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High Side, Dodd Wood, Millbeck Towers, Carsleddam, Baryte Mine, Carl Side, Ullock Pike, Cumbria.
[14.4 km] Tue 07 Jun 2022

lat / lon:54.668120, -3.186148
OS grid ref:NY 23596 30985

Last week I climbed Carl Side from Millbeck via Slades Beck. I decided to return and climb via the smaller valley below Carsleddam and investigate a mine entrance that is mentioned in Wainwright's book. I left my car in the parking area at High Side and walked back to the main A591 wearing my daygo jacket as there is no footpath and lots of traffic. Fortunately I didn;t have far to go to reach Raven Stone Manor Hotel where I was able to join a delightful path through the woodland. With the busy road below I continued to the Dod Wood car park where I crossed the footbridge and up the hill by the river. The path adorned right and I followed it south through the trees with a lovely view of Bassenthwaite Lake below. I was on my way to the minor road to Millbeck but last week I finished up descending a steep path that vanished and I had to negotiate a steep bank down to the road. I kept a careful eye out for the path shown on the map. I found the continuing path where I went wrong last week and its no surprise I missed it. There was no marker and it was indistinct along a steep slope through the trees. Eventually I reached the minor road and continued up to Millbeck.

 Underskiddaw Village Hall.

Underskiddaw Village Hall, 1896.

Millbeck Towers as a
carding mill before conversion.

Millbeck Towers today.
I stopped outside the Underskiddaw Village Hall and its 1896 datestone and checked the car park charge of £2. I walked up the private lane to have a look at Millbeck Towers. It is now a National Trust building and was converted to a private house in 1903. Before that it was a carding mill up to 1886 and looked rather basic then. I crossed the footbridge to join the path through the woods and towards Carl Side. I continued to the beck heading up to the left and below Carsleddam.

 Baryte Mine entrance.

 Baryte Mine entrance.
There was no sign of a path at first but I found a sign of a faint path up the right side then I crossed to the left where there was a wider area to walk through. It wasn't particularly difficult and I continued steadily upwards. I’d seen a reference in Wainwright's book to a ‘cave’ or mine entrance. As I approached the area I noticed a piece of 4in cast iron pipe in the river bed. This was a definite indication of some workings nearby. Eventually I came to the mine entrance on the west side of the beck and a little higher. The entrance was partly blocked but I could see over the top and down inside where I could hear the echoes of dripping water. A few metres higher up the beck was a low stone wall indicating some kind of building in the past. Apparently it is trial level vein containing baryte and galena and operated in the 1870s. I continued up and into the higher dry valley where the beck had vanished.


 School group on the way up Skiddaw.
I was now in heather and followed a faint sheep track to the ridge of Carsleddam. Turning north towards Carl Side I had to leave the track to head off up across the difficult heather to climb to the main path up to Carl Side. Though steep it was much easier going and many people were on the trail. At the summit a large school group were gathered around the cairn then set off up the path towards Skiddaw.

 Looking up Sutherdale to Skiddaw and Ullock Pike.
It was pleasant and warm and had good views. I turned towards Ullock Pike and followed the easy path to the Pike. From there the descent had to be taken carefully and the well worn path was very steep in places and loose underfoot. I was relieved to reach the grassy path at Link How and descended the right path to the track by an old quarry. A lovely grassy path took me back to the car.
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