Kings How and The Bowder Stone

Kings How and The Bowder Stone

Kings How and The Bowder Stone

Kings How and the Bowder Stone Walk Borrowdale

This is a pretty little walk fit for a king. Kings How is not particularly strenuous or demanding but a pleasant interlude if you have a couple of hours to spare.

We parked at the National Trust car park on the B5289 on the left as you come from Keswick, just past the village of Grange on the right and opposite Holmcrag wood. Kings How Grid reference: NY 253168 .We paid for 3 hours which was ample and cost just over £5.

Kings How Car Park

We turned left out of the car park along the road and almost immediately there is a National Trust sign indicating the Bowder Stone to the left. There is a clear track leading to the stone.

The stone is about 30 foot high and 50 feet across. It weighs around 2000 tons and is remarkable as it balances on one corner. As the rock is not local it is thought most likely that it landed here in the ice age carried from Scotland by the glaciers.

The rock is popular with climbers and is also accessible to most by a sturdy wooden ladder that takes one to the top. Once up there you find yourself on a fairly narrow ledge looking across to the woods.

It is a pleasant distraction in the clearing surrounded by woodland and in March the daffodils were out making it picture postcard pretty.

Continueing our Kings How walk from the Bowder stone it is an incessant if not steep climb up to King’s How. It was mid/late March when we went and the stubble of last year’s bracken studs the hillside along with the odd fallen and stripped branch. It is easy to imagine the ferns that must upholster the hillside as you walk through it in the spring and summer. As you near the peak if you look behind you there in contrast to the more autumnal colours of the fell the village of Grange surrounded by its lush green fields appears like an emerald cut in a diamond shape.

Kings How Borrowdale

As you turn a corner and just below the summit you happen upon a plaque with some indistinct lettering which has inscribed: “In Loving Memory of King Edward VII, Grange Fell is dedicated by his sister Louise as a sanctuary of rest and peace. Here may all beings gather strength, find in scenes of beautiful nature a cause for gratitude and love to God, giving them courage and vigour to carry on his will.

Princess Louise was the daughter of Queen Victoria and sister of King Edward V11. As the president of the National Trust at the time she made Grange Fell a memorial to her brother at the time of his death in 1910.

If Grange was an emerald, then by now if you look to your left Watendath Tarn is every bit a light blue sapphire glinting in the spring sunlight.

Having reached the summit from which can be seen beautiful views over Grange, Derwent Water and Keswick with Borrowdale Valley, Scafell and Great Gable to to the South we make our way back down the other side by the distinctive track which eventually leads us straight back to the car park.

Kings How and the Bowder stone is a jewel of a hike in the crown of Lakeland walks.

Latrigg Walk

Latrigg Walk Keswick

Latrigg Walk Keswick

Latrigg Walk

Latrigg is an iconic Lakeland fell- walk and one of the lowest fells in the Lake District. It’s an all year round climb, which is very popular due to its convenient location overlooking the town of Keswick. The summit of Latrigg rewards the walker with beautiful views down the Borrowdale valley, Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake, and the Helvellyn range can be seen.

You can start a walk to the summit of Latrigg from practically anywhere within the town of Keswick and its multitude of Guest Houses with good parking available throughout.

Walking from the leisure pool making your way to Spooney Green Lane, a bridleway is clearly signposted leading to Skiddaw. The bridleway crosses the A66 and makes its way to a wooden 5 bar gate and kissing gate. Passing through the gate the path ascends the western slopes of Latrigg with views towards Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite Lake. The total ascent of Latrigg is approximately 1,000 feet with the main footpath following the western flank before it turns back towards Keswick and the summit.

For many the challenge of Latrigg is to ascend by the more strenuous routes which are not on the Ordnance Survey maps. Along these routes you may even find people out running from Keswick to the summit and back again!!

First Route to the Summit of Latrigg

As you follow the footpath upwards you will come to a small island and here you can leave the well trodden Ordnance Survey route and head off North Easterly through the pine trees. We followed this route which traversed the fell until we came to the end of the woodland area and a fence line. Along this path there are some wonderful views of Keswick and Derwent Water. Upon reaching the fence we jumped over and followed it until we reached a gate on our left.

Once through the gate it is a short walk to the summit of Latrigg and the small wooden bench seat which marks the summit. On a quiet day you may find the seat empty but we where not so lucky.

Second Route to the Summit of Latrigg

Look for a path, which turns acutely off to the right from the main Ordnance Survey track and follow this as it gracefully and partially zigzags a course to the summit of Latrigg.

On leaving Latrigg following the summit ridge North Easterly towards Blencathra and Threlkeld returning back the way we had climbed from our original approach via the fence line. Here the footpath is easily followed and on good ground as you make your way downwards and onto the road.

To make for a longer and more interesting walk we continued downwards onto the disused Keswick railway walk which is distinguished by a 5 bar gate, with a kissing gate adjacent. There is also a sign post here. Also of note is the fact that you should be able to see a wonderful old railway bridge from the gate and sign post. There is also a shelter of stone construction in which you will find the Cumbrian way of spelling 1 through 10.

Taking the railway footpath we continued on our walk away from Keswick and headed towards the Lakeland village of Threlkeld. You will find the railway path to be good quality and relatively flat, making it good for cyclists and walkers.

The railway footpath is approximately 3 miles long and was created by the Lake District Park Authority following the acquisition of part of the former Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway which closed in 1972. Over the railway footpaths 3 mile length between Threlkeld and Keswick there are 8 redundant old railway bridges which cross over the River Greta making this a wonderful walk.

