Mardale Western Skyline
Although the look of today's Mardale is strongly influenced by the drowning of the original valley head and its replacement with Haweswater reservoir, it remains an area of outstanding beauty, enhanced, if anything, by the presence of the lake-like stretch of water that now dominates the valley floor. This panorama can be seen clearly in the first few photos below, taken from the last part of the road into the valley. But even these splendours were just a foretaste of those to come on this outing, as the subsequent movies and shots, taken during the walk itself, hopefully indicate.
The route went firstly from the valley head car-park up to Small Water Tarn, and then from there over to Blea Tarn, a secretive stretch of water I had wanted to become better acquainted with for some time. From there up the steep slanting path to Caspel Gate, on to the aptly-named Long Stile and then, its narrowing arrête safely broached, to the summit area of High Street. Thereafter a wander over to peer down into Hayeswater, then back to the western rim of the summit and on to Mardale Ill Bell. Thence down to Nan Bield Pass (where lunch was had), and then back down the rocky path to Small Water Tarn, and on from there to the car-park once again.
Fine views of Blea Water Tarn and its surrounds were obtained from a host of different angles, especially its magnificent 'enfoldment' of crags to the south and west. From High Street summit a very fine panorama of the distant western fells came into view, especially those fringing Patterdale (St Sunday Crag, Hellvellyn, and so on). Also, as Mardale Ill Bell summit was approached, and on from there down to Nan Bield Pass, there were good views of Kentmere and its fine trio of fells. In addition, the traces of late winter snow that lingered on the highest points of the walk and on the western fells were (almost literally!) the icing on the cake of many these great sights. As should by now be obvious, this round was yet another wonderful slice of some of the best that Lakeland has to offer!
(Distance: 5.8 miles/9.4 km. Ascent: 2815 ft./858 m. Highest point (High Street): 2717 ft./828 m.)
P.S. Please note that the third of the movies below was shot in September 2012, but the views were very similar during this walk.
Photos per row