Dale Head Lake District

14th July 2011 I set off from my house about 12.30pm for a Wild Camp alone on Dale Head Summit In the Lake District, it took about 2 hours 30 mins to get to my destination going the scenic route I got stuck behind slow traffic, I parked about a half mile down the road from the Honister Slate Mine on the Honister Pass just outside of Seatoller.
After the steep walk up the road opposite the slate mine was the start of my path up to Dale Head summit, I reset my satmap at 15:02 and off I went as you can see from my satmap screens it took me 1 hour 18 mins total time and 50 mins time moving which means I only had about 30 mins of stops which is good for me lol.
On reaching the summit I had a walk around to find the best pitch for my Hilleberg Akto I setup my Mrs Dragonfly Stove for a cup of yorkshire tea then decided to have a walk over to Dalehead Crags there was a nice spot there for my tent with a nice view over Buttermere Lake, Crummock Water wasnt visable from here, after another brew of yorkshire tea I decided to head back to the summit of Dale Head as am a sucker for the summits even though the options maybe the more sensible at times.
After taking some video footage out came the Akto it pitched ok with only a slight breeze it was time for another brew of tea and then out came my steak for cooking as I was just awaiting the sunset which turned out a little disapointing blocked by a band of low cloud just above the horizon.
My phone signal was very patchy the best signal was over Dalehead Crags so decided to head back over there leaving the tent my backpack, tripod with my video camera on and head over to try and post on my liveblog and read my fans posts.
The moon came out first looking very orange which a captured on my video camera and later became covered at times in patchy cloud.
I  really enjoyed my night in total solitude alone on a hill without any rain with lovely views.
Morning came I must have had about an hours sleep I had my alarm set for 4.30am for the sunrise but was awake before it went off, the sunrise was hampered by low cloud but when the sun appeared it was a great sight lighting the sky red, in the distance over towards scafell Pike and great Gable there appeared to be a cloud inversion happening and the conditions at first appeared just right, the cloud was hugging the hills as a gentle breeze in my direction slowly brought it my way but after hanging around a few hours for it to surround my hill it didnt materialise how I was wishing.
I packed my tent away and was off back down the hill at 6.50am it only took 39mins total moving time and only a two min break back to the car.

Pre Dale Head Comments

My Route


Me On Dales Head Summit









Dale Head
Dale Head.jpg
Dale Head seen from the neighbouring hill of High Spy
Elevation 753 m (2,470 ft)
Prominence 397 m (1,302 ft)
Parent peak Great Gable
Listing Hewitt, Marilyn, Nuttall, Wainwright
Dale Head is located in Lake District
Dale Head
Cumbria,  England
Range Lake District, North Western Fells
OS grid NY223153
Coordinates 54°31′37″N 3°12′07″W / 54.527°N 3.20208°W / 54.527; -3.20208Coordinates: 54°31′37″N 3°12′07″W / 54.527°N 3.20208°W / 54.527; -3.20208
Topo map OS Landrangers 89, 90, Explorer OL4

Dale Head is a fell in the northwestern sector of the Lake District, in northern England. It is 753 metres or 2,470 feet above sea level and stands immediately north of Honister Pass, the road between Borrowdale and Buttermere.


The North Western Fells occupy the area between the rivers Derwent and Cocker, a broadly oval swathe of hilly country, elongated on a north-south axis. Two roads cross from east to west, dividing the fells into three convenient groups. Dale Head is the highest fell in the southern sector.

Dale Head is the apex of two hill ridges. The principal ridge descends from Dale Head to the north-east and forms several other fells, each given a chapter by Alfred Wainwright in his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. These are High Spy, Maiden Moor and Catbells (alternative spelling, Cat Bells). This ridge forms the western side of Borrowdale and overlooks Derwent Water. The other ridge descends to the north-west and includes the fells of Hindscarth and Robinson; it overlooks Gatescarthdale and Buttermere.

Dale Head is named for its position at the head of the Newlands Valley. This stretches away due north for three and a half miles before debouching into the floodplain of the Derwent between Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake. The eastern wall of the valley is formed by the High Spy to Catbells ridge, separating it from Borrowdale. Entering on the western side are a series of side valleys which drain the main mass of the North Western Fells. The source of Newlands Beck does not however flow from the apex of Dale Head as might be supposed from the name. Instead it has its birth at the col between the main summit and the eastern top, High Scawdel (1,815 ft). The northern face of the fell forming the dalehead is ringed with crags. The main faces are Dalehead Crags and Great Gable, not to be confused with the fell of that name.

