Walk date – 15th January 2023
Distance – 5.5 miles
Weather – dry, sunny spells, moderate breeze
A low level walk of moderate distance today. The forecast for tomorrow (Monday) was looking better but J reminded me that the car was booked in for its MOT so that was that. Since our last walk on Jan 2nd we’ve had day after day of gales and rain so, as today was forecast to be dry and less windy, we opted for a stroll through Grisedale and just enjoy the views that the valley has to offer.
From Patterdale cricket ground along the eastern footpath to the bridge crossing by the sheepfold, then returning to Patterdale via the western path and Lanty’s Tarn.
To begin with a few shots taken from the car on the way to Patterdale …..
….. Clough Head …..
….. and Ullswater as we drove down the A5091. There was still a fair amount of cloud around but also plenty of blue bits so we kept our fingers crossed.
Place Fell from the cricket ground car park. Only a handful of cars were parked up so we had no problems in that respect. There’s only a partial covering of snow on Place Fell which is probably the result of all the strong winds blowing it away and dumping it somewhere else.
From the cricket ground we walked up the tarmac lane past Waterfall Wood Cottage (holiday let) high above Grisedale Beck.
A peep down to the beck just after we had passed the cottage. Torrents of water thundering down and plenty of waterfall views all the way up the lane.
Reaching Thornhow End and the point at which the lane loses some of its steepness. The lane had been running with water all the way up to this point.
We’re almost into Grisedale now, the tarmac lane turns off to the right, crosses the bridge over the beck and continues as far as the farms on the slopes of Grassthwaite Howe. The valley path continues straight on of course but eventually loses the tarmac surface beyond the turn off for Braesteads farm.
Onto the valley path now with this splendid view of the snow covered rocky faces of the Helvellyn range immediately ahead of us. Just what we’d hoped for. The fell top assessors have been reporting for a few days now that Helvellyn’s summit plateau had very little snow, having been scraped away by the gales coming in from the west, but that the northern and eastern facing slopes had much greater accumulations. Ahead of us, from left to right, are the north and eastern facing slopes of Dollywaggon Pike, High Crag and Nethermost Pike.
Further along and in the top left hand corner of the shot the top of Saint Sunday Crag has come into view.
We’re beyond the turn off for Braesteads farm now so the track has lost its tarmac surface although it still provides a decent enough surface for the vehicles which need to access the holiday let at Elm How. The water level in Grisedale beck indicates just how much of the wet stuff has fallen on the Lake District over the last two weeks.
Approaching Elm How with a bright blue sky above us and only bits and pieces of cloud still hanging around. The vast bulk of Saint Sunday Crag keeps both sides of the valley, and us, in the shade but that’s the price you have to pay when walking through Grisedale at this time of year. We’ll be in sunshine by the time we’re over on the western path, if we still have some sunshine by then of course.
The front elevation of Elm How cottage. One of the cows in the barn next to it was more interested in scratching its neck on the dividing wall.
Heading further into the valley with a fantastic view of Nethermost Pike soaring above Eagle Crag. Look out, large puddles ahead!
Large puddles were a constant feature which involved much side-stepping onto the higher ground beside them. Other walkers had obviously done the same so the diversion routes became incrementally muddier and higher.
A look back along the valley from the old barn which stands just a short distance from Elm How. The path on the opposite side is still overshadowed by Saint Sunday Crag.
On we go following the path as it winds its way above Crossing Plantation. A feeder beck overflows the path and creates a big puddle and a small waterfall. An occurrence which was a constant feature of today’s walk.
Still wending our way along the twists and turns of the path above the plantation …..
….. which we eventually leave behind and immediately have this marvellous view across the valley.
A closer look at the view, in the foreground lowly Eagle Crag barely has any snow but behind it is the rugged and snow covered eastern face of Nethermost Pike. The higher slopes of Helvellyn are on the extreme right.
On the middle skyline, sandwiched between Eagle Crag and the unnamed hill on the left is Dollywaggon Pike. Just ahead of us, roughly where the path start to rise around the unnamed hill, is where we are planning to bear off to the right, cross the bridge over the beck, and follow the upward path which will bring us out beside the derelict building alongside the path on the western side of the valley. We know it will be a wet crossover but as we’ve never diverted over to it on previous walks we decided we might as well just get on with it today.
