On Clough Head

As you drive along the A66 to Keswick, your eyes are immediately drawn by the splendours of Blencathra – and rightly so. But I always also admire Clough Head, on the opposite side of the valley from Threlkeld, its great rounded shape, though rocky around White Pike, has its own aesthetic delights.

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Atop Clough Head (c) John Bainbridge 2017

Last Sunday was a beautiful Lakeland day, though there was a fierce and freezing wind. We set out from Threlkeld Cricket Club, taking the lane up to Newsham and then climbing the muddy hillside to the old coach road at Hawsewell Brow.

Now about that old coach road – there it is so boldly stated on the Ordnance Survey map, running from St John’s in the Vale to Dockery.

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On the Old Coach Road (c) John Bainbridge 2017

I’d like to see some considerable evidence – or even a shred – that it was ever a coach road. I can’t find the slightest proof. Why would coaches ever use it given there’s an established Keswick to Penrith coaching route with a proven history and which makes more geographical sense. I’ve seen accounts that it’s actually a peat-cutters route – it may be. But I’ve got my own thoughts, which I’ll come back to in the future.

I always think of this as The Long Kill territory, the area being the setting of Reginald Hill’s thriller of that name. Well worth seeking out if you like thrillers, Lake District fiction or both. Reg Hill certainly knew his Lakeland and was a fellwalker of some note.

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A Lakeland Panorama (c) John Bainbridge 2017

Anyway, we followed the old coach road to the brow of the hill, passed through the hunting gate and made the ascent to White Pike. Quite a wind chill by this point, painful on bare flesh.

But worth it as we made our way to the top of Clough Head. One of those very clear days where you can see every detail for so many miles, but absolutely bitter as I exposed fingers to operate the camera. Frozen hail on the ground. Even padded clothing struggled to keep that wind chill at bay

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The view from White Pike (c) John Bainbridge 2017

We returned the same way after a delightful but chilly morning’s walk.


4 thoughts on “On Clough Head

  1. That was one of Richard’s later Wainwrights and we plodded up in snow last winter some time – Richard was totally unimpressed but I quite enjoyed my day. Last time I was up there I took the raking path down across the face but didn’t dare do it that time – not with the snow! I found it a pretty hairy path.

    I’d like to do Cloughie again via Fisherwife’s Rake

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I walked this via Fisher Wife’s rake back in spring. Its a tough climb that way and once reaching the top of the rake you are faced with an endless plod up a long none existent grassy path to the summit. Gladly after that I headed south along the ridge finishing at White Side, a fab airy route if ever there was one

    Liked by 1 person

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