The southern flank of the fell running down to the summit of the Honister Pass road (1,180 ft) has much gentler slopes, although there is outcropping rock on either side. Buckstone Hows and Yew Crag overshadow the road.From the top of the pass Gatesgarthdale Beck runs north west to Buttermere while Hause Gill flows east to Seatoller and Borrowdale. Across the road is Grey Knotts in the Western Fells.

The ridge to Hindscarth departs north west from the summit of Dale Head, soon narrowing into the fine and airy Hindscarth Edge. Both slopes are rocky, that to the south being known as Molds. Far Tongue Gill descends from the north of the ridge, a tributary of Newlands Beck.

Although High Scawdel stands east of the main summit, the high ground takes a great loop to the south around the head of Newlands Beck. It then drives north to the depression at Wilson's Bield (1,655 ft) before climbing to the summit of High Spy. The rest of the North Western Fells bear no tarns worthy of the name, but Dale Head has two. On the northern slope near the source of Newlands Beck is Dalehead Tarn, while the smaller Launchy Tarn lies near the top of High Scawdel. Dalehead Tarn is a shallow pool providing a popular stopping place for walkers. Its varied flora include water horsetail, sedge and bogbean. Launchy Tarn is smaller and may have been formed by overgrazing and erosion of the underlying peat.[1]

Geology and Mining

Dale Head stands at the junction of the two main Lakeland geological systems, the Skiddaw slates to the north and the Borrowdale Volcanics to the south. On the northern flanks are outcrops of the Buttermere Formation, olistostrome of disrupted sheared mudstone, siltstone and sandstone. Southward march the Borrowdale series beginning with the plagioclase-phyric andesite lavas of the Birker Fell Formation, visible near the summit.[2]

The fell has seen extensive mining history. Dale Head Mine was driven below the northern crags for copper, several levels still being visible. Long Work was another copper mine a little further down the valley, worked for malachite and pyrite from Elizabethan times. On the southern flank of the fell, centred around the head of the pass, are the Honister Quarries. These are an extensive system of underground quarries, worked for Green Slate. The earliest extant records date from 1728 and since then huge caverns have been carved out on either side of the pass. The Yew Crag workings on the Dale Head side were operated until 1966, operations on the slopes of Grey Knotts continuing. In 1887 work began to drive a tunnel right under Dale Head into Newlands Valley, connecting with a proposed tramway to join the railway at Keswick. The scheme was abandoned after opposition from landowners. The main workers accommodation at the mine is now the Honister Hause Youth Hostel.[3]

Summit and view

The view of the Newlands Valley and Skiddaw from Dale Head summit cairn .

The summit is marked by a cairn standing on the brink of the northern face. There is a fine end-on view of the Newlands Valley to the north, backed by Skiddaw. All around are rank upon rank of fells, of the major Lakeland ranges only the High Street group not being fully visible.[4][5]


One of the most popular ascent routes of Dale Head begins from the summit of Honister Pass, where there is a car park and a youth hostel. The route ascends directly alongside a fence for approximately 2 kilometres and would take the average walker some 45 or 50 minutes. Longer routes begin at Little Town in the Newlands Valley, climbing either via Dalehead Tarn or the old access track to Dale Head Mine. From Borrowdale a start can be made at either Seatoller or Longthwaite, ascending first to Launchy Tarn and High Scawdel.[4]


  1. ^ Blair, Don: Exploring Lakeland Tarns: Lakeland Manor Press (2003): ISBN 0-9543904-1-5
  2. ^ British Geological Survey: 1:50,000 series maps, England & Wales Sheet 29: BGS (1999)
  3. ^ Adams, John: Mines of the Lake District Fells: Dalesman (1995) ISBN 0-85206-931-6
  4. ^ a b Alfred Wainwright: A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book 6, The North Western Fells: Westmorland Gazette (1964): ISBN 0-7112-2459-5
  5. ^ Birkett, Bill: Complete Lakeland Fells: Collins Willow (1994): ISBN 0-00-218406-0
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125 Responses to “Dale Head Lake District”

  1. David Murphy Says:

    Comments very welcome 🙂

  2. Carl Says:

    Looks good Dave have a good time mate.

