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.