Hardendale Nab, Shap

5 12 2015

On the many times I drive up and down the M6 motorway to get to and from Scotland, I pass over what is signposted as ‘Shap Summit’. Of course, this isn’t Shap Summit at all – just the highest part of the motorway – there are hills at the east side of the motorway which are obviously higher than the road. I always wondered where the true summit was and one day I parked up to have a tootle up this little hill…

(click on photos for full size/resolution)

Well, this wasn’t it!

I knew it was one of two hills either side of the Shap junction but, after heading off up this one, I saw it was definitely the other hill to the south of me.

Shap Fell
The highest summit from the ascent of Hardendale Nab

I’ve since done the true summit and it is far inferior to this hill so I was ultimately glad I went up here first…

Heading north up the motorway, from the Shap junction, you turn right back over the M6 and, when you’ve crossed over the motorway, head left back north alongside the motorway. You shortly reach a tiny road heading off to the right – you can park near the start of this road on grass. The whole walk takes about half an hour…

After you’ve parked up, follow the road uphill and you soon reach a footpath sign pointing both ways – take the right hand branch to the right of the road. This take you south again below an escarpment and towards a wall. On reaching the wall, the path bends left alongside the wall for a way.

When you see the rocky escarpment come into view on your left, rather than continue along the path, branch off left under the craggy edge. From here you can pick a more entertaining route up to the ridge above after examining the lovely outcrops and gullies.

Hardendale Nab W Crags

Last time I chose this grassy rake and rocky cleft towards the right of the next photo…

Hardendale Nab Western Clefts

Wander over towards the right-hand edge of your grassy promenade and you will find a fantastic set of crags running all the way along the ridge…

Hardendale Nab Eastern Crags

The crags are pretty crumbly near the top and are riven by interesting gullies to peer down…

Hardendale Gullies

On my second visit here, I cajoled Richard into getting out of the car and coming to see my exciting find. Before joining him on the summit, I went back down the grass at the far end of the ridge for an examination of the crags from below to see how they were for climbing. He’d said I was nuts and it was totally out of the question due to the crumbliness of the crags.

“They’re built like a dry-stone wall” he said and headed summitwards…

Hardendale Nab Eastern Crags Study

While I agreed with him in the main, there were sections where I thought the rock was firm enough to climb. In the end, I selected a crumbly gully and headed off back up to the ridge-top (you can wedge yourself firmly in a gully). The limestone here is very sharp-edged and rough on clothing!

Hardendale Nab - my Gully
The top of my gully climb – more of a scramble really but immense fun

I then skipped off happily to join Richard at the summit where three ‘men’ awaited us (tower cairns)…

Hardendale Nab - 3 Men

We noticed the sun had started to sink below the distant Haweswater Fells and decided it was time to head back to the car. it was bloody freezing by then anyway and we hadn’t taken coats!

Hardendale Nab to Kidsty Pike

A lovely spot well worth a visit 🙂

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18 responses

24 12 2015
fedup

I’ve done all the Shap Fells (mostly Wainwright outliers) to the East but never ventured this side of the motorway. Interesting limestone ‘wall’ might have to make it a leg stretch on a rare journey South!. Cheers Simon

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25 12 2015
mountaincoward

It’s a really short walk and ideal for a leg-stretch.

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7 12 2015
Rowena

Looks a fun wander. I have always been intrigued by the name Shap – whenever we see it, Ally and I have to say it out loud. I don’t know why 🙂

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8 12 2015
mountaincoward

There are some places which get you like that – I’ve just been reading about Cuthil Brae and that’s one of those places for me. Obviously, until we know better, us English would pronounce it cut hill brae but when I heard how it was really said, it particularly took my fancy 😉

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5 12 2015
Gaslight Crime

Lovely pictures. I like the old Shap Road.

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5 12 2015
mountaincoward

Not too far from you that is it?

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5 12 2015
bowlandclimber

The Nab looks an interesting spot from your post, like most people I’ve never been there but must have driven past thousands of times and walked past on the CtoC.
Doesn’t look much for climbing but would if give some bouldering/traversing? Will have to investigate.

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5 12 2015
mountaincoward

I suppose you’d probably class it as bouldering as it’s only a pretty small crag anyway – i don’t boulder as such. Much of it is very loose, it is exceedingly sharp rock, but some bits look solid enough to have some fun on.

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5 12 2015
smackedpentax

I have passed Shap on the way to Haweswater (I think) – anyway, next time I am up that way I’ll have a look. Looks intriguing – and I like the ‘men’ too – I wonder who made them. Similar to the ones at Dowkabottom Fell – only there are dozens there. A great post Carol 🙂

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5 12 2015
mountaincoward

I always wonder who takes the time to build those ‘men’ and why. There’s that superb one up Scandale near Ambleside which towers over the head of the pass. And of course all those on Nine Standards Rigg/Wild Boar Fell. And three lovely ones on Bonscale Pike looking over Ullswater’s quiet side.

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5 12 2015
smackedpentax

I have spent a long time on Google trying to find answers, and I drew a blank…they are wonderful though ☺

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5 12 2015
mountaincoward

Maybe they get built for lots of different reasons

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5 12 2015
Blue Sky Scotland

Always like the limestone pavements down there. Reminds me of the Northumbrian and gritstone crags. They were short but action packed cliffs with around a dozen hard intense moves before you reached the top.

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5 12 2015
mountaincoward

I’ve decided I really like small crags nowadays – can’t see me returning to doing any multi-pitch but single pitch is great.

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5 12 2015
Simon Howlett

A spot I’ve driven past many times. This tempts me to park up and head for the summit in the future. The cairns look great.

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5 12 2015
mountaincoward

It’s well worth half an hour of your time. Those crags and gullies are really interesting and I bet they’d afford you some great photos if you picked the right time of day. The light had pretty much gone off the crags when we got there late afternoon so you’re probably best to visit in the morning.

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5 12 2015
Simon Howlett

Yes, the crags look great Carol, would like to spend some time photographing them. Planning a visit to the Norber Erratics so could stop on the way.

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5 12 2015
mountaincoward

Norber is great too – don’t remember seeing as much interesting limestone scenery though. There was quite a bit of pavement but the crags weren’t as broken and complicated from what I remember.

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