  3. Belgian_Hiker Says:

    Hi Dave
    Blue sky and great views ! Enjoy it !

  4. John Says:

    Hi Dave looks like your on for a great night for a good sun set how was the walk Dave as it’s been. Sweltering today

  5. alan g Says:

    hi dave have a good night out on the hill what a great night for a wild camp. hope y have great sun set happy wild camping ag

  6. alan g Says:

    p s dont forget the staek and stirfry lol ag

  7. David Murphy Says:

    Sorry for the lack of response guys no signal near tent 🙂 thanks for commenting Mark Carl Alan and John sunset looks promising 🙂

  8. kilburnicus Says:

    Is that a camping cooking book U R reading?
    Looks beautiful up there.

  9. John Says:

    Hi Dave no problem just interested in how it’s going it’s been a cracking day looks like some good views up there dave

  10. Paul Says:

    Yep you got some very nice weather indeed very jealous mate I been out in the garden just getting back in all work no play for me, hope you getting some good footage for us to watch pics so far look sweet. Its my fav place Buttermere enjoy mate

  11. John Says:

    Totally agree Paul Amazing pictures he’s up for a cracking oh and Dave you’d be cheaper to keep for a week than a fortnight lol

  12. northender2006 Says:

    Brings back great memories from the other week, have a good trip!

  13. Paul Says:

    he must be sitting at his tent come on Murphy show some support to your fans we sitting waiting for an update what can you see, I can see from my house a lovley red glowing sunset so you must see it too just alot closer 😉

  14. David Murphy Says:

    Poor sunset band of the low cloud over horizon the just when zonk into it never to be seen again 🙁

  15. David Murphy Says:

    Killy I was looking in a cook book Daveswildcamping cookbook 🙂

  16. David Murphy Says:

    You decided to show your face Paul and what time u call this you got a email like the rest of my fans .

  17. David Murphy Says:

    Hope the sunrise is better my alarm will be set for 4.30 incase of a cloud inversion that would be summit haha

  18. David Murphy Says:

    Cheers northender2006 don’t be to jealous lol

  19. David Murphy Says:

    I have found a spot with internet signal I dare not move my hand or I will lose it.

  20. David Murphy Says:

    John u can have a few of these pics I will have splat my watermark across it like lol

  21. David Murphy Says:

    Alan the steak was lush probs the best I have had 😛

  22. David Murphy Says:

    Typical I get some signal and everyone clears of 🙁

  23. David Murphy Says:

    Thanks Carl great to see you on my blog 🙂

  24. David Murphy Says:

    Hi B Hiker I might even see a few stars tonight hopefully.

  25. Paul Says:

    yea mate my Daughter never came to mine today been up all night with her pregnant mother some excuse eh lol so I stopped at my mother till late doing jobs for her and then came back and had to get rid of the weeds in the garden they were doing my OCD in lol see you missing me already I been in the chat room but someone playing games again

  26. Paul Says:

    I can see a lovely shot of the moon mate can you see it from where u at and yep you should defo see stars tonight

  27. David Murphy Says:

    Mate doing the garden your crazy u should be up here , moon is currently behind a cloud at this time.
    It’s not me in chat room I don’t want me napper done in tonight.

  28. Paul Says:

    I got a clear shot at it here from my bedroom quite a sight know where I would like to be mate but bloody holiday and cash needed for it stops me wildcamping

  29. Paul Says:

    shit mate I got better view here you should have camped on penshaw hill lol

  30. David Murphy Says:

    Family comes first mate three live moon shots over a few mins.

  31. Paul Says:

    think everyone has gone to bed lol

  32. David Murphy Says:

    Yeah catch u later mate 🙂

  33. Paul Says:

    did you get the sunrise or did you sleep through the lot lol no pictures or words come on Dave I put the computre on special too lol

  34. David Murphy Says:

    Yeah sunrise just got back home total knackered.

