20090911-17_Across to Helvellyn from nr Angletarn Pikes

Originally uploaded by gary.hadden
This was just one of the fantastic views we got on our High Street circular walk (starting and finishing near Brothers Water south of Patterdale/north of Kirkstone Pass). This was taken from near Angletarn Pikes not long after leaving Boredale Hause and the picture shows some of the walk across Striding Edge to Helvellyn that we were do the next day. Both walks were absolutely brilliant.
 
 

 

To see more pic’s please see the diary post with an account of the walk or go to my flickr postings for a slide show of my just photo’s.

TTFN. Gary.

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20090913_Ullswater Lakeside Walk – Patterdale to How town + Ferry

20090913_Ullswater – Lakeside Walk – Patterdale to Howtown + Ferry

When : 13th September 2009

Who : Me and my sister Janet

Where : Lake District, Cumbria, England

Map : OS Outdoor Leisure Map No.5 – The English Lakes – North East

Start + End Point : 389,156

Approx Distance : 6.2 miles, (10 km)

Approx Heights :  1120/1140 ft (340/350 m) both up and down, but spread over several ups and downs.

Parking : We used Patterdale Youth Hostel’s residents only car park, as that is where we were staying. Otherwise parking is very limited. Alternatively lots more parking can be found at Glenridding just over a mile further down the valley (this would just need a small change to the start of the walk).

Summary : A fairly short, low level walk, following the eastern shoreline of Ullswater from Patterdale village to Howtown via Silver Point and Sandwick, Then taking the Ullswater Steamer (Ferry) back up the lake to Glenridding village, and then the final walk back to Patterdale. 

 

I’ve done this walk several times now, in both directions and normally in inclement weather, but I never really tire of it. After the exertions of the previous two high level walks (High Street and Helvellyn via Striding Edge) and coupled with the fact we were to drive home during the afternoon we decided that an easier day was probably in order and I also figured it’d be nice to do this walk with the sun shining rather than as just a low level, bad weather route. 

I would have preferred to take the steamer from Glenridding to Howtown and then walk back along the shore-line, but the timings for the first sailing would have meant a fairly late finish to the walk which would in turn have meant a late return home down the M6 which we didn’t want. So, we chose to set off fairly early hoping to pick up one of the first sailings coming back up the lake from Howtown … just adding a little pressure to the walk timings. 

It was another absolutely gorgeous morning, with blue skies; no significant cloud cover; crystal clear sharp views of the high fells all around us highlighted by some wispy clouds hanging around the tops and some ethereal mists hanging over Ullswater. Despite some tiredness in our legs, from the day before, we set off with a spring in our steps. Leaving the car in the YHA car park we started off heading north on the A592 but after only a couple of hundred yards we turned right on a track immediately crossing a bridge over Goldrill Beck to reach a small group of houses at Rooking at the foot of Patterdale Common. There are several path possibilities from here, and our route was to turn north on a bridle track staying low on a farm track and we soon reached and passed Side Farm, ignoring a couple of side paths as we went. The path then rose a little, above and set back from the shoreline of Ullswater, as we came level with it’s southern edge. The farmland here doubles up as a camp site, and what a place to awake to …. the views across the head of the lake to the Helvellyn range of mountains were stunning! … In a way it was a shame the mists over the lake had completely dissipated by the time we’d got here, but the reflections in the almost mirror like lake were superb. The mix of high fells, wooded lower slopes and valleys, lakeland buildings, yachts, and the red funneled Ullswater Steamers was simply irresistible and our cameras soon saw the light of day again as we tried to capture the scene.

    

    

The track gave way to a well worn path undulating through the bracken clad hill side (the lower slopes of Place Fell), woods and craggy outcrops. The aspect across the lake remained undiminished (my personal favourite of the big lakes) but was soon to be spoilt (well just a little!) by the first motor boat of the day. We were passing a quiet bay, when the craft sped past, deliberately making a sweeping curve into the bay and back out again, its wake trailing behind like a huge sinuous snake. I’m sure the pilot of the little speedboat was thoroughly enjoying himself. The boat disappeared down the lake leaving the spreading wake to break up the reflections. The near perfect mirror images never really fully recovered from that point on, but that’s just a minor gripe as the views remained brilliant.

