from The Rigg to look down at the low water level and take some photographs of the site of the Dun Bull Inn and Grove Brae Farm. There were already several cars there even though it was only 7:30 a.m. The sky had a few clouds but it was pleasantly warm so I was able to set off with just two layers and no jacket.

Grove Brae Farmhouse

Haweswater Reservoir and the ruins of Grove Brae Farm in the foreground
I walked round the south and west end of the reservoir to pick up the path heading up Riggindale Crag. I looked down into the valley and thought about the golden eagles that used to nest there. The pair had been nesting since 1969 but in 2004 the female disappeared and the male was left on its own I saw it some years ago on a walk but sadly the last sighting was in November 2015 and from then on no more golden eagles are resident in England.
Haweswater from Riggindale
Even the observatory hide which is in the valley is no longer manned. I continued up the ridge and stopping briefly at the small tarn where I looked down into Blea Water below. It is the deepest tarn in Cumbria at 63 m. Only Windermere and Wastwater are deeper. The last part of the ridge up to High Street becomes quite steep and scrambly in places.
Cairn on Riggindale & Blea Water below

Tarn on Riggindale

Path repairs to High Street
 The top 100 m or so have had bags of large stones helicopters in ready for improving the loose path. I reached the flat grassy area on High Street and walked south for a while to visit the trig post. I spent a few moments here taking in the excellent views before turning north to continue along High Street. At the saddle I turned right to head up towards Rampsgill Head and then across the grass to the path up to High Rise. Even though it was relatively early there were quite a few people out making the most of the nice weather.
High Street trig post
 At the summit cairn I could see the distant cairn of Low Raise which was my next objective. There was a very faint path to follow and the cairn itself is shown as ancient on the map. My next objective was to visit Castle Crag and the site of an old Iron Age Fort (approx. 1000BC). Heading south east I followed the edge of the ridge but the grass under foot was very lumpy and tussocky and it was quite difficult making progress.
Low Raise cairn
 After descending a section of steep rocky shelves I came to an old stone hut that I've visited before. Then the going was much easier as I crossed over Birks Crag then a very steep descent down to Castle Crag where I visited the site of Fort. There is little information about it other than described as a typical characteristics of an Iron Age fort.
Castle Crag
 It also appears to have been excavated by R.G. Collingwood in 1922 (Robin George Collingwood, 1889-1943 English philosopher, historian and archaeologist). I couldn't continue my descent to the east as it was far too steep so I headed south to descend diagonally across Flakehowe Crags. Unfortunately the going was extremely tough due to deep and dense ferns.
Old Shepherds hut
 I was very glad to reach the path just above the shore of Haweswater. I continued towards Bowderthwaite Bridge where I climbed the fence to walk out across the old fields which are now mudflats to visit Fieldhead Bridge which is now exposed by the low water level. I have visited it during a previous drought.
Site of Castle Crag Iron Age Fort

Fieldhead Bridge - usually 8m underwater.
 It is a bridge of large flat stones with a large Ordnance Survey bench mark carved on the top. I managed to get some interesting photos with it in the foreground and Riggindale in the background. I headed back on to dry ground to reach a stile that took me back onto the main path. Here I met two men who were also walking back and we chatted as we walked. They were just up for the day and had come from Preston.
Bench Mark on Fieldhouse Bridge
 Instead of heading back round the reservoir as I did on my way out I noticed an old path crossing the now exposed valley bottom which I decided to take. The two men were heading for Small Water higher up the mountain which was in a different direction so we said our goodbyes. Back at the car the car park was full and cars were parked for a considerable distance along the road. I saved my GPX track on my Garmin but for some reason it had corrupted and I didn't find out until I got home. I was interested in the level of the other men reservoir in Cumbria which is Thirlmere. Instead of driving straight home I headed north through Askham, Penrith, A66 and through St. John's in the Vale to head south on the A591 by Thirlmere. From what I could see it was down about the same amount as Haweswater. The traffic back through Grasmere Ambleside and Windermere was quite busy presumably as it is the school holidays. The M6 south was OK.