A Branstree Round

How do you ease gently back into Lakeland fell-walking those, such as my companion on this occasion, Jim Mercer, who have been indulging themselves all summer long in the languorous delights of the Austrian Wörthersee area?! The approach used on this occasion was to make copious prior reference to the planned outing being a ‘gentle stroll’, etc. Although in the event this characterisation was extensively critiiqued, the mathering never translated itself into open revolt, so the strategy can be regarded as successful overall, and by any objective measure this walk is surely a relative doddle!!
The ascent was from Mardale Head at the southern end of Haweswater, up from there by the well-graded winding former drove-road to Gatescarth Pass, and then left, up alongside the straight fence to the top of Branstree’s rounded ‘dome’. From here, by walking a short distance from the summit towards the west, excellent panoramas were available of the High Street massif, with Haweswater skirting its base. After lunch at this delectable viewing spot, we ambled over easy, grassy paths to Selside and just beyond, in order to look down into the ‘hidden’ gem of Swindale. The last part of walk connected up with the Old Corpse Road, which we followed back down to the Mardale Head road, and from there we sauntered back to the car. (Further details of the history etc. of the Old Corpse Road are discussed interestingly here.)
The weather for the day, after improving as promised around noon, might have stayed bright for a bit longer, in order to provide sunnier views on the descent, but at least it remained dry for the day. Jim’s disposition was likewise reasonably cheerful throughout, so the main objective of the outing was accomplished!
Highest point (Branstree): 2333 ft./711 m. Distance: 5.33 miles/ 8.58 km. Ascent: 1789 ft./ 545 m.)

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