High Tove from Watenalath Tarn (A Hill and a Swim)
If you fancy a small-ish Wainwright form a great start point with absolutely amazing views on a clear day, then this is a great walk to try. Definitely a family fell as it’s not too tough and is just a mile up.
To get to Watenalath Tarn simply head back to Keswick, so down to the village and through to the A591, at the A591 turn left and follow this all the way to when it meets the A66 at the roundabout. Go straight here towards Keswick. At the T junction turn left again heading towards Keswick. You will come to a mini roundabout just after the co-op take the second exit which is signposted Borrowdale. Follow this road go straight at the first mini roundabout and follow the road along the lakeside until you see a sign on your left for Ahness Bridge and Watendlath Tarn. Incidentally, this is also a great little swim spot for those wild swimmers amongst you.
This is a popular route which is also very narrow and steep in parts with few passing places on the way, so do take care. Photo's of Ashness Bridge are iconic in the area so photographers are alwas coming and going up there.
Follow this road passed Ashness Bridge and Surprise View, there is a car park just after the bridge on your right for a photo stop.
For Watendlath Tarn just keep on the road. There is a car park at the Tarn; National Trust or pay and display. There are also toilets at this car park and the Tarn is used for fishing—you can buy permits at the Farm or at Youdale Newsagents in Keswick prior to a visit if you’re interested.
To walk High Tove, leave the car park, just after the entrance on your right hand side there is an gate and footpath sign. Take this path upwards, it’s a good well defined path, made with stones and steps in places by the side of a small stream most of the way. Keep on this path up to another gate. Just beyond the gate the path splits, follow the one straight in front of you which is now just a gentle climb over boggy paths to the summit Cairn. The route is intermittently sprinkled with cairns all the way to the top.
This is one to take your time to the top on, the views around you are gorgeous. Literally, in every direction you can see all the great fells as well as forests and lakes, it really is a stunning view.
Once at the top, turn around and follow the path back to the gate. There are other routes but paths are patchy and boggy – so for other routs consult your maps.
Options include a circle over to High Seat, Bleaberry fell, Walla Cragg, and back to Ashness Bridge. A boggy section of fell top and paths are none existent in parts, so follow your nose and compass to the next top. Alternatively, Armboth Fell is another option. It has a reasonable path but is simply there and back again, no circular route.
At the gate you can simply go through and straight back to the Car Park, but I’ve called this walk “A Hill and a Swim” as back to the Tarn below makes a lovely little swim stop. There is angling in this lake but no-one has ever told me I can’t swim in it. But there is another swim option which at Blea tarn.
If you want to head to Blea tarn, then at the gate take the left hand path and follow this all the way to the tarn for a great little swim stop and picnic. Afterwards, the best way is to re-trace your steps back to the gate, through it, and then back to the Tarn and car park below.