12th June 2010

A long route back from Branstree and Selside Pike


Walk Overview
Time 08.15 to 14.00
Duration 5 hr 45 min
Distance 13 mile
Ascent 2700 ft
Walking with On my own
Mardale Head - Gatescarth Pass - Branstree - Artlecrag Pike - Branstree Tarn - Captan Whelter Bog - Selside Pike - selside End - Hare Shaw - Harper Hills - Rosgill Moor - road towards Burnbanks - road to Mardale Head
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Mardale Head, Haweswater

Although I've listed this one as being a car park, the truth of the matter is, if you don't get here early you'll end up having to park along the roadside. At times the line of cars can stretch back along the road for quite someway, but this doesn't really matter. Simply park up at the end of the line and away you go.

Parking is free and despite its popularity there are no facilities at all.


Route Map

I had intended to set off from here much earlier than I did this morning, that was until the unthinkable happened; I slept in. Normally I'm up at the crack of dawn whether I need to be or not, and usually without the need for an alarm clock, but today I didn't wake up until after 6.30.

Mardale Head.

Looking back down Gatescarth Pass; a zigzag route if ever there was one.
The two higher fells on the skyline (in shade) are Kidsty Pike and High Raise.

Once I reached the top of the pass I turned left and followed this fence straight to the the summit on Branstree.
The path leading off to the left takes you down to Sadgill.
The path on the right is the one I'd just followed from Mardale Head.
The path going up to the top of the picture takes you to Harter Fell.

Branstree Summit.

Artlecrag Pike has a cairn that I'm sure many of the Lake District's major peaks would like to boast about.

The old survey pillar near Branstree Tarn.

It's only when some of these tarns are dried out completely that you realise just how shallow they really are. This one must be little more than a foot deep at the best of times.

Captain Whelter would have been disappointed if he'd seen his bog today. It was almost bone dry and the only inconvenience to me was the need to take one big step over the trickle of water running under the fence.

Selside Pike summit.

A view down to Swindale, taken from High Blake Dodd.

High Street, Kidsty Pike and High Raise.

Heading across to Hare Shaw.


Despite the lack of trees, the area across the middle of the picture is called Naddle Forest.

After leaving Hare Shaw I decided to add onto the walk by following the route above Naddle Valley and then joining up with the road linking Swindale and Haweswater. As far as adding a bit onto a walk goes, this could be described as going somewhat over the top. The add on actually turned out to be longer than the original walk I'd set out to do.

I couldn't resist a look through the fence at this old chimney found near Powley's Hill.


A view back, and in the far distance High Street and Kidsty Pike were still in view.



I believe this concrete road was made to aid the construction of the Haweswater dam. The road was used to transport stone from Shap to the dam.

A look across to Haweswater Dam.

Four Stones Hill.

The Haweswater Hotel; found just short of half way along the road above the lake.

Well, I suppose I'd better stop and have something to eat before I get back to the car and it's too late.

Harter Fell, Mardale Ill Bell, The Rigg, Rough Crag and High Street.

For the final section of the walk I dropped off the road to follow the narrow lake shore path where I crossed this small bridge over Rowantreethwaite Beck.


Almost back at the car after walking more than twice as far as I'd set out to do. Despite the length of the walk I only passed one other person, and this was in the most unlikely of places I should add.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks