Around Hayeswater Reservoir

Hayeswater Reservoir is about to change rather dramatically perhaps as early as during the summer of 2014. United Utilities have announced they are going to demolish the dam and so drop the level back to when it was glacial mountain tarn. On the face of it a good idea. Of course the devil is in the detail of the implementation. The villagers of Hartsop at the foot of the access track are understandably concerned at heavy plant and lorry movements during the works. The road through the small village is narrow and twisty, and not at all suited to today's large vehicles. Then there is the concrete in the dam to dispose of. They fear it will be spread around to create something of an eyesore until it beds in. We walkers might win a little as some of the material has been promised to upland path repairs and improvements.

It is a pleasant, if steep at times, walk up to the tarn which is set dramatically in a mountain amphitheatre with steep slopes on three sides. At the head of the valley lies Thornthwaite Crag with its beacon and the famous High Street Roman road nearby. To the east of Hayeswater are the imposing forms of Gray Crag, and Hartsop Dodd. To the west is The Knott, and over the remote high fells is Haweswater - another valley dammed to supply fresh drinking water.

There is a word of caution that should be heeded here. During the summer months Charolais/Limousin cows and calves live in the fields on the way to the reservoir and in the Pasture Beck valley. Apparently this cross-breed of cattle can be rather aggressive. Do not approach them at all even without a dog. They are a dairy breed who spend much of the year confined to sheds and are not used to walkers being in their fields.

The car park in Hartsop is at the end of the public road. Continue through village and go through a narrow pinch point between buildings to the rough car park. A donations box is beside the gate.