Hopegill Head

Hopegill Head

Route:  Hopegill Head and Whiteside

Area:  Western Lake District

Date of walk: 8th April 2017 

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance:  5.0 miles

Weather:  Sunny, no wind, rather hazy

On a glorious spring morning, with not a cloud in the sky, we parked in the small roadside space on the gated road to High Swinside. We walked along the road and at the top of the drive to High Swinside Holiday Cottages we started the climb up the grassy slopes of Swinside. This was very steep in places and we emerged huffing and puffing on the ridge leading to Ladyside Pike

As we followed the easy path along the ridge we could see the whole walk laid out in front of us – the summit of Hopegill Head, the ridge to Whiteside, and our line of descent down to Dodd

The crags below Hopegill Head are a fearsome sight, and if we’d not walked this way on several occasions we’d have been in doubt about the viability of the route. This involved a mild scramble but we were soon on the summit of Hopegill Head, propelled there by a dose of adrenalin

There then followed the highlight of the walk – the wonderful ridge leading to Whiteside, which is narrow enough to be exciting but not so narrow as to cause palpitations. This is one of my favourite miles in lakeland, and it was with reluctance that we turned the path on reaching the east top of Whiteside. We didn’t have time for the short ‘there and back’ diversion to the west top, but I’d recommend this as the views from there are superior

We followed the easy path down the slopes leading to Dodd and on reaching the col we descended to Hope Beck (pathless in parts). There’s no bridge over the beck, but unless it’s in full spate it’s easily forded in various places. Having crossed the beck it was a short stroll back to the start of a wonderful walk

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