Caudale Moor from Hartsop
THREE Wainwright circular walk: Gray Crag, Caudale Moor, Hartsop Dodd
Time: 3 - 4 hours
Parking: at the car park in Hartsop village (Grid Ref: NY410130)
|Gray Crag and Hartsop Dodd (September 2021)|
The six ridges of Caudale Moor allow for a choice of routes up to its summit peak of Stony Cove Pike (2502'). The quickest route is from the car park at the top of the Kirkstone Pass.
The route I have selected ascends over Gray Crag before climbing Stony Cove Pike from Thresthwaite Mouth. It then descends the north ridge over Hartsop Dodd.
1. The walk starts on the same route as that described for climbing up to The Nab from Hartsop: Go out of the gate at the end of the car park in the village, along the track above the sheep pens. Head on up the valley along the asphalt road to Hayeswater.
|Heading out from Hartsop towards Gray Crag|
1. After a cattle grid, take the right fork and head down to cross the bridge over the Hayeswater Gill. Carry on along the wide track towards the lower slopes of the northern ridge of Gray Crag.
2. For this route, after the track leaves the stone walls, look for a path on the right, climbing steeply up across the grass towards the north ridge. The path may not be obvious but, in any case, leave the track and make your way right and up the side of Gray Crag.
|Heading up the grass on the ridge of Gray Crag|
|A little higher up the ridge|
3. After a steep climb, the summit of the fell can be seen ahead. The long ridge of Hartsop Dodd will be to your right, over Thresthwaite Glen. On the left, you can lookdown into Hayeswater.
|The views on the hike up the ridge of Gray Crag|
4. After a steep climb to reach the top of the fell, the actual summit turns out to be just a gentle grassy ridge with only a small pile of stones to mark its highest point. Continue along the grass towards the grassy dome of Thornthwaite Crag ahead.
|On the top of Gray Crag|
5. Instead of climbing the grassy slopes of the fell ahead, find your own way down and right, across the hillside, towards the col of Threshthwaite Mouth.
6. Depending on how you have judged the traverse, at some point you will meet the steep path coming down into the col from Thornthwaite Crag above. It has become loose and worn. so tread carefully down to the bottom of Thresthwaite Mouth.
|Looking north over the wall at the bottom of the col|
7. The climb from here up to Stony Cove Pike is the trickiest part of the hike, especially if the rocks are icy. If you can't make out the exact path, just keep the crumbling wall up from the col close to your right.
|The path climbs through the rocks to the left of the crumbling wall|
8. As the route starts to even out a little, there's a fine view back over the valley behind you towards the Ill Bell ridge.
9. The actual summit is definitely more of a 'moor' than a 'stony pike'. It is marked by a large sone cairn. About a hundred metres further west, a stone wall heading north shows the onward route towards the grassy ridge of Hartsop Dodd.
|Follow this wall north towards Hartsop Dodd|
10. Head north along the ridge on the clear path that runs alongside the wall. As you descend the ridge, there are wide-ranging views across towards the Eastern Fells to your left, with the long ridge of Hartsop above How in the foreground.
11. The ridge rises slightly to a small cairn in the grass marking the top of Hartsop Dodd.
12. After the cairn, the well-worn path descends steeply through the turf back down to Hartsop.
Worth knowing: below Caudale Moor, at the top of the pass carrying the main A592 road high over the fells, stands the Kirkstone Pass Inn, a good spot to refresh yourself with a drink on its outdoor tables. It claims a history from as far back as 1496 and to be the third highest pub in England. On a sunny day, it certainly offers fine views down towards Ambleside.
The winding minor road heading up to the pass from that direction is aptly named "The Struggle". The road is a challenge for cyclists to climb although, if they need to get off and walk, they can always claim it's just a 'homage' to Bradley Wiggins. He famously got off his bike and ran a few yards of the climb in the 2016 Tour of Britain, in itself a nod to Chris Froome having to do the same in that year's Tour de France.