Angletarn Pikes summit

On the summit of Angletarn Pikes. The gentleman points away from the best views.

Date completed: 6th August 2018 (with Joe).

Weather conditions: Dull and grey, though dry. Fells above 2,000 feet were covered in cloud all day, which was a factor in the choice of walk (see below).

Summits bagged: What it says on the tin, viz, Angletarn Pikes (1857 feet above sea level, number 158 of my second round), and Beda Fell (1670’, no. 159).

Both were first bagged on walk 55, which took place on 5/5/12.

The Lady of the Lake

Start and end points: For the second walk in a row, started in Patterdale, served by the #508 bus from Windermere station. Finished in Howtown, from where one can catch an Ullswater Steamers service to either Glenridding or Pooley Bridge. The Lady of the Lake, which we ended up on (pictured) has been steaming up and down here since the 1870s.

The walk, at Joe’s pace, fitted fairly comfortably between the 10:20 drop-off in Patterdale (this bus had left Windermere at 9:25) and the 14:45 departure of the boat from Howtown to Pooley Bridge. This allowed us to then catch the 15:46 bus to Penrith and we were on a train back south from there at 16:21.

Joe on Beda Fell ridge

Joe on the ridge. Beda Fell ahead (and ahead, and ahead….)

Distance walked: 7.5 miles approximately.

Total ascent: 2000 feet approximately.

Pub at end: We could have gone into the Howtown Hotel though did not on this occasion. If you do so, leave five minutes to get from there to the pier.

Post-boat we did slake our thirsts in the Pooley Bridge Inn. It’s a reasonable pub, but I’ve never really worked out what architectural style it is trying, and mostly failing, to aspire to.

Route: This is a straightforward walk, mostly easy underfoot though there are some occasional outbreaks of rockiness. The views from the initial climb and the summit of Angletarn Pikes are magnificent: the walk along the Beda Fell ridge is less exciting but does give some interesting views of the utterly deserted valley of Bannerdale.

Boredale Hause

Boredale Hause, seen from the east. St Sunday Crag in the clouds behind.

Wainwright warns to stay off Beda Fell in mist though I can’t say I see a problem with it, the path along the ridge looks clear enough to me. In clear weather the map is unnecessary, and this will not be a complex route to describe.

From the bus stop in Patterdale, walk back down the road a way, go past the telephone box and turn left down the lane to Rooking. Once in this little hamlet follow the signs to Boredale Hause, these lead you through a gate and then the climbing, never difficult, begins. A few hundred yards up, the path splits into two, and while these paths do stay close together for some time they do have different destinations: the lower path is the one you want today. Views from this path of the Brothers Water district, Deepdale, Arnison Crag and all those other attractive places I visited a fortnight ago (walk 149) are awesome.

Deepdale and Hartsop above How

Deepdale, from Angletarn Pikes. Hartsop above How is the ridge embracing the valley.

Once up to Boredale Hause, have a rest, notice the evidence of the unexpected waterworks (these are to do with the underground aqueduct that takes water from nearby Hayeswater to Penrith) and then look for the path that hops over the little stream and heads up the slope ahead.

This takes you to a point below the double summit towers of Angletarn Pikes. This is a very fine summit, one of my favourites. The first pike reached, the northern one of the two (nearer Place Fell), is the actual summit, and can be reached by simple walking, despite appearances. The other pike is also worth a visit, for its bird’s-eye view of Angle Tarn. We did not visit the tarn on this walk but it is definitely worth doing so on a nice day. Indeed I suspect many people down the years have given up on the idea of additional mileage upon reaching its shores and settled down for a siesta.

Angle Tarn

Angle Tarn

The ridge path heading to Beda Fell is obvious and easy to follow. This second summit is more distant than it looks, however, and in the final stages of the walk is exasperatingly always just that little bit further on, hidden behind a succession of false summits. You get there in the end however. To the right, The Nab is a handsome object, rising from the deserted Bannerdale, a deer sanctuary. The peat hags on its ridge aren’t great to walk through but from this distance they’re interesting to look at, as the whole surface of the ridge looks like it’s about to slide off into the valley below.

Peat hags

The peat hags on The Nab. Cakes look like this when you don’t cook them for long enough.

Once at Beda Fell’s summit just keep going along the ridge. There are a couple of steep descents that need care. The rocky top of Winter Crag is excellent, and greatly superior to the top of Beda Fell itself. After that, when you reach the seat, consider taking the path on the right to Wintercrag Farm (see the diagram on Wainwright’s page Beda Fell 3), particularly in the summer. We headed straight on but the subsequent climb down by the wall was marred by bracken.

