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The walk out to Dubbs Hut and Warnscale bothies (see post #250) had filled a day in nicely, so we decided to round off our May Lakes trip with another bothy day, this time to Mosedale Cottage in the Eastern part of the Lake District. The warm, sunny day we had for the Warnscale trip didn’t look as though it was going to be repeated, but at least it was dry, if a bit dull.
There are three valley approaches to the bothy. From the east you have Wet Sleddale (our start point) or Swindale, which changes its identity along the way to become Mosedale – this isn’t as daft as it sounds, because although the same stream runs through them, their characters are very different. From the west, the bothy can be approached from the head of Long Sleddale.
On previous trips from here (see post #51) we have done a circular route round the three velleys of Wet Sleddale, Swindale and Mardale, missing out out the bothy at Mosedale Cottage, but this time Chris and I (plus Border Collie ‘Mist’ of course) were going to follow an ‘out and back’ route to visit the bothy. Soon after setting out we passed Sleddale Hall, a remote hillside house that was the setting for the cult film ‘Withnail and I’.
After Sleddale Hall, the route follows a gradually rising bridleway which reaches a high point of about 500 metres, but it’s hardly what you might call a slog. As the route gains altitude towards the high point, the view out to the South East Fells of the Lake District gets better and better. The hills don’t look very ‘Lake District’ though, they are much more Pennine in character – that usually means ‘boggy’ but on this trip the fine, dry weather of May had dried everything up nicely.
Once down in the valley of Mosedale, and across the wide wooden bridge crossing Mosedale Beck, it’s a steady plod of about 1.3 kms (less than a mile) to the bothy. Mosedale Cottage has been a bothy with free public access for years, and like some Scottish bothies it also has a locked section used by shepherds and estate workers. It’s also very remote, with the nearest habitation more than a couple of hours away on foot.
As we arrived, it looked as though we might have company, and sure enough one of the estate workers was using the private section. We said hello before heading into the section open to the public. In just a few minutes the stove was on and a brew prepared, while ‘Mist’ decided on some ‘shut-eye’.
After a brew and a bite to eat, it was time to head back. Apart from the estate worker we saw nobody all day, which tells you much about the remote nature of this quiet part of Lakeland. The dull morning had changed to a sunny afternoon and a steady walk soon had us back at Wet Sleddale.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock
Not a route I’d have thought of – I’d either have accessed it via either end of Gatesgarth Pass or Swindale. I need to do the Wet Sleddale round sometime for my outlying Wainwrights but Richard won’t do it because of the name – he says it must be ‘orrid! I’m getting used to doing the fells around the A6 area on my own now and was relishing the solitude (before my leg ‘replacement’ that is) around there. Hope I get to do it all one day!
This year’s heatwave dried the bogs out nicely, but Sleddale is no more ‘Wet’ than many other upland areas, other than in name. A good place to explore, once the leg is performing – you’ll love it!
well I know that – but the name still puts Richard off – he hates anything other than perfect conditions!