Walk up High Street from Mardale Head via Rough Crag and Long Stile (Haweswater)

Walk up High Street from Mardale Head (Haweswater)

Route Information

Unnamed Road, Penrith CA10 2RP, UK


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User Rating: 5/5 (1)

Route Summary:

A spectacular walk through the glacial scenery surrounding High Street’s east ridge

Distance: 8.2 Kms

Ascent: 650 metres

Time: 4 hours

Start and Finish: Mardale Head car park


None at Mardale Head – closest is the Haweswater Hotel, located 2.5miles north along the reservoir road

Hazards: Some boggy parts, especially at Caspel Gate. Any scrambling is not technically difficult or long-lived. The summit area of High Street can pose navigational challenges in the mist due to its flatness.

Public Transport:


Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav: Mardale Head car park - room for approximately 30 cars though can get busy on popular days. No charge CA10 2RP - far end of the Haweswater Reservoir road

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Met Office Mountain Weather

Walk up High Street from Mardale Head via Rough Crag and Long Stile (Haweswater)

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Some dismiss the Lake District summit of High Street as a boring, grassy lump but, presumably, they have only ever climbed the fell from Patterdale. High Street is home to some superb mountain scenery with the best being located on its eastern flanks, where a series of slender ridges cradle quiet valleys and deep glacial tarns to rival anywhere in the national park.

This walk from Mardale Head takes in some of the best that High Street has to offer while also bagging the Nuttall top of Rough Crag. You’ll also find that this area of the National Park can offer a respite from the summer crowds.

The route begins at the Mardale Head car park, an area of free parking located at the very end of a long, narrow road which runs down the eastern shores of Haweswater Reservoir. This is the only way in and out of this quiet valley by road.

High Street via Rough Crag Route Map

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High Street Rough Crag Route Description

1 – From the car park, head for the gate at the far end which leads onto a stony track. This is the footing of the Gatesgarth Pass, a narrow, twisting route into Sleddale. After a short distance, leave the Gatesgarth Pass track by turning right and following the path signed for Bampton, alongside the drystone wall, to a footbridge over Mardale Beck. Once across the beck, take a right and follow the path alongside the reservoir beside another drystone wall.

1 – The drystone wall alongside the north short of Haweswater

2 – You’ll be walking away from the objective at this point; the aim is the get onto the crest of the ridge and numerous paths cut up from the shore to the ridgeline once you are across Mardale Beck. The clearest follows the wall as it begins to rise up alongside a large, wooded area, abruptly cutting back on itself to head south west just below the ridge. The alternative path is more eroded but also more direct, starting just after the location where the path starts to deviate away from the reservoir’s shore.

2 – Looking down the direct path up from the reservoir shore – the car park can be seen beneath the stand of trees

3 – Both of these routes will lead you to a path below the main crest of the Long Stile ridge, which provides an arrow-straight route to High Street’s summit. Despite appearances, the ridge is quite broad and never in the realms of ‘knife-edged’ so no need to worry about exposure. The path remains below the spine of the ridge for a short distance until a final flourish lifts you up onto the ridge itself. There is a dry stone wall here for accompaniment which is followed by the path for its length as it climbs up towards the first summit of the day – Rough Crag.

4 – The climb is not difficult and the path is generally grassy with a few rocky interruptions along the way. The path favours the Mardale side of the ridge, though it occasionally crosses to the Riggindale side, affording a superb view of Haweswater stretching out to the North. The ridge gains height quickly to reach the summit of Rough Crag which is topped by a cairn.

5 – On a clear day, the next leg of the route is clear, though the wall has now been left behind. Long Stile rises as a series of humps towards High Street, with Blea Water (the Lake District’s deepest tarn), located to the left. It is said to be one of the finest examples of a corrie tarn in the Lake District.

5 – Looking across Caspel Gate from Rough Crag. Long Stile rises beyond

6 – Cross Caspel Gate, a boggy depression between Rough Crag and the Long Stile ridge and begin climbing. The climb is steep but is still a walk though: there is no need for any serious scrambling. The path is clear and easy to follow. After a final broad, eroded section of path you will emerge onto the grassy plateau of High Street. The summit trig pillar is located due south west after you emerge atop the fell.

7 – To return to Mardale Head, you can take a number of routes including an easy round of Riggindale including Kidsty Pike or, for a longer mountain day, circuit the head of Mardale, descending via the Nan Bield Pass or Gatesgarth Pass.

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