Grisedale Walk

Grisedale Walk

Grisedale walk should not to be confused with Grisedale Pike which is situated I would say as in the Keswick area of the Lake District.

This walk is close to the Ullswater lake area and follows the Grisedale Beck towards Sheepfold and therefore in definition I would consider this a Ullswater walk.

Grisedale is a low level walk surrounded by such majestic household names as St. Sunday Crag and the Helvellyn range. Helvellyn via Striding edge is not too far away and this walk is an ideal way of working up to such a rewarding high level walk whilst getting to know the Patterdale, Glenridding and Ullswater area, which I would strongly recommend.

This is a circular walk starting in Patterdale village car park. After crossing the Grisedale Beck via a footbridge, returning along a good track and country lane. It is a great walk for all the family with stunning views.

Joining the main road from the gap in the car park wall, cross the road and start to walk left. At the end of the shops , bend right and continue up a track. Follow the track round right and then take the footpath, left, as signed posted. Follow on through a copse to reach a wider track. Turn left and go through a gate onto the fell. At the wall corner take the step stile over the wall. The stile is hidden by a tree and is signed posted on the far side.

Walk on the left after crossing the stile and follow the clearly marked route over the fields to a gate and onto a track. Turn right and continue walking on to join the narrow country lane that leads from the village into Grisedale, turning left. Looking over the wall you will see the Grisedale Beck flowing, hurriedly white topped, through this very deep wooded area. Climb the hill and, prior to the first gate over the road, turn right along a country lane. Where it turns right take the gate ahead and climb the steep grassy slope. Looking backwards you can take in the view of the dale below you. Go through the gate in the wall and look for a four pointed signpost.

Turn left following the clearly marked direction of Grisedale. Walk along this path high above the beck, as it continues into the dale. Pass through an iron gate in a fence. Continue on along the footpath, before going through another iron gate, with pine trees below to your left. To your left, across the vale, you can see Birks and St Sunday Crag. Ahead and above are the mountains at the head of the valley.

Upon reaching a ruined shepherd’s hut, take the left turn just before a wooden gate. Descend via the stone wall, then following the green trod (an old sheep droving road) which today is rather unclear to see these days. Continuing on where the path goes left around a small knoll until you find the gate in the wall. Once through the gate you will see a footbridge crossing the Grisedale Beck. St Sunday Crag is now clearly visible before you and cross reference with your map will help you know your exact spot. Its at times like this you truly get to understand the area where your walking and become familiar with your surrounding. This can really help if the weather turns bad and especially if you go on to do high level more arduous local walks.

Once across the Grisedale Beck footbridge follow the narrow path left until you join the more substantial wider pathway. As you now continue to walk upon your homeward part of your walk and return to Patterdale, take a minute to look across the Grisedale valley towards the crags and beyond towards Striding Edge. Further on you will pass Elmhow farmhouse on the right of the pathway and above you will see Elmhow and Harrison Crag. On your left you should take a minute to look at the waterfall and if there has been rain on previous days you should see plenty of white water running over fall which makes it so much more worth while seeing.

If during any stay in the Ullswater Lake area there has been plenty of rain I would always recommend visiting Aira Force waterfall for a walk.

Continuing on you will come to an arched stone bridge on your left which spans the Grisdale Beck. Keeping to the footpath eventually you will come to a gate which completes the circular route that is Grisedale. It is at this point you have completed the walk and have a choice as to whether to make it a figure of eight so as not to retrace your own footsteps. So to go a different route follow the road down into Patterdale and turn right along the main back to the car park.

Glenridding

Glenridding

Glenridding

Glenridding Ullswater

Glenridding is a small village at the southern end of Ullswater Lake, close to the foot of Kirkstone Pass. Today Glenridding is predominantly a tourist destination for outdoor enthusiasts including walking and water sports upon the lake.

The village came to prominence with the discovery of lead ore in the 1650’s at what became the Greenside lead mine, with the first levels being driven by Dutch adventures in the 1690’s. Dressed ore was carried to the Stoneycroft smelter at Keswick. The mine was not extensively worked until 1825 with power originally provided by water-wheels, with water being supplied by the damming of the nearby tarns. One such tarn was Keppel  Cove  , which bust its banks in 1927, bringing disaster to the village of Glenridding below. Much the same happened four years later, when flood waters smashed through the concrete of High Dam. By the 1960’s it had become uneconomical to continue mining lead from the mine, and it closed. Today only a few buildings remain and serve as Lake District Hostels and mountain huts.

With the lead mining industry now gone, the area of Glenridding is mainly farming and for the tourists who come to view one of the most beautiful areas within the Lake District National Park. I would say that the area is possibly one of the most popular with walkers with many walks to suit all levels from easy, such as Ullswater Lake walks which takes you around the shores of the lake from Howtown back to Glenridding. For the more adventurous walkers one reason to visit Glenridding is to do the classic Helvellyn via Striding Edge, although this is not a walk for the faint hearted, more a modern day adventure, with Helvellyn reaching a height of 3,116 ft (950m).

The Ullswater Steamer is a great way to enjoy a different perspective of the lake and the Lakeland scenery as you cruise along the 7.5 miles of Ullswater Lake at a leisurely pace.  You could easily combine a walk and a lake cruise on one of the steamers. You can board the steamers at Glenridding, Howtown or at the northern end of Ullswater at Pooley Bridge.

Glenridding Walks

One of my personal favourites includes Aira Force waterfall walk where you will see a spectacular 60ft waterfall as Aira Beck makes its way down from the fells above to Ullswater. There are bridges top and bottom of the waterfall to view from with a National Trust car park on the lake road.

At Glencoyne Bay, which is about a mile north of Glenridding, you will find the famous daffodils that inspired William Wordsworth to write ‘Daffodils’ “I wandered lonely as a cloud.”

The closest village to Glenridding is the small village of Patterdale, another popular area for walkers to Helvellyn and the surrounding area of fells such as High Street.

The village of Glenridding has good accommodation including two Youth Hostels, good camping sites and hotels. There are several guest houses offering bed and breakfast which make an ideal base for any outdoor activity holiday.

Glenridding Sailing Centre

Probably the easiest way to learn more about sailing and get yourself afloat on Ullswater and enjoy the stunning scenery of the English Lake District is to visit the Glenridding Sailing Centre. The centre provides a wide range of sailing dinghies and traditional canoes and kayaks.

The Glenridding Sailing Centre offers expert sailing tuition by friendly, patient RYA qualified staff in their boats or even your own boat if it’s suitable.

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

If you are looking for a great location to stay during your next Lake District outdoor adventure ,then I think Glenridding may have everything you need.There is an abundance of holiday accommodation within Glenridding and the surrounding area of Patterdale, with Campsites, Guest Houses and local pubs. For a pet friendly home search our Lake District Cottages for a local cottage close to Glenridding and Patterdale. Whilst not forgetting the areas close proximity to Helvellyn and some fantastic fell walks. Whatever time of year you visit Glenridding and the Ullswater area you will find a friendly place to stay with some of the best scenery in the world.

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.