21st September 2013

Stone Arthur to Elterwater


Walk Overview
Time 7:45am to 3:20pm
Duration 7 hr 35 min
Distance 13.4 mile
Ascent 3000 ft (or there abouts)
Walking with Paul Sharkey
A591 - Stone Arthur - Great Rigg - Heron Pike - Nab Scar - Rydal - Rydal Church - Rydal Water - Loughrigg Terrace - Loughrigg Tarn - Skelwith Bridge - Skelwith Force - Elterwater - Walthwaite Bottom - Hammerscar Plantation - road to Grasmere - A591
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking, A591 outside Grasmere

I've described this spot as roadside parking, but it is actually a rather long lay-by found between Grasmere and the bottom of Dunmail Raise. It is quite a popular spot, so latecomers may arrive to find it full. If this turned out to be the case the best alternative would be to try one of the car parks in Grasmere itself. It all depends on where you're going of course, but the distance this would add onto your walk is not much at all.


Route Map

The first part of today's walk was a last minute plan "B" suggested the evening before. The second half of the route was decided as we walked past Rydal. As enjoyable as it was, we'd originally intended to walk across from Nethermost Pike to Clough Head today but planned walks that keep you high up for so long deserve to be done with decent views along the way.
We both pulled up at exactly the same moment, which was a bit surprising when you consider where each of us had set off from. The first thing I did when I got out of the car was take this picture looking back up the road. I'm not sure what was going on with those two. There was nothing coming the other way yet the lorry still pulled over a little, the car over took it and the lorry carried on.

All was peace and quiet as we walked past Dora's Cottage. It was one of those perfectly still mornings when you feel a bit guilty for talking too loud, just in case you wake the residents up. I remarked that a little while ago the cottage was up for rent and wouldn't it be a perfect place to live. We also commented on the fact that even lowly Helm Crag was topped with cloud.

Admittedly this isn't the clearest view but that's definitely Grasmere down there. You'll have to take my word for it that Silver How is in among the cloud over there.

This was one of those magical fellwalking moments with the clouds rising and falling and working its way back and forth across the side of the fell. In these situations I realise it's only a matter of time until the views are gone so it's best to savour the moment while it lasts. Over there you can see the zigzag path leading up to Alcock Tarn.

A little higher up now and looking down to, rather than across to the Alcock Tarn path.


Here we are just below the rocky bits on Stone Arthur. It looks clear enough but it wasn't really. The views went a little while ago and in a few minutes time we were properly in the cloud.

Great Rigg summit.

Drizzle was blowing straight at us on the walk down the ridge from Great Rigg and although we were still getting wet, it was nothing like a proper soaking. It was more annoying than anything to be honest. Too warm to have a jacket on but too wet to leave it off.

We're just about below the cloud now and Rydal comes into view below us.

Heading down the steep end of Nab Scar.

The path takes you between these two walls where for some reason a walk has been built across the gap. Compare the stile in this picture and the next one to get an idea of the steepness of the path.

Paul makes his way over the wet and quite slippery stile as I stand with camera in hand half expecting to get an action shot.

The stile was negotiated without incident so I didn't get the action shot I was after; never mind. We continued down towards Rydal; on route taking notice of the changing colours on the trees over there.

The gardens are lovely in Rydal Church and well worth the slight de-tour to walk through them. Someone obviously cares a great deal about the place to put this much effort into looking after the grounds.

The church itself. Quite difficult to get it all in a picture unless you send next to the gate as I did here.

We were fast approaching decision time at this point and because we needed (wanted) to make the walk a bit longer than simply heading back to Grasmere and the cars, we had to come up with an extended route. Loughrigg was mentioned, as was Dow Bank & Silver How. "Or, if we wanted to stay out of the cloud, we could walk past Rydal, along Loughrigg Terrace, round to Loughrigg Tarn, down to Skelwith Bridge, across to Elterwater and then back over to Grasmere". "Once we get to Loughrigg Terrace we'll decide for certain". And that's how the rest of the walk was planned.

Nab Scar and Rydal Water.


Turn left for Grasmere Close and High Langdale.

A misty, murky view down to Grasmere.

"Don't just sit there watching, help me get off here"

Walking through the woods at Red Bank.

A close up of Oaks. Although it's found next to the minor road between Grasmere and Elterwater the farm gives off a feeling of being much more secluded and out of the way than it actually is. Despite the conditions of today, you can't deny this is in such a lovely part of the world.

It must have been a dull day if the good folk in The How felt the need turn the lights on in the middle of the day.

Loughrigg Tarn seems to be a popular picnic spot today.

Reflections in Loughrigg Tarn.

Now how on earth did they know how far we'd walked.
Never mind, it's my own fault for assuming other people share my daft sense of humour. Just before I took this picture I jogged up to the table, pretended to be out of breath and held my hand out for a cup.
They just stared at me as if I was on day release from some sort of institution !!

Considering we walked up Stone Arthur and Great Rigg this morning, I can't believe we're now sitting at Skelwith Bridge eating our sandwiches.

This should upset a few people, particularly those who can't be bothered walking the extra few yards but still like to think they have a big car.

He won't jump, not with us lot watching anyway.
Blimey, I think I spoke too soon.

People with a fondness for pies, cakes and sweets may have a problem here.

It's about a mile and a half from Skelwith Bridge to Elterwater; a thoroughly enjoyable walk through some lovely countryside.

River Brathay reflections.

This is about the only place you can get to the waters edge to dip your toe in Elter Water. Because of this you need to be here early on sunny days to get the best spot. And if you don't already know, leaving a towel or a book or a hat on the seat while you nip to the pub for lunch is not allowed. The only way to reserve it is to sit on it.

This chap isn't going to last very long sitting in the middle of the path like this.

Crystal clear water flowing under the bridge at Elterwater.

The Britannia Inn at Elterwater was as popular as ever. A bit of low cloud and drizzle obviously doesn't put people off from sitting outside.

Nice house but if you're going to have a clock as big as that you'd think they'd remember to wind it up. Unless its one of those new-fangled electric clocks and they've accidentally pulled the plug out.

Cottages on the outskirts of Elterwater.

The giant sign stone just outside Elterwater.

A view back to Elterwater. From here we headed up to Red Bank and to say the least it was really hot, muggy and much harder work than it should have been.

It's mostly down hill now as we head down the side of Redbank Wood.




I would say the tree was spoiling the view but there wasn't really one to spoil today.

The national trust shop found opposite the church. We didn't go in; instead, , , ,

, , , , I went in the book shop and bought 3 books.
The drizzle began to turn into rain now so when you consider where we'd walked our timing was quite good for it to start when we were almost back at the cars.

You couldn't make it up could you. On the way home I stopped and took this picture looking across to High Rigg and Clough Head.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks