Evening Dock Tarn & Haystacks Again

6 06 2019

Although Rosthwaite in Borrowdale is too near where I now live for me to stay, we’ve stayed for decades now at The Royal Oak Hotel in Rosthwaite and become very friendly with the owners and staff. I’ve just received an e-mail saying the place has now been sold and so I thought we’d best book a few nights’ stay in order to see everyone again and see how we can keep in touch!


Click on photos for full size/resolution – all my Zenith manual film SLR except where marked

Now my hip is back to normal, I’ve taken to doing my quick evening flip around the mountains – I really missed doing that when my hip got too bad to rush around. So, upon our arrival in the late afternoon, Richard and I set out in the lovely hot sunshine for a walk – him to just walk round to Stonethwaite and back by the road. I said I was going to do the Dock Tarn Round – that is, up via Willygrass Gill and back down by the Watendlath Track.

I was enchanted by these celandines and violets at the start of the footpath just behind the hotel…

As Richard turned off to cross the bridge to Stonethwaite, we said our goodbyes… I was becoming a bit tempted to nip up the imposing Eagle Crag instead but decided that might be a hill too far for the time available! Instead, I stuck to my plan (for a change) and set off up Willygrass Gill.

The Willygrass route is very steep stone pitching up through the woods. I’d hoped it would be shady and cool for my ascent as it was through woodland but this is ancient woodland and the trees are small and widely spaced so I was boiling for the whole ascent. Still, we can’t grumble about sun here!

I was surprised it actually took me nearly 2 hours to reach Dock Tarn! I’d gone pretty steadily and not stopped for a break at all…

I then nipped very quickly up Great Crag behind the tarn – that was much further away than I remembered and I had to run a lot of the intervening undulating ground. I reached the summit at 1800 hrs and was suddenly assailed by doubts! Would I get back down in an hour? it had taken me two hours so far… And, actually, had they changed the time of our evening meal to 1830? I seemed to remember a mention of that in one of their e-mails – was that just winter? Oo-err! I knew I had no chance of getting back in half an hour!

I sped steeply off down the track to the bogs which cross to the Watendlath track. A lot of this is fortunately stone-pitched so makes for very fast progress. I spared a minute to take a photo back to Great Crag…

From here, there is around a mile of undulating bog until you reach the Watendlath Track. The best way to cross bog is at speed – that way, you don’t get chance to sink in and get your feet wet! I was delighted to find that I could run the whole thing – I get on well with soft ground for running πŸ™‚ I realised it’s actually quite a few years now since I was able to run at all and that I’d missed feeling the power in my legs at speed – I once thought I’d never feel that again! πŸ™‚

I stopped again briefly to photograph this hawthorn – I thought it might make for an artistic photo the way it stood out in front of the background of the lumps of Jopplety How. I think it works quite well…

I continued to run down most of the less loose parts of the Watendlath Path descent and was back by 1845 – phew! What a great start to my stay!

The next day, we got the second bus over the Honister Pass to Gatesgarth in Buttermere to walk back via Scarth Gap and Haystacks to Rosthwaite – a favourite walk of ours in great weather, which this was.

As we set off up the Scarth Gap Pass track, I turned to take my usual photos of Buttermere. These always look great from here but I think this year’s are the best yet!

We’d been overtaken by a man who looked older than us while I was photographing the lake and I was pretty irked that we didn’t catch him up again! Still the same competitive mountain coward eh! He did seem to be pretty fit however and he overtook everyone else on the way up too – it still rankled though…

At Scarth Gap, he headed for Seat and we headed the opposite way for Haystacks.


Seat and Gamlin End

I found the path up Haystacks much less challenging than I remember but we enjoyed it. I was looking for a harder scramble than that on the standard route though. In the end, I found a pretty stiff crag to clamber up – Richard started off behind me but soon chose a different route and queried why I was going up this particular section! I have to admit to feeling, about two-thirds of the way up, that I’d best keep going as I didn’t want to reverse the route!


North Face of the mighty Pillar from the ascent

We were very soon on the summit where I set about photographing the gorgeous summit tarn with a vengeance!

There was an annoying little breeze kept coming along and ruffling the tarn but this still looks quite pretty so I’ll include it – it’s a nice blue anyway!

