A wet and at times windy walk today, but the mountains are amazing in all weathers if you can somehow stay warm and dry(ish).
We started from the small car park near Littletown which is of course where Beatrix Potter based her story of Mrs Tiggywinkle. After passing the small Newlands Church we attempted to follow the permissive path towards Low Snab farm, but half way along met a notice saying there was no public access as the owners had closed the path due to Covid. So we retraced out steps and did a slightly longer detour via Low House Farm instead and onto the long ridge up Hindscarth. We soon disappeared into the mist and what started off as drizzle turned to proper rain and as we got higher the wind picked up as well. No view, but still great to be out, and a good chance to test my new Paramo jacket which performed admirably as Paramo usually does.
From the top of Hindscarth we continued along Hindscarth Edge to Dale Head, again with no visibility and continued rain. There’s usually a great view down the Newlands Valley from here, but not today. It did mean we had the summit to ourselves, in fact we saw no-one all day until we were nearly back at the car park. Who says the Lakes are overcrowded?
We descended north east from the summit of Dale Head but after a few hundred metres turned off the main path and headed west on a narrow path that traversed across the north face of Dale Head. In good weather this path would be in a great situation, today of course we only saw the mist. We came to what looked like the remains of a mine, and from the small pieces of greenish ore on the ground guessed it was once a copper mine. I did a bit of research when I got home and found that it was a rare example of an 18th century copper mine which has remained untouched since abandonment. I wish I’d done my research before rather than after the walk as I might then have paid a bit more attention to what we were walking through. The path we followed down from the mines was a well designed path traversing the slopes and built up in places, so was probably the main mine path rather than the usual hillwalkers path.
There was no bridge across Newlands Beck at this point and there was a lot of water in the stream, so we waded across getting wet feet in the process. From there it was an easy walk back down the track to Little Town, passing a smart looking climbing hut owned by Carlisle Mountaineering Club and the Goldscope mines. Despite the name, no gold was ever mined here. Instead, the mines yielded such large amounts of lead and copper that they were called ‘Gottesgab’ (God’s Gift) by the German miners who were brought over to develop the mine in its early days, and that name developed into Goldscope over the years.
This is what the view from Dale Head should look like on a good day, just before the point at which we turned off the main descent route today and headed west onto the north face.