Walk Date – 18th November 2017
Distance – 6 miles
Weather – mostly cloudy and cool, a few glimpses of sun and a couple of heavy rain showers
A grey and murky morning gradually, and somewhat grudgingly it seemed, made way for what looked like being a comparatively better spell of weather by midday so after lunch we drove the seven miles from home over to Pooley Bridge for an afternoon walk along part of the Ullswater Way.
Pooley Bridge – Waterside House – Seat Farm – Crook-a-dyke – Sharrow Mire – Auterstone – Roehead – Pooley Bridge
I did mention that by midday the weather was comparatively better so you might be able to imagine how the morning started out. At least we have a hint of blue sky now that the clouds have broken up to some extent, and there are some spells of brightness around although we aren’t enjoying one of them at the moment as we leave the village and begin to walk along the shoreline of Ullswater.
From the shoreline a look back at the Pooley Bridge jetty where no doubt one of the ‘steamers’ will be arriving before much longer.
Dunmallard Hill beyond the jetty as we walk along the largely deserted shoreline. As you can imagine, huge numbers of visitors gather here in the summer to enjoy picnics, paddling and all kinds of boating activities.
Views of Arthur’s Pike and Bonscale Pike over to the left as we walk along the lovely and easily accessible shoreline.
The grassy area on the left is Waterside House campsite, normally crammed with tents and camper vans, but absolutely deserted today. Its a hive of activity in summer and we’ve had many a chuckle at some of the things we’ve seen and heard when we’ve walked along here. If you don’t have your own tent you can hire a teepee or a camping pod which are situated further along and closer to the farm buildings and all the amenities available on the site.
One of the Ullswater ‘steamers’ which I think is ‘The Lady of the Lake’. The sailing schedule operates all year but the timetable is not as extensive now as it is during the holiday season so it looks as though this boat has been taken out of service until the full timetable resumes in Spring 2018.
A look back along the water as we reach the point at which we must leave the shoreline and the campsite for a spell of road walking, which still forms part of the Ullswater Way, as there is no lakeshore path beyond the campsite.
From the road a view of Waterside House. The house dates back to 1694 and is part of a working farm. Its flock of Swaledale sheep spend most of their time roaming around Barton Fell but we had a walk along here one afternoon when they had been brought down for their annual shearing and the pens were full of noise and activity. Some excited youngsters from the campsite were peering through the pens and a few of them may have been getting their first close up look at a sheep.
Arthur’s Pike and Bonscale Pike on the left as we walk along to …..
….. the Ullswater Yacht Club, opposite which is …..
….. the point at which we leave the road and follow the farm access road up to …..
….. Seat Farm. The farm has a small holiday park with privately owned holiday homes, large and static caravan type structures from what we could see, and it also has a self catering cottage available for hire. At this point we should have turned sharp right to follow the path but …..
….. a diversion was in place as some earth moving activity was taking place close to the original path. It wasn’t a huge diversion simply a short detour to avoid walking through the site.
Another brief spell of sunshine lands on Little Mell Fell as we take the detour through the field and back on to the path once more.
After quite a soggy walk over some rather soupy ground we approach Crook-a-dyke farm.
We carry on beyond Crook-a-dyke farm and turn left at the way sign. Here we leave the official Ullswater Way path and go through the gate. Staying with the official route would take us on to Sharrow Cottages and then on to Swarthbeck but we decided to cut the corner off. Further on we will meet up with the Ullswater Way path once again.
I would imagine that this shortcut isn’t part of the established Way route because this section through the gorse is …..
….. very, very soggy and not the sort of path visitors would be pleased to encounter. Its not called Sharrow Mire for nothing.
Across the mire and onto drier ground as we approach Auterstone Crag on the slopes of Barton Fell.
Just below Auterstone Crag, and above a small patch of woodland, we meet up with the Ullswater Way path once again. Turning right at this junction would take us on to Howtown where the route goes around Hallin Fell and on to Sandwick and ultimately Glenridding.
We turn left and take the Moor Divock and Helton route.
The path climbs steadily, but never too steeply and, behind us, there are lovely views south along Ullswater where another spell of sunlight is brightening the scene.
A little higher up and below us is the small patch of woodland with the green path, which we’ve just left, on this side of it. Hallin Fell and Gowbarrow, are on the left and right respectively.
One of the Ullswater Steamers heading for Pooley Bridge, and another very welcome spell of sunshine to brighten things up a bit.
Lovely autumn colours in the sunshine as we continue along the path below Barton Fell.
The Wainwright Sitting Stone with AW’s description of Ullswater ‘that loveliest of lakes, curving gracefully into the far distance’ carved into it.
The Sitting Stone’s location above Ullswater on the slopes of Barton Fell. It would be a lovely spot to sit and watch as the land to the west is coloured pink and purple at sunrise, or becomes darkly silhouetted against a fiery sky at sunset.
A sign nearby with more information about the Sitting Stone.
Slumbering fells surrounding the peaceful waters.
A last look back as the path begins to curve away from the view.
Its now raining heavily so a quick shot of the enclosed underground reservoir a little further along. Had it not been raining I would have taken a shot of the information board for you but the camera went back in its case for the time being.
It didn’t come out again until the rain stopped just as we reached the crossing at Aik Beck.
On we go with the familiar view of Heughscar Hill on the skyline, and the rainclouds overhead drifting away eastwards.
We decided not to go over to the stone circle known as The Cockpit and headed over towards the Roehead path instead.
To the west of us another rain shower is obliterating our view of the northern fells …..
….. while above us the clouds darken and it begins to rain heavily again. Behind us is a scene for which ‘atmospheric’ sees an entirely appropriate description. The camera went away once more and it didn’t stop raining until we were back in Pooley Bridge.
Its just turned half past three in Pooley Bridge but already its looking like much later thanks to the dark clouds. The sun will be setting in about thirty minutes so its time to be getting back home, but not before treating ourselves to an ice-cream. Ice-cream, in this weather? Well yes, especially as the shop was open and they do have some very nice flavours to choose from.