8th July 2007

I must be dreaming - blue sky and sunshine at last, east of Helvellyn


Walk Overview
Time 08.50 to 14.15
Duration 5 hr 25 min
Distance 10.4 mile
Ascent 3570 ft
Walking with On my own
Patterdale - Lanty's Tarn - Birkhouse Moor - Red Tarn - Catstye Cam - Kepple Cove Dam - Greenside Mines - Keldas - Lanty's Tarn - Patterdale
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, opposite Patterdale Hotel

I think I'm correct in saying that the hotel actually owns the car park, so needless to say there is a charge. Thankfully this is a daily charge and if I'm honest it is well worth the cost when you consider the fantastic selection of walk that can be undertaken from this spot.

It does tend to fill up rather quickly though, and not only during the summer months.


Route Map

Thornhow End / Birks, but surely this can't be right - blue sky and sunshine.

It's been weeks since I've been out on a day like this. I suppose the weather we've had recently is what they all mean by the "great British summer". And although it did cloud over for a little while during the middle section of the walk, the sunshine was very nice while it was out.

Ullswater seen from the route through Glenamara Park.

A fine view into Grisedale Valley was on offer as I was walking through fields next to the kennels found at the Patterdale end of the valley.

Sheffield Pike.
On route from Patterdale I'd convinced myself that the sun was in the best place, the light was just right and I'd get some nice pictures of Lanty's Tarn. The sun was indeed in the best place and the reflections were lovely, but unfortunately the photos I took never came out too well at all. Not much consolation for anyone else I know, but it was still very nice when I was there.
After leaving the tarn I followed the path next to the ridge wall to join up with the more popular Mires Beck route.

Glenridding and Ullswater.

The Great Wall of Birkhouse, well perhaps not the great wall, but it is the wall which leads up to Birkhouse Moor.
The fells in the picture are Nethermost Pike, High Crag and Dollywaggon Pike.

Helvellyn and Catstye Cam.

It's not very often you can walk along this section of path in the middle of the morning, at this time of year, on a decent day like this and still manage to get the place to yourself.

Swirral Edge.

Looking up the path to Catstye Cam summit.
Catstye Cam was as far as I'd really thought about walking today. My intention was to reach the summit and then decide on where to walk next. One option was to continue up to Helvellyn, across to Grisedale Tarn and then down to Paterdale. When I was at the summit however, I looked down and saw , , ,

, , , , the dam at Kepple Cove and I thought why not.
Rather than take the quickest route down the northern ridge, I first headed east towards Red Tarn Beck before veering round to the left and following an off path route below the crags.

In the past, one of the main requirements of any mine was that of water, which among other things was used to generate the power needed to run the mining equipment; needless to say the supply had to be continuous. Geenside Lead Mines were no exception to this and to maintain the supply during dry spells the enterprising mining company built up the natural moraine dam with earth and rock.

In October 1927 however, disaster struck during a night of torrential rain. The dam filled and the weight of the water finally caused the dam to break open. Millions of gallons of water and thousands of tons of rock were channelled into Glenridding Beck and eventually into the village of Glenridding itself. Incredibly no one was killed.

Four years later the concrete dam seen in these pictures had been built, but this still wasn't enough to hold the water and the dam was breached again; causing more devastation in Glenridding. Compensation paid by the mining company to the Glenridding residents was so significant it almost ruined the company.
By the early 1960s however, the mines at Greenside had become uneconomical and after centuries of activity they finally closed.

Crossing Glenriding Beck to reach the path I followed to Miresbeck and Keldas.

Some of the few remaining buildings at Greenside Mine.

Glenridding Village, Ullswater and Place Fell seen from the path to Miresbeck.

A short detour from the gate next to Lanty's Tarn takes you to the lovely summit of Keldas. The fell is actually privately owned, but a sign next to the stile clearly offers permissive access to the summit, on the condition that walkers return by the the same short path; a reasonable request when you see a view like this from the top. Well worth the little effort required.

And looking around to Sheffield Pike and Glenridding Dodd from a little way past the summit.

Place Fell was as clear as a bell as I was walking along the final section of the path at the end of the walk. It had been a real pleasure to be out and about in these conditions for a change.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks