25th March 2007

Two fells, two dales, but where do all the people go


Walk Overview
Time 10.25 to 13.30
Duration 3 hr 50 min
Distance 5.8 mile
Ascent 1850 ft
Walking with Jennifer
Martindale New Church - Martindale Old Church - Steel Knotts - Brownthwaite Crag - Fusedale - Lanty Tarn - Martindale New Church - Hallin Fell - Martindale New Church
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking spaces, Martindale new church

There are plenty of parking spaces next to Martindale's new church and what a fantastic area this is. Found on what I'd call the back side of Ullswater this is as close as you're going to get to unspoilt.

The sheer quantity of walks that can be done from here would rival any other area in the Lake District, it may take a little more imagination and inventiveness than some places, but there really is something to suit everyone.

Parking is free.


Route Map

The view back to Hallin Fell taken from the road between Martindale's new church and the old church.

Today's walk took to this beautiful area on the Eastern side of Ullswater where you can usually get a nice quiet walk away from the busier areas of the Lake District. Just how quiet was surprising today though. The car park was almost full when we arrived and there were a few people about, but when we got back to the car park it was packed to overflowing and the area near the church was swarming with people. Although while we were actually walking we only saw one other person; including the quick out and back up Hallin Fell at the end. This begs the question, "where do all the people actually go"?

Daffodils in the church yard at the old church.

And looking down to the church.

Thrang Crag and farm of the same name.

The route we followed to Steel Knotts actually takes you past (below) the summit. It would be easy enough to take an off path line to the top, but the more gentle and much nicer route, as I say takes you below the summit to join up with the main ridge path where on this occasion we did an out and back to the summit.

Steel Knotts summit with Ullswater behind.

Also taken from the summit, this time looking back down to Martindale. The long building (above the grassy tussock) is the old church.

Looking back to Steel Knotts.

From the summit we doubled back to the point where we had joined the ridge and then continued to follow the ridge along the easy going, even if rather undulating path next to the wall. And although Steel Knotts was our main aim for today's outing it wasn't actually the highest point on the walk; that prize belongs to Brownthwaite Crag which is all of 12m greater, but not nearly as impressive as Steel Knotts.

Our next objective was the couple of old ruins found on the opposite side of the wall (to the right of the picture), next to a very young Fusedale Beck. First of all however, we had to walk through this wet area below the amusingly named Gowk Hill; which if you want to be really picky about the highest point on the ridge is higher again than Brownthwaite Crag. On this occasion we didn't go to the top of Gowk Hill, so I needn't go on about it. I just enjoy saying Gowk Hill because I have a childish sense of humour.

The bigger of the two ruins. Talk about being in the middle of nowhere!

The reason for heading to these ruins, apart from the fact that I enjoy looking around things like this, is to pick up the path into Fusedale, which isn't the easiest thing to spot in this terrain. You can just and so make out the path to the left of the building. After a couple of minutes walk the path becomes much more substantial and even if it didn't the view down to Fusedale opens up to offer a little reassurance that you are actually walking in the right direction.

From the other side of the ruin and looking across to Brownthwaite Crag and Steel Knotts (right). The wall in the picture is the same one seen in the earlier pictures. If all else fails you could simply start walking next to the wall below Steel Knotts and eventually you'd end up here.

Taken next to Groove Gill this picture clearly shows the route into Fusedale.

And looking through the valley itself.

The footbridge over Fusedale Beck.

And another bridge a short walk further along where you cross back over the beck.

Making our way back up to the new church, where we put our bags in the car and had a quick out and back walk up Hallin Fell.

Walking up Hallin Fell and again wondering where the owners of all the cars parked next to the church are. Inside the church you're probably thinking, but no, we had a look in the church and it was empty.

Ullswater and Gowbarrow Fell taken from the summit.

And looking towards the Pooley Bridge end of Ullswater from the same spot.

And finally back down to the road next to the car park.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks