BB1628 : Seek And Ye Shall Find

Thursday 21st July 2016

Just to the side of the Roman Road, High Street, is a Stone Circle according to the OS map.  We have looked for it before and failed.  I don't mean the Cockpit. That is further north and very obvious.  This one is a little north of Loadpot Hill and off to the left of the main path.

We, Bryan, Stan Tony and I, tried to find it nine years ago on BB0729 but failed. Even Stan's second attempt bore no fruit.  Could we (Terry, Tony and I) do better today?

This time we found it easily despite it not being located where the map says it should be on Swarth Fell.

How come we were so successful this time?

Well, I have to confess that someone else, Julian Cope, had done the hard work for us.  All I had to do was navigate to his gps reading NY 45662 19205.

It is not a full circle.  Maybe a semi circle of small flat stone then on the opposite side another group of stones, this time having three small vertical one which I suspect might be later additions.  

I could speculate on its origins but instead if you want to know more, click on The Modern Antiquarian.

Swarth Fell Stone Circle

This was far from being the only item of historical interest on today's outing. The villages of Clifton and Eamont bridge have far more than their fair share, from ancient Britons to the last pitched battle on English soil.  However, as it was by car that we passed through, you will need to refer to BB1125 and BB1211 and to find out more.

The new Pooley Bridge bridge

We parked at Pooley Bridge, or perhaps I should say along side the new Pooley Bridge, the so called temporary one constructed army fashion after the January floods.

It looks as if it could last for decades and whilst it is nowhere near as pretty as the old one, why spend public money (i.e. yours and mine) on something that is not really necessary?

We had anticipated an early arrival at the Ullswater steamer ticket office.

However I had forgotten that it had been wrecked by the floods.  

As was

As is

The temporary building had neither coffee nor the ability to take cash.  Cards only.  The guy behind the desk was not the cheeriest individual we have ever met but he was far better than the miserable bloke who let us off at Howtown.

Come on.  Customer Service.  Welcome to the Lake District.  These people are paying YOUR wages!

Steel Knott straight ahead

The initial stage of the climb up Steel Knotts is quite steep and the path through the deep bracken quite narrow.  Fortunately it eased off and cleared by the time we reached the Pikeawassa summit rocks.

Steel Knotts

Comitibus: Pikawassa

Ullswater steamer at Howtown

We continued along the ridge then dropped down to two derelict stone structures at Fusedale Beck.  

Down the Steel Knotts ridge.....

... and on to the ruined buildings

The climb up to Wether Hill didn't look too bad but I had forgotten what a brute it was in reality.  Steep and with spongy, tufty vegetation. Tony was relieved firstly to survive the climb and secondly to be allowed to take lunch at the top, only one hour after his noon time requirement.

Tony on the ascent

Loadpot Hill summit

As befits a bridle path but is an unusal sight so high up, there were horses.

Not wild horses

An undulating path led us to Loadpot hill.  The map shows a trig point at the top but we also found a stone marked with an "L" on one side and what was probably an "H" on the other.  I don't remember seeing that before but I have seen them on Branstree and knew that it marked the boundary between the Lowther estate and someone else- Andrew Leaney suggests Harrison- a Longsleddale parish landowner.

The aforementioned Stone Circle came next following which we continued along the spur to Bonscale Pike.

Comitibus: Swarth Fell Stone Circle

Bonscale Towers

A little further are the Bonscale Towers- two stone pillars perched precariously on the edge of the cliff.  It is a magnificent viewpoint but I don't know the purpose of those towers.  Anyone any thoughts?

Ullswater from the Towers

Once again we had to find a ruined building alongside which to cross a stream in order to complete the day's Wainwright tally of 5 at Arthur's Pike.  Another fine viewpoint and Terry's 107th Wainwright- half way point.

Terry's half way point

Ships that pass in the day

The way back to Pooley bridge is a little disappointing in that the track the you first meet after a trudge across the moor does not do what you hope and pray that it does.  Instead it would return to you to Howtown so we didn't take it.

Anyway, I wanted to show Terry the Cockpit as it might be a long long time before he is up in the area again, having now completed all the Wainwrights on the northern end of that side of the lake.  

The Cockpit

This is a more obvious and much larger stone circle.  We thought it very unlikely it was ever used for cock-fighting.  Nor flying planes.

That was the end of the expedition proper, except for Tony's remarkable discovery- a precious spoon that he found lying on the ground, marked with the inscription Olympia 18/0.  An inconclusive deate ensued about its potential value.  I subsequently found ithat Amazon are selling it at £6.41 for a pack of 12.  No wonder Tony is so keen to return and claim it.

All that was left was the stroll back to Pooley Bridge, which seemed nearer than it proved to be. Fortunately there was a dramatic view to admire up the lake:

At last we reached the village, passing a good and bad example of what can be done with two old and near identical cottages.

One good

Too bad

Now back at Polley Bridge it was Tony's turn to seek and of course he found.

No further explanation needed.  Cheers!

Don, Thursday 21st July 2016




Thursday 21st July 2016

Distance in miles:

11.9 + 3.1 by boat (Garmin)

Height climbed in feet:

2,591 (Memory Map)


Steel Knott (Pikeawassa), Wether Hill, Loadpot Hill, Bonscale, Arthur's Pike


Don, Terry, Tony

BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1628 .

To discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing - although it may not be that up to date - or for the totals of   the mileages and heights (ditto) see the Excel file: BB Log.

You can navigate to the required report via the Home Page

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To see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing see Which Wainwright When? This may or may not be up to date!

For the latest totals of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.
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BOOTboys 2016


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