Walk date – 13th May 2023
Distance – 3.3 miles
Weather – warm, dry, sunny, with just a light and very occasional breeze
Another Saturday walk, which is not our usual practice, but it was such a lovely warm day we decided to take a short afternoon walk up to Glenridding Dodd after the routine chores around the house and garden were over and done with. Driving to Glenridding along the lakeshore road we noticed that every available parking space was full, their occupants down on the shoreline busying themselves with all manner of aquatic activities. We began to wonder if the car park in the village would also be just as full, after all it was afternoon on a sunny Saturday, so we didn’t hold out much hope. However it wasn’t as full as we had feared and we managed to find a vacant spot, parked up and poured our £1 coins into the meter, the amount of which was equivalent to my weekly wage when I got my first job! Mind you, that was a very, very long time ago but perhaps it goes some way towards explaining the reason why we didn’t have any trouble finding a parking space.
Glenridding – Greenside Road – The Rake – Glenridding Dodd – Mossdale Beck – Glencoyne Wood – Stybarrow Crag – Glenridding
A view of Glenridding Dodd (R) and Heron Pike (L) as we walked up the Greenside Road. T shirts and lightweight walking pants are the order of the day.
Here’s where we turn off to follow the path up The Rake which will take us up to the little col between Glenridding Dodd and Heron Pike. The first couple of hundreds yards or so leads along this very pleasant green pathway, after that it becomes rougher and much steeper. The signpost tells us its half a mile up to Glenridding Dodd.
Birkhouse Moor across the valley as we begin the steep, rough climb. The path is very loose making it difficult to get a firm foothold so plenty of slithering took place.
Its back, grrr!
On the way up The Rake the ground levels out a little where you can make a short diversion to this point which offers a good view across Glenridding village and Ullswater to this skyline view of Place Fell, High Raise, Angletarn PIkes, Brock Crags and, on the far right, part of the High Street plateau, Gray Crag and Thornthwaite Crag. The level ground of the viewpoint also offers a chance to get your breath back before continuing on up The Rake.
The Rake eventually levels out and as we’re practically at the col now I took a look back for this skyline view of Birks Fell, Saint Sunday Crag, and its subsidiary peak of Gavel Pike, with just a little bit of Fairfield peeping up on the far right. Lower down the path a young man had asked us if we knew the area and when we said yes he asked if this was this route to Helvellyn. After explaining the various routes he could take, depending on how quickly he wanted to reach Helvellyn, he decided to stay on The Rake, visit Glenridding Dodd and Sheffield Pike and then make a decision about going on to Helvellyn from there. As we carried on to the col itself we saw him sitting studying a map and then, as I was taking a few shots, he began to make his way up to Glenridding Dodd.
We eventually began making our way up the same path to complete the short distance up to the summit of Glenridding Dodd. As we did so we met the same young man, now making his way down, who mentioned in passing that he’d taken a few photos of the great views he’d seen. As I took this shot he was crossing the col towards the path through the crags opposite to begin making his way up to Heron Pike and eventually Sheffield Pike. I hope he reached Helvellyn eventually, he was certainly young enough and fit enough, and the daylight hours are now long enough, but nevertheless he was taking the long way round to reach it.
At a hair pin bend in the path I was just tall enough to see over the wall to take this shot of Heron Pike, with Black Crag over to the right. The young man has disappeared into the jumble of crags through which the path up to Heron Pike leads.
Gowbarrow Fell from the top of Glenridding Dodd and just a smidge of Ullswater showing through the trees below.
The cairn on the summit of Glenridding Dodd with Place Fell right behind. The cairn here often changes as various walkers try their hand at creating something different, this one relied on precise weight distribution to keep it upright. How will it fare in the next strong wind?
A superb view along Ullswater from the summit …..
….. followed by a closer view.
The view along Patterdale where the skyline is taken up by High Raise, Rampsgill Head, the High Street plateau and Thornthwaite Crag. Below them are Angletarn Pikes, Brock Crags and Gray Crag.
A little to the right with the rounded hump of Thornthwaite Crag over on the left with Hartsop Dodd and Caudale Moor taking up most of the centre skyline. Below them are the various humps and bumps of Arnison Crag.
Only just making an appearance above the Myers Beck route on Birkhouse Moor are the very tops of the Helvellyn range.
Another view of the summit cairn but now looking towards the very pointed peak of Catstycam, which is just beginning to show behind Birkhouse Moor, followed by the long ridge line between White Side and Helvellyn Lower Man.
A shot of Heron Pike and Black Crag to round off a selection of views from the top of Glenridding Dodd. While I had been busy taking the photos a couple of chaps had also arrived at the top and after the usual pleasantries about the weather and the views they asked us about the route down back to Glenridding as they didn’t want to return via the path they had used for their ascent. This just happened to be the one we would be using for our descent and we got the impression that they had found it a little on the rough side. Anyway we gave them the directions they asked about and off they went back down to Glenridding.
A look back at Heron Pike and Black Crag as we begin our descent back to Glenridding via the path beyond the gate at the col.
To begin with the path was pleasant enough, mostly grassy with a few boggy patches here and there. Here we are heading towards the trees of Glencoyne Wood.
The very tall and very wide root plate of a windblown tree …..
….. which turned out to be two tree trunks once we had reached the other side of the root plate. This was easy to pass by but things became much rougher beyond this point with a lot more fallen trees to contend with and several detours having to be made around them. One of the detour paths led us some distance away from the path we wanted and it soon became obvious that we would have to retrace our steps and find the more established path down beside Mossdale Beck. The only plus point of the detour was…..
….. this glorious view of Ullswater. We made our way back until we spotted Mossdale Beck again and found the path we wanted to use.
Not as good a viewpoint as the previous shot as it only offered a partial view of Place Fell and Ullswater but, on the plus side we were back on the established path, such as it was, at this point.
We’re almost back down to the parking area below Stybarrow Crag at this point and just about out of the woods and back in the sunlight. We can hear the voices of the car owners beside their cars and the slamming of boot lids and car doors as folk come and go. We haven’t used this path before because on previous walks Glenridding Dodd has always been included as part of a longer walk which usually involved getting back to Glenridding via a completely different fell. So, as we only visited this one fell today we thought we’d give this descent path a try. Its not a route I would enthusiastically recommend though, there are a lot of fallen trees, and when it can be located and followed, the path for the most part, varies between being very loose, rough, rocky, wet, muddy and/or boggy, and from the moment it enters Glencoyne Wood stays in deep shade. Anyway, for better or for worse, we have now experienced it but it was nice to have firm ground back under our feet when we reached the road. Its not surprising then that the two chaps on Glenridding Dodd asked us about an alternative route down to Glenridding.
The descent path brings you out slap bang at the parking area below Stybarrow Crag, by the ‘bus stop’ sign to be precise, from where we have a very short road walk before we veer off to the left, where the traffic cones are, and follow the lakeshore path back to Glenridding.
Along the way we watched one of the Ullswater ‘steamers’ making its way around Norfolk Island before heading over to Howtown …..
….. stopped at a viewpoint to gaze towards Patterdale beyond Ullswater and at the waves caused by the wash of the ‘steamer’ which caused some moments of concern for a few paddleboarders …..
….. and sat for a couple of minutes looking towards the boat landing area at Glenridding. From here we have just a short walk back to the car park where vehicles of all descriptions were still coming and going. The descent path was very trying but apart from that we’ve had a grand little walk on a lovely afternoon during what must have been the warmest day of the year so far. There were still plenty of folk occupying the various small beaches dotted around the water and the smell of barbecues was drifting through the air reminding us that it was getting on for tea time, so off we went to get our own tea time under way.