Stony Cove Pike from Hartsop round
Cumbria is a large county in North West England and contains the Lake District and Lake District National Park. It is bounded to the north by the Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, to the west by the Irish Sea, to the south by Lancashire, to the south east by North Yorkshire, and to the east by County Durham and Northumberland. Cumbria is very mountainous containing every peak in England over 3,000ft above sea level with Scafell Pike being England’s highest mountain at 978 meters (3,209 feet). Cumbria is also one of England’s most outstanding areas of natural beauty attracting mountain climbers, hikers and walkers, cyclists, runners and tourists and holds a source of inspiration for artists, writers and musicians. Cumbria consists of six districts Eden, Carlisle, Allerdale, Copeland, South Lakeland and Barrow-in-Furness.
The Lake District is an area with stunning scenery located in the North West of England in the County of Cumbria. Commonly known as The Lakes or Lakeland it was granted National Park status on 9th May 1951 less than a month after the first UK designated National Park, The Peak District. It is the largest of thirteen National Parks in England and Wales and the largest in the UK after the Cairngorms. The Lake District National Park itself covers an area of 885 square miles and stretches 30 miles from Ravenglass in the west to Shap in the east and 35 miles from Caldbeck in the north to Lindale in the south. Crammed with so much natural beauty the Lakes attract visitors, tourists and holiday makers from all over the world. As the name suggests there are many lakes each with their own uniqueness, amenities and activities such as lakeside walks, sailing, waterskiing, boat trips and ferries. All of the lakes except Bassenthwaite Lake are named by water, tarn or mere and are surrounded by stunning scenery and magnificent fells. There are some wonderful towns to explore such as Keswick, Windermere, Ambleside, Kendal, Hawkshead, Grasmere and Cockermouth all with a splendid mixture of shops, cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants. There are also many museums, theatres, historic homes, gardens and many easy walks for the not so energetic visitor wishing not to climb the fells. William Wordsworth the famous British poet was born in Cockermouth and later lived in Grasmere where he wrote some of his best works before moving to Rydal Mount near Ambleside for his last 37 years. Both places are open to visitors and so is Brantwood home to John Ruskin until his death. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey and Thomas de Quincey all followed Wordsworth to the Lake District. Arthur Ransome, author of Swallows and Amazons, also grew to love the lakes and settled in the Winster Valley near Windermere. The painters Thomas Gainsborough, JMW Turner and John Constable were early visitors to the lakes but it was John Ruskin who settled here at Brantwood on the shore of Coniston Water. Farming and especially sheep farming has been historically and still is the main industry of the Lake District with the tough Herdwick breed being most closely associated with the area. Sheep farming is an important factor both to the economy of the lakes as well as in preserving the stunning landscape which attracts visitors and hence income to the region.
Hartsop is a small olde worlde end of the road village at the foot of Kirkstone Pass consisting of 17th century grey stone cottages and farm buildings and lies in the Patterdale valley within what was once a royal forest set aside for deer hunting. Red squirrels, badgers, birds and other wildlife are attracted to this peaceful valley. The village was a lead mining community and it still retains its historic image in that it has houses with spinning rooms. The villagers would have made their own clothing and sold any surplus in the local market towns. Hartsop is overlooked by Brook Crags and Hartsop Dodd and is a very popular starting point for hill walkers climbing on the High Street range and the Helvellyn range. Not far from Hartsop is Brothers Water once called Broad Water but was renamed after two brothers drowned there in the 19th century. It may be described as one of the Lake District’s smallest lakes or one of its largest tarns and its shallow water is covered by lily pads creating a green carpet on its blue waters. Nearby is the Brotherswater Inn and Sykeside camping and caravan site.
