Little Hart Crag

Published 3 September 2015

Little Hart Crag

A three fell tour of Wainwrights near the Kirstone Pass Inn, starting at Red Screes, visiting Middle Dodd, and finally ending up at Little Hart Crag.

My original plan had been to take in Red Screes, then Middle Dodd and then head back down to Ambleside and that seemed to be enough. Indeed I hadn’t really noticed Little Hart Crag when I’d originally looked at the map.

Yet whilst sat underneath Red Screes, eating a sandwich and waiting for the cloud to part, I spotted it. Sat there just across from Middle Dodd. Barely a kilometre away as the crow flies, although the crow gets to take the direct route that no walker ever would when there’s a far more sensible U shaped ridge walk you can take instead.

It wasn’t even out of my way. Much. I’d planned to go back to Ambleside via the Scandale Pass, and the route I’d need to take to get to that path would take me most of the way there. The detour to Little Hart Crag’s summit would add on a mere kilometre to my journey, and get me a third Wainwright for my troubles. Given that, why wouldn’t I go there?

With Middle Dodd in the bag, I plotted my route there. I needed to pick up the path that runs between Red Screes Dove Crag, which intersects with the Scandale Pass and which also goes close to Little Hart Crag’s summit. An easy walk. But first I had to get to it. Easier said than done for Middle Dodd is completely path free; wherever you’re going, you’ve got to make your own way

There were just two options, both of which would require me to walk the short distance from the top of Middle Dodd, to the side of Red Screes. Once there I could either then follow the line of a tumbledown wall to the main path, or go along the contours of the hill instead.

I’d walked along the wall to get to Middle Dodd in the first place, and it could hardly have been described as a fun activity. The slopes of the hill had made walking along difficult, with my feet slanted as I walked, and my ankles were still suffering from it. Following the contours it was then.

Little Hart Crag, seen from the side of Red Screes

Almost immediately I began to regret my decision. The hillside was bumpier and far harder to walk along than the wall had been. But far more noticeable was how wetter the hillside was; despite not appearing to be so, the land was boggy and sodden. Up ahead of me a couple were also going a similar route. Notably they appeared to be bone dry. Yet when I looked down at my own trouser legs, five minutes walking had left me completely wet and covered in mud. I wondered about shouting ahead to find out where they bought their hiking gear, because it was clearly better than mine. Or perhaps they were just far lighter on their feet than I was? Elves perhaps? Good mates with Legolas, taking a break from Middle Earth and enjoying the Lakes instead?

Or maybe, just maybe, they were just far better at picking paths across wet hillsides than I was?

At least there was a substantial path in sight, and after half a mile of struggle I joined the relative tranquility of the Dove Crag/Red Screes ridge path; a path made out of some good, solid stone and gloriously water free.

The ridge path from Red Screes to Little Hart Crag

The rest of the journey was relatively simple and pain free. After overtaking a group of slow walking Germans, I arrived at the crossroads with the Scandale Pass, and began to climb up to Little Hart Crag itself, and it wasn’t long before I was stood next to the summit cairn taking in the view, looking northwards towards Patterdale. Which, funnily enough, was extremely similar to the one I’d seen from Middle Dodd.

Well, whatever. A nice view is a nice view after all. And I had my third fell of the day too.

The big question loomed though, would it be my last. Following the path northeast from Little Hart Crag would take me to a fourth Wainwright: High Hartsop Dodd. But doing that would really mean ending my walk on the Kirkstone Pass, waiting for a bus to Windermere that I knew only ran every two hours, and which I had no timetable for. If I timed it badly, I could have a serious wait on my hands, with only the real ales of the Brotherswater Inn to keep me occupied. Alternatively I could head back to the Scandale Pass and let it guide me gently back to Ambleside.

Well, I mean, what would you do? Go for four Wainwrights, and a couple of pints before, whoops, missing the last bus and having one more for the road whilst waiting for an expensive taxi? Or settle for three and walk all the way back.

The decision was obvious. Yet somehow I still didn’t take it. Ambleside was waiting, and High Hartsop Dodd would just have to wait for another day.

View all 44 of my Red Screes and Friends walk photos on flickr

View from Little Hart Crag, including High Hartsop Dodd

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