  35. John Says:

    Hi dave hope you had a good trip it looks. Great up there

  36. David Murphy Says:

    I did John, cheers mate 🙂

  37. David Murphy Says:

    I tell you what its not often I go to the Lake District and don’t get a good soaking at least once, there wasn’t a single drop.

  38. David Murphy Says:

    Checkout my new jassy hit counter at bottom of page 😉

  39. Paul Says:

    mate you got spam on there now shit nice view counter 🙁 more than my site did I mention people you can visit the muss’s channel free lol only kidding nah but you can visit paulswildcamping 😉

  40. David Murphy Says:

    I no mate I have trashed that viagra spam a few times its not automated spam its some arsehole posting it, fuck knows why they think I need viagra the size of the thing 😮

  41. John Says:

    Hi Dave
    Shame we didn’t have a pill for brain cell growth for that cock who’s posting that shit on your blog

  42. David Murphy Says:

    Spam mate its summit you have to put up with when your site is popular lol

  43. David Murphy Says:

    My Dale Head video hopefully should be on today.

  44. David Murphy Says:

    Just put a word filter on for when that arsehole tries to post his v iagra shit on here again 🙂

  45. alan g Says:

    hi dave when you posting new vid.happy wild camping ag

  46. Paul Says:

    nice right up Dave looking forward to the vid mate

  47. David Murphy Says:

    It’s on rendering now Alan that might take a few hours and then upload time hopefully tonight depends had a few problems with it.

  48. David Murphy Says:

    Thanks Paul mate your kind comments are rare but always welcome haha

  49. David Murphy Says:

    YouTube crashed at 88 percent so no vid tonight there advance uploader is shite.

  50. David Murphy Says:

    Video is up 🙂

  51. John Says:

    Hi Dave
    Another great video once again great views great weather keep up the good work and keep living the dream let’s face it It doesn’t get any better than that

  52. David Murphy Says:

    Well John if the dream is there why not live it 🙂

  53. alan g Says:

    hi dave great vid keep the good work up , happy wild camping ag

  54. David Murphy Says:

    Thanks Alan will do 🙂

  55. alan g Says:

    Hi dave what you up to planning your next wild camp or chilling out, off work next week going for a wild camp with my two sons up the fly ridden cheviot’s for two nights hope the weather is ok looking forward to it. plenty of sun and not much cloud LOL when is your next trip with paul? or has he been grounded LOL AG

  56. David Murphy Says:

    Not sure when exactly Alan but I no where in the lakes again and I no the hill am doing but is secret at this time, hope you and the kids don’t get eaten alive , you be praying for rain if they are out in force.
    Make sure you take repellent Asda has 50% deet spray on bottles.

  57. Paul Says:

    Grounded lol nah mate just struggling for cash I cant even put petrol in to get me to the lakes off on holiday for a week in just over 2 weeks time lol Haggerston castle eeewwww watch out the piss heeeed is on his way lol

  58. David Murphy Says:

    Skip a few bottles of brandy works wonders with your wallet 🙂

  59. John Says:

    Lol you tell him Dave all you need is a steak lol

  60. David Murphy Says:

    Steak is best….Arh and a cup of yorkshire tea.

  61. John Says:

    Sounds good Dave try twinnings what a cup of tea it’s expensive but well worth it well dave 2 weeks to go then I am off on holiday I am so looking forward to no work

  62. David Murphy Says:

    You going wildcamping then.

  63. Paul Says:

    mate am a really fussy eater and I usually have a cheap ass frying steak most days of the week love the steak but Brandy is the way (note to 1 self must keep brandy money seprate from debt cash)

    1. Brandy cash
    2. Debts owed
    3. Food for 1 self
    4. food for dog (yep thats right dog last)

  64. David Murphy Says:

    Haha and wheres you lasses pampering on that list mate, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  65. Paul Says:

    Pampering?? what the fooks that? she’s mine now so I dont have to do shit pmsl….ouch Joanne get off I didn’t mean it lol

  66. Mark Says:

    What a video, them views are fantastic kinda makes you realise what lifes all about, iv always loved the outdoors but never thought to go wildcamping, im just getting kit together to start doing it. I know for a fact im gonna love it.



  67. gabrielle g Says:

    hi Dave good video the weather looked good , did u have a good time ? did u have plenty of sleep or not this time ?on school hols next week hope to have a wild camp with dad up to the cheviot’s and with my brothers hope the weather is good next week with plenty of sun and no rain , might even treat my self with a steak or a stir fry to build is up LOL 🙂

  68. David Murphy Says:

    Hi there Gab maybe an hour sleep had my alarm set at 4.30 for the sunrise and when I checked my phone it said 4.15am so I got up and got ready to record it, am pleased I did as it turned out the highlight of my trip.
    Hope the weather is good for your camp in the cheviots 🙂

  69. David Murphy Says:

    Hi Mark, don’t be put off if the weather isn’t so good they are all part of experience to look back on, good luck and hope you have a good time 🙂

  70. David Murphy Says:

    You will get wrong Paul when she reads this pampering should be top of your list.

  71. David Murphy Says:

    Am giving away a prize for the 14000 visitor 🙂

  72. David Murphy Says:

    Quick hurry you will miss this brill prize:)

  73. David Murphy Says:

    Sorry you have all lost but one lucky guy will receive the 14000 vistor prize lucky sod.

  74. David Murphy Says:

    Well hang around a few hours I may hand out a 15000 vistors prize 🙂

  75. David Murphy Says:

    Can not get over the lucky git who won that 14000 prize.

  76. Gaz Says:

    Great site mate keep it up.

  77. Chris sumner Says:

    Jesus Dave nearly 15k views, congrats seems to be a big hit
    Mate, are you going to this peak district meet yet or still undecided ?

  78. David Murphy Says:

    Yeah mate probs 14 and a half mine and the rest you and Paul, nah I not be going you enjoy yourself mate 🙂

  79. David Murphy Says:

    Hang around Chris you might win the prize of my 15k visitor 🙂

  80. David Murphy Says:

    If its you I’ ll buy you a bag of chewy fruits what you like 😉

  81. Chris sumner Says:

    Right I’m in for the prize how can you tell who it will be ??

    I could just do with a bag of them now you said it

  82. David Murphy Says:

    Well good luck mate hope you win 🙂 are you sharing your winnings with me ?

  83. David Murphy Says:

    Did Chris Cox get to the lakes when he was talking of?

  84. David Murphy Says:

    The 15000 visitor was won at midnight 24th July 2011 congratulations.

  85. chris Sumner Says:

    Did i win 🙂 ?? i think i fell asleep before midnight..dam i would have shared half with you dave …honest 🙂

    im not sure about Chris Cox, i sent him a message on his youtube channel asking if he got away as i was looking forward to the vid ..not got a reply yet

  86. David Murphy Says:

    Nah you didnt win mate the same git I mean guy won who won the 14k

  87. chris Sumner Says:

    I think you have a stalker then !!!!

  88. David Murphy Says:

    Haha maybe maybe

  89. David Murphy Says:

    Am just looking at Tuesday and Wednesday on my weather widget and its looking good.

  90. chris Sumner Says:

    you off again

    i wish i was at home more i tell you …

  91. David Murphy Says:

    Divent no yet I have a tent coming supposed to be next week so will be going away with girlfriend on a campsite, if its not here by then, then maybe.

  92. Alan g Says:

    Hi dave I think tue a Wednesday is looking good for 2 nights on the hills whith the kids

  93. David Murphy Says:

    Yeah go for it mate 🙂

  94. David Murphy Says:

    You videoing your camp Alan.

  95. Alan g Says:

    Hi dave I don’t think so.

  96. David Murphy Says:

    Yeah it can be a pain videoing it will takeover your enjoyment if you let it.

  97. David Murphy Says:

    Was thinking of heading off to the lakes today weather was supposed to be sunshine but is poo.

  98. John Says:

    Hi Dave what’s going on with the weather it’s totally rubbish and it’s nearly august I think Alan is away up the Cheviots so hopefully it’s ok up there

  99. David Murphy Says:

    Yeah the weather is not what was advertised for today tomorrow still looks good, hope Alan gets something better than it is here.

  100. John Says:

    Hi Dave I’ve just spoke to Alan he’s at hen hole he’s got the weather he’s up for a great night I am off back up the Cheviots Saturday night forecasts good now for the rest of the week have you any plans Dave

  101. David Murphy Says:

    Hi John,
    Hope Alan and the kids have a good night, I was planning Tuesday night then the weather was poor then it ddnt look to good here earlier either, don’t fancy the lakes if there is too much cloud, weekend possibly not sure.

