12th January 2008

A workers village, ancient stones and a wintry Far Eastern ridge


Walk Overview
Time 09.00 to 14.20
Duration 5 hr 20 min
Distance 11.7 mile
Ascent 2600 ft
Walking with Andrew Leaney
Burnbanks - Pinnacle Howe - Four Stones Hill - Low Kop - High Kop - Wether Hill - Red Crag - Redcrag Tarn - Raven Howe - High Raise - Low Raise - Long Grain - Measand End - Measand Beck - Haweswater - Burnbanks
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking spaces, Burnbanks, Haweswater

There aren't many spaces here I'm afraid and parking is not allowed any further into the village. The good news (or bad news depending n your point of view) is that once these spaces are taken, there is room to park along the road outside the village.


Route Map

Looking down to the dam end of Haweswater.

We set out from the little village of Burnbanks for todays walk. Found in the shadow of Haweswater dam, this unassuming little village, with its collection of bungalows, village green and an unmistakable air of newness, must surely have a degree of guilt built into its foundations. For Burnbanks would never have came into existence if it weren't for the demise of another village - that of Mardale Green.

Although Burnbanks hadn't yet been built, the fate of these two villages was sealed, when in 1919 the Manchester Corporation Act authorised the building of a water works at Haweswater. The awful outcome of this was that within three decades, Mardale Green; an already thriving and centuries old community would be in ruins at the bottom of the reservoir. Burnbanks on the other hand, would go on to enjoy a more favourable outcome from this episode in the history of the valley. Due to the remoteness of the area and enormity of the project, the workforce had to be brought in from elsewhere. Needless to say these workers had to be accommodated within walking distance of the site. So here we see the irony in all this. The brand new village of Burnbanks was originally built to house the very people who were employed to build the dam which would eventually cause the valley to flood and drown the village of Mardale Green.

Four Stones Hill Tarn looking towards Measand End; the bottom section of the ridge we followed from High Raise later in the walk.

The two remaining standing stones found on Four Stones Hill, again with Measand End providing a background for the picture.


A rather bleak looking skyline, seen from the higher ground between Four Stones Hill and Low Cop. That doesn't matter you may be thinking, after all, you were walking in sunshine when you took this picture. The thing is; it was that very skyline we were heading up to (eventually).

The ruined quarry building just below Low Cop.


The view back down to Low Cop. Haweswater can be seen on the right hand side of the picture.

Taking into account just how bleak the ridge appeared to be while we were "looking up", the views from here were surprisingly good. This picture of Ullswater was taken near enough to the point where we joined the ridge, where we went onto walk an out and back route to Wether Hill.
The fells in the picture are: Beda Fell, Steel Knotts, Hallin Fell, Gowbarrow Fell and Great Mell Fell.

Wether Hill with Loadpot Hill behind.

Looking back towards Wether Hill.

The ground was frozen solid up here today and although the ridge would never be described as a boggy area, there are a couple of sections where you feel it prudent to zigzag your way along the route. No such need today though. It was a simple case of walking where you like.

Up above the snow line now or rather the ice line.

Following the wall / fence up to the stile (at the end of the wall) and the gate (right hand side of the picture) found below High Raise.

The view back along the ridge.

Standing on High Raise and looking towards Low Raise. This was in fact the highest point on the walk and also the furthest away from the cars.

Looking back to High Raise.
It was such hard work walking across the frozen snow. With every step we took there was a fleeting moment of anticipation where we wondered whether we'd break through the ice or not. For nine out of every ten steps we did in fact break through and as I've said "it was such hard work".
I know this wasn't quite the same thing at all, but I really can understand how people who get lost and end up walking around for hours in these conditions eventually get to the point when they simply can't walk any further.

Low Raise.

A fine view of Haweswater, taken above Measand End.

Following the steep path down Measand End into the delightfully named Fordingdale Bottom.

The footbridge over Measand Beck. We didn't actually cross the bridge, instead, we followed the narrow path on this side of the beck. The path passes very close to The Forces (waterfalls) on route to Haweswater.


A tantalising glimpse of Haweswater dam.

There were originally 66 bungalows at Burnbanks, but Manchester's enthusiasm for the scheme didn't end there. They also built a mission, recreation hall, dispensary and a shop. In addition to these buildings, they paid for a policeman, nurse and a shopkeeper as well as putting up the funds for the expansion of the School at nearby Bampton.

Through time many of the bungalows were left empty by an every decreasing population and the one time thriving community at Burnbanks was on the verge of disappearing altogether. Recently however, permission was granted for the rebuilding of the 18 remaining bungalows and it now looks as though the valley will not go down in history as the valley that lost not one but two villages on less than 100 years.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks