Caudale Bridge Round
On a dry, sunny morning, I parked at Caudale Bridge and walked through the grounds of the Brotherwater Inn Bunkhouse and then across to Hartsop Hall; I turned left onto a farm track and soon after walked across fields to the base of High Hartsop Dodd. I made the steep climb upwards, it was good ground with good views of Dove Crags; past hoary old walls, when looking back I could see the outline of the settlement marked on the map, and heard the start of a Fell Race. I made my way up to a rickety stile over a fence, there was still plenty of work to do getting up the steep slope before the steepness ends, leaving a short walk to the small cairn at the summit of High Hartsop Dodd.
There is a short descent almost immediately, before you start climbing towards the twin peaks of Little Hart Crag. The path goes past the first summit pinnacle, but I found a route up to the cairn; there is a steep descent to a shallow col with a small tarn before climbing up to the other summit cairn, it's impossible to say which is the higher. The leading fellrunners were running past on the path below towards Scandale Pass, I felt as though I was in the way as the runners were coming past continuously. It is a long, strenuous ascent of Red Screes, the sunshine disappeared and there was quite a heavy shower at the summit, the sun stayed nearby and created an excellent rainbow.
I descended on the path, but on grass; I was hoping to find the Kilnshaw Chimney route, although I wasn't sure I want to descend that way if the scree was wet. It was still grassy and I kept descending, it was fairly steep but not too awkward and not wet so I kept going just to see where it led. There was a good view down to the road with it being so steep, my view of the Kirkstone Inn told me I was obviously quite a way off the usual route. I kept thinking I would have to climb back up, it usually happens that way when I explore, especially when I reached the edge of a grassy ledge. I decided to traverse around towards where the normal path should be; there was a faint trod in places that traced a safe route across the steep scree-covered slopes.
I eventually saw the reconstructed path below, there were again traces of path leading down to it, and then the path took me down to the Kirkstone Inn car park; I crossed the road, and walked round to the back of the Inn. I walked past some Shetland ponies on the field behind the Inn, and then found the good path that makes a steep, rugged way uphill to Caudale Moor. The steepness ends suddenly, at a large cairn; it looks a long way across towards to the summit at Stony Cove Pike, and as I was walking across the plateau I remembered how far it was the last time, it was unusual to see the place.
It has a boggy, wet, eroded footpath; there is reconstruction in progress, new stepping stones help to get across the muddy mess. I follow a wall towards the summit, I had intended to visit a monument, but couldn't see any signs of any path going in the direction of it. When I realised I must have gone past it, I headed across pathless ground towards a prominent cairn; it overlooked Patterdale and Brotherswater. I could see a smaller cairn at the top of the Rough Edge ridge, I walked towards it until I saw another cairn heading away from Rough Edge; I suspected that it was the way I wanted to go.
There was no obvious path, but there was a line of obvious cairns and I finally reached a cairn with small cross on the top. There are carved stone memorials, embedded into the cairn, for Mark Atkinson and his son who died in 1987; the National Park wouldn't tolerate them being put there these days. The memorial is quite close to wall, but I didn't see it on the the way up; I made my way back to the wall and followed it easily uphill to a junction with another wall. I turned left at the junction to the big cairn on Stony Cove Pike, the summit of Caudale Moor. The was another shower and it was definitely feeling colder, I thought that the weather was going to break but it dried up again within minutes.
I walk across rough, pathless ground to the big cairn again, as I got near it I saw the path coming from the summit. I walked back down to the cairn at the top of Rough Edge, there are great views of Brotherswater, Patterdale and Ullswater. I walked down Rough Edge, it's a steep airy ridge; the path comes off ridge down to Caudale Quarry; an old mine entrance is guarded by old iron gates. An obvious, but rarely used, path takes you on the long way down to the bridge where I had left the car.
Andy Wallace 4th October 2009
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