12th February 2011

St Sunday Crag from Patterdale


Walk Overview
Time 10.00 to 14.40
Duration 4 hr 40 min
Distance 9 mile
Ascent 2500 ft
Walking with On My own
Patterdale - Arnison Crag - Trough Head - Birks - Gavel Pike - St Sunday Crag - Deepdale Hause - Grisedale Tarn - Ruthwaite Lodge - Grisedale - Grisedale Bridge - 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

I had a couple of different ideas in my head about where to walk after I left St Sunday Crag today. All of which meant that Patterdale would be a convenient place to park. As it turned out, the lingering cloud on the tops made me change my mind about Fairfield and a mixture of common sense and recent heavy rain ruled out Deepdale. What I did end up doing was a route I've enjoyed many times over the years taking in Arnison Crag, Birks, St Sunday Crag, Grisedale Tarn and Grisedale.

A close up of Glenridding.

"Yes, alright, I'll move out of the way while you take your photos."

After I apologised for being a nuisance I took this picture of Arnison Crag summit in front of Birks, Birkhouse Moor and at least for the time being, a cloud free Catstye Cam.

I took this picture of Ullswater from the aptly named Trough Head. The 'trough' is easy enough to get in and out of; it's just very steep on the Birks side.

A little sunshine on Arnison Crag and some of the far eastern fells behind.

Looking back down to Arnison Crag.
There is a path of sorts up here, although the best thing is to forget about trying to follow it and simply walk beside the ruined wall. Once that ends, just keep going up hill in the same direction and you'll soon join up with the path from Thornhow End which leads straight to Birks.

Birks summit in front of St Sunday Crag.

Rather than head straight up to St Sunday Crag I followed the path across to Gavel Pike (behind me).

Fairfield is somewhere under all that cloud.

While I was on the summit of Gavel Pike the cloud had rolled in and I couldn't see a thing. I stool there for a few minutes in the hope of it clearing, but gave up in the end. Then, as soon as I started to walk away, I was treated to this view.

Gavel Pike, now clear of cloud.

St Sunday Crag summit.

Leaving St Sunday Crag.

To take advantage you do need to walk from side to side a little, but from the ridge leading down to Deepdale Hause, you have the options of looking down into the two dales that flank St Sunday Crag. Here on the right hand side you see Grisedale (or at least the middle part of it). There's no doubt at all this is the more popular of the two, because of its obvious route onto the Helvellyn ridge, its link to Grasmere, Grisedale Tarn of course, and the fact that the valley is easily accessed from Patterdale or Glenridding.

In stark contrast to Grisedale, here you see Deepdale; just one of a few Deepdales' in the Lake District by the way. This is a lovely secluded dale where you're unlikely to meet anyone else. The downside to Deepdale at this time of year is that it tends to be very wet and boggy, and given the rain we've had lately, it was wise to leave it for another day.

I had thought about including Fairfield on the walk today, but the cloud had failed to lift off the higher fells so I cut straight down to Grisdale Tarn instead.

Grisedale Tarn.

A view down Grisedale, , , , yes, it's a long way.

Ruthwaite Lodge, climbing hut, or as we'd say Ru'th't Lodge.

With only the shortest of de-tours from the path you get a view of these waterfalls coming down from Ruthwaite Cove.

Once you're back on the path you can look ahead through the lower section of Grisedale.

It was here that I crossed Grisedale Beck to walk along the right hand side of the valley. There is another slightly higher path on the opposite side, but for no particular reason I chose this one today.

A look back into Grisedale shows the tops are just about clear now.

I think this is the type scene that the 18th and early 19th century writers would have described as a terrifying, even horrible landscape of inaccessible mountains and precipices. A valley so wild and untamed that no mortal soul would dare to venture there alone.
I'm surprised anyone ever came to be honest. If I read this about somewhere I was thinking about going on holiday I'd probably stay at home.

It wasn't half warm in the sun down here.

"there's no need to strain your neck looking over the wall when there's a perfectly good gate over there."
"I know there's a gate, I just wanted to give you a fright."

Place Fell.

This bridge near Braesteads caught my eye, and as seen as though the sun was shinning I cut across the field to take some pictures. This one for use today and the rest for a later date.

A final view from today's walk; Looking back into Grisedale.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks