Walking Route: High Street, Lakes

Stunning views in all directions with this classy, grassy route over the far-eastern fells.

Posted: 5 February 2007
by Dave Mycroft

Walking Route - High Street, Lake District

Mardale Head > High Street > Harter Fell > Mardale Head

Distance: 7.4 miles (11.7km)

Height Gain: 2703 ft (824m)

Overview: The long, rolling grassy ridge of High Street gives fantastic views over to the west on a clear day

Maps: Landranger 90, Explorer OL5

Online: Streetmap

Strenuousness: 2
Technicality: 1
Photo Grade: 4

Start Point: NY 468 107

Sat on the far eastern side of the Lakes, High Street's long, grassy rolling ridge doesn't give the most interesting technical walking in the area, but it makes up for it with spectacular views westward of the likes of Fairfield and the Helvellyn range. Look the other way and you can see the Dales. On a clear day there are few better places to be.
Section 1 - Mardale Head to High Street

Distance: 3.4 miles (5.4km)

Height Gain: 2112 ft (644m)

From the car park at the southern end of Haweswater take the path south west and follow it as it turns through 180 degrees having crossed Mardale Beck. The path continues along the banks of Haweswater to The Rigg, a forested spur jutting out into the artificial reservoir.

Rough Crag looking mean and moody above Haweswater - the wooded
promentory is The Rigg - by Tommy Martin from his Cumbria

Here the path doubles back again, to follow an old wall uphill. The angle is gentle at the outset, then increases over Swine Crag and Heron Crag before relenting slightly.

As you approach Rough Crag the ridge broadens and the angle levels out before dropping slightly to Caspel Gate. The half mile from Caspel Gate climbs over 700ft to emerge on the broad summit ridge of High Street, where a north-south wall leads you easily to the summit and high point of this route.

At 2717ft High Street is the highest point east of the Kirkstone Pass and is best known for its Roman road linking Ambleside and Brougham. This is a bridleway and makes a great high-level mountain bike route as well.

Section 2 - High Street to Harter Fell

Distance: 1.9 miles (3km)

Height Gain: 558 ft (170m)

Return to the path from High Street's summit cairn and turn left to follow it away south along the ridge.

Almost immediately the path splits in two, with an option of taking in Thornthwaite Crag if you choose to take the right hand fork. The main route takes the left hand fork and begins the descent towards the Nan Bield Pass.

The view down to Hayeswater from High Street by Ian Gornall
from his Lake District

After a short col the path rises again to Mardale Ill Bell where you get a superb view down to the almost circular Blea Water backed by the High Street ridge.

Atmospheric when snowy... bonkers High Street inversion captured
by Mav in his OM

Continue the descent along a good path to Nan Bield Pass, reckoned to be the Lake District's finest mountain pass by many. From here the path climbs steeply again for 500ft to the summit plateau of Harter Fell, and the pleasant relief of level walking.

Being the most easterly of the Lake's 2500ft mountains the views extend east to Ingleborough and south west to Morecambe bay.

Section 3 - Harter Fell to Mardale Head

Distance: 2.1 miles (3.3km)

Height Gain: 33 ft (10m)

Fom Harter Fell the route is almost exclusively downhill, first north east then south east as you descend from the wide plateau.

Just beyond Little Harter Fell you meet the Gatesgarth Pass track, where a left turn leads alongside Gatesgarth Beck to return you to your starting point.

Route Map

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