- On 07 Sep 2020
Previously: Borrowdale to Grasmere
Coast to Coast: Grasmere to Patterdale
Like the previous day, on paper this is one of the shortest sections of the Coast to Coast. In fact some people combine the two sections to walk from Rosthwaite to Patterdale in a single day. Even with the little short-cut from Helm Crag that misses going in Grasmere, that is one very long hard day’s walk.
Hence most people naturally stop in Grasmere. Some have a second night using the time to explore the lovely and interesting attractions of this honey-pot, such as Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum.
When you do pull your boots or running shoes back you, another continual reel of amazing views await you OR you get absorbed into the cool grey soup of thick mist that can settle cosily on the hillside.
This is because you will again be going high! And you have the option of going higher still! The latter definitely only advisable if clear and you get the full reward.
From whichever comfy bed and tasty breakfast location you enjoyed in Grasmere, you should generally leave via Easedale Road and soon cross the A591 onto the stony track heading up Tongue Gill.
A steady climb, though your legs may beg to differ three days into your Coast to Coast. The mantra on this climb is “don’t forget to regularly turn around”. The views over Grasmere, to Helm Crag, to Great Castle How and to Easedale are not to be missed.
Approximately 1km up the track you have the option of either side of Great Tongue – both now on grassy paths. A six or two threes decision – maybe send your partner on one path and you the other to ‘race’ to where they rejoin?!
From this point it gets a bit more ‘serious’ – onto rocky ascent, maybe into the mist with the roar of unseen water. Big steps, small steps, sometimes up, sometimes down – though with more of the former and eventually you crest Grisedale Hause.
A classic col or saddle with the peak of Fairfield to your right (east) and Seat Sandal to your left (west). If you are lucky and not in mist then it also is your last chance of views and photos down towards Grasmere.
In front of you is the cool expanse of water that is Grisedale Tarn. According to legend, it is the resting place of the crown of the kingdom of Cumbria, after the crown was conveyed there in 945 by soldiers of the last king, Dunmail, after he was slain in battle with the combined forces of the English and Scottish kings. It is also surprisingly deep – up to 33m.
You’ll walk beside it’s eastern shore to where it drains into Grisedale Beck and hope across the Stepping Stones – or just use it as chance to cool your feet and splash through!
This is also your next decision point.
- Go straight on and start to head down through the magnificent sweep of Grisedale OR
- Go left and head up, up, up onto Dollywagon Pike and onwards to the summit of Helvellyn OR
- Go right and up onto Deepdale Hause and St Sunday Crag
All are majestic. All give amazing views (assuming a clear day). All involve uneven rocky ground. All are similar in navigational rating (unless misty) being well used distinct paths.
So whatever you decide you won’t be disappointed. You may find at times you wondering what it was like on the other – and maybe noting down to do another time.
Only option 1 just descends, until approaching Patterdale. On the map it may look a straightforward path and one you could walk at a reasonable pace. Deceptive! It is rocky, the odd loose stone, can be slippery when wet. So your pace can be slower than anticipated until further along past the Ruthwaite Lodge. And that’s not taking into account stopping to take photos – which you will want to do given the stunning vistas.
Option 2 requires the most climbing. This one also opens up the opportunity for the challenging descent along Striding Edge – though avoidable by the less technical Swirral Edge path. One of the classic Lake District images!
Option 3 gives you a great view of the other two options! The occasional scramble too.
The 3 options all come back together approximately 1mile west of Patterdale. At which point, after descending for quite some time, you climb back up a little way on a bracken lined path and past a small wood before dropping back down behind the Patterdale Hotel. This is one of your options for a deserved drink and maybe snack. As is the White Lion and the village store.
Incidentally, if you are staying in Glenridding, then you may wish to consider doing the Helvellyn, Swirral Edge option and then following path across and down Glenridding Common. This will bring you past the quarries and Helvellyn Youth Hostel before coming out in the village.