3rd May 2012

Walking the Lakeland Passes - Walk 11 - Sticks Pass and The Old Coach Road


Walk Overview
Time 07.10 to 16.10
Duration 9 hr
Distance 19.6 mile
Ascent 5300 ft
Walking with On my own
Dockray - Watermillock Common - Glencoyne - Ullswater - Glenridding - Sticks Pass - Legberthwaite - St John's in the Vale - Old Coach Road - High Row - Dockray
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking spaces, Dockray

There is only room for 4 or 5 cars here. Despite that, I've always been fortunate enough to get parked here. I'm not sure where most people head when they park here, but I have to admit, on every occasion I've headed straight across the road and onto the fell in the Watermillock Common area.

Parking is free.


Route Map



When I left home this morning I had intended to begin this walk at Wanthwaite. On the way through however, I saw that a few of the Lakeland valleys were experiencing cloud inversions so I had a quick change of mind and drove a little further around to set off from Dockray instead. Definitely the right decision, despite the lack of views for the first 15 minutes or so.

This was one of those magical Lake District moments when you realise you're in the right place at the right time.

Great Mell Fell on the left and Gowbarrow Fell on the right.


That's Place Fell in the centre and some of the other far eastern fell behind.

I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing or anywhere else I'd rather be.

Glencoyne, taken from the ruined dam across Glencoyne Beck.

The dam.

Seldom Seen, , , , unless you come here quite often; in which case they're Regularly Seen.

Looking back along the track I'd followed out of Glencoyne.

Ullswater was lovely this morning. Peace and quiet, warm, and not a breath of wind, , , just perfect.

A view down the lake towards Gowbarrow.


The ever rising cost of travelling.
For obvious reasons I can't really remember this but in the late 1960s my Dad had one of those big Ford Zephyr cars. That changed when it was announced that petrol was going up to 10 shilling a gallon (that's 50p). This was viewed as daylight robbery at the time so the only option was to sell the big car and buy something smaller. I don't know what he'd think if he could see this.

In Glenriridding now and ready to begin walking towards Greenside and Sticks Pass.
The fell in the background is Birkhouse Moor.

Greenside Road.

Just above the buildings at Greenside and now I've reached the first of the many zigzags on this side of Sticks Pass.
That's Catstycam over there on the left.


Looking across to Catstycam.
This area is littered with reminders of its mining past from huge waste tops, ruined buildings and occasional bit of metal sticking out of the ground to things like this leat; used to divert water from the streams to the mines.

Steep and stony on Sticks Pass.

Mine Waste, , ,
It's strange how even grass is reluctant to take hold in amongst all these spoil heaps. Apart from the cost, I don't know why they (whoever they might be) don't do something to improve the place. Level it off, cover it with soil and plant something that would grow in this environment.

Looking back towards Sheffield Pike.

Over the top of Sticks Pass and now it's down hill all the way to Stanah.

Sticks Gill.
There seems to be a lot more cloud over in the south of the county. Just another reason why this walk turned out to be a good choice today.

Long distance views from Sticks Pass.
Bassenthwaite Lake is more or less in the centre of the picture so that means the pointed one to the right of it must be Dodd, the fells above that have to be Carl Side, Skiddaw, Lonscale Fell and to the left of the lake they can only be Lord's Seat, Whinlatter and Grisedale Pike. Above the trees on the left is Bleaberry fell.

This is an easy recognisable landmark for anyone familiar with Sticks Pass. It marks the spot where the route suddenly begins to drop steeply down to the valley and today it was my chosen lunch spot.

I'm nowhere near the six foot mark and to give you some idea of height, this pony didn't even come up to my waist. The white one was a bit taller but didn't seem interested in coming across to be stroked and patted.


Walking through the woods above St John's Beck.

Approaching Bridge End Farm in St John's in the Vale. It was really warming up now and it was a pity I was walking away from the sun rather than walking towards it.

This was about the highest point I reached on the walk through St John's in the Vale. High enough to get a decent view yet low enough to see everything from close quarters.

What a lovely spot. Perhaps a bit too close to the beck but on a day like this you don't think about stormy weather and floods.

Row End seen in front of Lonscale Fell. Over on the right is part of Blencathra.

Even the most useless navigator would find it hard to get lost on this road.
The track you can see on the fellside is The Old Coach Road. I'm heading there next.

Five and a half miles to go.


Slowly but surely gaining height as I walk around the side of Threlkeld Knotts.

An uninterrupted view across to Blencathra and the Skiddaw fells. Threlkeld can be seen

Still a few miles to go, , ,

Mariel Bridge.

Looking across to Great and Little Mell Fell's.


A short walk down the road took me from High Row to Dockray; all the way enjoying views across to Gowbarrow Fell.

Back in Dockray after one of the best walking days I've ever had. Even before I set off I knew I'd enjoy the route, but I didn't imagine the conditions would turn out to be quite this good.
Now for a good soak in the bath.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks