Longsleddale Horseshoe Walking

Everyone and their rescue dog does the Kentmere horseshoe, and with good reason: it's an absolute belter. This neighbouring loop shares 50% of the DNA but is considerably quieter, leading you over wild rolling hills with glimpses over the even wilder country toward Shap, but also down into the rugged basin of upper Mardale. Longsleddale itself is a gem, with impressive crags, hidden quarries, boulder-howffs, waterfalls in gorges and beautiful bluebell woods. Although it's just up from Kendal, it's visited far more rarely than its location might imply. Part of that is contained in the first syllable of the name: it is a strikingly long drive from the turn-off at Burneside to the dalehead.

The beckoning trail, Longsleddale  © Norman Hadley
The beckoning trail, Longsleddale
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Detailed description

NY4835205736 From the pull-in, take the signposted path heading east up the fellside. You'll pass the huge surveying pillar on Great Howe on your way to the summit of Grey Crag (not to be confused with Gray Crag above Hartsop). For summit baggers, the lesser top of Harrop Pike is not far away, to the northeast.
The verdant pastures of Longsleddale from the way up Grey Crag  © Norman Hadley
The verdant pastures of Longsleddale from the way up Grey Crag
© Norman Hadley, Aug 2020

NY4973807120 Our route heads northwest across the potentially (what am I saying? ... certainly) squidgy basin of Greycrag Tarn to Tarn Crag (this, too, is not to be confused with a namesake, in this case one overlooking Easedale). Drop northwards, crossing the pass to Mosedale Cottage, then haul up to the grassy pudding-basin of Branstree.

NY4780809973 Drop southwest to the gate at the summit of Gatesgarth Pass then pull up over the subsidiary ridge of Little Harter Fell before reaching the main summit. This is our third namesake of the day, very different from the conical one in Eskdale but throwing a majestic craggy profile into Mardale.
The High Street range from Harter Fell  © Norman Hadley
The High Street range from Harter Fell
© Norman Hadley, Oct 2021

NY4596209322 The way turns south, well-guided by walls, over the distinctly un-pike-like Kentmere Pike to the craggy fortress of Shipman Knotts. Take care on the descent to the pass from here.

NY4759704972 When you reach the pass, turn left and follow a good bridleway down and northeastward to the tiny settlement of Sadgill, with its lovely packhorse bridge.

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Further Routes

by Norman Hadley

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