The Head of Haweswater walk circles the valley head,starting with a rocky climb past the idyllic Small Water. The return heads south east over the lesser visited peaks of Harter Fell, Branstree and Selside Pike.
Haweswater is a good base for a climb of the eastern fells. The walking tends to be shorter than any approach from Ullswater. It is also quieter. However be aware that the Head of Haweswater walk does not venture on to the main High Street ridge but explores the lesser known fells to the south and east. From Nan Bield pass the route does join the Kentmere Round for the brief but steep climb of Harter Fell.
However it is the two summits of Branstree and Selside Pike which make the walk memorable. The rough paths suddenly become grassy pathways, rocky summits become smooth rounded summits. It is a great contrast to the previous climb of Harter Fell. In addition there is a small tarn just beyond Branstree which you can compare (badly in this case) with the delectable Small Water. One is surrounded by dramatic rocky slopes, the other is a tranquil body of water set in a grassy hollow. As the walk continues the views become more focused on the rolling fells of the eastern lakes, again a contrast to earlier but no less interesting.
The views north towards High Street and beyond are exceptional. It is worth stopping on the steep slopes of Harter Fell for your picnic.
On the descent back to Haweswater from Selside Pike head just north of west to Hopgill Beck and the sheepfold just over the beck. A steep but faint path descends from here. However it soon arrives at the wall next to Hopgill Beck. Hop over and it is a short walk back to the car.
Mardale/Haweswater was my introduction to the Lakes, and it’s still my favourite. I visit twice a year and stay in my microcamper walking various routes. August 2019 was my last visit, when I walked The Old Corpse Road. I had plans to do Branstree and Selside this year…also Riggindale Ridge ( done that 5 years ago), but this time I was going to turn east and descend from Kidsty Pike…all not to be unfortunately. I also had plans to explore Swindale…looks as though I’ll be busy next year !
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