logo Walking Britain
Home About Holidays FAQ Email MENU ☰

Thornthwaite Beacon & High Street from Hartsop

Lake District Walk

Nat Park - Lake District - Lake District Far Eastern Fells

Wainwrights - High Street, The Knott, Thornthwaite Crag

County/Area - Cumbria

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 6.5 miles / 10.6 km    Ascent - 2460 feet / 745 metres

Time - 5 hours 40 minutes    Grade - moderate

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL5Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL5Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 90Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 90Digital Map1:50kBUY

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Thornthwaite Beacon & High Street
Click image to visit gallery of 9 images.

This is a relatively short excursion into the higher fells of the eastern Lake District. Despite its length it has plenty to offer especially when the weather was as dramatic on the day when these pictures were taken. The start is in the picturesque village of Hartsop, which is a short drive off the A592 at the northern end of Kirkstone Pass, where limited parking is available at the far end of the village (grid ref. NY410130). If this is full then alternative parking is often available at Cow Bridge (grid ref. NY402134) just off the A591. However the latter adds about a mile on tarmac to the route.

After parking go through the gate and turn right taking the track to cross the bridge onto the southern side of the beck. Stay on this track through fields to reach open country in Pasture Bottom (grid ref. 417123). By now you are in a fine u-shaped valley with Gray Crag to your left and the slopes of Hartsop Dodd to your right. Ahead you can see the path climbing steadily.

Keep with the path. It steepens as it threads its way through glacial moraines to reach an area that must have once held a tarn. This is Threshthwaite Cove with a col ahead. The real "collar work" starts as the path climbs steeply to this col - Threshthwaite Mouth - from where the reward is a fine view south to Windermere. Turn left and follow the clear path for Thornthwaite Beacon. The going remains steep until you reach the summit plateau, which is adorned with a well-built cairn of substantial proportions. This point is a good place for a break as a wall provides shelter. It also offers some impressive Lake District views.

The onward route takes us to the summit of High Street along a broad well walked path. The trig point is behind the wall from where a short stroll east takes you to the top of Long Stile and a wonderful bird's eye view of Rough Crag with Mardale far below. After enjoying the view return to the summit and follow the wall north keeping it on your left. This route offers better views into Riggindale than the main path which follows the western flank of High Street. Descending to the Straits of Riggindale you get superb views on both sides. Down to your left is Hayeswater and you will soon be making a closer acquaintance with this on the next section of the walk.

Climbing out from the Straits of Riggindale bear left along a clear path ignoring the main ridge path that continues on to High Raise. Ahead and slightly to your left is the rounded shape of the Knott ( which can be easily climbed for a fine view) with the path contouring around its eastern flank. Descending the view changes with Rest Dodd, Brock Crags and the Angletarn Pikes the dominant summits.

Continuing to descend quite steeply you arrive at the footbridge by the dam at the northern end of Hayeswater. Cross this bridge to reach a track. Turn right and follow this downhill with the splendid waterfalls and cascades of Hayeswater Gill to your right. This track eventually crosses the gill near a tumbledown barn and leads you back to the start.

Other walks nearby

Walk 1110 Angletarn Pikesmoderate7.0 miles
Walk 2060 The Angletarn Pikes and Brock Crags from Hartsopmoderate8.0 miles
Walk 3388 Hayeswater and Angle Tarn from Hartsopmod/hard11.5 miles
Walk 2386 Red Screes via Dove Cragmod/hard8.6 miles
Walk 1230 Birks & Arnison Cragmoderate5.5 miles
Walk 1520 Helvellyn & Fairfield Horseshoe from Patterdalevery hard13.0 miles
Walk 2047 Place Fellmoderate7.5 miles
Walk 2425 Boredale Circular from Patterdalemod/hard11.5 miles
Walk 3670 Angle Tarn and Hayeswatermoderate8.3 miles
Walk 1156 Helvellyn via Striding Edgehard9.5 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

Great Mountain Days in the Lake District

Great Mountain Days in the Lake DistrictAn inspirational guidebook to 50 challenging walks on the high fells of the Lake District. The graded circular routes, between 4 and 14 miles in length, cover classic Lakeland summits like Fairfield, Scafell Pike, Great Gable and Blencathra, to the lesser-known High Spy, King's How and Brund Fell.
More information

Lake District: Low Level and Lake Walks

Lake District: Low Level and Lake WalksThis guidebook describes 30 of the best low-level walks in the Lake District. From delightful wooded glades and sparkling tarns, to waterfalls and glacier-carved valleys towered over by craggy mountains. The walks described aim to seek out the best walking that the lower areas of the Lake District have to offer.
More information

Messaging & Social Media

Message Walking Britain and follow the latest news.

Facebook  Twitter

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.