Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Tuesday 15 December 2009 – A Great British Ridge Walk – Number 24 – The Mardale Horseshoe – High Street via Riggindale Ridge descending Harter Fell via Gatescarth Pass

Bill Birkett’s book - ‘Great British Ridge Walks’ provided the inspiration for today’s easy walk with Father Christmas and some followers.  With reindeer craftily disguised as small dogs, we set off from Mardale Head shortly after 10 am on a wintry day with low cloud, but at least it stopped raining as we set off.

Santa, Bruno, Shirley and Piglet, leaving Mardale Head

Our route up Riggindale Ridge looked steep and sharp from the banks of Haweswater.

Riggindale Ridge - our route

“Who’s the prettiest of them all?” asked Santa, whilst we enjoyed some elevenses.

Santa, with one of Mrs Kipling's Christmas Pies

A Very Small Pie

As we gently rose up the hill, Santa’s magic made the clouds lift ahead of us, with the remainder of the ridge, topped by Racecourse Hill (the summit of High Street), suddenly drifting into view.

Riggindale Crag and Long Stile

Clouds swirled below us as Bruno the Reindeer waited for his charges and I tried in vain to spot the resident eagles.

View to Rough Crag and Blea Water

A pause in the eerily reconvened mist enabled Santa to catch his breath and relate a ghost story about a wake in a bothy.  This man’s imagination knows no bounds!

Bruno with some chewy ice


Puddles near the summit had 2 cm of crusty ice that Bruno found very tasty.



Here are some views at the summit of Racecourse Hill.

Santa and Shirley below the summit of Racecourse Hill

On the trig point


After the windy ridge, the summit conditions were relatively calm, especially behind this custom built windbreak.

A lunch break on Racecourse Hill

Descending towards Mardale Ill Bell, the low sun reflected brilliantly off Windermere, with Kentmere summits in the foreground.

The view to Windermere, with Froswick

The sun was shining brightly in Kentmere.


After a brief encounter with some bouncy ladradors, we trundled off to the summit of Harter Fell.  It was quite cool – around 1C, plus wind chill.  After succumbing to wet feet on some recent trips with Santa, I was glad to be in warm winter boots, with warm, dry tootsies.

Piglet, Shirley, Santa, Bruno and Martin

There were fine views to the west.

The Isle of Man is over there somewhere

From the north eastern cairn on Harter Fell, Haweswater, far below, looked very pretty.


At various points on this walk, Shirley got out her little digital recorder thingy and asked us various podcast-interest questions, such as “Have you always been unable to finish a sentence?” and “That RABid fleece doesn’t half pong, wot?” I seem to be completely unable to say anything vaguely interesting or sensible when faced with a recording thingy, but maybe Podcast Bob will be able to edit it to form something vaguely interesting to Podcast fans – possibly a Captain Beefheart track or something…… Santa seemed to do better…

Here’s the day’s route – 11 km, 830 metres ascent, taking 5.5 hours.

Route taken on 15/12/09 - 11 km, 830 metres ascent, 5.5 hours

The Haweswater Hotel, despite drilling noises from builders, provided sustenance for the weary.  It had started to rain again.

Another excellent day out.  Thanks all for coming along.

The next ‘Great British Ridge Walk’ will be on Tuesday 12 January 2010 – a short jaunt from NY 232 194 in the Newlands Valley, up Hindscarth and across the Littledale Edge to Robinson, starting at 10.00 am.  All welcome; come properly equipped!

Santa’s take on today’s walk is here
Shirley (Peewiglet)’s is here.
Here’s a slideshow.


Alan Sloman said...

I didn't see a single pub for lunch anywhere on all three trip reports.

Shocking planning!

You need a good few pints at lunchtime in a nice comfy settee, in front of a crackling log fire, Martin.

Liked your picture towards the IOM though...

Phreerunner said...

Aha Alan
'Great British Ridge Walks'
There are 50 of these. Whilst I've done most of them before, I'm now enjoying doing them again, ticking them off along the way. It's fun. Two down. 48 to go.
Whilst a handful may be short enough to complete before lunch, that does seem to result in inappropriate use of an afternoon that could otherwise be spent on a 'Great British Ridge'. Walk Number 1 does have a lunch time hostelry (summer only) but it doesn't sell alcohol!
So unless you are going to be kind enough to nip up a few of these ridges and plant a little sustenance, I fear the comfy settees and cracking log fires will have to keep till evening on these particular trips.
You are however most welcome to try to enjoy yourself by popping along and joining us though! A resident comedian does provide ghost stories.

Martin Rye said...

The book is great (I have it and need to do some routes in it) The walk looked great (Mike got pulled up the hills by his dog, from the look of things :)) and the photos are great.

Phreerunner said...

Bruno is Mike's navigation aid and hauler. You can tell when he's not with Mike because there is then a bionic pole substitute that Mike uses for propulsion.

peewiglet said...

Great stuff, and wonderful photos! I particularly love the one of Piglet looking smug on the High Street trig point *g*

I must learn to use my camera properly, though. Your pics are magnificent. Mine are mundane. Sigh...

(Piglet sends a lick.)

Phreerunner said...

Thanks for your comment, Shirley, but they are very average snap shots. I'm sure you could do better with your camera. We could both learn something from here:
BUT - it's the old story; whilst some folk go out in order to take photos, any walking being incidental, I suspect we go for a walk, taking a few incidental snap shots along the way, more to record the moment than to create works of 'art' like those on Glyn's website!