Latterbarrow and Claife Heights from Hawkshead

Name of walk Latterbarrow and Claife Heights from Hawkshead
Date of walk 2015-07-03
Distance walked (miles) 12
Duration of walk 5 hours 43 minutes
Weather Blue skies and sunshine
Peaks on walk Latterbarrow, Claife Heights
Walked with On own
Parking Hawkshead

Next Saturday I am leading a St. James’ bell ringers’ walk from Hawkshead to Bowness over Latterbarrow and Claife Heights. A walk of approximately seven miles. We will be ringing at both churches. I have never walked from Hawkshead, never wishing to pay their exorbitant car parking charges. I usually park for free on the Wray Road or at Near Sawrey. As I wish to make sure I chose the most direct and simplest, yet picturesque route, I reluctantly prepare to part with £8….you pay when you leave. It is a couple of years since I last walked around Claife Heights, and there are paths everywhere, and with the recent deforestation, routes look different. Best to be prepared! I arrive at Hawkshead before 8am on Friday morning. The day is going to be hot and sunny. I will have plenty of time to visit some tarns and summits that I won’t be able to on Saturday.


I have a brief look around St. Michael's Church, Hawkshead. They have eight bells. We will be ringing here for an hour at 9am next Saturday, then at Bowness from 2.30 until 4.30pm.


Then I take advantage of the early hour to look around Hawkshead itself, quite a nice place without the throngs of tourists.



A local resident lays claim to his parking space.


I head for Colthouse.


At Colthouse there is a Quaker Meeting House built in the 17th century and a burial ground dating from 1659.


I have never done the route to Latterbarrow starting from just beyond Colthouse at 0.6 mile. I give it a go. It goes past Lily Tarn which I have been to before.


View across to Latterbarrow from the Old Intake.


This was one of the reasons I thought it best to re-familiarise myself with the route. Many trees have now been cut down between Latterbarrow and Claife Heights, so the route looks very different.


The large summit cairn. Latterbarrow is only just over 800ft high and easily accessible.


Looking back to Hawkshead in close up.


Crinkle Crags in the distance.


Stickle Pike, Loft Crag and Harrison Stickle.


View across Windermere.


Scandale Horseshoe.


Fairfield Horseshoe.


I head down and retrace my steps past the Old Intake again. This route is far too circuitous to do next Saturday, I will stick to a direct approach. A directional sign post! How rare.


A bit further on I decide to head off in the direction of High Blind How, the main summit on Claife Heights, but not on the main route to Near Sawrey.


The route is through woodland.


This is new!


Brownstone Tarn.


I head off left on a track to Far Sawrey, and then take the first right for the summit. High Blind How is higher than Latterbarrow, but has no view, due to the trees. I retrace my steps and head for Three Dubs Tarn.


The woodland surrounding the tarn, which is usually isolated and tranquil, is full of tents, yurts and a large group of people. I chat to the guy sat outside the building. He informs me it is an expedition training camp for doctors who are going abroad. The group I pass were being instructed in self-defence. I eavesdrop on what to do If grabbed from behind. In my case I'd just kick his Guide Dog.


I cross the dam and take a photo from the other side.


Some gentle reflections.


I take a short cut through the forest and come out near the other tarns.


First I head for High Moss Tarn.


Then down across the grass to Wise Een Tarn. A view to the boathouse.


This is my favourite of the tarns. It has great views to the mountains.


The Langdale Pikes again, this time in sunshine.


Crinkle Crags, Pike O'Blisco and Bowfell.


I sit on an old tree trunk, with just a few sheep and a multitude of Damselflies for company, and eat my lunch. It really is a great view!


I head back up to the main path and photograph the tarn in its entirety.


Scale Head Tarn. This used to be used by the Freshwater Biological Association.


Now I reach Moss Eccles Tarn. I am still surprised that on a hot Friday lunchtime to see so few people on the paths.


Beatrix Potter once kept a rowing boat here, and the tarn appears in the 'Tale of Jeremy Fisher'.




I head off down the track to Near Sawrey.


I visit the Tower Bank Arms for a drink. This is our lunch destination on Saturday. So far I have covered over nine miles.


This cottage, which has a lovely garden, is mentioned in the 'Tale of Tom Kitten'. My son Tom actually thinks he is named after a cat! (If he grew up watching 'Magnum P.I.', he'd know different!) He should be glad we called him Tom, my second choice was Shep, after John Noakes' dog! :-)


I head back to Hawkshead on the road that skirts the edge of Esthwaite Water.


Lots of Canada Geese.


I head down to the lake shore.


Cormorants or shags? The common cormorant or shag Lays eggs inside a paper bag. The reason you will see no doubt It is to keep the lightning out. But what these unobservant birds Have failed to notice is that herds Of wandering bears may come with buns And steal the bags to hold the crumbs. By Christopher Isherwood A fine addition sent by Alan! Unfortunately this website will not allow me to set it out like a poem!


I sit on another tree trunk and watch the world go by. Then head back to the road.


In the hedgerow I spot some Aconite (Monkshood/Wolf's Bane). Highly toxic to eat and to touch.

My walk was 12.3 miles long and took me 5 hours and 43 minutes. A very pleasant day. I hope next week turns out to be as good too. When I got back to the car park I had another quick look around Hawkshead, now that everything was open. On returning to my car, the car park machines, with number plate recognition, were not accepting money, luckily I could pay by debit card. Other people were not as fortunate. The guy next to me said that they weren’t working the day before either and he was still waiting to pay. You are allowed 48 hours to pay. You can do it online, but not all tourists are able to do that and risk a £90 fine. Technology is only great when it works! What was wrong with an old guy in a hat sat in a booth?