Once down to the tarmac, and the bridge over Howegrain Beck, take the road that heads steeply up (the last climb of the day) to the church, then carry on down the zigzags to Howtown. The Hotel is on the right if you want a pint; to get to the pier, just keep going that little bit further then it is on the left.

Joe on Beda Fell

Joe and bracken on the lower part of the Beda Fell ridge.

Capitalisation commentary: I’m on my summer holiday from work. We’ve got some time away planned, but today was the first of what should still be two Lakeland walks over the duration. Emboldened, perhaps, by his conquest of Scafell Pike back in May, Joe now seems far more amenable to the idea of accompanying me than at times in the past, and the two fells bagged today are his 40th and 41st Wainwrights — a decent number, though still only one-eighth of the whole. Still, I’m keeping a list. (See the bottom of my “Personal Notes in Conclusion”.)

Angletarn Pikes summit tower

The rather cute summit tower of Angletarn Pikes

This wasn’t the walk we originally set out to do. The plan was to go round Threshthwaite and bag Caudale Moor and some satellite summits. But on crossing Kirkstone Pass in the bus, it was obvious that the clouds were going to make such an expedition undesirable. Fortunately there’s still enough flexibility in my options to allow for a change to be made at almost the last minute. The walk we eventually did stayed under the grey ceiling, and is still a fine one. I wanted to take Joe up Angletarn Pikes at some point due simply to this being one of the best summits in the Lakes. Wainwright doesn’t name it as one of his ‘top six summits’ in the Personal Notes in Conclusion of volume 7, but like with Hopegill Head, in my opinion it’s definitely knocking on the door of the Premier League in this case.

One thing did grate about the day however. Thanks to our Friends and Family Railcard, introducing Joe into the public transport equation can save money on train travel, though even here there was a need to be creative with the use of some old (but not invalidated) return tickets to keep the cost at around £20 for us both. But it then cost another £19.60 for the two of us on the buses. Considering that this involved going only Windermere – Patterdale, then Pooley Bridge – Penrith, nearly twenty quid is outrageous. Half that seems about right, even then perhaps on the expensive side.

Place Fell

Place Fell, seen over Boredale Hause

Not only that but the boat was then another tenner or so. Yes, I could have bought a “boat + bus” ticket which would have saved a few quid but until we got to the end of the walk we didn’t know for sure we would need the boat. Flexibility is not always something you design into your day in advance, and so buy tickets accordingly.

I have complained before that the cost of public transport in Cumbria is excessive and I will do so again. If the strategy of the National Park Authority and local and national government is to relieve the traffic congestion in the Lakes and get cars off the roads, it is, at best, short-sighted.

Hallin Fell from Beda Fell

The tall cairn (and two walkers) on Hallin Fell, seen ahead on descent from Beda Fell

However, it is becoming increasingly obvious that these bodies in fact do not think that way. What plans they do have can be assessed by perusal of the National Park’s “Local Plan Review”, based around the idea that what the Lake District really needs is more and more large “visitor attractions”. The idea of yanking zip wires across Thirlmere (see the commentary on walk 139) seems to have been dropped — for now — but new suggestions emerge, such as cable cars up Whinlatter Pass. And the Moronocracy seem determined to press ahead with plans to bury Sellafield’s radioactive waste somewhere under West Cumbria, perhaps Ennerdale.

As the Friends of the Lake District ask, with justification — “What are National Parks For?”. One thing’s for sure. If you were to answer “the public good” to that question you would get no political capital in Britain right now. The neoliberal state does not see, ideologically cannot see, “public value”. All those people who just want to look at mountains? Walk up them? What are they paying, from where’s the capital to be generated?

Joe on Angletarn Pikes summit

Joe relaxes on Angletarn Pikes summit

Suck it out of their pockets with excessive public transport fares, that’s strategy one, but it’s not enough, clearly. We need “attractions”, where the previously free and open is enclosed, and monetised. Natural capital is not expressible as pounds and pence until this happens, so those in positions of power cannot account for it.

By 2021 I should have finished these walks which is probably when some of these more monstrous-sounding developments will get going. Should they happen, I will look back with regret on what some parts of the Lakes used to be like, but it will just get added to a long litany of ways that neoliberal, conservative capitalism — with Britain ruled by this regime since 1979 (the Blair interregnum brought no serious change in it) — has taken something good, turned public value into private gain, and fucked it up. And millions keep voting for this, election after election.

But I’m on holiday. Part of the system as we all are. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks: my plan, the High Stile range. But plans don’t always work out, as seen today. Perhaps these bigger plans will also just remain on the drawing board.

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