29th June 2014
Hart Side Summit
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....
On the road up from Aira Force and on to Dockray and then Troutbeck there are a couple of car parking opportunities and the start of this walk is seen in the ray of sunshine on the other side of the tarmac. An entry into Glencoyne Park.
I would ask all those who possess Wainwright's Book One to read "Hart Side 5". I could repeat much of what he says, but look for yourself - this is a beautiful approach to the fells on a day like today. Dog and I got up at 6am and having enjoyed a short walk, then sausages and toast and then packed the tent it is now 08:20hrs, my only regret lies in being so tardy!
Bracken might not be our favourite native and wild plant, but there's something about the warmth of the early sunshine steaming off the dew and the buzz of a thousand flies that says .... this is summer!
Ullswater from Glencoyne Park
The view through the woods shows Glenridding Dodd covered in trees and out of the woodland, above the wall there is a clear view of Sheffield Pike.
No, not a mis-spelt insult, Nick Head is the dip in the near ground. Catstycam is the pointy fell in shadow; Helvellyn is touched by cloud.
This man-made structure wins the "Straight Wall of the Day" award, running true for more than a mile over the fellside. It is clear that the wall is sinking into the peat and has collapsed in a few places. Our route follows the wall to the brow of the hill.
Top of the Wall
"Birkett Fell" Cairn
From the wall, it is up the hill to the first cairn with the stone reading "Birkett Fell", so Birkett Fell it must be.
The Summit of Hart Side, 2481ft asl
There is an untidy "ditch" near the summit and its origin is unclear. Now, I'm no expert in such matters ... but, if I was building a long, high stone wall over a fellside, I'd look for my raw material as close to the site as possible and hence I wonder if the "ditch" is actually a quarry?
Molly The Collie
is 6 months old. This is her 9th "IF" or individual fell, i.e. not reached via a ridge route from a neighbouring summit. Soon, we'll be lengthening the walks and walking the ridges.
We avoid the "Dodds" and take a contour route across to Glencoyne Head for a walk down to Nick Head. Cloud is building and late starters may find Dodding cooler and duller than they may have liked.
To Nick Head
"are surface boulders that move downslope faster than the soil in which they are embedded; in doing so they push soil and vegetation into a mound on their downslope side ..." Lake District Mountain Landforms by Peter Wilson." Well, you've probably walked past hundreds, but these three in close proximity to one another are good examples.
Walkers heading up to Hart Side in a reverse of my walk. Mr.Logan and family have been in touch with me on a previous occasion and he recognised Molly. "Seldom Seen" cottages fleetingly come into view, and then disappear for another year or two.
The footpath goes through the gate by the white farmhouse and passes through their garden before following the track to the road. There is now a walkway from Glencoyne to Park Brow, fenced off from the road. Very useful addition allowing for a safe return to the car, in our case via a walk up part of the Aira Force woodland path.
Cafe at Aira Force
Walkers: Me and Molly the Dog
Time taken: 5 hours over a distance of about 8.5 miles.
Route: Park Brow car park, Glencoyne Park, Brown Hills, Wall, Birkett Fell, Hart Side, Glencoyne Head, Nick Head, Bleabank Side, Seldom Seen, Glencoyne Farm, new path to Aira Force car park and then up Aira Beck back to the car.
Weather: Sunny and summery, cooler on top and cloudier later on.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2014 ©