The Newlands Horseshoe is a great ridge walk that takes in 6 summits and provides some amazing scenery and especially from the highest point Dale Head.
The Newlands horseshoe is a circular walk incorporating the main peaks surrounding the Newlands Valley and i was covering this walk-in early May 2019. This 15-kilometre walk starting and ending in Little Town will have you ascending and descending different terrain and ever-changing panoramic views which make for this route being possibly one of the best in the lake district.
Taking in Robinson, Hindscarth, Dale Head, High Spy, Maiden Moor and Catbells , the horseshoe is a favoured anti clockwise walk, but it can be done either way depending on your preference. Either way around it will give you a full day on the fells and best walked possibly in the summer.
The Newlands horseshoe is a circular walk in the Lake District, incorporating the main peaks surrounding the Newlands Valley.
The postcode for Little Town is difficult to pin point but the one i have chosen is for the church at Hawes End, but before you get to the church there is parking before it and just down the hill after the farm. You can also get a taxi to Little Town from Keswick and even catch the ferry back across Derwent Water, seasonal i think, so please check.
Starting off from Little Town head down the lane towards Newland’s Church and then past the white house which will then lead you into more open land of Scope End and Scope Beck to your left and High Snab above you to the right. Follow the well-marked path until just before the dam, look right and follow the path uphill on to Blea Crags. This will take the wind out of your sails for sure. Alternatively, you could use the route along High Snab Bank.
Once on Blea Crags there are some scrambles to navigate and a few twists and turns until you reach the well-marked path along the ridge up to Robinson. The path rises up to 737 m so it a grind but nothing to demanding. Once at Robinson you should have good views across the Buttermere Valley towards High Stile etc.
From Robinson the next port of call will be Hindscarth, this involves a descent along Robinson Crag ridge and Littledale Edge before starting your diagonal ascent towards the summit of Hindscarth. I found this part of the route a little bland if i am honest given its just moorland. When you reach the summit of Hindscarth 727 m There is a shelter and a little further on some impressive views across towards Skiddaw. I had lunch at this point and just admired the views which is the best part for me. the weather was sunny and warm with a slight wind factor which was good to keep the temperature just right.
After lunch I headed back the way i had come more or less but this time i kept to the left-hand path which would lead me to Hindscarth Edge. This ridge walk will give you good views down Buttermere Valley and the Honister Pass. the ridge will elevate you slightly higher than Hindscarth along a path with a few crags to navigate. you will eventually reach the trig at Dale Head 753 m and yet again the views on offer are a force to be reckoned with. for me it was good to reach Dale Head because during the winter i had failed given the bad weather and snow coming up from the slate mines on the Borrowdale side. Dale Head is the highest point of this walk so all the hard work is done now. Err wait a minute there is a descent of over 250 m down to Dalehead Tarn, this is basically a winding set of stone steps that can be tricky especially in wet weather.
Once you have descended and reached the tarn, you will now follow the path up to Wilson’s Bield. The path comes in and out of view so look out for the cairns and do not head too far left, towards Miners Crag given the steep drops. A steady climb will get you to the summit of High Spy 646 m through crags and a few boulders. The path to High Spy will give you great views of Dale Head and one i have never gotten tired of.
from High Spy you will then follow the path that follows Eel Crags and descends gradually until you reach Bull Crag on Maiden Moor 576 m You should now have Derwent Water in view to your diagonal right. The path becomes rockier now as you head down towards Cat Bell’s all the while the impressiveness of Derwent Water revealing more of itself. You should be able to see Helvellyn on a good day to your right and Skiddaw directly in front of you. Visually this is without doubt the best part of the walk.
You will descend to a crossroads near Hause Gate, just before your ascent of Cat Bells. Follw the path ahead and Summit Cat Bells. From the summit carry on to Skelgill Bank all the time looking towards your left for a faint path that will head diagonal down the fell and back on yourself. This path will not be visible in snow so do not bother looking for it and you will be better descending via Sheepfold.
The diagonal path will lead you down to a dirt path alongside the stone wall., follow the path through the disused works and then over the stile back on to the lane to the car park.