I’m finally into the Lakes, or at least Shap, which is certainly the gateway to the Lakes as far as this journey is concerned. I will be able to see Kidsty Pike from the front door of the B&B as I set out – weather permitting of course – almost close enough to touch.
The Lakes is where I go “off course” in a big way – my intention was always to make the next few days as non-standard as possible – use paths I’ve never been on before, revisit old favourites and pretty much try and be as different as possible.
Shap to Patterdale
I leave Shap at the south end of the village and use a couple of dog-leg paths to reach Keld, from where I head south west along the minor road before picking up the footpath beside Swindale Beck. This is new to me and I may try and make a short diversion to collect the Outlying Wainwright fell of Langhowe Pike. It’s back on the road for a short way to Swindale Head and then up and over the Old Corpse Road (bagging the Birkett of Brown Howe on the way).
Kidsty Pike and High Raise from the Old Corpse Road
The Old Corpse Road deposits me beside Haweswater where I use a thin path through the bracken to reach Mardale Head. I’ll continue south west up the rocky path to Small Water, Nan Bield and then sharp right up to Mardale Ill Bell and beyond to High Street, my most favourite Lakeland summit. As I drop down from there to Riggindale Head I rejoin the AW route around the Knott, down to Angle Tarn and into Patterdale.
Patterdale to Grasmere
Stopping in Grasmere is a first for me. On my two previous C2C crossings I’ve jumped straight from Borrowdale to Patterdale, using slightly different routes on each occasion, but skipping Grasmere both times. In order to extend my time in the Lakes this year, I decided to stop here – despite the expense.
I’m resisting the Helvellyn via Striding Edge option from Patterdale and even the St. Sunday Crag option. Both these would provide a great days walking I know, but they also mean quite short days and that is not my intention for the next couple of days. So instead I walk south out of Patterdale, following the A592 for a mile or so until Deepdale Bridge. Here I take the ridge line path up to Hartsop Above How and Hart Crag. I then use the eastern side of the Fairfield Horseshoe route (Dove Crag, High Pike, Low Pike), all the way down to Low Sweden bridge. I now head north west skirting Rydal and following the footpath all the way to Town End and into Grasmere from the south.
Even this circuitous route is only 12 miles and I will have a few hours in the late afternoon, evening to sit and relax in a comfortable pub somewhere and watch the grockles.
Fairfield from Hartsop above How