Newlands Valley from Dale Head
Dale Head is so named because of its commanding position towering above the Newland Valley. It is the highest fell in its own small group which includes Robinson, Hindscarth and the ridge north over to Catbells. The view north from the summit is often regarded as a highlight for people completing the Newlands Round where they summit 5 other Wainwright fells in the same full days walk. It is the only fell in its range to have a tarn (technically it owns two). The first, largest and most frequently seen is Dale Head Tarn just to the east of the summit, the second is called Launchy Tarn which is much smaller and set higher up the fell on High Scawdell. Dale Head is connected to Hindscarth via Hindscarth Edge which is a grassy ridge to the North West and is a lovely walk.
Dale Head from High Spy
Dale Head is just to the west of Borrowdale, south of Keswick. There are several car parks to the north in Newlands Valley. Starting from the north the routes are longer but in my opinion are far better routes of ascent and offer more diverse scenery.
To the south of Dale Head there is a National Trust car park at the summit of Honister Pass. This is the place to start if you want to make the most direct and easiest route to the summit.
Car Parks are also available to the east in Borrowdale. The closest two being at Rosthwaite, Grange and Seatoller. Each of these start locations offer a fairly direct route of ascent via Tongue Gill to the west.
To get to The Lake District itself, from the north follow the M6 south past Carlisle and to Penrith. Take the A66 West and you will arrive in Keswick in the North Lakes after about 18 Miles. From the East the best road to take is the A66 across the Pennines to Penrith and then continue to Keswick. From the South you can either take the M6 north to Kendal and then the A591 to Windermere and Ambleside, or continue to get the A66 and then west to Keswick. Of coming from the south east then the A1(m) North is the best route to Scotch Corner and then follow the A66 west to Penrith and then to Keswick.
Routes up Dale Head
Route 1 - Blue Route
If you have a full day available then this is the best route. It starts off to the north and ascends Catbells, Maiden Moor and High Spy first. From High Spy there is a descent down to Dale Head Tarn (which can clearly be seen when heading south from High Spy). Once at the tarn its a steep ascend on a constructed path up above the crag called Great Gable and then a final push to the summit. To continue the Newlands Round the route heads across Hindscarth Edge to Hindscarth and then across Littledale Edge to Robinson.
Route 2 - Green Route
The Green Route is the most direct and starts at the top of Honister Pass. The route follows either side of a fence that heads almost due north from the pass and continues straight to the summit cairn.
Route 3 - Red Route
This route starts off at Grange in Borrowdale and heads south past Hollows Farm Campsite and along the miners track past Castle Crag and up to a turning west along Tongue Gill. The route ascends an easy path along the Gill and past the climbing hut to a col between Dale Head and High Spy. The route then follows the steep constructed path up to Dale Head (part of the Blue Route).
Route 4 - Yellow Route
This starts off at Seatoller in the Borrowdale Valley and follows a well defined path north west from the village and joins the miners track (from route 3) but heads north to Tongue Gill and follows the Red/Blue route to Dale Head.
Route 5 - Purple Route
This walk starts off at Little Town in the Newlands Valley and follows the valley floor south along the river and ascends up to the col just to the east of Dale Head. The rock scenery on this walk is very impressive as you ascend up to the col. From the col the route follows the path past Dale Head Tarn and then up to the summit.
Route 6 - Brown Route
This is an alternate route from the Purple Route. It follows the valley south from Little Town and just before the route ascends to the col there is a path off to the south west that takes you up a path on the opposite side of the valley. The path zigzags past Far Tongue Gill and round to the top of Great Gable Crag. The last section is a simple walk to the summit.
No Red Tape.
When to Climb
Dale Head summit cairn
Dale Head can be climbed all year round. During winter months it is highly probable you will need Crampons and Ice Axe to make a safe ascent.
The nearest campsite is at Seatoller in the Borrowdale Valley, with another campsite at Stonethwaite and another slightly further north at Grange (Hollows Farm). There is a campsite at Buttermere about 3 miles to the west if that valley is preferred.
External LinksDale Head photos and Information