Newlands Valley and the North Western Fells   14 comments

Another weekend away and another regular calendar fixture. The kid free weekend when the grandparents have a chance for some quality time with the younger generation and the parents have a weekend without worrying whether the kids are bored, hungry or general need of attention, medical or otherwise.

Back to the same place as last year the excellent Littletown Farm who as before did us proud with home cooked food and comfortable rooms at a reasonable price – very hard to come by in the Lake District.

The Saturday was grey and blue in equal measure, one of those days that could go either way. Sadly it went the wrong way

newlands valley, littletown farm, bull crag, maiden moor, high spy, tongue gill, castle crag

Rather than follow the masses we trusted in Mark, our Birketts man to find us a lesser known route to the top. He duly provided High Crags, a nondescript looking spot on the map but a fine viewpoint overlooking the Newlands Valley.

newlands valley, littletown farm, bull crag, maiden moor, high spy, tongue gill, castle crag

newlands valley, littletown farm, bull crag, maiden moor, high spy, tongue gill, castle crag

There was a path to start with but it soon petered out and the going was rough but worth the effort to lose the trail of hikers on Cat Bells. Lost in catch up chat we were up on Bull Crag on the main path to Maiden Moor in no time.

newlands valley, littletown farm, bull crag, maiden moor, high spy, tongue gill, castle crag

newlands valley, littletown farm, bull crag, maiden moor, high spy, tongue gill, castle crag

Tradition dictates that even though we’d not long had breakfast it was time for a stop. Stoves came out, brews were made and an hour sped by while the clouds descended and we were soon lost in a swirling mist

We pressed on through the murk and over High Spy. We were supposed to be heading up Dale Head but some navigational carelessness left us at the top of Tongue Gill. I really couldn’t be bothered with another long climb up Dale Head to not see the view from the top having not seen the view several times before. I made a bid for a return via Castle Crag and surprisingly got a vote of confidence. We descended through the mine workings and onto Castle Crag. I’m pretty sure I’ve never been up before and I can’t fathom why as it’s a superb little craggy eminence with a classic view down Borrowdale and over Derwent Water. The high fells were still swathed in cloud but lower down it was quite bright

newlands valley, littletown farm, bull crag, maiden moor, high spy, tongue gill, castle crag

newlands valley, littletown farm, bull crag, maiden moor, high spy, tongue gill, castle crag

newlands valley, littletown farm, bull crag, maiden moor, high spy, tongue gill, castle crag

It was a long stretch down past Grange to make the climb to Hause Gate and back down to Littletown but I really enjoyed it in the fast fading light. The crowds had gone and lights of Keswick and the surrounding villages were beginning to twinkle. I like being out at dusk as the mountains take on a completely different feel.

newlands valley, littletown farm, bull crag, maiden moor, high spy, tongue gill, castle crag

newlands valley, littletown farm, bull crag, maiden moor, high spy, tongue gill, castle crag

There is a price to be paid however. It was almost dark when began the climb to the col and pretty much dark when we got to it. Walking down a steep and rocky hillside in the dark can be tricky but luckily we’ve had lots of practice as a dark finish is a feature of these weekend strolls.

newlands valley, littletown farm, bull crag, maiden moor, high spy, tongue gill, castle crag

A very fine day indeed.

Castle Crag

The Sunday forecast hadn’t been good and like the day before it was largely grey at first light. There was a very prominent clear patch over the Solway Firth. One of those days that could go either way. Fortunately it went the right way

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

By the time we were ready for the off it was glorious, blue skies prevailed and it was sunny and almost warm. We followed the deep valley, Newlands Beck I think, up past the waterfalls to Dalehead Tarn, a really wonderful walk.

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

Dalehead Tarn was splendid. Sunny and warm with a perfect spot for a long relaxing rest. It would make a fine wild campsite.

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

They have improved the path quite impressively making for a relatively easy staircase climb to the summit of Dale Head. For the first time I had a view from the summit and a very fine one it is too. The valley we’d walked up being perfectly laid out below us. The classic glacial valley

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

We ambled off down Hindscarth Edge to Hindscarth itself for another stop.

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

It’s not a particularly long walk but already the light was fading again. That’s walking in a large chatty group for you. Another dark finish coming on but the light was just glorious, all sunlight and shadows

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

There are some pretty steep rocky steps on these ridges and we picked our way down the damp and slippery grass and rocks. The ridge levels out at mid height. We and Mark abandoned the path in favour of an off piste route along the edge high above Little Dale. There were some airy little spots and it’s well worth the detour.

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

As we descended the last of the tricky rocky bands the sky gave us a final light show with pink tones touching both the clouds and the distant summits of Blencathra and Skiddaw.

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

newlands valley, littletown farm, newlands beck, dalehead tarn, skiddaw, blencathra, dale head, hindscarth edge, hindscarth, little dale

That just left us the traditional final walk back to the cars in the dark to head home.

Dale Head

Another wonderful weekend with good company. You can read an alternative take on the weekend from Marks blog here and here.

And I did miss the kids. No, really, I did 🙂

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14 responses to “Newlands Valley and the North Western Fells

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  1. An excellent weekend that. Roll on the next get together.

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    beatingthebounds
  2. Fantastic photos! I’m saving this one for future reference!

    Like

  3. Oh – I forgot to say – Aaaaaargghh – you’re catching me up!

    Like

    beatingthebounds
  4. Suddenly found this post in my emails – must have missed it when it came in! Lovely photos as usual, but I especially like that twinkley one in the dark…

    Like

    • There were some great opportunities for night shots but alas I didn’t have my full camera kit with me, needs a tripod really, my hands are far too shaky at my age to be trying photos in the dark on a long exposure. I rather like the Blencathra one

      Like

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