We followed the railway footpath until it met the A66 and here we turned off and walked along the main through fare through the village of Threlkeld until we arrived at the Horse and Farrier where we had our lunch.

After lunch we returned the way we had come back down to the railway line path and walked along its length back in to Keswick.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Latrigg Walk please visit Latrigg Walk on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

Latrigg is a great easy walk for all to enjoy.

Sergeant Man

Sergeant Man Grasmere Walk

Sergeant Man Grasmere Walk

Sergeant Man Walk

The most popular routes to climb Sergeant Man are either from Great Langdale via Stickle Tarn, or by a variety of routes from Grasmere village. For this particular walk to Sergeant Man I chose to ascend via Easedale Tarn as this is one of my favourite shorter low level walks from Grasmere.

Starting from the village of Grasmere, take the lane that leads up to Easedale Tarn which is a good straightforward walk. There are more details of this section of the walk and photographs on my ‘Easedale Tarn walk’.

Sergeant Man From Easedale Tarn

On arriving at Easedale Tarn, you will see the rugged mountain scenery that is from right to left Tarn Crag, Slapestone Edge and Bells Knott on the opposite side of the tarn. On a quiet day for Lake District weather and smooth waters upon the tarn, the serenity and peacefulness of the setting is wonderful with the mountains reflected within the cold waters.

Leaving the tarn behind us and continuing upon our walk to Sergeant Man, we follow the clearly marked footpath which meanders its way upwards between the lofty heights of Bells Knott on your right and Blea Crag on your left. Here underfoot the ground can be sodden due to the large rainwater catchment area.

As you ascend from the tarn making your way towards the crossroads at Blea Rigg, do take the time to look back as the views are absolutely stunning and get better and better as you climb higher and higher towards our ultimate destination of Sergent Man. The upward path climbs here and can be arduous whilst on occasion turning to stepping stones as you cross wet patches of ground. In general the path follows the stream on your right so at this point it is easy to navigate.

After leaving Easedale Tarn, the first crossroads you will arrive at, will take you down and around Codale Tarn and then onwards to the summit of Sergeant Man, although we continued on towards the crossroads at Blea Rigg. At the crossroads we took the right hand path.

The path to the summit is clearly marked out as you cross with relative ease along the small grassy footpath, passing the 50 foot slab of rock mentioned by Wainwright. Now simply follow the track as you make your final steps to the summit which should be clearly visible before you and maybe lunch.

Should the Lake District weather be kind to you now here you will be rewarded with some great Lakeland vistas worthy of any walk you will undertake and you should see some of the famous high peaks of the Lake District. On a bad day they may be shrouded in mist and cloud. Below the summit of Sergeant Man Stickle Tarn should be clearly visible weather permitting.

The Summit Of Sergeant Man

Whilst at the summit of Sergeant Man you should be able to clearly discern the famous fell of High Rise but a short distance away, should you wish to bag another of the 214 Wainwright fells.

Making our way back to Grasmere we chose to return to the crossroads at Blea Rigg and then onwards, continuing along the higher ground towards Castle How. The high ground of Blea Rigg offer great views looking down upon the 3 local tarns and the village of Grasmere.

There are 3 possible descents from this point with the first putting you back down towards Easedale Tarn and the third putting you back near the village centre. We chose on this occasion to take the second pathway following Blindtarn Gill.

This path is poorly marked and resulted in some off track rambling through lots of bracken and small shrubs. With good weather the farm buildings at the bottom of the path were clearly visible. Aiming for them, we soon reached this point and our original path we had commenced our walk upon.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Sergeant Man walk please visit Sergeant Man Walk on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

Sergeant Man Walk Video

There is an abundance of walks from Grasmere and Sergeant Man is a great high level walk to enjoy.

Scafell Pike Walk

Scafell Pike Summit

Scafell Pike Summit

Scafell Pike Walk From Borrowdale

Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England at 3,209 ft (978 metres) and is located within the Southern Fells of The Lake District National Park, Cumbria.

There are many possible variations of route for the ascent of Scafell Pike, all a challenging proposition and a good days walking, though you would expect nothing less of England’s highest mountain, right? Personally, if at all possible, save this great walk for a clear dry day, for to go to all that effort to see only cloud or rain, I ask is it worth it? And most definitely give Scafell Pike a miss in bad weather.

The above said one of my favourite Scafell Pike routes is from Seatoller in the beautiful Lakeland valley of Borrowdale. With the ascent of Scafell Pike from Borrowdale the walk presents no particular problems, although the route can be long for some walkers, who  may therefore wish to start from Seathwaite instead of Seatoller, which will reduce the total distance to walk. Seathwaite is a popular starting point for those attempting the 3 Peaks Challenge and Scafell Pike.

Scafell Pike From Seathwaite

My preferred choice of ascent of Scafell Pike is to start at Seathwaite where there is currently ample free road side parking available. Once parked the grandeur and formidable size of the mountains impacts you and the knowledge of approximately 3,000 feet of ascent.

Setting forth upon the tarmac road head towards the farm at the end of the lane, which even since the days of Alfred Wainright and his ascent of Scafell Pike has not changed much and is still one of the friendliest farms you will find with friendly dogs and farm animals that are more used to visitors than most.

