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A Favourite Place – Lake District Far Eastern Fells

Looking at Hayswater and Gray Crag from the Knott, High Street Lake District

Roman soldiers, wrestlers and race horses frequented High Street’s summit in the Lake District’s Far Eastern Fells. Steeped in history, these mountains rise high above Ullswater’s eastern shores, combining glacial valleys, high crags and wild, quiet moorland. Peak Walking Adventures Guide, Richard Tower, enjoyed a hike here, across some of his favourite summits…

“I started a circular walk from Brothers Water in Patterdale and hiked up Pasture Beck, a tranquil, steep sided valley, squeezed between high ridges.

As the valley closed around me, I continued steeply up, towards Thornthwaite Crag 784m (2272 ft) with magnificent views of the Froswick and Ill Bell Ridge, and over towards towards the summit of Mardale Ill Bell.

Then, onto High Street which, at 828m (2716ft), is the range’s highest point and aptly named after England’s highest Roman Road which crosses the summit.

I was following the footsteps of soldiers who marched here 2000 years ago, along the 20km (12-mile) route between a southerly Roman fort at Ambleside and Brougham, further north near Penrith. 

As centuries passed, High Street also hosted sheep gatherings, summer fairs, wrestling matches and horse races; shepherds, wrestlers, jockeys and local families have variously shared this airy, communal space. The ‘Mardale Shepherds’ Meets’ on High Street included food and barrels of beer and lasted several days. In 1927, it’s believed over 700 people attended the event!

Just a couple of minutes’ walk from this amenable summit, the slopes become cragged cliffs and plunge 300m (1000 ft) into a perfect corrie, revealing the Lake District’s deepest mountain tarn, Blea Water.

It’s a perfect post-glacial landscape with a panorama, stretching over the sharp ridge of Rough Crag, and down to Haweswater nearly 600m (2000 ft) below; this view stretches further, deep into the North Yorkshire hills.   With big skies and silence, this was a perfect picnic spot.

Blea Water High Street Lake District
A view from High Street over Blea Water. 61m (200ft) deep, this is the deepest corrie tarn in the Lakes.

Heading north of High Street, I stopped at the Knott, a sugar loaf peak perched above Hayswater, where boulders are strewn in steep lines down the valley sides to the water’s edge.

I took a detour to Angletarn Pikes (567m/1860ft).  This ‘double pike’ looks precipitous on approach, but an easy backdoor route over the two crags is worth it, and a quieter spot to enjoy the beauty of Angle Tarn below. With its indented shoreline, miniature islands and surrounding fells, this ‘mountain lake’ hangs high above Patterdale.

Lake-District Angle Tarn
Angle Tarn – an exquisite ‘mountain lake’ that hangs high above Patterdale.

I found a magical path that contoured down the fell’s steep flank overlooking Patterdale, and headed back Brother’s Water for a paddle. I reflected; on summer days when other hills are hectic, the Far Eastern Fells offer dramatic views and quiet corners. They stand alone and stand their ground. I’d be back.”

Would you like to walk the Far Eastern Fells?

Join our Eastern Fells Weekend on 27 – 28 July 2024. Walk and Booking Information here >

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