Grasmere to Stonethwaite
I head south west out of Grasmere, along the minor road, past the Dale Lodge Hotel and then turn right, off the road, onto a footpath up Kelbarrow and onto Silver How. Between this Wainwright and that of Blea Rigg, are three Birketts I’ve not done before; Lang How, Swinescar Pike and Castle How. There is a rough path linking these together and dropping down to Stickle Tarn. Then it’s up onto Harrison Stickle and a circuit of the Langdale Pikes before striking off across Martcrag Moor to Stake Pass. From there I’ll follow the Cumbria Way all the way to Stonethwaite.
Langstrath valley is something I’ve stood high above and looked down into on a number of occasions, but never actually walked through it, so this will be my first opportunity. It should be a good path (after the boggy section over Blea Rigg) thanks to the Cumbria Way.
Looking down into Langstrath from Sergeant’s Crag
Stonethwaite to Ennerdale Bridge
Leaving Stonethwaite I head north west to reach the B5289, which I turn left onto, as far as Strands Bridge where I use the Allerdale Ramble path to reach Seathwaite. I’ll head due south from the village to reach Stockley Bridge, a truly wonderful piece of old stonework above a rocky river. The path now heads steeply up beside Styhead Gill to reach Styhead Tarn. Here I’ll turn sharply north west to pass between the Gables over Windy Gap. I’ll contour left here around the lower slopes of Great Gable; over Kirk Fell to Looking Stead.
There’s been quite a lot of height gain so far and I’ll need to decide at this point whether I have the legs for Pillar or not. If I do there’s a path that runs up to the summit and then down White Pike into Ennerdale Forest below. If I don’t have enough juice in the tank then I’ll take the path from Looking Stead down beneath Pillar Rock to the 4WD track that serves Black Sail hostel.
Both these options join up just before High Gillerthwaite Youth Hostel and from there its traditional Wainwright all the way back to Ennerdale Bridge.
Pillar, head in the cloud, with White Pike sloping down to the bottom right hand corner of shot
Ennerdale Bridge to St. Bees
I don’t expect to be doing anything too non-standard on the final day. I expect to be a bit knackered after yesterday’s monster walk over Pillar. So its south west out of Ennerdale Bridge, through Nannycatch, over Dent and down into Cleator.
I’ll be avoiding the dog-shit encrusted cycle path around Moor Row and opting for the road through the village instead. I was looking for someway to avoid the really horrible boggy section around Stanley Pond, but that’s not easy.
At Sandwith I’ll also be diverting to photograph a trig point I bagged in 2006 and didn’t manage to get a good picture of thanks to the farmer seeding his field and me not wanting to jump a barbed wire fence in his full view. Then its back along the coast path into the village.
My final destination, in St. Bees