Heading towards the bridge and the sunny side of the valley and, as expected, the path, such as it was, turned out to be very soggy indeed.
We reached the bridge, after a few diversions to avoid the worst of the squelch, and spent a few moments there to take a look around from our new viewpoint and to appreciate standing on something firm and dry once again.
The view of Dollywaggon Pike looking upstream from the bridge …..
….. and the view looking downstream. Crossing Plantation is the group of trees over on the right with Place Fell on the skyline.
Saint Sunday Crag, and a couple of walkers on the path below it, from the bridge. Apart from meeting a chap walking his dog along the tarmac lane as we started out these are the first people we’ve seen so far. Just after I’d taken the shot we saw another pair coming down the same path and another couple walking up it.
Another shot looking back down the valley this time including the old sheepfold and various pens. From here a very rough path, and very wet at its lowest point, leads up to …..
….. this derelict building alongside the western valley path and opposite the old mine workings on Eagle Crag. Too high to have once been a sheepfold so it is probably the remains of a former mine building. Whatever it once was it provided an out of the breeze place to take a refreshment stop for a few minutes. Nice to be in the sunshine now.
After our break we began the walk back on the sunny side of the street although in its initial stages, from the old building over to the bridge across Nethermostcove Beck, we had to do a great deal of bog-hopping. Although it was only a short distance it was a relief to …..
….. reach the bridge and stand on something dry and solid again. In keeping with every other beck around these parts Nethermostcove Beck was full and in a hurry to add its own contribution to the flooding of Ullswater. At the rate it was flowing it would have reached its destination before we were halfway back down the valley.
A few yards of water free path appeared so I took a shot looking down the valley again.
The cloven stone below Bleaberry Crag the top of which forms part of the Striding Edge route to Helvellyn from the Hole in the Wall.
Looking back up the valley after having threaded our way through the assortment of drumlins back there. More cloud has appeared over the Helvellyn group than there was a little while ago.
Saint Sunday Crag casts its shadow over the valley again as we pass Elm How again, obviously on the other side of Grisedale now.
Just to give you some idea of how quickly water was pouring down every little gully.
A look back and finding out why we weren’t still enjoying some sunshine, the cloud has moved in. The beck in the previous photo continues on down to join Grisedale Beck and if the path hadn’t begun to rise a little at this point we’d have still been splashing our way through it.
This next one proved to be just that much too deep to splash through so we found a hop over point just up the slope on the left. That didn’t keep us out of the wet though as the overflow continued on along the path until it started to rise again a little further on.
An impressive stand of Scots Pines further along the path. Several have lost many of their lower branches making them very top heavy now and very prone to being blown over. A couple of them had already succumbed.
Still an occasional patch of blue sky but the skies have mostly clouded over now
A closer look at the waterlogged fields around Braesteads farm. A little further on, as we reached our turn off point back down into Grisedale, we decided to carry on and walk the short distance up to Lanty’s Tarn. As we did so we passed …..
….. this lovely little group of miniature waterfalls just as a brief spell of sunshine landed on it. Wet trouser bottoms and damp boots are immediately forgotten.
After a short uphill walk we arrive at Lanty’s Tarn, nobody around and a still surface so I took a shot of a tranquil scene. I was only just in time because immediately after taking it a number of groups of people, plus dogs, arrived. Most dogs, upon seeing water, plunge straight in and these ones were no exception. End of tranquil scene.
Making our way back down the hill from Lanty’s Tarn with a view of Thornhow End, Saint Sunday Crag and a lot of cloud.
Returning to the path junction to descend back into Grisedale with a final look back up the valley. I think we can safely assume that the sunshine has gone somewhere else for the rest of the day.
Arnison Crag gets a hint of sunlight as we descend …..
….. as does Angletarn Pikes over on the left.
Back at Waterfall Wood Cottage now as we regain the tarmac lane and drop down it back to the cricket ground. I didn’t take any more photos on the way down so that’s it for today’s walk. Good to be out again in dry, sunny, and relatively wind free weather. We can only hope it won’t be another two weeks before it happens again. Look what greeted us this morning …..
….. overnight snow and a bright sunny morning on M.O.T. day. Are we fated or what?