High Street Ridge Walking

  • Long ridge with easy walking
  • 2 perfectly formed tarns
  • Lovely lake path

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 – which is fine 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 walk falls in to 3 very distinct sectors; the climb, the ridge and 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 and further east it is nothing more than a small outcrop of rock. 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.

Recommend: Walk the full ridge and do not be tempted to bail out at Kidsty Pike

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OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL5 Lake District North East. Buy Map
Start Point: NY 468108. Plenty of parking at the car park or roadside at the end of Haweswater
Height to Climb: 745ms (2,444 feet)
Terrain: I missed the path of Wether hill which is marked but did pick it up on the ridge.
Eating & Drinking: Once in the car I prefer travelling down to Bampton for a pint rather than stopping at the Mardale Inn. If a pub will not do Shap has a tea shop and is worth a bit of an explore. Imagine it on a long winter!
Similar Walks Nearby: Little Known Swindale
Airy Martindale Round
The ‘Other’ Borrowdale near Shap
Places to Stay: