BB1823 : Darling, Dabble My .....!

Thursday 19th July 2018

With the threat of water rationing looming over us and news readers telling us how low the reservoirs now are, I thought it might be an interesting time to visit Haweswater to see for ourselves.  Stan pooh-poohed the idea.  "Went there on Sunday," he said.  "Very little to see at Mardale other than people and cars! The water level is low but it has been much lower in the past."

He had a point.  Here is my 1984 picture which is notable for two things.  Firstly the water level is far lower than at present and secondly for Jamie's remarkable trousers.

And in 1976 it was even lower:

For more about the drowned village and its pub, the Dun Bull Hotel, the grounds of which can be seen in the above picture, visit Mardale Green- the Jewel in a Lost Crown.

Instead, we decided to go north and knock off some more Wainwrights.  We parked near Darling How farm.  The name comes from the number of folk who have asked their partner "Darling, How are we going to get up that hill?"  The hill in question is Whinlatter and the problem is that the south side is fearsomely steep and the rest of it is surrounded by woodland.

Stan and I had faced this problem before, on BB0934, and failed to find an easy way through the trees or the battlefield of their felled comrades.  Others who have reported on the web have faced similar problems although sticking by a wall that we missed last time seemed to offer the best prospect to take Robin and the Mikes up through Aiken Plantation and on to Brown How.  However a 2016 report showed that the path, if you can call it such, was almost overrun by new coniferous growth and we feared that it might now have completely vanished.

Our fears seemed justified.  The gps told us that we were in the right place however there was no sign of a wall, nor of a path.  Just a dense congregation of conifers.  But then we spotted a tiny pile of stones by the side of the track.  And then another, even smaller by the edge of the trees.  Was this a clue?  It was.

Penetrating the jungle for a few yards revealed that here indeed was a wall and here indeed were the signs of the occasional passage of feet.  And here indeed was a rather steep ascent before we reached the open fell.  Thereafter it was easy going to reach the Whinlatter top.

After crossing the curiously named Tarbarrel Moss we had a larger forest to negotiate but that proved much simpler.  The trail emerged below Lord’s Seat but our route led out to Barf, seen here with Skiddaw in the background.

This is a lovely outcrop with fine views over Bassenthwaite to the left.....

..... Derwentwater to the right.

We retraced our steps for a while then branched off for Lord’s Seat and lunch following which, a shortish easy undulation away, was Broom Fell, Wainwright number 4.  All on open fell.  No more trees and a good view of the Coledale Round fells.

Greystones proved slightly more of a challenge until we realised that this time the forest marked on the map was non-existent, just a massively ravaged area.  We should have realised this as we had seen it earlier in the day.

The actual summit was not where Wainwright thought it was, or at least that is what our gps said.  He, of course, didn’t have the luxury of such technology.  His was a more satisfying viewpoint.

The descent to the valley is steep. You can see it going down beside the wall in this picture taken earlier in the day from Whinlatter.

There is a well-used path but Stan and I thought it would be easier to go down on the grass.  In normal weather that probably would have been the case but it was now so dry that the browned grass offered little adhesion and a couple of minor mishaps brought us back on piste.

Reaching the bottom, rather than undertake a road slog, we headed up the track towards Spout Force, past a strangely painted boulder.  At the footbridge a crucial decision needed to be made.  Should we press on to the Spout even though as a Force it was likely to be minimal?

One voted in favour.  “I’d like to dabble my feet in a pond.” he exclaimed.

Mike B, however, had a better idea.  “I’d like to dabble my tongue in a pint.”

There was no need to put the motion to a vote.  We crossed the trickle then braved our way up through bracken and brambles back to the car.  Finally, at Braithwaite’s Royal Oak, Mike’s dabbling wish came true.

Don, Thursday 19th July 2018



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David W:

We really must stop almost meeting on the fells!  I've only ever been up Whinlatter from the Visitor Centre, on the way back from somewhere.


From your tracklog I see that you started from Hurstone Point, visited Barf, Lord's Seat, Broom Fell and  Graystone before heading off for Ling Fell and Sale Fell.  It looks like we were about an hour behind you on the part where our routes overlapped.

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Comitibus: Stan, Robin, Mike T, Mike B, Don

Map : Harveys 1:25k


BB1823 : Darling, Dabble My .....!


Thursday 19th July 2018


Whinlatter, Barf, Lord’s Seat, Broom Fell,Graystones. 

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:


GPX track



Don, Mike B, Mike T, Robin, Stan


If you want to know which BOOTboys reports refer to having visited any particular Wainwright or certain other tops, see BOOTboys Hill Log.

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