WALK 178: Branstree (2339′, no. 246), Harter Fell (2552′, no. 247). 7.75 miles and 2,300 feet of ascent approximately.

Drowned buildings

Drowned buildings in the reservoir of Haweswater.

Although most Britons seem in a perpetual state of denial about this fact, the weather is almost always worse in early June than it is in May. So it has proved this year: the sunshine of my last walk turning into a greyer, more somber vibe for yesterday’s trip into the Far Eastern Fells. Walk 178 was a circuit round Mardale Head, bagging Branstree and Harter Fell. The views of Haweswater were very fine, despite the large tidemark caused by the water level having dropped in the recent dry weather: enough to reveal some of the buildings higher up the valley, remnants of the village of Mardale Green that was here until 1935. Small Water, pictured here, is another highlight, being one of Lakeland’s best little mountain tarns.

Sheep and Small Water

On the descent of Harter Fell. Small Water immediately below.

Once again I cannot claim to have done this walk by public transport. It would be lovely if a daily ‘walkers’ bus’ ran from Penrith station and who knows, if it did perhaps there would be less of a parking problem at the head of Mardale. But even in normal times, this is just a fantasy I’ve been having. In the end I’ve decided that during this time of disruption I will use a car, but only to bag walks that are otherwise impossible by train or bus. That’s my self-rationalisation anyway.

Nearly halfway through 2020 and I have only bagged 10 Wainwrights, which is well down on my usual pace. I could say the reasons are obvious but actually it’s more that my walks have only been bagging one or two tops at a time. As of today then, I have bagged 247 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, so have 83 to go. It would be nice to get another trip in June but we will see how it goes.

Summit of Kilimanjaro

The Roof of Africa. Uhuru, the ultimate summit, is on the far right. Glacier to the left. Mount Meru, on the horizon, is overlaid by the shadow of Kili itself.

Well, I made it. The picture here was taken at 6.45am (Eastern African time, GMT +3) on Sunday 2nd August. The peak on the right is the highest point in Africa, Kilimanjaro. It took just over five days of walking to reach this point, the whole walk being seven days and, particularly on the final climb, was definitely the hardest physical undertaking I’ve faced. But I did it.

And so…. I’ve blogged about it, as I do. You can read all about it on the Kilimanjaro page which I’ve added to the “International Walks” section. Please do have a look.


Mawenzi. I see a movie with this as its background (but perhaps I am just thinking of “Zulu”)

I did all this, at least in part, to help support my local search and rescue team, Calder Valley Search and Rescue. Supported entirely by donations and volunteering, they seek at the moment to acquire a new off-road ambulance to help them in their valuable task of looking after walkers and others who may get into difficulties on the fells around West Yorkshire. I have a sponsorship page at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/drewdoeskilimanjaro which you can visit. Every little helps. Thank you…