   

   

At one point we made a short detour out onto a small rocky peninsula thinking we’d have the place all to ourselves, only to find a local semi-professional photographer already finished for the day, packing up his tripod and other kit, he must have been up and about at the crack of dawn in search of the perfect shot! It turns out he’d been commissioned by the local tourist board to take some summer-time images of The Lake District, but such was the terrible weather all summer long that it was now September and he’d not completed his assignment – He told us that the previous two days and this morning had been by far the best 3-days in a row all summer and as such he was having to be really selective in his shots to give an impression of summer rather than the early autumn that the colours all around indicated. 

After our brief chat, we set off again, taking a dog-leg to the right, to skirt around Silver Crag and into another area of woodland. Although quite easy, the path does have its ups and downs requiring a little effort but nothing compared to our previous two days on the tops. After skirting around Low Birk Fell and passing Scalehow Wood the path reaches and crosses Scalehow Beck by means of a wooden footbridge; the beck cascading down from the heights of Place Fell above us. I once saw a red squirrel hereabouts many years ago whilst walking on my own, but the honour of this was to elude us this time. Soon after leaving the bridge we were joined by a stone wall which the path followed down to the small settlement of Sandwick [at the dead end of a minor road that comes along the lake from Pooley Bridge]. A large rock by the side of Sandwick Beck afforded a good place for a refreshment stop.  

Our route then dropped down the road passing the small group of buildings, to pick up the path again, crossing the beck and then across some soft pastureland and then entering Hallinhag Wood. The path undulates through the woods at the foot of Hallin Fell, at times being almost at shore level, at others climbing to give raised vistas across the lake, most notably at Kailpot Crag and Geordies Crag. The latter giving a view up the northern reaches of Ullswater towards Pooley Bridge.

       

   

The landscape softens considerably along this length of Ullswater, the mountains giving way to lower hills. By now the blue skies had clouded in quite considerably, in fact looking quite threatening – perhaps we were we going get wet right at the end of our weekend after all – but it did add a degree of drama to the scene. The final section headed under Hallin Fell towards the settlement of Howtown, down the side of Howtown Wyke, a sheltered bay where the steamer stops off between Pooley Bridge in the north and Glenridding in the south. The path here is very well defined – I reckon almost everyone who gets off the ferry probably walks this way. As we made our way along here we could see the steamer approaching from the north … We really didn’t want to miss getting on this sailing so picked up the pace … but the boat moves really quite quickly and it was making headway into the bay too quickly! … we picked up our pace some more.  We were on the last flat bit of path within sight of the disembarking passengers onto the landing stage/pier – Our pace was almost a run – Were we going to make it before it set sail ? – I bet you’re on tenter-hooks…well we did make it, but only just! We found a seat towards the back of the boat and it promptly set off. 

Wow, what a dash, but we now had some time to recuperate, all we had to do was enjoy the sailing back up the lake looking across at the shore we’d just walked along and the fells behind which until now we hadn’t been able to see. I particularly liked the views over Sandwick Bay, the vibrant green grassy fields set off by the fells and woods all around.

The lakeside path was clearly visible at times with numerous people enjoying the charms we’d enjoyed all morning. The sailing had us back to the landings in Glenridding  in quick time which just left us the mile alongside the A592 back to Patterdale and the car for our drive home … and it hadn’t rained after all !

 

As I pulled away, despite the car seemingly running fine, a horrible noise, like a loud warning beep, kept sounding intermittently. I tried turning off, started up again, looked through the operating manual, turned things on, pulled away, stopped, began to get worried … and then eventually found the “fault” …. it was the radio telling us it couldn’t pick up a good signal (because of the surrounding mountains I suppose). Grrrrr, I felt a right fool, but at least the car was working OK and we were soon climbing the fantastic Kirkstone Pass Road. We couldn’t resist pulling into the car park at the top of the pass just to finish off a little lunch but mainly to take in a few extra final views of the surrounding mountains.

Another super day – Good weather, superb views and the end of another successful trip, reinforcing my view that this is one of my fave places in the country … No!, I’ll stick my neck out – THE fave place in the country – I just love it up here in The English Lake District!!!

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

Next post = Probably …. 20091115_Llyn Celyn to Pentrefoelas A-Walk

20090912_Helvellyn via Striding Edge Circular Walk

20090912_Helvellyn Via Striding Edge Circular Walk

When : 12th September 2009

Who : Me and my sister Janet

Where : Lake District, Cumbria, England

Map : OS Outdoor Leisure Map No.5 – The English Lakes – North East

Start + End Point : 389,156

Approx Distance : 11 miles, (17.5 km)

Approx Heights :  3420 ft (1040 m) both up and down. 

Parking : We used Patterdale Youth Hostel’s residents only car park, as that is where we were staying. Otherwise parking is very limited. Alternatively lots more parking can be found at Glenridding just over a mile further down the valley (this would just need a small change to the start of the walk).

Summary : A high level strenuous walk starting at Patterdale Youth Hostel and including Patterdale Village, Grisedale Valley, Hole-in-the-Wall, Striding Edge, Helvellyn, Lower Man, Whiteside Bank, Glenridding Common, Past Helvellyn Youth Hostel, Glenridding Village & Ullswater, and back to Patterdale.

The main focus for the weekend was to climb Helvellyn via Striding Edge. As this is a demanding walk it was going to be dependent on the weather and we’d booked some weeks earlier in the hope rather than expectation that we’d get the opportunity. As it happened, we had possibly the best 3-days in row of the whole summer of 2009 – so there were no concerns when we awoke to settled conditions, with the promise of a cracking days walking ahead of us. In fact the main concern was how much water we’d need to carry as the forecast said it could be quite warm. 

I’ve wondered how to write this walk diary for some time now, just because it’s such a classic; an icon of Lake District walking and all sorts of variations have featured in so many books and on the Television, etc., etc. etc. and I’ve wondered if there’s room for another account …. but hey, why not, my diary blog is about MY walks and it wouldn’t be complete without this in there somewhere … So, here goes, I hope you enjoy my scribblings :-  

Janet and I were breakfasted and out of the Youth Hostel really quite early, hoping to be beyond the “Hole-in-the-Wall” before there were too many people on Striding Edge; We’d figured the good forecast would bring out the crowds and we didn’t fancy queuing across what’s got to be THE most famous mountain ridge in England and it transpired later on that we weren’t wrong. The early start had the fortunate side affect of getting some super low-lying mists in the valley (over Ullswater) as we walked down the road into Patterdale Village, passing the serene looking Goldrill Beck on route … What a brill’ start. 

It was an easy start walking on tarmac paths and in the interests of getting the first mile or so under our belts as quickly as possible, we ignored the footpath behind The Patterdale Hotel, instead following the road, passing a church and some pastoral meadows on route to reach Grisedale Bridge; the views of the surrounding fells were so inviting, just begging to be walked up. Instead of crossing the bridge, we turned left into a minor lane heading more or less eastwards towards the Grisdedale Valley. The pretty lane started to rise a little, running parallel with Grisedale Beck (on our right) and we felt quite good shaking off the exertions of yesterdays High Street walk.

Just before Thornhow, we took a right turn on a track to cross the beck by means of a bridge. The early morning sun had reached a height were it could sparkle off the burbling stream and highlight the early autumn colours in the trees. But we couldn’t linger, we had a long climb to get underway, and the steep path ahead was a bit of a shock to the old leg muscles, perhaps I hadn’t walked off all of yesterday’s walk after-all. 

                        

                        

The steep climb was quite short though and soon reached another path with a more gentle gradient crossing from right to left. This was to be our path for about two miles and the early gentle gradient belied the slog rising up the fell side. The views up Grisedale to Dollywagon Pike and Nethermost  Pike as well as across the valley to St Sunday Crag (one of my fave mountains to walk up) were super though and gave a continuous excuse for frequent photo’ opportunity stops (rest stops really, but that would be for wimps!).

There were several groups of people making the same long rise up the fell side and virtually everyone had frequent stops as we proceeded. It was almost like a giant game of leap-frog as one group passed another; only to be overtaken again a few minutes later … we were all almost best friends by the time we reached The Hole in the Wall. 

     

This feature in the landscape is where the path crosses the line of a substantial wall by means of a stile … and marks a change in the walk. From this point, Helvellyn’s long summit can be seen, the bowl of Red Tarn starts to become evident and the path splits. Upon crossing through The Hole in the Wall, the walk felt higher and wilder, perhaps in anticipation of Striding Edge coming next and our building excitement levels. The right hand fork in the path here heads off towards Red Tarn and beyond to climb Swirral Edge. This used to be spelt Swirl Edge on my earlier maps, but was always pronounced Swirral, so it seems phonetic spelling has won out for the time being. Swirral Edge is a fantastic airy climb up Helvellyn in its own right, but not for us today.

Our path was to head slightly to the left, up a broad rising slope towards a knoll which soon gave some superb views of Helvellyn’s summit framing Red Tarn below. Red Tarn is a bit of a misnomer, as it often looks black and at best blue …. The name reflects the colour of the crags and cliffs behind the waters rising up to Swirral Edge and Helvellyn’s summit.

The broad slope became rockier and craggier steepening on both sides and before we knew it we’d started across Striding Edge, along with a good number of fellow walkers (and a few fell runners, jogging their way over the edge). The traverse of the arête was more straight forward than I’d anticipated; a lot of the time being perfectly walkable, just needing a little concentration on where we put our feet – I certainly wouldn’t want to trip over here, with the near sheer drops either side of us. The ridge looks very sharp looking into the middle distance, but taking one step at a time it was OK. Occasionally though when the ridge narrowed the feeling of nervous airiness was very real! On a dry, warm, still day, like today, there weren’t any real problems …. unless you count standing to one side to let faster walkers pass-by from behind or others coming down in the opposite direction. In bad conditions though, this is a challenging place to be and this is borne out by people losing their lives up here – unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence.

 There really aren’t enough superlatives to describe our walk across the ridge – I’ll just say it was brilliantly enjoyable, we even chose to cross on a really sharp part of the ridge where a “safer” slightly lower level path could be taken as an alternative. We really took our time, not just because we were being a tad cautious, but also to take in the fantastic views – in all directions. Towards the end of the ridge, there is a steep scramble down a crag, but before we could get there we had to join a queue of people waiting their turn to make the descent. I’d think the drop is maybe about 50 feet or so over-all and for one section I found it easiest to turn around to face the rocks and scramble my way down. I felt quite exposed as I tried to find my next foot hold, but being 6’-4” tall I didn’t find it too much of a problem. Janet on the other hand, chose to come down facing forwards, leaning back into the rocks. I think Jan’ was maybe a bit more wary than me and from below I tried to help direct her feet to safe places and she soon joined me on a small col with a steep climb now ahead of us. This was now much harder from an exertion point of view, but it didn’t take long to reach the top of the climb where the wide top of Helvellyn was reached. The view back down Striding Edge showed the full extent of our achievement – Yippee, hurrah, we’d done it! 

We had thought it was busy on Striding Edge, but this was soon surpassed by the numbers of people on the top. There are several other paths up Helvellyn, all merging at the top of the mountain and all routes had a steady stream of people making the climb – almost like a pilgrimage and at the summit and we joined everyone else enjoying the views and having lunch. It almost felt like people were promenading along the front at the sea-side, but instead of looking out over watery waves, we were looking out over waves of valleys and mountain ridges in a panorama of 360 degrees.

 

From here, there are various ways back to Glenridding/Patterdale.

  • Down Swirral Edge to Red Tarn; Hole in the Wall and retrace route above Grisedale.
  • Swirral Edge to Red Tarn; Hole in the Wall and over Birkhouse Moor.
  • If you loved Striding Edge so much, just turn around and do it again only in reverse to Hole in the Wall + descend via Birkhouse Moor or the route above Grisedale.
  • Head south over Nethermost Pike + Dollywaggon Pike to Grisedale Tarn and then the full length of Grisedale itself.
  • Head north over Lower Man, Whiteside Bank and Raise to Sticks Pass and then turn right to drop into Glenridding Valley.
  • Or the way we had planned …. north over Lower Man, Whiteside Bank and then a swing to the east beneath Raise to zig-zag down Glenridding Common and the Glenridding Valley on the Greenside Road. 

