A Watendlath Wander

Walk Date – 22nd February 2016

Distance – 5.8 miles

Weather – dry, cloudy and cool, with an occasional glimpse of sunshine



This wasn’t anything like the weather we were supposed to be having today. A frosty but bright and sunny day was the forecast which tempted us out, but all we got was a blanket of cloud and cool, damp air. It was hardly designed to lift the spirits after yet another rain soaked Saturday and Sunday.  But here we are, walking up the Watendlath road from the car park near the bottom of it. No fells are being climbed today as most of them have their tops shrouded in cloud and there wouldn’t be any good views, so its a just walk up to Watendlath and then the walk back down again.

Its not a huge distance from the car park up to Ashness Bridge so in no time at all we’re almost at the bridge. Taking advantage of the fact that there was no-one else around for once, I took a few shots of the bridge as I knew when we got back here the place would be very busy as usual. The following are the shots of the bridge …..

Continuing along the tarmac road from the bridge and passing Ashness Farm.

Derwentwater in sombre mood beneath sullen grey skies. The view from Surprise View. (The viewpoint is marked on the route map with a blue symbol shaped like half a daisy flower if you want to know where I’m standing.)   

Water, water, everywhere. The southern end of Derwentwater is under water once again. It had been drying out but much of the snow has melted, so the melt water and the weekend rain have covered the area again.

A lone photographer had set up his camera and tripod just below those rocks and was waiting patiently for some better light. He mentioned that he had been at Buttermere at 5.30 am, then had come here in the hope of brighter conditions, only to be disappointed once more.

A short distance from Surprise View a path diverges from the tarmac road and leads down to Watendlath Beck. There was a notice saying that the bridge was out of use as it was damaged during Storm Desmond so we went down to have a look.

The ‘out of use’ bridge, and beyond is the path we had just walked down to get to it. The damage is at the far end of the bridge and if you look closely you can see that there is a gap between the end of the bridge and the stone pier by the bank. So if its out of use how did we get over to this side of the beck? Perhaps its best just to gloss over that.

Watendlath Beck flowing down to flood Derwentwater a bit more.

Reecastle Crag across the beck.

Reflections in a puddle on the path.

No problems crossing here, everything was intact but we had a look just in case.

A look back down the valley from the beck side path.

The crags and boulders of Grange Fell.  Perhaps its better not to think about where all these rocks and boulders have come from and just keep walking.

Goat Crags on the opposite side of the valley.

A handy set of steps taking the path over a higher section, although the collapsed deer fencing was a bit of hazard at times.

Plenty of ups and downs along this section of the path.

Looking back down Watendlath Beck valley, Ether Knott on the left and Reecastle Crags on the right.

We turn a corner and Watendlath comes into view.

Plenty of water rushing down Watendlath Beck today.

Watendlath bridge, also damaged during Storm Desmond and closed for the time being. Judging from the debris on the scaffolding the water levels have been very high again since it was installed.

This temporary crossing was quickly installed after the storm. It was definitely in place just a couple of weeks after the storm. Notice the construction, no piers as such, just huge tree trunks resting on either bank and held in place by a couple more placed crossways to them, which in turn are prevented from moving by the wooden stakes driven into the ground, simple and quick. Why couldn’t that be done at the ‘out of use’ bridge, its not as if we’re short of fallen trees.

The little hamlet of Watendlath. Pronounced with the emphasis on ‘end’ so its WatENDlath and even though I know that I still mispronounce it.

The view from the other side of the bridge.

Over on the other side is the path leading up to Grange Fell. Here I’m standing at the outflow end of Watendlath Tarn. Over to the left there’s a net strung across to stop the fish in the tarn making a bid for freedom and escaping to Derwentwater.

Great Crag, on the right, across Watendlath Tarn.

Not many people about at the tarn today, but it will be a different scene altogether when spring and summer arrive.

The waterside path heading off towards Great Crag.

The only action around here was the drakes chasing the ducks, its getting to be that time of year I suppose.

Old domestic and farming items serving as planters in a Watendlath garden. Those galvanised dolly tubs were all the rage before the electric washing machine came along, together with wash (or rubbing) boards, wash dollies (in our house called a ‘posser’) the obligatory bag of Reckitt and Colman’s Dolly Blue, and outside in the yard, a big mangle with wooden rollers. Ee, by ‘eck, them wer’t days! Childhood memories come rushing back.

An old hay turner in the cafe garden.

Fold Head Farm, the gold coloured ornament on the wall being the only bit of sun we saw today.

The side view of Fold Head Farm with the tarn just beyond.

The cafe garden, a cup of tea and a piece of cake would have very welcome but it wasn’t open today.

The entrance to the cafe garden.

After our wander around Watendlath we begin making our way back down the tarmac road, Ether Knott ahead of us. That’s the name printed on the map but I can’t help wondering if its really meant to be called Heather Knott.

From the road a look across at the some of the crags of Grange Fell.

Passing below Reecastle Crags and plenty of water running off the fell sides all the way back down.

Ghostly silver birches clinging to the crags.

Fresh hay, the ovine equivalent of fillet steak.

Who Dares, Wins.

‘Don’t you know its rude to watch while people are eating?”

It must be some form of solid feed cake, but whatever it was they were certainly enjoying it.

Looking back in the direction of Watendlath.

‘ROAD SUMMIT’ it says on the stone, so here we are on the highest point on the Watendlath road. The moss covered stones in the woods are typical of this area of woodland.

Back at Surprise View and the weather hasn’t improved. The lone photographer has packed up and gone, and so has everybody else.

Derwentwater through the trees as we make our way back to the car park. Well it wasn’t the brightest of days but we’ve had a good leg stretch, plenty of fresh air and it didn’t rain, hallelujah.