Lake District Walks
Caudale Moor & St Raven's Edge
Date: 18th March 2015
Distance: 6.3 miles
Ascent: 2145 feet
Time: 4 hours 10 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY402115
A steep but enjoyable climb on to Caudale Moor via Rough Edge before walking south to St Raven's Edge and descending alongside the Kirkstone Pass.
Route Summary: Caudale Bridge - Caudale Quarry - Rough Edge - John Bell's Banner - Caudale Moor (Stony Cove Pike) - Atkinson Monument - St Raven's Edge - Kirkstone Pass - Caudale Bridge
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: One of the perks of my job is that staff get the anniversary of the day they started off as an extra day of annual leave. Almost without exception I take advantage of this to get an extra day of walking in March. As I'd already done a fair amount of walking in the Yorkshire Dales this year I fancied going somewhere different and it was a toss up between the North Pennines and the Lake District. In the end the latter won out as the forecast was more promising to the west.
The main aim of this walk was to bag St Raven's Edge, the summit of one of Caudale Moor's southern ridges. Omitted as a separate fell from Wainwright's guide to the Far Eastern Fells it actually has more prominence than some that made the book and qualifies as a Dewey (hill over 500m with a least 35m (100ft) of prominence). Prior to this walk it was also one of only two Deweys in the Lake District that I hadn't climbed.
Starting from a small layby on the south side of Caudale Bridge the initial path alongside Caudale Beck was very pleasant but soon steepened as it turned into a sunken way heading towards the remains of Caudale Quarry. The combination of gradient, bright sun and lack of breeze meant that my pace really slowed down and in truth I toiled up this first section more than I expected to.
The Lake District Mountain Forecast had promised good to very good visibility but unfortunately it was one of those really hazy days where the sky above is blue but you can only see about a mile a two in any direction. The good thing about the Lake District though is that it is so compact that even on a hazy day there are usually good views to be had regardless and this was the case on this walk.
After reaching the ruined buildings, adit and spoil heaps of Caudale Quarry the path slanted up on to the ridge of Rough Edge. Many years ago on another walk I remember seeing walkers on this ridge from a distance and thinking it looked a grand route and so it was. As I climbed higher I left the thin path to enjoy better views of Caudale Head. Contouring round to a cairn at the top of the latter was a fine view down into the upper reaches of Caudale.
From the top of Caudale Head I made my way to the large cairn that marks the top of Caudale Moor's subsidary summit, sometimes referred to as John Bell's Banner. I decided to stop and have my lunch, an activity that caught the interest of some of the local ravens. At one point there were about five in a 50m radius of me, one particularly brave one hopped to within a several metres of me. In between slurps of soup I took about twenty photos of it.
After lunch I crossed to the main summit, often called Stony Cove Pike, passing along the way some frozen tarns. After a few photos at the summit I then did an about turn towards the subsidary summit. Not returning to the large cairn I next paid a visit to the Atkinson Monument, a cross topped cairn with two memorial plaques to a former innkeep of the Kirkstone Pass Inn and his son.
From the monument I continued south gradually dropping to the col with St Raven's Edge. This was soon climbed on a decent path which included numerous slabs to enable the crossing of some moister sections. The summit was marked by a large cairn with a super view across the Kirkstone Pass to Red Screes. A couple of feet to the west of the cairn brought the pass itself into view along with the pub.
It was only a short descent down to the road from where I took a permissive path that descended gradually and pleasantly down back into the valley of Brothers Water. At this point the sunshine and haze had given way to dull cloud and murk but I still found it a very enjoyable section of walking. The most notable feature I passed along the way was the Kirk Stone itself, a large boulder approximately 10ft high.
Despite the disappointing haze and tough start to the walk I thoroughly enjoyed this. I don't head out to the Lake District that much anymore, partly due to the crowds, but in midweek there very few people about.