Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell and Ashness Bridage

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Last weekend Saturday was a washout but Sunday and Monday were looking promising, so I cleaned up my boots and planned a couple of walks.

Sunday, I was up early, defrosted the car and set off up towards Keswick. I’d decided on a not too demanding walk east of Derwent Water rather than heading out onto the higher fells. Daylight is short at this time of the year and I didn’t want to push my luck and have to end up coming down off the fells in the dark.

I arrived at the National Trust car park at Great Wood. There were a few other cars there when I arrived at around 9:15 and I was getting myself booted up, several more stared arriving. Not surprising as it was a fine, sunny morning.

Boots on, I set off on the path through the woods.

As I gained some height views of the lake and fells started to appear through the trees

I looped round through the woods past Castlerigg farm and then started the climb up to Walla Crag. I never tire of the views obtained on this route

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Skiddaw
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A short steep climb (a bit muddy underfoot) and I reached the summit of Walla Crag. Not so high, but a great viewpoint over the western fells, especially on such a bright late autumn morning. Time to take a break and for a coffee from my flask.

Looking west towards Cat Bells, Causey Pike, Grizedale Pike … and the rest!
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Looking over towards Bassenthwaite Lake – there’s Scotland in the distance.

After a short break it was time to get moving again. I set out for my next objective, Bleaberry Fell. An easy, gentle walk on a good path across the boggy moorland at first with a bit of a bite at the end.

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Looking back as I neared the summit

Reaching the top it was time for another brew break. It was cloudier over to the east, but there were still good views over to the Dodds and the Helvellyn range

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Clough head and the Dodds
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Looking towards Helvellyn
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Looking South West down Borrowdale – Scafell Pike, Great Gable, Glaramarra, Bowfell and Esk Pike all visible on the horizon

The last time I was up here I made my way over to High Seat, which is only a short distance from the top of Bleaberry Fell. That was in May a couple of years ago and it was something of a bog fest even then. I thought better of it this time – I didn’t fancy getting sucked down into the murky depths of the soaking peat! Even Wainwright reckons that “this is a walk to wish on one’s worst enemy“. So I retraced my steps down from the top and along the path heading back towards Walla Crag

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But part way down I diverted onto the path that descended to the popular beauty spot of Ashness Bridge.

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The old pack horse bridge, with the view over Derwent Water to Skiddaw, is a very popular “honeypot” and there were quite a few people, including a few “serious” photographers, all trying to snap photographs and selfies. I stopped for a brew and a bite to eat but you have to take a photo don’t you?

There’s a car park here but to reach it the cars had to cross the narrow bridge. It was fun watching all the overlarge “Chelsea Tractors”, which everyone has to have these days, trying to manoeuvre over the bridge without scratching their paintwork on the sides – no doubt with their parking sensors going into overdrive! Shouldn’t laugh though, I’ve a smaller car and would be cautious!

It was time to move on and I set off down the path through the woods back towards the my car.

passing Raven Crags

Before reaching the car park I cut off down a path towards the lake and then after a scramble down to the shore, I walked on the lake side path towards Calfclose bay

It’s become something of a tradition when I’m over this way to check out the Hundred Year Stones to see whether they’re submerged in the lake. They were dipping their toes in the water this visit!

The stones were created by Peter Randall-Page to mark the centenary of the National Trust in 1995

I made my way back to the car. It was clear that it had been full earlier on in the day but now it was later in the afternoon people had started to leave

Time for me to leave too. After debooting (is that a word?) I drove into Keswick to have a quick nosey round the town and pick up some treats from Booths’ supermarket.

It was busy in Keswick, so I didn’t stay long, but did pop into Bookends for a nosey

Returning to my car after picking up my supplies from Booths I could see Skiddaw lit up by the setting sun. The car park wasn’t the best viewpoint for a photo, but I snapped one anyway.

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The drive home wasn’t fun. It was fine until I got to around the Sedbergh junction on the M6 then I was stuck in slow moving (sometimes stationary) traffic all the way down the rest of the M6 and the M61. Not surprising as lots of people had clearly had the same idea as me and been out on a sunny day, setting for home at sunset.

But that was a minor inconvenience. I’d had a great day out. The forecast was sunny for Monday too and I’d decided to take the day off!

14 thoughts on “Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell and Ashness Bridage

  1. You can tell just from the sky that it was cold but what better weather for viewing the fells and taking great photographs. For my version of this walk, I started and finished from Keswick, walking out of the town up to Bleaberry Fell first and visiting Walla Crag on the way back before dropping down into the wood. An excellent day. I’ve never done the ridge to High Seat: I collected that from Watendlath, along with Armboth Fell and High Tove in that order, and the ridge between the latter and High Seat was enough to cure me of any ambitions to link High Seat and Bleaberry Fell.

    • We did it from Keswick once, coming down Cat Ghyll rather than going down to Ashness Bridge, which was fun!
      It was a great day for views. Bright and cold but that meant that the air was very clear, not hazy like you get in the summer, so I could see for miles.
      Bleaberry Fell to High Seat definitely not advised in winter – although there was a small group I spoke to at the summit who were heading over. I advised them to wear their swimming cozzies! Perhaps they were keen on Bog Snorkelling 😂

  2. Lovely little circuit in great weather.
    I have a soft spot for that corner of the Lakes, as we often camped in the 70s at the Castlerigg Farm site. This was very convenient for Keswick without any parking problems. Also, it was on route to Walla Crag, which was the first Wainwright my oldest son climbed aged 3. I doubt he remembers it!

  3. I’ve heard that the path from High Seat to Bleaberry Fell and on to High Tove is far better now, and has been flagged in places (similar to that in the Peak District). However Walla Crag and Bleaberry for me is a perfect walk, not too far and great for a half day out

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