Full Swindale Round

Name of walk Full Swindale Round
Date of walk 2010-06-02
Distance walked (miles) 13
Duration of walk 8 hours 0 minutes
Weather Blue skies and sunshine
Peaks on walk Selside Pike, Branstree, Tarn Crag, Grey Crag
Walked with Ged and blind Kas
Parking Roadside just outside Swindale.
Yesterday I decided that the conditions were ideal to do the Swindale Round. Swindale is an isolated valley to the east of the Haweswater valley (Mardale). In fact Ged had never even heard of it before! The walk would include Selside Pike (2149ft), Branstree (2339ft), Tarn Crag (2178ft) and Grey Crag (2093ft). A long walk of 13 miles. This is not a walk that I`d do by myself, as Wainwright says: “The desolation is profound. Solitary walkers who want a decent burial should bear in mind that if an accident befalls them in this wilderness their bones are likely to adorn the scene until they rot and disintegrate”….Oh-er!!! So I persuaded Ged and Kas to come along too. The route also required a mist free day to aid navigation, and some sunshine to liven up some of the scenery which was bleak in places. 
We headed for Bampton Grange and then needed to consult the map as the sign posts were missing in a couple of places. The road down to Swindale is single track. Then before you enter the valley you have to park the car on the side of the road and walk the couple of miles to Swindale Head. Cars are forbidden to park beyond by order of C.C.C…..some people do, but we met a couple of tractors on our walk down which would have meant reversing back all the way twice! So it is an understandable request.

Looking down to Swindale Head.


and again.



So cute!


Don't miss the sign!


To reach Selside Pike we had to walk up The Old Corpse Road that leads over into Mardale. It is the route that Mardale`s dead were taken by horseback for burial at Shap. The last such jouney was made in 1736


Looking across to Riggindale, High St. and Kidsty Pike with a bit of Haweswater peeking out.


Selside Pike summit shelter.




The cairns on Artle Crag, we stopped here for lunch.


Branstree summit with Selside Pike in the distance.


Kas loves the freedom of grass.


Heading down and then up to Tarn Crag.


Looking back up to Branstree on the right with Harter Fell on the left. The path is the Gatesgarth Pass from Longsleddale to Mardale


Old survey post on Tarn Crag.


Views across Shipman Knotts towards Windermere.


Looking up to Grey Crag.


Looking down into Longsleddale from Grey Crag.


Summit of Grey Crag, my last far eastern hill.


Heading for Harrop Pike.


Cairn on Harrop Pike.


View down the very isolated valley. We had to follow Little Mosedale Beck which snaked round past the trees where it joined with Mosedale Beck. It then snaked round to the right behind the hills on the right and then there should be some waterfalls to find. Still 4.5 miles to go! The ground looks easy walking but it was tussocky and boggy!


A herd of deer on the horizon had spotted us.


Too much camera shake for a good close-up!


Confluence of the waters. Heading for the base of the hills on the right.


Mosedale Waterfalls. Here the valley lost some height and lead down to Swindale Head.




Glacial moraines at Swindale head.


It still took an hour to walk back to the car from here. The walk took us eight hours. We stopped off at a pub in Shap for a well earned drink.
The walk was a bit of a trudge in places but seeing the deer and the waterfalls made it worthwhile. I certainly wouldn`t want to do a mountain walk longer than 13 miles!