Once through the farm, for me, the real Scafell Pike walk begins. Keeping the river Derwent upon your right, ascend up the valley track whilst aiming for Stockley Bridge, which is a classic packhorse bridge, crossing over the waters of Grains Gill. Crossing the bridge, it is our aim to skirt to the right of Seathwaite Fell, following Styhead Gill with a good quality path to be found here, heading towards the tarn.

As you hike along the valley, cut by the gill. It is possible to cross the gill at numerous points, depending  on the water volume and recent rainfall. The foundations of an earlier bridge can still be seen with good quality new footbridge just as you approach Styhead Tarn.

Having passed the tarn, now on your left, you will reach a main crossing of paths, which would and could lead you on to such fells as Great Gable and Wasdale Head. Here, a short stop is strongly recommended, as you take in the views and stunning magnificence of the fell., The tranquillity and peace is undeniable. At this point in my walk, I met up with a great group of Liverpool taxi drivers, who were out for the day walking to the top of Scafell Pike via a different route, and with the inevitable chat about football (Liverpool, Manchester United and my Manchester City). A good marker point for this junction of paths on the ascent of Scafell Pike is the Stretcher box.

Here we also went our separate ways to ascend Scafell Pike with the Liverpool lads taking the route past Sprinkling Tarn and us taking the Corridor route to the summit. There are 2 Corridor routes and confusion comes quickly here with the lower path being the one to avoid and keep to the higher ground where the path slants upwards and across. My particular advise here is simply a personal preference that I would rather be looking downwards for a path I have lost, with some form of aerial height advantage in this than trying to look upwards for a path I cannot find.

Thus following the high level corridor path which once you have found is relatively straightforward to follow being the only easy route possible, and it’s onwards and upwards towards Scafell Pike. The Corridor route follows the path along the western slopes of Great End, Round How and lastly Broad Crag upon your left.

As you approach the foot of Broad Crag, it is possible to ascend  or descend Scarfell Pike via Broad Crag Col, which in my opinion is well worth trying, whilst covered in boulders, stones and loose scree, awkward under foot in the best of conditions and tricky to navigate over in bad visibility with crags or steep rough ground on all sides. My tip here would be to keep to the right whilst ascending as the large rocks invariably collect here and there is less chance of slipping on the loose scree.

This was our choice on the day, Broad Crag Col for our ascent to Scarfell Pike as it is these factors that lend a degree of seriousness to the ascent, making it so much more satisfying a mountain day to remember. This for me is rugged mountain country at its best. In snow and ice this ascent can be hazardous and ice axe and crampons are advisable.

When you reach the top of Broad Crag Col, the reward is a view of your final destination and the summit of Scafell Pike, and with one last push it is up the rock and pathway to the top. With a clear day the views are stunning, whilst even on a good, day cloud can come rolling in and therefore it’s best to be prepared.

Should you take the time to look at my full collection of pictures for this walk on my Lake District Walks Flickr account, you will see how the weather changes from some pictures to pictures.

Following our lunch at the summit we continued to return back to Seathwaite in an anticlockwise direction around Broad Crag and Great End. The path down from Great End is good and clearly marked with views towards Derwent Water and beyond. As you approach Esk Hause you take the left hand path towards Allen Crags and on a good day you will see the path before you. Take the next turn to the left, heading back in the direction of Sprinkling Tarn.

As the Tarn comes into view, you will also be looking for a footpath on your right which is very well maintained. Follow Grains Gill as it cuts an impressive route through the rock, making its way down towards the River Derwent. As you progress downwards with a quick reduction in altitude, following a great day out, simply make your way back to Stockly Bridge. Thus completes this near circular walk, and with a final few steps towards Seathwaite,  your well-deserved transportation home.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Scafell Pike walk please visit Scafell Pike Walk on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike is a great days walk and I hope you enjoy your walk as much as I did my walk.

Stanley Ghyll Waterfall

Stanley Ghyll Force Waterfall

Stanley Ghyll Force Waterfall

Stanley Ghyll Force Waterfall

Within the Lake District there are walks and there are super special walks. In my opinion Stanley Ghyll Force waterfall belongs in the category of super special. The reasoning behind this is quite simple as I thoroughly enjoy the mode of transport in getting there and back.

It is not a requirement to start my Stanley Ghyll walk at Ravenglass Steam Railways but it does add that great bit of panache in arriving at Dalegarth station, which is the actual starting point. The 7 mile and 40 minute journey on a thumping polished steam engine takes some beating with the smell of burning coal in the air. The train takes the strain as I arrive at Dalegarth in a relaxed state ready to embark with rucksack, map and lunch.

Stanley Ghyll Walk

Stanley Ghyll waterfall is the most popular walk from Dalegarth station and is approximately a one mile walk. Surrounded by a stunning backdrop of trees, it is in my opinion one of Lakeland’s most beautiful waterfalls.

Upon leaving the station, take a right turn along the road and you will pass the local coach yard. Continue forward for a short distance before turning left onto a narrow signposted lane, which will take you across the River Esk. This is a beautiful spot and judging by the rope swing hanging from the tree, this has been enjoyed by many a young person playing in the river on a summer’s day.

Within a 100 yards of the River Esk bridge, there is a car park for use, should you arrive here by car.

Pressing forward, you will come upon a road junction with Dalegarth Hall in view. Taking the left lane, we continue upwards at a gentle easy amble, until we arrive at a gate on our left with a sign post and access to Stanley Ghyll wood. From the gate, the path starts wide and easy to follow as it makes its way to the stream’s water’s edge as it continues upwards through the woodland ravine.

The path here can be wet and slippery in places and good walking boots are recommended.

The path continues to wind its way upwards following the stream with a total of three bridges on route to Stanley Ghyll waterfall, with the ravine narrowing dramatically after the third and final bridge. With a scramble up the left hand bank of the stream, you will arrive at the sumptuous waterfall. Should you have small children keep them close as the water can be deep and cold here.

Jurassic Stanley Ghyll Walk.

From this point a return to car or train is easy by the same route, although for us we had decided to go upwards and around the high ground of Stanley Ghyll waterfall. You do wonder where all the water comes from and the catchment area of such spectacular waterfalls.

Returning from the water fall and crossing the first high level bridge you will notice a path going off to your left with what looks like a steep climb. Taking this path it only rises some 40 feet or so before opening into a small woodland glade with no path to be seen and what looks like a dead end. The path is to your left upon the steep bank and will take you upwards to a spectacular vantage point near the top of Stanley Gyhll waterfall and this will help you to navigate to this spot.

Reaching the summit of the 150 feet ravine and awesome aerial views of Stanley Ghyll waterfall looking downwards from the cliff edge, is very rewarding and a great spot for lunch. It is worth a mention to all here to be careful near the edge as it is a long way down and there is no lift back up !!!!

Leaving our lunch spot at the top of Stanley Ghyll, follow the less well trodden path out onto the fields over the stile and turn left. The footpath here is very poor and hard to follow. We simply followed the dry stone wall by keeping it to our left until we reached the open path leading to the farmhouse. The path continues through the farmyard and you will clearly see another farm located to your left and a track leading there. Following the track and passing through your second farm, the footpath leaves via the left side of the main farmhouse. Remembering to shut all gates and leave things as you found them, following the country code.

With the vantage point now high above Stanley Ghyll and Dalegarth your way back will now be more clearly visible. We found the ground to be very wet under foot.

The footpath here is not the clearest, yet hiking this route I believe is more enjoyable than simply walking to Stanley Ghyll waterfall and back. With the added altitude you are rewarded with some outstanding views of Eskdale valley towards the wild Scarfell mountain range.

It is at this point I will say that walking with my friend we lost our map. I like to photocopy my map and simply bring an A4 paper copy out walking as this saves my map from excessive use. I had my handheld GPS Garmin with me which took us the way home and is a great bit of kit for bad weather or when footpaths are poorly marked. With your Ordnance Survey map you should easily find your way back to the river and basically the Stanley Ghyll waterfall walk contours around the ravine and return back to Dalegarth Hall.

While planning this Stanley Ghyll walk in conjunction with the steam railways it is worth checking on train timetables as we returned to Dalegarth Station with 20 minutes to spare and time for a coffee.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Stanley Ghyll Waterfall walk please visit Stanley Ghyll Waterfall Walk on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

Wear study footwear and enjoy Stanley Ghyll Force waterfall walk.

Ullswater Lake Walks

Ullswater Lake Walks

Ullswater Lake Walks

Ullswater Lake Walks – Glenridding To Howtown and Back

It is easy to walk up and down dale so to speak here in the Lake District, although should you be looking for a stunningly beautiful low level lake walk, along the shores of arguably one of England’s finest lakes here is the Ullswater lake walk sfor you.

I have named my walk the Ullswater Lake walks, Howtown to Glenridding which will reward you with stunning views of the Ullswater valley and the Helvellyn mountain range.

What makes this particular Lake walks special is the different perspective given with the commencement of the walk at the Glenridding pier of the Ullswater Steamer where we embarked.

Taking the Steamer ride from the Glenridding pier first check out the time table for the Steamer and allow time for your walk of approximately three and a half hours. The walk is just over 10 km and should you desire it is possible, time of year and current timetable permitting, to take the Steamer from Pooley Bridge to Howtown inclusive.

Embarking at Glenridding we travelled Ullswater Lake towards Howtown on a brisk November day with little wind and a mirror like lake. This particular time of year rewards the intrepid walker with a vast array of changing autumnal colours with cold and frosty mornings being particularly good.

Disembarking at Howtown we arranged our equipment and for the first time we used our Lake District walks Handheld  GPS ( follow link for our way points route and map ) which I have to say was excellent.

Upon leaving the pier the path is clearly visible to your right and a good quality path takes you over a small bridge. The small footpath will take your towards a single track road servicing a home. Walking a short distance along the road a sign post for Patterdale Sandwick will be visible taking you a short distance towards the slightly inclined steps with a stone wall to your right and then through a swing gate.

Once through the gate the path splits and taking the right hand path this will keep you on the Lake walk leaving Howtown. This new section of the walk will reward you with clear Lakeland views across Ullswater Lake and towards Pooley Bridge. The footpath at this point is well maintained and generally dry in most weathers.

Lake Walks Vantage Points

From your vantage point at this stage of your Ullswater Lake walk it is possible to make out the stunningly beautiful Aira Force Waterfall set upon the opposite Western shore of Ullswater. Whilst also not forgetting that the daffodils still grow in the spring time at Glencoyne Bay close to Aira Force, when William Wordsworth wrote what later became the most famous poem in the English language.

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils;”

Poet I will never be, although with measured motion I struck again and struck again my feet upon the ground continuing onwards with stone wall upon my right and arguably England finest lake upon my right.

With the path now heading southwards you will find several delightful spots with close access to the lake and possible spots for cooling the feet on a hot summer’s day with paddling or a spot for the dog to chase stone thrown into the still waters.

Leaving the water’s edge with a gentle climb upwards you will enter Hallinhagg Wood where the footpath becomes uneven and you may catch a glimpse of a Red Squirrel or two here.

Upon spotting the odd felled tree with some of the off cuts piled in some format of organised chaos this practice is undertaken to help Hedgehogs in creating slow rotting environments for our woodland animals.

With the beck now upon your right which meanders down to Silver Bay continue onwards away from Ullswater towards Beck Side Farm and Sandwick. Follow the path which is situated to the left of Townhead Cottage sign posted Patterdale.

As you now traverse Silver Crag it may be possible to see Lyulph’s Tower which is a 16th Century castellated building situated near to Gowbarrow Fell which will be behind you as you walk forwards. Moving forwards and coming into view will be the Helvellyn mountain range and possibly Helvellyn Via Striding Edge which I have to say is one of my personal favourite high level walks (adventure).

With the path now continuing towards Patterdale it gradually turns into a farm track and from here you can recall the start of your walk from the Glenridding Steamer pier on the now opposite shore.

Upon reaching the farm continue along the track as it heads towards the Goldrill Beck and the main road as it returns you on your Ullswater Lake walks back to the Glenridding pier.

Ullswater Lake Walks On The Ullswater Steamer

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Ullswater Lake walks please visit Ullswater Lake Walks on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

I hope you enjoyed my Ullswater Lake walks using the Ullswater Steamer from Glenridding to Howtown and the walk back, please hit the like buttons below.

Cat Bells Walk

Cat Bells Viewed From Derwent Water

Cat Bells Viewed From Derwent Water

Cat Bells Walk Keswick

Cat Bells is majestically poised above Derwent Water and quite arguably one of the most popular of all the low level Lakeland fell walks at 451 metres (1,480 ft); a mountain in miniature. The ascent is well rewarded with breath taking views over Derwent Water to the east and the Newlands valley to the west and back over the town of Keswick to Skiddaw and Saddleback (Blencathra walk), although Sharp Edge is not visible.

The renowned Lake District writer and walker Alfred Wainwright acknowledged the popularity of Cat Bells among fell walkers of all abilities by saying;
“it is one of the great favourites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved. Its popularity is well deserved, its shapely topknot attracts the eye offering a steep but obviously simple scramble”.

Sometimes it is hard to fathom why generation after generation certain walks remains ever popular, although some are immortalised by writers such as Wainwright and Beatrix Potter into the national heritage and I believe it is good to know why these walks have become shrine like to those seeking the outdoors. To have the wind blowing in your face and knowing the famous have walked these very same footpaths gives food for thought.

For those with long memories or young children will be interested to learn that Cat Bells was the home of Mrs Tiggy Winkle. With several of Beatrix Potter’s earlier publications drawing their backgrounds from the area around the Newlands valley and Derwent Water, where Beatrix Potter spent several summers before 1903. The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903) was inspired by the red squirrels which still frequent the woods on the shores of Derwent Water, Owl Island where Old Brown lived in the story being St Herberts Island. The connection is strongest with The Tale of Mrs Tiggy Winkle (1905). This story is about a small girl called Lucie who lives at Little Town in Newlands. One day she meets washer woman (or washerhedgehog!) Mrs Tiggy Winkle, who works in a kitchen behind a small door on the side of Cat Bells. The real Lucie being a daughter of the vicar of Newlands whom Beatrix Potter met on her visits here.

Cat Bells Historical Connection

Cat Bells has long had its historical deep rooted past which brings people of all ages back time and again to walk these well-trodden footpaths. There are those who walked Cat Bells with their parents and return with their children and it is this lifelong connection which I believe makes such walks as Cat Bells part of the national heritage of walks if there was such an accolade.

There is ample parking around the base of Cat Bells and usually a farmer’s field wherein you may park, with currently a very reasonable £3 for the day fee for the privilege.

From here you will clearly see the ascent of Cat Bells directly in front of you and the cattle grid. There is a wooden footpath sign at the road junction which clearly indicates the start of the route. Leaving the road you will see a wide bridleway track to start with before the path commences to climb very steeply through the zig zags.

Very quickly you will start to climb and Derwent Water will come into plain view and the higher you climb the more of the Lakeland panorama comes into view. A memorial tablet will be passed for Arthur Leonard (founder of the Co-operative and Communal Holidays and ‘Father’ of the open-air movement) and eventually you will reach the first summit.

The footpath continues onwards and upwards along an undulating ridge to a final climb to the summit of Cat Bells.

The summit of Cat Bells can be a busy spot in high season and is a great place to swap walking notes with other walkers.

Continuing beyond the summit of Cat Bells following the footpath towards Maiden Moor and at the intersection of the crossroads take the left hand track, whilst descending steeply on a path through the zig zags, there being a fence on short sections.

As the track continues downwards it bends towards the right, heading away from your walk starting point, whilst you may wonder if you are going along the correct route as it is unclear at this point where you well make your uturn.

As the path widens the tree line will come into view and a dry stone wall separating the open fell from the trees. Taking the path leading left which runs along the lower slopes of Cat Bells with superb views over Derwent Water.

The footpath eventually reaches the road by the quarry, but leaves again, although here you may simply follow the road back to the walk starting point or return to the lower slopes of Cat Bells.

Cat Bells Walks Video

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Cat Bells walk article please visit Catbells Walk on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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I trust you enjoyed my article on Cat Bells walk.

Helvellyn Via Striding Edge

Helvellyn Via Striding Edge

Helvellyn Via Striding Edge

Helvellyn Via Striding Edge

Helvellyn is most probably the most famous of all the Lakeland fells, whilst being the most visited mountain, and the summit we all wish to reach. At an altitude of 3,117 ft, Helvellyn is the third highest peak in both the Lake District and England.

That being said there is a magical aura attached to Helvellyn and Striding edge, even a sense of adventure when you set out upon this walk of walks. No matter where your starting point is, although Wainwright did state, “from the East, however, the approach is quite exciting” and it is with this exciting thought firmly fixed in my mind and adventure that I chose my route of Helvellyn via Striding Edge.

At this point I do believe you need to know a little about the author as you may be using these meagre notes as reference for your own forth coming adventure to the summit. Being no seasoned aficionado of hill walking, rather an individual who loves to get outdoors and away from the day-to-day stresses of life. I believe this helps me to give a realistic view of this, and all my walks from a vantage point that is good for most of us out there who will set foot upon the Lakeland fells.

For most, it is the adventure of walking Striding Edge to the summit of Helvellyn which creates such a stirring of emotions for the walker who is willing to set foot upon this route, with a memory which will endure. The route has developed some notoriety over time and it is this reasoning that prompted my commencement of this walk and to dispel and fictional untruths whilst giving my personal thoughts on Helvellyn via Striding Edge.

This route to Helvellyn takes the Eastern approach starting from the village of Glenridding where there is a pay and display car park, although there is some free parking on the side roads, which is where I left my vehicle for the day.

I started my walk by crossing Glenridding beck upon the footpath and passing the outdoor shop on my left as I walked along the road with the beck to my right. The road turns into more of a track and then you will see the first signpost on your left to Helvellyn. Taking this path and heading for Westside on the OS map continue ascending through the small wooded area and at the crossing of paths take the path to your left making for Keldas. Here you will find a small picturesque tarn surrounded by trees.

Helvellyn Via Striding Edge

The footpath here is clear to see and easy to follow as your footfalls take you towards Kennels and the Helvellyn ascent route from Patterdale. From this point onwards the track is well maintained and easy to follow, a near straight line to our goal.

The ascent is gradual as you climb the Helvellyn range from Patterdale and for those with an eye for fells may recognise High Street on the not to distant vista. Simply stop, turn around here and take in the stunningly beautiful views as that’s what its all about.

The wind can change; the weather with it and the trepidation of the walker grows as you come ever closer to the adventure of Striding Edge and the conquering of Helvellyn. Today I had fine weather as I climbed upwards and I was mindful of the changing weather and as my altitude increased I was presented with a wider view of the skies and the possibility of rain.

I believe these changeable factors are what make any walk to Helvellyn and Striding Edge the adventure it undoubtedly is, with my apprehension building.

Following the track upwards and coming into view you will see Eagle Crag and Ruthwaite Lodge before you reach Grisedale Brow and ultimately the convergence of two paths at a cross roads. Taking the left hand route onwards and upwards onto the beginnings of Striding Edge with a great view of the summit of Helvellyn clearly visible now.

I was advised prior to my Helvellyn adventure that you could drive a mini over Striding Edge and now I found my self at the elevated starting point looking downwards onto Striding Edge.

It is at this point I will say to each and everyone who reads this walk that, as in life there are many ways to circumnavigate any route, and yet again I am presented with variables here. The summit of Helvellyn is within sight and if you can only imagine some great body with curved arms held aloft, this is a similar view that presented itself to me with Red Tarn encompassed within the arms. It was my aim to walk the arms in a clockwise direction with the summit of Helvellyn being the top of the head, so to speak.

Helvellyn Via Striding Edge

Helvellyn via Striding Edge can be a little daunting with drops on either side, although my advise here is to go at your own pace and simply make sure of each footing you make and keep walking. There is an easier route, although the route to take just draws you in and onto the tops like and adrenalin rush. The incredible feeling of standing in the middle of Striding Edge at your full height is awe-inspiring to anyone and if it does not move you, you are on the wrong mountain.

The rock is bare cold and exposed, even ragged and rough. The wind blows through your hair and you look for the route you will take with care and thought. This is no amble in the countryside of England, this is a mountain you are climbing and it sure feels that way, without doubt.

As a general rule the path is about three feet wide, although uneven and of unforgiving rock and I should imagine slippery when wet. With the surface being wet I would imagine this would add to the euphoria you feel when you complete this ascent.

The walking Helvellyn via Striding Edge is the highlight of this walk having now completed it and writing about, although in my opinion the last section is the most difficult as you drop from the ridge with approximately a 8 feet drop of rock to navigate. Having my dog with me on this walk I have to explain that this was the most difficult part, whilst a fellow walker passed my Yorkshire Terrier down to me (Thanks).

This being the end of Striding Edge for most, being the popular viewpoint. Yet in my opinion it is simply a reprieve prior to continuing on upwards. This then leaves the final assault on the summit of Helvellyn, to test your endurance and persistence, as this again is an arduous climb to the summit of Helvellyn.

Your personal efforts are well rewarded once you reach the top with a clear view of the summit and having walked the finest edge in the Lake District. Is it dangerous you ask, and my simple answer to this question would be no, although treat it with the respect it deserves and if its windy us a different route.

The famous wall-shelter is clear to see and a gathering point for lunch and discussion with those in your group or others who arrive.

You will see from my pictures that I just made it to the summit of Helvellyn as the rain and cloud came in. Within a 30 minute spell it went from good visibility to rain and poor visibility and back to good once again. I hope this comes across in my pictures and video, although it did not stop anyone from crossing Striding Edge to the summit of Helvellyn and lunch.

I left the summit of Helvellyn via Swirral Edge and here the path is good and clear. The footpath on the OS map takes you down via Red Tarn, although I decided to climb Catstye Cam and on a good clear day it is possible to see the Solway Firth.

Descending from Catstye Cam I was off the track and easily rejoined the footpath in the valley heading in the direction of the old disused mines and Glenridding Beck and the route back to my vehicle.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Helvellyn Via Striding Edge walk please visit Helvellyn Via Striding Edge on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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Helvellyn Via Striding Edge

Helvellyn is a walk to complete time and again with renewed awe.

Harter Fell Walk

Harter Fell Walk

Harter Fell Walk

Harter Fell Walk

There are two fells by the name of Harter Fell within the National Park, one being situated in Eskdale (Alfred Wainwright: A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book 4) and the later being at Mardale, this being the fell that is of more interest to this particular walk.

Harter Fell is most frequently climbed from Mardale Head, as there is good road access along the shore of Haweswater reservoir and currently free car parking available.

Should you be interested now in a walk to Harter Fell from Mardale and the car park at Haweswater there are several options available to you. Whilst consulting the Ordnance Survey map it was my original theory to make this a circular walk going in an anti clock wise direction, starting towards ‘The Rigg’ and then heading off up ‘Kidsty Pike’ (being on the Coast to Coast route) and a larger full days walk.

Therefore my original walk can also be read, being called ‘High Street Walk’ and incorporating the old Roman Road between the forts of Ambleside and Brougham, near Penrith a top of High Street.

For the longer walk both walks need to be consulted in unison as I have now split this walk in two parts.

This walk is now simply to climb Harter fell via Gatescarth Pass and to descend via Small Water and approximately 4 miles in length.

In uncertain weather it is always better to be able to increase or shorten any walk you undertake, and this collective walk with High Street is great for this purpose and also dependent upon personal fitness.

Leaving the car park at Mardale Head go through the gate and heading in an anti clock wise direction follow the footpath to your left with the beck also on your left. As you start you ascent of the Gatescarth Pass depending upon recent rain fall you will see some nice running stream water here which is very picturesque.

Harter Fell Walk

The Gatescarth Pass byway provided historic trade routes from Mardale to Kentmere and Longsledale respectively, although with the submergence of Mardale village beneath Haweswater reservoir in the 1940’s, the original purpose has died. The route still provides good excess for fell walkers.

Approaching a wooden gate upon the footpath simply continue through and maintain your ascent of the pass. There is then a point wherein the footpath bends of to the right and begins its ascent of Harter Fell. During your walk from the car park you will have had the pleasure of looking upwards towards the crag and rocky outcrop on your right. Now as you climb above the crag you will witness the difference in altitude and a new perspective of the crag that give the fells their own unique aura.

As you rise out of the pass your efforts will be greatly rewarded with stunning views of Haweswater Reservoir and The Rigg.

The footpath here is good and generally follows the fence line on your left hand side. Rising up onto the shoulder of Harter fell affords good views towards Small Water and High Street behind.

Travelling along the fence line the footpath is not so clear, although the route is quite obvious in its direction to the summit. The summit is marked by a cain constructed of stones and the salvaged steel posts from an old fence, and when encountered unexpectedly on a misty day, can be dangerous.

The summit of Harter fell struck me as odd with rock just sticking from the surface like deposited runes from some long forgotten time.

Looking from the summit it is possible to see your return route via Small Water descending down into the car park or alternatively you have a choice to extend your walk.

Leaving the summit the downward path towards Nan Beild Pass is clearly visible, although a rocky descent. It is advisable on wet days to take care and not slip upon the rocks. During your downward hike you will see Kentmere reservoir on your left as you approach the crossing of footpaths.

The last leg of the walk will skirt the beautiful Small Water. Look out for three igloo shaped shelters as you pass the tarn. These are well built as a refuge from bad weather and a reminder that Nan Beild Pass was once a regular thoroughfare for travellers before Mardale was flooded.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Harter Fell walk please visit Harter Fell Walk on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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Harter Fell Walk

I trust you enjoyed my Harter Fell walk.

Old Man Of Coniston Walk

Old Man Of Coniston Walk

Old Man Of Coniston Walk

Old Man Of Coniston Walk

The Old Man Of Consiton walk is one of the most popular Lakeland hikes with many walkers having completed and bagged this one. There are many varied and different routes that can be taken, whilst any route you choose can be varied in length to suit your requirements.

A simple walk may include the Old Man of Coniston, whilst depending on fitness levels a more rewarding walk may be undertaken which would include several other peaks such as Dow Crag.

Whilst ascending the Old Man Of Coniston Low Water is a great midway point when planning your route to stop and have a break for lunch or elevenses especially if the weather is warm and you have your dog with you.

At this point I will say that should you be looking for a shorter route up the Old Man Of Coniston there is a car parking facility at Boo Tarn, which is free and a very picturesque setting.

For me the real enjoyment of this walk is Dow Crag as it rises majestically above the impressive Goat’s Water opposite the Old Man Of Coniston and the larger circular walk this creates, with impressive views of Morecambe Bay and Coniston Water.

This walk started from the school car park within Coniston village and a £2 fee in the honesty box located on the left of the school gates following the popular route up Coniston Old Man.

Old Man Of Coniston Walk

Leaving the school and the centre of the village heading towards the main road cross directly over the road and start to climb this country lane. Looking towards your right and passing the first bend the Sun Hotel and Inn will come into view. The Sun Hotel is a great place to start your walk, whilst also a great place to finish with perhaps a drink and something to eat with meals being served after 5.30pm.

Directly to the left of the Sun Hotel is a clearly marked footpath sign, which will take you via Miners Bridge, which edges the copper mines valley.

We continued up along the country lane leaving the Sun Hotel and continuing up the hill through the wooded area until we reached the near ‘u’ bend in the road and here we exited the road through the gate, where the footpath sign is hard to see. Should you continue along this road you will come to the car parking area at Boo Tarn.

With the dry stonewall to our right we passed through two fields and came to a small wooden bridge with a steep climb ahead of us through a bracken-covered fell. Here was discovered a small Adder, being Britain’s only poisonous snake characterised by the zig zag pattern on its back and eyes with a vertical pupil and orange background. Whilst shy and not at all aggressive the only reported incidents involve someone handling, so enjoy, although should you spot an Adder leave them to their habitat.

The footpath at this point is clearly visible with Coniston Old Man to your left as the path bends leftwards towards Crowberry Haws passing three stonewalls prior to arriving at Crowberry Haws, wherein the path from Boo Tarn now joins our ascent of the Old Man Of Coniston at the crossroads of paths. Continuing forwards you are now on the ascent of the Old Man and therefore probably the busiest part of the walk in terms of people, whilst notably the steepest and most arduous climb of the walk.

I have a theory on steep ascents that it is easier on the knees to climb upwards, as opposed to going downwards, therein I personally prefer when given a choice to climb steep ascents wherever possible as opposed to descending a steep hill. If you have any personal views on this I would be greatly interested to hear your theories?

With the above in mind the ascent of the Old Man of Coniston is very rewarding as the views looking down towards Coniston village and the lake are well worth the effort. The path continues ever upwards and is in the vast majority rough stone, which can be hard, going for some dogs with the possibility of cut paws and or worn pads.

As you continue there are many relics of Coniston’s industrial past, with the lower mine ruin and the footpath passing on through an old mine runway as you ascend, whilst a huge steel cables known as ‘Blondin’ still present today crosses the path. Reaching the upper mine ruin will fascinate anyone with the Blondin supports still standing and with the old engine room building still in a pretty good state considering how long ago it was shut down.

The Coniston Fells were mined for copper from the Roman times, whilst the middle of the 19th century was the most prolific. The mines went into decline in the late 19th century and the tough machinery and buildings lie derelict today, although being amazing feature of this landscape and hold stories of distant lives, in a different era, giving birth to the settlement of Coniston village.

The route now heads on upwards to Low Water surround by the impregnable huge walls of rock and fell of ‘The Old Man of Coniston’ with this being a fantastic spot to have a short, or long break to take in the clear waters of the small tarn and if your luck find some newts in these waters.

Old Man of Coniston Walk

On leaving Low Water the path gets very steep as it attempts to climb the shoulder of the Old Man of Coniston. The views from the shoulder pan out over the full length of Coniston Water and out over Morecambe Bay and the largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sand in the United Kingdom. To the west you will spot an impressive shape of water being that of Goat’s Water down below, whilst on the other side of Goat’s Water with an impressive ridge walk and grandeur all its own is Dow Crag, being our next objective.

On leaving the ever-popular summit of Coniston Old Man and usually the numbers of visitors too we commence to descend towards Goat’s Hawse and at any point here it is possible to shorten your walk should you so desire and reduce this circular trek. At the crossover of paths at Goat’s Hawse continue upwards towards the summit of Dow Crag, to which the climb is easier than the ascent of the Old Man Of Coniston. To me this is now a more peaceful walk with less people and more of a sense of personal ownership of the fells.

On reaching the summit of Dow Crag at 2552 feet it is a large and gradual point of boulders and not human friendly, although some walkers will endeavour to climb the rocky summit. In contrast to the summit of the Old Man Of Coniston, Dow Crag feels somewhat isolated having no trig point or Cain. Standing upon the summit of Dow Crag feels like you have climbed a real Lakeland mountain, especially with the downward drop to Goat’s Water. It is easy to skirt this rocky outcrop and continue on the footpath at the other side, although the path is not too clear at this stage as with the abundance of rock upon the fell and requires you to follow your nose. Having circumnavigated the summit it is now down hill all the way and this can be a great homeward feeling remembering the Sun Hotel and the possibilities of food and drink.

Leaving the summit of Dow Crag the path continues down the ridge over the tops of Buck Pike and Brown Pike, with a final steep descent onto the Walna Scar Road, wherein you simply follow this all the way back towards Coniston village and maybe some food and drink at the Sun Hotel after completing the Old Man Of Coniston walk.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this the Old Man Of Coniston walk please visit Old Man Of Coniston on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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Old Man Of Coniston Walk

I trust you enjoyed this Old Man Of Coniston walk.