Hello, my name is Mal Tabb.
Thanks for visiting our web pages. Marion & I operate a small outdoor activity organisation called Canoes, Mountains & Caves. We provide activities for: adults, young people, schools, charities, families & individuals. A key aspect of our work is the provision of a "Community Programme" which is offered free of charge to participants. If you think we might be able to help please don't hesitate to contact us, you can find out more about what we do on our main website www.canoesmountainscaves.com

Thursday, 30 August 2012

High Street via Rough Crag & Long Stile

With: Tala (our dog)
Weather: a bright & blustery afternoon following a wet morning
Where: Lake District, Far Eastern Fells - Mardale Head; Rough Crag; Long Stile; High Street; Mardale Ill Bell; Nan Bield; Small Water Tarn; Mardale Head

Distance: 6 miles

Height Gain: 2,150 feet

This was a deliberately delayed start as the weather forecast had predicted a very wet morning. Driving through Bampton and alongside Haweswater at about 2:30 pm it poured down in monsoon like fashion & the MWIS predictions appeared to be flawed. However, as the final pre-walk faff took place the sun came out; the skies cleared and in the main the day remained fair.

Its not very often the dog comes out walking with me and my mind is not yet made up about the fells as a dog walking environment, however, on this occasion it was a pleasure to have her along for the journey & there is no doubt she thoroughly enjoyed the extended period of exercise.

In pre-Blaithwaite days I did quite a lot of reading & reflecting on the concept of wilderness, particularly enjoying the writings of John Muir, and whilst not the most natural "wilderness" environment (Haweswater being man made) I have always felt this corner of the Lake District to be one of the wilder feeling parts of the National Park. Although in most of my dealings with United Utilities I have found them to be amongst the most difficult organisations to do business with (their customer service is truly appalling) they do appear to make a good job of managing this landscape.

Leaving the car park we cut across the head of the reservoir & along the path at the foot of the Rough Crag, Long Stile ridge. A little before the end of the ridge meets the water there is a faint path which ascends steeply allowing the crest of the ridge to be gained early. The views from this early part of the climb were awesome today.

Big Views Down Haweswater From Rough Crag
Wainwright describes the ascent of High Street via Rough Crag & Long Stile as the "the connoisseur's route" and goes on to say: "The ascent is a classic, leading directly along the crest of a long straight ridge that permits no variation from the valley to the summit" the picture below gives some impression as to what he was referring to. It reminds me a little of the Ullock Pike ridge.

Typically, as the last few steep metres were gained on approach to the summit the cloud began to drop and the previously blue skies quickly became shaded grey. However, the cloud did cease to descend before engulfing the high summits and fine albeit muted views were still afforded in all directions.

High Street stands at 2718 feet and has quite a history, I hadn't realised until this visit that the OS map still refers to it as Race Course Fell.

Leaving the obvious path I cut the corner slightly heading south east in the direction of Mardale Ill Bell. On arrival it became necessary to put on a jacket for the first time as the south westerly was by now both a persistent and increasingly cool wind. A few quick photos from the summit (these are on Facebook - link to the right of this post) and the descent began, initially gently and then steeply from Nan Bield.

Below: High Street summit

Oddly, again today, after leaving the car park I never saw another person until the descent towards Small Water where at the outflow there was a sizeable wild camp - the orange coloured Vango Force Ten tents being visible from some distance.

The final part of the descent was uneventful and we got back to the car at about seven o' clock a total walking time of about three and three quarter hours.

Small Water & Haweswater (camp just visible to right of outflow)


  1. These pictures are fantastic! Breathtaking!

    1. Thanks standard toaster! The sun and myself have never been out at the same time in this area before so it was good to be able to take some decent pictures. Mal