BB1421 : A Last Look At Hayeswater?

Thursday 12th June 2014

One of the Lake District's lesser known lakes, Hayeswater (not to be confused with Haweswater), is soon to be radically transformed. Technically, it is a reservoir.  Its current level is artificial, maintained by a dam.  That dam is soon to be gradually removed and the water will be allowed to drop to its natural level as a tarn.  Environmental reasons are put forward to support the action but my guess is that the real reason is the cost of maintaining the structure, coupled with a risk assessment of the financial damage that could ensue if the dam wall were to break.

Viewing the dam was not the main purpose of today's outing.  Indeed, there was some doubt as to whether we would see it at all.  Contrary to what the forecast had led us to believe, high level  visibility was poor. On Tuesday the forecasters had led us to expect a day in the sun. Yesterday we told to look forward to an afternoon in the sun.  Come the day, however, the clag obviously was not obeying its command.

This was a pity as we were blooding a new BOOTboy, Terry.

It was with some trepidation on our part as we had heard of his Nepalese adventures.  It was not because Stan and I were eager to impress him that we chose the stiffest start to a walk since Seat Sandal (some would argue, much stiffer).  It was to satisfy John's need to knock off more Wainwrights on a day when time constraints meant we couldn't travel too far.

Hartsop was the rendezvous where we met up with Mike and Martin. After the initiation ceremony involving a Linthwaite sausage, we began the ascent of Hartsop Dodd.  

Terry (left) and the inaugural sausage

Queen's Head aftermath

However, before I get to that part of the tale I must mention the fire at the Queen's Head at Troutbeck.  I did report this last week ( BB1420 ) but here was the chance to see for ourselves.  Understandably fenced off, it was clear to see the damage that the fire had caused.  Apparently there had been eight rooms occupied with guests staying the night.  It must have been pretty scary for them.

The climb up Hartsop Dodd weaves up the Round How nose with steep slopes on either side.  The sort of terrain where I have to keep moving otherwise my legs lose momentum and gain wobble.  

Round How

Stan looks back to the car park

Once up on the Dodd things become more civilised. The rising ground to the top of Caudale Moor is much less challenging except for the fact that it was into the cloud so visibility became increasingly restricted.

Comitibus :  The Monument

There are at least three summit cairns up here so we first headed for the Caudale Moor cairn which we found easily beyond a small tarn.

Next was the Monument, otherwise known as John Bell's Banner (at least I think they are the same place).

There were two inscribed plaques, one barely legible, the other clearly in remembrance of his son, William Ion Akinson, the father being an Atkinson not a Bell.

Mart In The Hills says: "There are 2 inscribed plaques; “Hic jacet Mark Atkinson of Kirkstone Pass Inn, died 14 June 1930 aged 69 years” and “Also his son William Ion Atkinson, died 2nd April 1987 aged 83 years”. Turns out the Atkinson family ran the Kirkstone Pass Inn and as well as looking down over the Inn the memorial can be clearly seen from the pub (on a good day)."  Ed.

Finally we headed for the true summit, Stony Cove Pike, where we met people who were rather disorientated by the fog. I do hope the guidance we gave them proved accurate- it was hard to tell!

Anyway, we found our way down the steep path by the wall to Thresthwaite  Mouth to find a place behind a wall out of the wind and below the clag that would have really suited Tony,  Except for the fact that it was now well gone noon.

The climb to Thornthwaite Beacon was quite steep up a good if somewhat loose stony track but once again into the mist.

I spy Stan at the Beacon

The beetle at the Beacon

There, on a rock, was a rather unusual beetle.  I think it might have been a Rose Chafer although it seems a strange place to find one.

Gray Crag, the next objective, was found by following a pretty obvious trail into an increasingly sunny terrain.  And, from there, we could see Hayeswater.


It was interesting to look down and wonder what it would be like in the near future when the dam is breached and the water level allowed to drop.

Hayeswater dam

A Hartsop barn

We continued down the nose to meet Hayeswater Gill then headed back to Hartsop, quite pleased with ourselves for completing a more challenging outing than our  recent norm.

To celebrate, we decided to stop at the Kirkstone Inn.  What a surprise awaited us.

Rudolph in the Kirkstone Inn

On what was now a hot sunny afternoon there was a fire blazing inside.

What is more, the Christmas decorations were still up, Rudolph was still by the fire and, believe it or not, playing over the speaker system was Andy Williams (or some such crooner) singing The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Was this a Brigadoon sort of experience?

Not judging by the price of the ales.

£3.50 rather than thruppence ha'penny.

However, it was a good pint and a jolly way to say farewell to Hayeswater as we know it.  

One day we will return to see what the new version looks like.  Then on the way back, we'll see if Rudolph is still awaiting his call from Santa.

Don, 12th June 2014

The No-Colour Supplement

It is a while since I added a monochrome photo so here is one of Terry peeping through some water pipes.  




Thursday 12th June 2014

Distance in miles


Height climbed in feet



Hartsop Dodd, Stony Cove Pike,
Thornthwaite Crag, Gray Crag


Don, John Hn, Martin C, Mike,
Stan, Terry


BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1421  .

To discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing - although it may not be that up to date - see: Which Wainwright When?

For the latest totals of the mileages and heights (ditto) see: BB Log.


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