 

It was kind of sad leaving the top, but we had lingered for some time having lunch and as the saying goes “time stands still for no man”, so we had to restart our legs which after the mornings climb had stiffened up somewhat, but it was now pretty much all downhill for the rest of the walk, starting with the gentle descent to Lower Man and then a half turn right to head towards Whiteside Bank on a slightly steeper slope. This afforded some great views over Brown Cove to the shapely top of Catstye Cam and the north face of Swirral Edge rising up to the summit of Helvellyn. From the col before the gentle rise up to Whiteside Bank we could make out a zig-zag path dropping down into the Glenridding Valley heading off towards Ullswater. 

    

We didn’t really want to leave the heights as it was so beautiful, wanting to drink in the views for as long as possible, so we decided to take another refreshment stop, as much to delay the inevitable descent from the tops as the need to take on water …. but we had to press on and after crossing Whiteside Bank and traversing the southern flanks of Raise we found ourselves dropping quickly down the zig-zag path seen earlier. A party of youths took great delight in ignoring the old pony track, instead heading straight down the fell side in the shortest route possible … and guess what, despite their boisterous exertions our longer way was quickest and we left them and their noisy bluster behind.

Eventually, as we reached the valley bottom, the landscape softened (a little), the barren harshness of the high ground giving way to grassier slopes and bracken with groups of trees somehow clinging to the rocky banks of Glenridding Beck as it cascaded down in a series of pretty waterfalls. It was here that we had to walk through the remains of the disused Greenside Lead Mine dating back to the late 1600’s. This is the setting for Helvellyn Youth Hostel, I assume housed in what were once the old mine buildings. 

From here the route became really very easy and much more pastoral, taking the access track (Greenside Road) all the way down to Glenridding Village … about a mile I’d estimate. On the way down we were entertained by a bunch of off-road scrambler motor-bikers negotiating a rough course through a plantation of trees, over boulders, in and out of the stream and up and down the lower fell side. I think it was probably some sort of competition, with flags and adjudicators scattered about the valley. It was a bit of a shock to the senses though, as the peace of the high fells was replaced by the roar and spluttering of the engines, coupled with exhaust fumes wafting up from below.

At the end of the track on the outskirts of Glenridding (just above Rattlebeck Bridge) rather than taking the tarmac road into the village, we decided to stay as high as possible, taking a small track contouring around the hillside and into some woods. We got some lovely views across the rooftops to Ullswater and Place Fell beyond. Even after several hours and a good stretch of miles, we were still reaching for our cameras …. That’s how good the walk had been and still was! We soon reached the main A592 road, turned right to enter the village and promptly found a bar for a well deserved pint (or was it two?). I think it was “The Ramblers Bar” in the grounds of “The Inn on the Lake” hotel, but I can’t be 100% sure of the names now, but the beer was excellent!

After the very welcome drink, we headed down to the landing stage on the banks of Ullswater, for two equally valid reasons …

 1) Just for the views, which were lovely, especially because the sun was still shining, the skies were blue and the mountains stunning in their early autumn colours, all set around what I think is my most favourite of the big lakes …. and

 2) To get an up to date copy of the steamer company time-table, to be used in the planning of tomorrows walk.

    

We got to see one of the steamers coming in, laden with happy looking sightseers and walkers and we then set off for the final leg of the day, heading around the edge of the lake, passing some really odd sculptures sat in the shallows; partial and complete spheres made from lace parasols … really strange! ….

I must admit they didn’t do much for me, and if anything, to my eyes made the place look a tad scruffy – Maybe I’m just a philistine when it comes to art installations, but I don’t think the lake and mountain views needed any enhancements at-all! I’ve found an internet article on The Cumberland + Westmorland Herald web-site explaining the work of art – I’ll leave you to decide on its merits. 

