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Steel Knotts – Pikewassa

October 16, 2014

Last Sunday we set out from the new church at Martindale, partly to climb Steel Knotts but also to try and hear the bellowing of stags in the Martindale deer forest.

Martindale and the cone of the Nab

Martindale and the cone of the Nab

It was one of those perfect Lakeland days, the mist of the early morning dispersed except for cloud inversions over the deeper hollows and the long

Pikewassa (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Pikewassa (c) John Bainbridge 2014

stretch of Ullswater. Within an hour, even those had cleared to offer a day of blue sky and such clearness that every fell, rock and bracken stalk seemed clearly delineated.

We had not long passed Lanty Tarn before we heard the first stag bellow. Then several more times as we climbed the sloping path up towards the wall that marks the edge of the deer forest and the turn up to the summit of Steel Knotts, or Pikewassa, as its rocky tor is known.

From the path there were wonderful views up the dale to the The Nab, that once-forbidden hill that had access granted to it under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW),

On the summit there were clear vistas over most of the northern fells, and across Fusedale up towards the line of the Roman Road making its way to High Street.

Martindale and The Nab from Pikewassa

Martindale and The Nab from Pikewassa

We descended by the path down towards Howtown. This is a clear path at first, but it soon becomes quite steep, overgrown, rocky and slippery on the final parts of its descent.

Worth it though for the very clear views of a very placid Ullswater.

A really excellent day for a fell walk.

Ullswater from Steel Knotts (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Ullswater from Steel Knotts (c) John Bainbridge 2014

The stags will be bellowing for a while yet, but I recommend that you get there early in the day or late in the afternoon to hear them at their best.

Ullswater (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Ullswater (c) John Bainbridge 2014

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2014 3:37 pm

    Yes! The weather over the past few weeks has been glorious for those in northern parts. Your pictures show just how wonderful the Lake District can be!

  2. October 16, 2014 6:38 pm

    That second-last photo is a stunner! πŸ™‚ That’s my favourite fell name anywhere – wonderful and amusing.

    BTW – didn’t know about the change of access rights for The Nab – as Richard is now Wainwright-bagging (my choice, not his – I fancied a revisit to many πŸ˜‰ ), does that mean we can now use the old stalkers paths up the front?

  3. October 17, 2014 4:15 pm

    The Nab, in Wainwright’s time was strictly private – though he and everyone else merrily trespassed. The Nab and much of the rest of the Martindale Deer Forest was mapped as access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW). The landowners can technically close it off for up to 28 days a year, though not the rights of way. So yes, you can walk any path that is coloured the access colour of brown on up to date OS maps.

  4. October 17, 2014 4:16 pm

    I’ve done a bit about how CRoW affects walkers in my The Compleat Trespasser book and the rambling one as well – see the pages above.

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