High Street Walk

High Street Walk

High Street Walk

High Street Walk

Is a great pub quiz question: which high street in England has no shops at all? The answer is the fell of that name – High Street is the highest summit in the Far Eastern fells at 2,700ft, making this an exhilarating walk. The summit of High Street walk is also known locally as Racecourse Hill, from the days when horse racing took place upon the vast flat summit.

The Romans built a road along the crest of High Street between forts at Ambleside and Brougham, near Penrith. The ascent of High Street from Mardale in my opinion is the most rewarding as it is somewhat removed from the ever popular tourist destinations of central Lakeland.

Traveling to Haweswater reservoir and along the road that traverses the lake with little traffic and probably no mobile phone signal set the theme for a day’s walk of peace and quiet. The road comes to a dead end at Mardale Head where there is currently a small free car park.

There are several routes one may take to ascent High Street walk, although for some, too complete 3 Wainwright fells in one day is a great achievement and this can be done with an approximate 5 to 6 hour walk. Weather and your level of fitness permitting, whilst I managed to complete the walk in just less than 6 hours. Taking my time, taking pictures as I walked and enjoying the fantastic scenery.

Leaving the car park follow the path around the lakes edge until you reach The Rigg, which is the large bit of land extended into Haweswater reservoir. The most popular route is to now take Rough Crag, although I had decided to make this High Street walk, a bigger circular walk and to ascend via Kidsty Howes leading to Kidsty Pike. Kidsty Pike being the first of the Wainwright fells complete on this days walk. During this first section of the walk up Kidsty Pike you will be on the coast to coast walk route traveling generally east to west.

High Street Walk

With the initial ascent of Kidsty Howes the path is clearly marked although rather steep, whilst quickly gaining altitude and not forgetting to turn and take in the view of Haweswater below. There is a rather rocky trail as you reach the top of the upward climb, which can be slippery so good boots are recommended at this point.

Clearing the rocky crag you have a nice walk along Kidsty Pike, whilst if you now look towards your left you will now clearly see Rough Crag, home to the only Golden Eagles in England. Having spoken to several locals it is believed to be only the male eagle now alive, alas no Golden Eagle today.

As you round the summit of Kidsty Pike Hayeswater will come into view as you descend slightly to your left towards High Street where you will see a small dry stone wall. Here there is a little confusion in the footpaths and I would recommend following the dry stone wall as this will take you to the summit of High Street marked by an Ordnance Survey triangulation point. This being something of an anti-climax with an almost flat top.

On a clear day it is possible to see all the way to Shap and the Pennines, along with the quarry at Shap. In the opposite direction you will have stunning views weather permitting towards Helvellyn and Striding Edge.

High Street Walk

I believe that it is only through taking this route that you will fully appreciate wherein the name High Street has evolved from the Roman times, as the marching Roman’s would probably have been safer on the top of the world as opposed to marching in the valley’s below. You can imagine the summit being busy with troops passing each other on army business.

Continue walking with the stone wall on your right until you come to a definitive fork in the path and taking the left fork towards Nan Bield Pass. Here dependent upon your level of fitness and the weather conditions it is possible to continue on to Harter Fell, or alternatively descend via Small Water. Should you decide to continue on to Harter Fell this would be your third Wainwright fell to ascend within the one walk and in one day.

For the purposes of this walk I am now going to split my walk into 2 and from here I would recommend continuing down the footpath and pass Small Water to your right on the clearly marked footpath returning to the car park.

Should you wish to continue on to complete the 3 Wainwright fells and wish to see my description of this extended walk plus the pictures I have taken please click the link Harter Fell walk.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this High Street walk please visit High Street Walk on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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I trust you enjoyed this High Street walk and found it helpful.