From Haweswater a rocky climb past two idyllic tarns leads on to the broad, grassy High Street ridge. Once on the ridge the views are excellent and the walking easy. The return is via the shores of Haweswater.
I find the High Street ridge a real pleasure to walk and therefore included almost the full ridge on this walk. From Nan Bield Pass to Wether Hill (and there is an option to go further to Loadpot Hill) is 4 miles of high ridge walking that is unlike anything else in the Lakes (except possibly the ridge to the north of Helvellyn). Extensive views down lovely Martindale offer tantalising glimpses of Ullswater are easily enjoyed due to the easy and flat walking. The punishment for walking such a ridge is the long miles that I was from the start point on Haweswater. It was ok once I reached the shores of Haweswater but a bit of a slog coming off the slopes of Wether Hill (however it is all down hill and there is a path which I only found lower down).
The High Street ridge walk falls in to 3 very distinct sectors. First the ascent, then the ridge and finally the lakeside path. The climb from the head of Mardale Valley (Haweswater) is one of the best access points to a high ridge in the lakes. I aimed for Nan Bield which passes by the delightful tarn of Small Water before completing the climb at the col which is a meeting point for those completing the Kentmere Round. A final haul up Mardale Ill Bell is followed by the wonderful, long ridge walk with excellent views of the Far and Eastern Fells laid out around you.
The detour to Kidsty Pike is a must and I hoped to spot the pair of Golden Eagles but as ever did not. Kidsty Pike is a little strange. Clearly observed in dramatic detail on the M6 but in reality is little more than a rocky outcrop. However the views down Riggindale are great. I met no one beyond High Street summit which is how it should be on this lonely corner of Lakeland. There were probably more feet in Roman times than there is now. The final return along the shoreline of Haweswater is very enjoyable although I was frustrated (like Wainwright) by the location of the pub.
Walk the full ridge and do not be tempted to bail out at Kidsty Pike
The return to Haweswater from Wether Hill is largely trackless. Keep to the higher ground as long as possible. Start by heading just east of south to avoid Atkinsons Gill then turn east. Follo the shoulder to Low Kop. Then drop sharply to the river bridge over Measland Beck before joining the lakeside track.
Jonathan…..thank you for your advice.
I would be interested to know because of this terrain, what is the best footwear to track the Roman High Street ?
I’m Canadian and have this ambition of trekking this incline after watching Sir Tony Robinson’s walking through History. The scenery is just awesome . I also have some concerns about doing it solo or with a mate. Any tips that you can give is appreciated. I belong to a gym and exercise three times a week. This is one venture on my bucket list.
Good solid boots which more important than anything are comfortable. To walk over High Street is a long day and you may be better breaking it up in to sections however fit you are. Finally the weather will make a difference, it is easy to get lost in the cloud/rain if yu are unable to use a map and compass.
Tough 14 mile plus walk with over 3000ft of aggregate ascent. Despite the mist which we endured for most of the way, the paths for the most part are obvious. The exception to this is coming from Wether Hill:- the is no obvious path across the wet, peaty moss & the downhill path from Bampton Common has to be looked for but once found is once again obvious. Don’t expect a leisurely saunter along the lake-side back to the car park either – it’s four miles of ups & downs, just to test your energy levels. Good to say I walked in the footsteps of the Romans!
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