  102. John Says:

    Hi Dave I am looking forward to a camp out I video our last camp out and need to get it on YouTube I use a Sony cybershot and the quality is good

  103. Paul Says:

    @john get it edited and put on the youtube for us to watch

  104. David Murphy Says:

    Can’t wait to see it john 🙂

  105. John Says:

    Well here we go off for a night at auchope cairn in the Cheviots setting off via Hethpool

  106. David Murphy Says:

    Have fun John and hope the weather holds out mate.

  107. gabrielle g Says:

    hi lads just got back from a two day wild camp with kids had a great time weather was fantastic warm on the Tuesday with a few clouds Wednesday abs hot! got a bit of a tan to go with it. Dave you were right about the bloody fly’s they were biting like hell until the sun went down gr8 sun set on Wednesday night even better sunrise Thursday morning plenty of good tucker and a few scrumpy jack’s for good measure .all in all a gr8 wild camp ag 🙂 happy wild camping

  108. gabrielle g Says:

    sorry that message was ment to be from my dad (alan g) 🙂

  109. David Murphy Says:

    Hi Alan and Gabby pleaded you had a good time and weather was kind even though the midges wernt, did you not bump into John.

  110. chris Sumner Says:

    Does anyone know John’s Youtube name ? so i can look out for his video thats coming


  111. Alan g Says:

    Hi dave John agent up today I got back on thursday he wanted me to go today but it is my son bur
    Birthday to day so I had to attend party. I know where I would lol happy wild camp John

  112. Alan g Says:

    I think I have had to much to drink today ha ha

  113. David Murphy Says:

    Priorities first mate, am sure John will be getting a long just nicely without ya. 🙂

  114. John Says:

    Good evening gentlemen what a weekend I am still buzzing the weather and location was amazing would have loved to stay up there another night but work duties call kicked of Hethpool and then walked up to hen hole sat and watched the raptors totally amazing and the sound of them screaching bloody great then set up camp at auchope cairn went to bed a 00:25 after a great night I got up next day and the went to the summit of cheviot the walked across to bellyside crag down to dunsdale the back along to Hethpool it was boiling hot set off back home lol the thought of a sunday roast was playing on my mind so stopped off at longframlington the village in for a pint and a sunday roast mmmmm blooody top way to finish off a cracking weekend

  115. David Murphy Says:

    Sounds great John pleased you had a good time, i have been putting off with the weather for the cloudy conditions, it might be warm but views will be restricted which is what I go for, so gonna wait till clearer skies come my way.

  116. David Murphy Says:

    Any look in getting your vid done John?

  117. John Says:

    Hi Dave I know what you mean What’s going on with the weather I am on holiday for a fortnight on Friday so I hope it improves ref video I am computerless at the moment In the process of sorting it out and as soon as it’s sorted I will had a belash at it so I might need your help Dave if I do I will give you my home phone number

  118. David Murphy Says:

    No probs mate let me no when your ready to give it a go.

  119. alan g Says:

    hi Dave and the rest of the lads hope everything is fine and dandy with u’s. hi John hope u have a good weeks camping at the lakes and the weather is kind for u see u when u get back and don’t forget about glen core for a good wild camp! hiding valley with the midges and fly’s LOL 🙂 what u up 2 dave and paul in the next couple of weeks any wild camping or not? happy wild camping AG 🙂

  120. gabrielle g Says:

    hi dave whats everyone up to ?? any wild camping planed in the next few weeks? and if saw where u going?? happy wild camping GG 🙂

  121. David Murphy Says:

    Hi Alan and Gabby I planned one last week in the lake district but didn’t go due to weather been hit and miss, I will eventually get my stuff packed and go when I give myself a kick up the backside.

  122. Julie liddle Says:

    Just beautiful dave in every way 🙂

  123. Mark Henderson Says:

    Daves this is still my favourite of all your videos.

  124. daveswildcamping Says:

    Cheer Mark,
    The old ones are the best mate.

  125. daveswildcamping Says:

    Thanks Julie