    

Continuing on we reached the A592 again, which we followed (on side paths where-ever possible) into Patterdale, passing the still serene Goldrill Beck again before reaching The Youth Hostel left so many hours before. 

What a walk – please think of a superlative – whatever you thought, it fits this walk.

A brilliant, fantastic, super, breathtaking, beautiful, slightly scary, glorious, lovely, excellent walk … sorry did I go over the top there?! If you’ve got the impression I liked this one – You’re dead right …. and it was topped off with a saunter down to the White Lion Inn in Patterdale for an evening tipple before retiring to bed and to dream of the walks completed so far and the one planned for tomorrow. 

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

Next post = 20090913_Ullswater lakeside Path Walk.

20090911_High Street Circular Walk (from Brothers Water)

20090911_High Street Circular Walk

When : 11th September 2009

Who : Me and my sister Janet

Where : Lake District, Cumbria, England

Map : OS Outdoor Leisure Map No.5 – The English Lakes – North East

Start + End Point : 404,134

Approx Distance : 10 miles, 16 km

Heights : 3000 ft (about 915 m) both up and down.

Parking : Just off the A592 (Kirkstone Pass Road) at Cow Bridge, a little to the north of Brothers Water near the hamlet of Hartsop.

Summary : High level walk starting near Brothers Water and including Boredale Hause, Angletarn Pikes and Angle Tarn, Satura Crag, The Knott, Straits of Riggindale, High Street, Thornthwaite Beacon, Threshthwaite Mouth, Pasture Bottom, Hartsop Hamlet and back to the car near Brothers Water.

It’s seems a long time since we did this walk, being over a year ago now, but much stays firmly in the memory as it was the first of three superb days of walking. We’d taken the Friday off work to make it a long week-end and we set off from The Midlands quite early to successfully beat the rush hour traffic jams around Birmingham, helped by using the M6-Toll Road. Further north, although quite busy, we pretty much sailed past the potential hold ups of The Potteries and The Manchester conurbation and we found ourselves turning off the M6 at the Kendall turn and up & over The Kirkstone Pass in brilliant time. Certainly early enough to attempt a decent length walk, especially looking at the weather. I’d got several ideas in mind depending on timings and conditions; this walk being the longest and highest of the options. We squeezed into a parking spot at Cow Bridge near Hartsop, just off the A592 and quickly donned walking boots, perused the map, hoisted rucksacks and set off full of the joys of spring … ermm … I mean autumn, it being September. 

The start was surprisingly easy considering this is The Lake District, remaining pretty much flat for quite some way, at first crossing Goldrill Beck over the bridge just driven over to reach our parking space to follow the A592 for a few hundred yards (south eastwards) and then turn left into a side road towards Hartsop. Only, rather than head into the hamlet, after a very short distance, we took another left turn into a minor road cum track. This too stayed on the flat heading north on the valley bottom sandwiched between high fells rising up on both sides.

Driving over The Kirkstone Pass is spectacular, but being out in amongst it all on foot is just fantastic; there’s an extra level of connection that just can’t be had behind the steel and glass skin of a car, and if you get some sunshine rather than rain on your back even better. The walled track carried us forward at a nice pace and we chatted away happily admiring the views whilst getting closer to the foot of the fells. It’s quite remarkable how the steep craggy slopes end abruptly at the valley floor, highlighted where small streams cascade down the hillside; none more evident than where angle tarn beck plunges down from on high.  

A little way past Dubhow, a path branched right off the bridle-track we’d been following and immediately started to rise quite steadily; very quickly giving some superb views along the Deepdale Valley up towards The Fairfield group of fells. Looking back from where we’d come was equally as pleasing, with glimpses of Brothers Water nestled at the foot of shapely fells. But it was onwards and upwards for us with the broad slopes of Place Fell/Patterdale Common ahead of us.

As we climbed, views opened up over Patterdale Village and Ullswater, backed by The Helvellyn Massive – Absolutely wonderful!, hopefully a portent of tomorrow’s planned walk. We were in danger of spending more time taking photo’s than actually walking! The path then swung around to the right to reach Boredale Hause. This is a relatively low area below Place Fell, I’m tempted to say it serves as a cross roads of paths, but it’s much more than that; with multiple paths heading off in various directions, looking a bit like a seven legged spider sprawled across my map.

