Dale Head

Dale Head

Route: Dale Head, High Spy and Maiden Moor

Area: North Western Lake District

Date of walk: 17th May 2018

Walkers: Andrew 

Distance: 8.8 miles

Ascent: 2,900 feet

Weather: Mostly sunny with a few cloudy intervals

I parked in the small car park by Chapel Bridge on the edge of Little Town – which is certainly little but is far from being a town, and consists of a few farm buildings. About 4 years ago I’d taken an unusual route up to Dale Head, as recommended by Wainwright, and I recall it as being a superb way to the top. Instead of ascending to Dalehead Tarn, which is the usual route, I turned off the main path beyond the end of the valley and diverted to the right in order to climb up via the old copper mine – ‘a mountaineering must’ according to the great man. The path is very sketchy and it’s clearly not used often – I don’t know why this is as it’s straightforward with no fears, though maybe just a small frisson as the path passes above Dalehead Crags which plummet into the valley below

Having reached the summit of Dale Head and savoured the wonderful views, I descended down the (initially) easy grassy flanks of the fell looking for a footpath which is clearly marked on the OS maps. The path only exists on paper. There was no sign of one at all, and I knew that I was on the correct course as I was heading down to Dalehead Tarn, clearly visible throughout the descent. Lower down the gradient became steeper and it was not a particularly pleasant way down. I was glad to arrive at the tarn. If I follow this route again, I’ll try the alternative path leading down to the tarn, shown on the OS map with a thin dotted black line. This at least did seem to exist on the ground

I then followed the ridge to the next fell on today’s round, High Spy. This involved about 500 feet of easy climbing, with some great views across to Hindscarth Crags to my left, and views of Borrowdale and Derwent Water to my right. It was now time to march on to the final fell, Maiden Moor. This was an easy tramp with more superb views along the way. My arrival at the summit of Maiden Moor signified that I’d clocked up 999 Wainwright ascents over the years. A decision is looming…..

I descended to Hause Gate, a depression between Maiden Moor and Catbells, and on reaching it I turned west to follow a path gently downhill and back into Newlands Valley. It had been a fantastic walk and apart from the minor hiccup on the descent to Dalehead Tarn, every step of the way was a pleasure

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