Stony Cove Pike at 763 metres (2503.28 feet) is also known as Caudale Moor or John Bell’s Banner. The alternative names for the fell are due to the main summit being Stony Cove Pike the second top to the west being Caudale Moor and John Bell’s Banner at 755 metres (2477 feet) is reserved for the south west ridge. The fell is wide and sprawling with six ridges leaving the summit area which is grassy with a number of small tarns between the two tops. Both tops have cairns and there is another cairn topped by a wooden cross to the south west of Caudale Moor. The main summit spouts four of the ridges to the points of the compass. These ridges follow walls that lead eastwards to Threshwaite Mouth, northwards to Hartsop Dodd, southward to Doup Crag and westwards to John Bell’s Banner. The other two ridges lead from the lower summit. One is a broad ridge that heads south passing over Pike How before descending to Raven’s Edge and Kirkstone Pass and the other is the narrow ridge of Rough Edge which descends north-west. Halfway down Rough Edge there are the remains of the extensive Caudale Quarry which was reached by what was believed to be the steepest working track in the Lake District. There is also evidence of deeper slate mining here and was last worked at the beginning of the 20th century. To the right above the quarry is the ridge and summit of Hartsop Dodd.
Kirkstone Pass at an altitude of 454 metres (1,489 feet) is the Lake District’s highest pass that is open to motor traffic and in places the gradient is 1 in 4. The pass is situated on the A592 and connects Ambleside in the Rothay Valley to Patterdale in the Ullswater Valley. The Kirkstone Inn situated near the summit of the pass is the third highest public house in England. It was formerly an important coaching inn but now caters mainly for the tourist. The pass from Ambleside up to the inn is known locally as ‘The Struggle’. The pass was named after a nearby stone, the Kirkstone, which can be seen standing a few yards from the roadside and several yards from the inn. The stone is so named, as its silhouette resembles a church steeple, Kirk meaning church in Old Norse. Copper and slate mining have taken place in the area for many years and Pets Quarry still currently being worked by Kirkstone Green Slate Company lies just before the highest point of the pass on the Ambleside side.
At the end of the car park we go through the gate and turn immediate right through a second gate. We then head forward over Pasture Beck following the path and after a short way we cross the stile in the wall and turn left following the track with the wall on our left. We go through a gate and keep following the wall on our left. We see some old mine workings next the beck down below. We go through another gate and just keep following the path alongside Pasture Beck all the way to the end of the valley. We now head steeply uphill following the path to the dip in the skyline. At the top we go through the wall and turn right following the wall on our right heading steeply uphill, with some scrambling, to the top. The path levels out and we soon start to bear left away from the wall heading to the summit of Stony Cove Pike. We pass a large cairn then after a short way we come to a broken wall. We go through the wall, there is a path at both sides of the wall on the other side, but we take the path on the left with the wall on our right. As we head forwards we can see a small pond on our right and a cairn in the distance. When we come to a stone cross on the ground we cross the wall and head on the path over Caudale Moor to the cairn in the distance. At the large cairn we head forwards to another cairn in front then bear left to a smaller cairn. We then turn right and follow the downhill path along the ridge of Rough Edge. We eventually go through the old Caudale Quarry and keep following the path downhill. We come to a stream and cross over to the other side and follow the path which turns right to meet the road at the Brotherswater Inn. We cross the road and walk through the pub car park towards the camp site. We turn right and follow the tarmac track and just before the road we turn left through the gap and follow the narrow path with the wall on our right until we meet the road. We cross straight over and at the sign post we turn left through the gate. We follow the path between two walls until we come to a little footbridge at Hartsop. We cross over and turn right and follow the road back to the car park.
This is a moderate to hard walk on paths and tracks with steep inclines and declines. Some scrambling is required.
Elevation: Approx lowest point 157.70m (517.40ft) approx highest point 716m (2496.72ft).
Distance and Start Point
Approx 5.5 miles allow 3 to 4 hours using OS Explorer Map OL5, The English Lakes North-eastern area.
Start point: Car parking area at the very end of Hartsop village.
Hartsop is in the Ullswater Valley in the Lake District, Cumbria.
Directions and Parking
From the A66 at Troutbeck take the A5091 sign posted Ullswater. Follow the A5091 until it joins the A592, on the edge of Ullswater, turn right and follow the road through Glenridding and Patterdale. Hartsop is about 2 miles further on, on the left.
Parking: Car parking area at the very end of the Hartsop village and there is also a car park at Cow Bridge on the A592 towards Patterdale. Both are free.
Toilets and Refreshments
There are no public toilets, shops or pubs in Hartsop but there is the Brotherswater Inn down the road just past Brothers Water. The next nearest facilities are at Patterdale, Glenridding and Ambleside.