8th April 2017

Visiting Fairfield, a mini walking project - Walk No 2 - From Patterdale via Grisedale

Time 8:45am to 1:45pm
Duration 5 hr
Distance 10.1 mile
Ascent 3600 ft - or somewhere around that figure
Walking with On my own
Patterdale - Grisedale - Grisedale Tarn - Fairfield - Cofa Pike - St Sunday Crag - Gavel Pike - Birks - Trough Head - Glenamara Park - Patterdale
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre -
Car park, opposite Patterdale Hotel / outside the school

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. Those who arrive early can park for free on the pavement just up the road outside the school (not when the school is on).

Route Map


Here, as I walk along the path between Patterdale and Grisedale I look across to the Thornhow End - end of Birks. There was still a lingering nip in the air from the previous nights frost but the sky was completely blue, there wasn't a breath of wind and there was no doubt I was in for a fantastic day.

Looking through Grisedale. Very peaceful indeed.

and, after walking for a while in the shade (my own daft fault), I look back through the valley towards Place Fell.


Passing by Ruthwaite (Ruthet) Lodge.

Heading up the last section of the route to Grisedale Tarn. It's a long walk through Grisedale (in a good way) but it's a nice steady path up here so you arrive at the tarn without feeling like you've done much up hill walking at all.

A minute or so from the path is The Brothers Parting Stone.

A memorial to John Wordsworth; William's brother. The stone marks the spot where, on September 29th 1800, William and John bade farewell to each other for, what they didn't know on that occasion, would be the last time.

John was a Commander of the East Indiaman "Earl of Abergavenny", a ship that sank of Portland on 5th February 1805; claiming the lives of almost 300 people, including William's brother. The shipwreck was so serious that it resulted in the launch of the first life boat in Weymouth in 1805. The wreck was also one of the earliest salvage attempts with a diving bell, by a Mr Braithwaite who employed the bell and gunpowder to uncover and collect the treasures. John Wordsworth's sword can be seen at Rydal Mount.

Canon Rawnsly, arranged for William's poem to be carved into the rock in the 1880s.


Seat Sandal seen behind Grisedale Tarn.

It was warming up nicely now so I treat myself to a swig of water and a couple of minutes to admire the view before heading up to Fairfield.

A hazy view down to Grasmere, Silver How, Lingmoor Fell and the Coniston Fell in the distance.

On route up to Fairfield I stop to catch my breath, mop my brow and remember the walk over Seat Sandal yesterday afternoon.

Two days in a row up here and both times absolutely magical.

That's where I'm heading next - St Sunday Crag.

Cofa Pike and St Sunday Crag.

A close up of Great Gable.


Looking back to Fairfield, taken just before stopping for a good crack with a farther & son from Carlisle who were doing more or less the same route as me but in the opposite direction.

Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn.

Time for something to eat and I know just the spot - down there on Gavel Pike.

Fed, watered and eager to get going again I make my way down to Birks.
Cracking view from up here.

Turning around for a view of St Sunday Crag. For such a perfect day, I can't help but wonder where everyone is.

Just past Birks summit cairn and looking across to Place Fell, Ullswater Gowbarrow Fell and both Mell Fells.

Looking through the gap at Trough Head towards Ullswater, Great Mell Fell and Gowbarrow.

And here, I cross the wall using Lakeland's most precarious stile. Basically it's a metal vertical ladder on each side of the wall, connected at the top. With nothing to hold onto above your feet, you either need good balance or you bend down, hold the stile and use the top of the wall to step over. Whatever you do it's one of those moments you hope no one is watching.

Safely over the stile I walk through Glenamara Park for a change. I could have walked over Arnison Crag as I'd planned to do but thought this would make a really nice way to bring the walk to a close - - and it was.

And to finish, I rejoin the path I was on at the start of the walk and tell myself what a brilliant day I'd had. The nip in the air had turned into a hot afternoon and I for one was pleased I'd taken the great leap away from winter and wore shorts shorts for the first time this year.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks