Westmorland Heritage Walk 1993

Author: George Tod

This walk is illustrated with photographs. Click on small photo to enlarge in situ, or click caption to enlarge into new window.
Part 3 - Dufton to Grasmere


[Index of Walks] [Previous] [Top] [Next]


[Index of Walks] [Previous] [Top] >[Next]

Day 6 - Friday 25th June - Dufton to Penrith - 16 miles

Accommodation - B&B, Glendale, Penrith - 16

I set off for a leisurely start at 9.25 a.m. after breakfast at 8 a.m. with only 16 miles to do, mainly on the flat. I had washed out just about all the clothing I had and most of it was just about dry out after being spin dried and having spent two nights in the drying room. The trouble with the drying room was that there was only a cold blower running in there.

The weather was rather cloudy, some of it being low enough to cover the tops of the fells. However, low down it was fine and all of the day's walk was at low level. I retraced yesterday's steps for three and a half miles to Milburn and then continued along the route, much of which was along minor roads to begin with. By adopting a steady trudge I minimised the problems with my feet. This part of the walk was not very interesting apart from a few places where it went away from the road. The only bonus was that it was easy to clock up the miles, which meant that there was plenty of time for rests to help my feet. I reached the half-way point at just after noon and sat by the weir at Acorn Bank airing my feet whilst I had lunch and rested for an hour.

The weather was still overcast but the cloud had lifted from the Cross Fell range giving quite a good view of them and also the northern Lakeland mountains. There was a very nasty mile of road walking along the busy A66 which, at this point is rather winding with little or no verge. There were large numbers of juggernauts rushing by, only inches away, with perpetual gushes of wind from their slipstreams. Eventually the route went off down a side road and then off down a track to St Ninian's Church, which stands a fair distance from any population, by a bend in the river Eamont. The churchyard was very overgrown but services are still occasionally held there, the church being maintained by the Redundant Churches Fund. It is in a very quiet and secluded spot and was an ideal place to stop for a rest as it was 3 p.m. and there was only just over 4 miles to go.

Click to Reduce

St Ninian's Church with Cross Fell in far distance
St Ninian's Church
The Ruins of Brougham Castle by the River Eamont
Brougham Castle & River Eamont

After another mile along the A66, although this time on a wider, straighter stretch with better verges, the route turned off to follow the river by Brougham Castle, which made a pleasant change. The route continued by the river to Eamont Bridge, where I then turned off to go along the busy A6 into Penrith to the B&B near the town centre. I settled into the B&B, had a bath and then went out to find something to eat. There were plenty of places around but I settled for fish, chips and peas from a place near the town centre. The weather took a turn for the worse so I went to a supermarket to buy a few things for lunches and then returned to the B&B to watch television, as there was a set in my room.


[Index of Walks] [Previous] [Top] [Next]

Day 7 - Saturday 26th June - Penrith to Patterdale - 15.5 miles via Place Fell

Accommodation - YHA Patterdale - 14.50 B&B plus dinner

I had a good breakfast at 8 a.m. and set off, after buying and writing a few postcards, at 9.30 a.m. The weather forecast was not very good - cloudy with drizzle so it was just as well that the first part of the walk was at low level. I retraced by steps along the A6 to Eamont Bridge and then rejoined the path by the river. It is hard to believe that the narrow bridge, with traffic lights controlling alternate one-way traffic, was once the main road route to Scotland from the western half of England.

One or two mishaps in map reading caused a bit of extra walking, but for the first time I was able to walk along without my mind being focused on the constant aching from my feet. They were now more as I would expect them to be - a bit tender, but not a major problem - it makes such a difference to the enjoyment of the walk. I stopped in a field near Tirrill for elevenses, but had to move on rather swiftly as a group of inquisitive calves surrounded me and then followed me up the field. When I emerged from the field onto the road, I was not quite sure whether I had come out onto the road in Sockbridge or Tirrill. I asked a woman which village I was in and she proceeded to confuse me by one of those "Well! - strictly speaking this side is Sockbridge and this side is Tirrill..." sort of statements and, not being able to tell me where I was on the map, proceeded to point me up the road in the opposite direction from the way I should have been going. After a while I realised, so decided to cut across some fields to take me back where I should have been. After a few more encounters with over-friendly calves, I eventually got back on the right track.

After a little bit of climbing I eventually got onto High Street, the route of the old Roman Road, with a lovely view over Ullswater, albeit with a lot of mist and cloud hanging over the fells. However, there were actually a few patches of sunshine forming here and there even though the general outlook wasn't very good. It was 12.15 a.m., so I stopped for lunch with just over 10 miles to go and plenty of time to take it steadily. However, it was a bit cool and windy for hanging about for long rests without good shelter, so I moved off again at 12.40 p.m. on a steady descent towards Ullswater. After a while I suddenly realised that I didn't have the book of the walk with me and that I must have left it where I took the last photograph. I ended up having to go back three quarters of a mile and up about 300 ft to retrieve it, although at least I didn't have to carry my pack with me. I actually trotted and even ran a little of the way without any unpleasant sensation from my feet!

The weather had improved to the extent that a lot of the mist had cleared and, although there was still thick cloud about, it was at about 2500 ft and above the summit of Place Fell, which was the highest point of the day's walk.

Click to Reduce

Ullswater from Place Fell
Ullswater from Place Fell
Brothers Water from Place Fell
Brothers Water from Place Fell

After a pleasant little walk by the edge of the lake, I started the ascent of Place Fell and the weather really did me proud - the cloud started to clear and, by the time I reached the summit there was a clear blue sky with breathtaking views of High Street, Brother's Water and Grisedale even though it was a struggle to stand up straight in the wind. After admiring the views for a while, I dropped steeply down into Patterdale, which I could see below with a bird's eye view.

Click to Reduce

Glenridding and the Head of Ullswater from Place Fell
Glenridding from Place Fell
Patterdale
Patterdale

I arrived at the Youth Hostel at 6 p.m. and had a dinner of soup, mince stew, and peaches and ice cream. There were several groups of walkers and the inevitable school party, although the children were very well behaved and quiet at meal times.

After a stroll around later, I called in the pub and met three of the chaps sharing the same dormitory. They were doing three days of the Coast to Coast walk in a long weekend. The pub was very busy even though the prices were very steep, with Boddington's costing 1.50 a pint.


[Index of Walks] [Previous] [Top] [Next]

Day 8 - Sunday 27th June - Patterdale to Grasmere - 8.8 miles via St Sunday Crag and Fairfield

Accommodation - YHA Thorney How 13.60 B&B plus dinner

I started to get up a bit before 8 a.m. and was taken by surprise, as breakfast was at 8 a.m., not the usual 8.30 a.m., so I had to rush along to avoid being late. I got off to a leisurely start with the weather beautiful and starting to get quite hot even at 10 a.m. so off came my tee shirt, especially with some steep climbing to do. I missed the path up St Sunday Crag, so had an even steeper climb up the steep crag side to regain the route. The rest of the ascent was quite steady up to the summit of St Sunday Crag, but with a steep climb up to the summit of Fairfield.

Click to Reduce

Glenridding, Ullswater and Birk Fell from Harrison Crag
Ullswater from Harrison Crag
Seat Sandal and Grisedale Tarn from St Sunday Crag
Grisedale Tarn from St Sunday Crag
Fairfield from St Sunday Crag
Fairfield from St Sunday Crag

The views all around were marvellous, and I was taking it very steadily as there was very little distance to cover. At the top of Fairfield, Windermere and Coniston Water came into view as well as the coast. It was very busy near the summit, but I found a sheltered spot off to one edge, looking down Rydal Beck to Windermere and did some sunbathing until 3.30 p.m. Finally, after several stops to admire the views and to look at the route of tomorrow's walk, I dropped down into Grasmere just before 5.30 p.m. Looking round for something for tomorrow's lunch, I found a little bakery just in time before it closed.

Click to Reduce

Helvellyn from St Sunday Crag
Ullswater from Harrison Crag
Grisedale Tarn from Fairfield
Grisedale Tarn from Fairfield
Stone Arthur from Thorney How (Grasmere)
Stone Arthur from Thorney How

I arrived at the hostel, which is three quarters of a mile out of the village, at 6 p.m. and had dinner at 7 p.m. of soup, shepherd's pie and chocolate fudge cake with ice cream. There were seconds of all three courses on offer as well! A party of Norwegian teenagers with red neckerchiefs (probably scouts or something similar), were staying at the hostel and were running riot around the place. The warden and everyone else were looking forward to their departure.

Later in the evening, I called into the village and met some of the Coast to Coast walkers in one of the pubs. One chap was doing it in 7 days, which meant doing between 25 and 30 miles a day. However, he had done a lot of cross country running and a lot of training. Apparently, when he gets going, he walks like an express train. Another chap in there was one of those who maintain that the minimum amount of equipment you can manage with is 40 lbs for youth hostelling and 70 lbs for camping. I don't know what he had in his rucksack, but he must have had a complete set of clean clothes for every day of the walk, and enough survival equipment to spend six weeks snowed in on a mountain top. He was also complaining bitterly about his stay in Ennerdale Youth Hostel where they had only vegetarian food, none of which he liked, so he ended up having only a jacket potato. He didn't like any dubious foreign food such as lasagne and was complaining that the Y.H.A. handbook says that they provide traditional English food, so was making out a hostel feedback form to complain to head office.


[Index of Walks] [Previous] [Top] [Next]