I had a couple more tiny scrambles – Richard decided to snap one without my knowledge…


R Wood digi photo

We then had a break by the summit tarn, the wind dropped again and I snapped a couple more shots…

We then set off down past all the other beautiful tarns…

The middle tarn, between the summit tarn and Innominate, looks very like an ‘infinity pool’ from certain angles so I’ve started calling it ‘Infinity Tarn’

We passed Innominate Tarn, everyone’s favourite including Wainwright I think…

It isn’t my favourite tarn however – I like the next one – the one I call ‘The Mirror’ or ‘Mirror Tarn’ – it joins onto Innominate at the far end…

And Richard found and photographed a nearby tarn I’ve never noticed before…

We then set off down out of the cold wind for Blackbeck Tarn where we had a break on the large tor jutting out into the tarn – much more sheltered here.

There’s a short walk back uphill to the slate quarries and the ‘Drumhouse Track’ which takes you back to Honister. From there, there is a lovely track called ‘The Allerdale Ramble’ which contours round under Scawdel Fell and back to Rosthwaite for our favourite tea and scones. I enquired whether the hotel is still going to be doing tea and scones and, fortunately, the new owners are!

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20 responses

17 06 2019
tessapark1969

Nice post. I remember the bog around Great Crag being pretty awful! Haystacks was my first Wainwright.

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17 06 2019
mountaincoward

Haystacks is one of my most visited Wainwrights that’s for sure. That and Skiddaw ‘cos it’s local!

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8 06 2019
Blue Sky Scotland

You seem to be back to full fitness now if you are running over hills. Great area and photos.

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8 06 2019
mountaincoward

My legs are fairly fit – the rest of me isn’t really – still puffing and panting like an old steam train! I could always run on soft, flat ground or downhill before the hip problems though – can’t run uphill for even two strides!

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8 06 2019
John Bainbridge

Pleased to hear that you are much better with your hip. Enjoy the walks.

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8 06 2019
mountaincoward

It’s surprising how quickly you can get back to it if all goes well. I seem to be taking a long time to get back to proper hill fitness though…

Liked by 1 person

7 06 2019
Alli Templeton

I can’t believe you live so close to somewhere so breath-taking that it’s not worth staying away overnight! I’m constantly impressed with your photos and what you achieve with that camera, but you’ve excelled yourself here. You should do a calendar – I’d have one! Sounds like a wonderful few walks in the most fabulous of wildernesses, and I’m so glad to hear your hip is all better now. Running must feel doubly good now. I really enjoyed this post, and thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos. πŸ™‚

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7 06 2019
mountaincoward

I do a calendar every year πŸ™‚ I used to do two when I was going up to Scotland all the time – a Scottish one and a Lake District one. Last year and this year were my best lake and tarn photos. I’ve often thought about putting a post out showing which photos are going in the next year’s calendar – perhaps I’ll do that. I’ve already started a shortlist of this year’s photos as it’s been quite a good year for quality photos for a change!

Liked by 1 person

7 06 2019
Alli Templeton

Oh that’s amazing that you already do a calendar! You should definitely put up a post for next year’s. I’m looking forward to seeing it already. You have got a great crop to choose from already. πŸ™‚

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7 06 2019
mountaincoward

I also do a desk calendar at work with the same photos and the lads in my department hate the outdoors so they keep throwing it away! 😦

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7 06 2019
Alli Templeton

Well that’s just criminal… 😦

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7 06 2019
The Mindful Falconer's Journal

Beautiful.

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7 06 2019
mountaincoward

Haystacks and its tarns is probably the most beautiful part of The Lakes

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7 06 2019
LensScaper

A very long time ago – 1968, I think – I stayed in a small B&B called Rose Cottage in centre of Rosthwaite, in the company of our college Dean and three or four other undergraduates (actually we were very new Graduates having just sat our finals). Our Dean was an extraordinary walker and the finale to the week was a 24hour walk. We arrived at the summit of Scafell just as dawn was breaking, having walked through the night. The Dean carried with him a copy of the Psalms in Hebrew which he would read while eating a packed lunch, translating into English as he read. He was a remarkable man.

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7 06 2019
mountaincoward

I know the cottage you mean – it’s still there and still a holiday let. Quite a tiny cottage. Your ex-Dean sounds a fascinating character – fancy knowing Hebrew!

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7 06 2019
LensScaper

As well as being Dean, he Taught Latin, Hebrew and Greek

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7 06 2019
mountaincoward

I wish I’d learned Latin like my walking buddy Richard did – it teaches you so much about the root of a lot of the English language. I’d also like to do some archaic languages like Hebrew. Apparently I have a flair for languages πŸ™‚

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7 06 2019
simplywendi

this looks like to much fun!

Liked by 1 person

7 06 2019
mountaincoward

we always do that walk if it’s a nice day and we’re in lazy mood – lots of lolling around by the various tarns and lazing in general πŸ™‚

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7 06 2019
simplywendi

wow! what beauty you are blessed with daily.

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