In mist I could imagine navigation could be quite awkward here. Today however, route finding was a-piece-of-cake, conditions being absolutely perfect and after taking a short refreshment stop we pressed on taking the path heading south on an attractive and inviting path rising under Rake Crag and later Stony Rigg. Views continued to be stunning, in all directions and we couldn’t resist a short but steep pull up onto one of the tops of Angletarn Pikes to maximize the panoramas – Brilliant! 

     

The next staging point became visible – Angle Tarn. This is such a pretty spot – well worth the walk just to see it itself. We didn’t stop to explore its shapely shoreline though, instead following the clearly visible path around its eastern side and then heading steadily up and away across the fell to Satura Crag and our next short refreshment stop. I think we needed it too; it’d been quite strenuous uphill stuff for some time now.

    

       

I really can’t say it enough, the views  were still fantastic, some evolving from what we’d seen before, but new ones opening up as we pressed on … always something new, epitomising what I love about The Lake District; wild and lonely, beautiful and awe inspiring but with a degree of intimacy and scale where you can still feel you belong.  A new view that came next was of Hayeswater tucked away between the ridges of The Knott/Straits of Riggindale/High Street to the east and Thornthwaite Crag /Grey Crag to the west. 

  

 

 

It was really quite warm and we’d done a fair bit of climbing by now and I could certainly feel this in my legs on the pull up the side of The Knott as the gradient steepened. This was replaced by a much easier section as we headed out onto The Straits Riggindale.

 

This fantastically named ridge affords some fantastic views; To the west over Hayeswater and a series of ridges and to the east, the Riggindale valley itself stretching down to Haweswater Reservoir bounded by two ridges. I believe the most southerly of these ridges (which are very craggy in a craggy landscape) is home to the one remaining Golden Eagle in England, its mate having died some time ago. (Some years ago we were lucky enough to see the eagles whilst we were walking in Borrowdale near the Shap Fells, but there was to be no repeat viewing this time, despite scouring the landscape and skies all around as we passed by). 

 From the low point of “The Straits” a double path headed up at a reasonable gradient and we put our heads down to make the final climb up to the summit of High Street following the line of a fairly ramshackled stone wall. Considering this was the pinnacle  of the walk, the broad top of High street is quite non-descript and after taking a couple of photo’s near the isolated trig’ point we headed off taking care to pick the right path across to Thornthwaite Crag and its quite remarkable beacon.

I suppose it’d be about a mile from trig point to Beacon and more down than up, marking a change in the walk as we were now past the highest point. Time was pressing on and there were still several miles to go. I liked the silhouetting of the massive Thornthwaite Beacon perched on its rocky base, a natural plinth. To the south yet another new view opened up, looking down the length of Windermere disappearing into the afternoon haze.

    

We really had reached a change in the walk, the remaining three miles or so now to be all downhill and boy-oh-boy the route dropped VERY quickly (to Threshthwaite Mouth), down a loose stony path. I think Janet probably struggled more than I did, but after all the climbing done, the downhill came as a bit of a shock – very hard work. Threshthwaite Mouth is a high col or saddle between the tops of Thornthwaite Crag and Stony Cove Pike. Our route was to turn north, taking another rough path descending steeply into the quiet valley of Pasture Bottom, bounded by steep craggy ridges on both sides. After a while the path started to ease in gradient although still strenuous to walk on. 

After a good days walking, the valley seemed to drag on a bit, perhaps it was as simple as being a tad tired, but perhaps our mind set had changed having left the high ground and feeling like the walk was drawing to an end. After crossing a ladder stile the route became much easier and we were soon passing through Hartsop and then back to the car at Cow Bridge.  

A short drive (probably less than 2 miles) brought us to Patterdale Youth Hostel, our destination and accommodation for the next couple of days and so brought a brilliant days walking to an end. 

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings …. 

Next walk :- 20090912_Helvellyn via Striding Edge Circular Walk.