The fells of the Central Ridge have a fearsome reputation. Not for scrambling or other technical difficulty, but for the dampness of the ground. Wainwright was particularly disparaging of the ridge walk between High Seat and Bleaberry Fell. He said of it: "This is a walk to wish on one's worst enemy". Looking at the map you can see why, with all the becks and marshy ground symbols on the OS maps. So it is with some justifiable trepidation that a walk to any of the fells here be contemplated. However, Fix The Fells thoughtfully put a path across much of the upper route from Dodd to High Seat. Just two short sections that were presumably too wet and difficult for the builders to engineer a way through remain. It is enough though to give a flavour of the rest of this peaty high ground should this be a first visit here, and to give an explanation for this being a linear, out and back, route.
This walk starts at Ashness Bridge which is situated a little way along the narrow minor road to the hamlet of Watendlath. The bridge itself is barely over 7ft wide with low parapets much like a packhorse bridge. A National Trust car park being on the far side so folk with large vehicles should take note.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Head from the car park entrance back towards Ashness Bridge but before reaching it take the footpath on the right hand side of the Bark House mountain hut.
There is a "public footpath" signpost but it is well hidden under the tree beside the wall. Follow the path between the wall on the right and the gill on the left up through the thick summer growth of bracken. A step stile is crossed quite soon and the path continues the other side. At the end of the wall, continue following alongside the fence.
Pass through the kissing gate in the wall at the top of the enclosure.
Go straight ahead climbing the quite rough path, when wet it gets quite slippery. The path bears left slightly and passes just to the right of a lone tree.
The gill and the path converge on each other and, just as they kiss, turn right onto an old but well made stone pitched path climbing steeply up the fellside, now heading for a surprise attack on Dodd from the side. The view of Derwent Water from the cairn on Dodd is spectacular, as it is to the many surrounding fells.
Continue ahead on the main path, don't turn left, after a few metres it bears left. As it meanders between the grassy knolls a rough stone path appears. With bogs on either side you may, for a while, feel happily smug.
The path breaks at a shallow hollow. Skirting the small swamp ahead on the right hand side is recommended. The fine stone path continues above.
The summit trig point and cairn are now in view, the stone path continues to the bottom of the outcrop. At the end of the path cross the boggy patch and bear left to climb to the summit of High Seat. Across the fence is the similar height "Man".
It is recommended to return by the way of ascent. To the north the summit of Bleaberry Fell feels like it can almost be touched, but it is 1.5km (0.9 miles) away across a peaty depression of swampy patches the like of which you have only had a mere taster of on the ascent.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|A Short Stroll to Lodore Falls||308m (339 yards) away|
|Walla Crag and the Great Wood||1.8km (1.1 miles) away|
|Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell from Great Wood||1.9km (1.2 miles) away|
|Catbells||2.8km (1.7 miles) away|
|Catbells, Maiden Moor, High Spy - A Half Newlands||2.8km (1.7 miles) away|
|Catbells and the Newlands valley||2.8km (1.8 miles) away|
|Lodore Falls, Watendlath, Grange Fell, and the Bowder Stone circular||3.3km (2.0 miles) away|
|A Short Walk to The Bowder Stone||3.3km (2.0 miles) away|
|Raven Crag and Castle Crag beside Thirlmere||3.8km (2.3 miles) away|
|Robinson, Hindscarth and Dale Head - A Half Newlands||3.8km (2.3 miles) away|
|Around Derwent Water||3.8km (2.4 miles) away|
|The National Trust Centenary Stone from Keswick||3.8km (2.4 miles) away|
|A short walk to Friar's Crag from the Moot Hall, Keswick||3.8km (2.4 miles) away|
|Castlehead Viewpoint from the Moot Hall, Keswick||3.8km (2.4 miles) away|
|Cumbria Way - Keswick to Caldbeck||3.8km (2.4 miles) away|
|Robinson and Hindscarth from Little Town||3.8km (2.4 miles) away|
|The Old Keswick Railway Line and Latrigg||4.2km (2.6 miles) away|
|Causey Pike and Scar Crag||4.3km (2.6 miles) away|
|High Tove and Armboth Fell from Thirlmere||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|Castlerigg Stone Circle||4.6km (2.8 miles) away|
|High Rigg, Naddle Fell, and Wren Crag||4.8km (3.0 miles) away|
|Great How||4.8km (3.0 miles) away|
|The Dodds and Clough Head, via Sticks Pass and St John's in the Vale||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|Dock Tarn, Great Crag, and Watendlath, from Rosthwaite||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|Millican Dalton's Cave - Castle Crag, Borrowdale||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
|Castle Crag - Borrowdale||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011