Still determined to make some progress on my 1000 miles challenge target, last Saturday I headed up to the Lake District of a walk up on the fells. I decided to start out from the small village of Patterdale, which is close to Ullswater, and walk a route along Grisedale, climb up from Griseadale Tarn up onto the hill known as St Sunday Crag and then follow the ridge over to the rounded grass hill of Birks and then back down to my starting point. Saint Sunday is a local name for Saint Dominic, and why the hill is named in his honour, nobody really knows!
I set off early and drove up the M6, past Kendal and over the Kirkstone pass to Patterdale. There’s very limited street parking but the Patterdale Hotel has a reasnably sized car park for which they charge £4-50 for a day’s parking. Browse the walking blogs and bulletin boards and you’ll find plenty of people moaning about the charge. Personally I think it’s quite reasonable – in Manchester that wouldn’t get you two hours in the city centre!
A short walk along the (not so major) main road, past the pleasant St Patrick’s church, with daffs blooming in the churchyard.
Just after the church I turned down the lane that would take me down Grisedale
Views of the Helvellyn range, to the north of the valley, soon opened up. Snow was clearly visible on the tops.
I carried on up the valley, initially on a tarmaced lane but eventually this ran out and I was on a rougher track
heading into wilder, more remote countryside
looking back down the valley
The crags of Dollywagon Pike ahead. The building underneath the crags is Ruthwaite Lodge, a climbing hut owned by the Outward Bound Trust
Carrying on up the valley it wasn’t long before Ireached Grisedale Tarn, which I’d passed last year after I’d set out from Thirlmere and walked along Helvelyn, Nethermost Pike and Dollywagon Pike.
Here’s the Tarn with Seat Sandal in the background
Looking back down the valley I could see my next objective,the ridge and summit of St Sunday Crag
A brief stop for a brew and I set off along the path taking me uphill towards Deepdale Hause, the point on the ridge between St Sunday Crag and Fairfield
Looking back down to the tarn as I climbed
Looking across to Dollywagon Pike and Nethermost Pike with Helvellyn in the background
It was a clear trail at first but at some point I lost the path and had to scrabble up the steep slope for a short while to reach the clear path along the ridge.
Looking west along the ridge to Fairfiled
Looking across from the ridge over to the Helvellyn range on the other side of the valley.
and looking east over Deepdale
and looking back along the ridge
Soon, I was approaching the stony summit of St Sunday Crag
from where I got my first glimpse of Ullswater
Looking across to Helvellyn and Striding Edge
I carried on rapidly descending the very steep slope down from St Sunday Crag – hard work on the knees!
Looking back to St Sunday
The next objective was Birks, a modest flat topped fell. One path skirted the hill but I decided on the relatively easy climb up to the summit.
Even on a grey day, there were excellent views of Ullswater and Place Fell and the surrounding hills and mountains.
Looking east towards High Street
Another steep descent and I was back down in the valley. I took the path through the fields and woods, arriving by the Patterdale Hotel. Time to stop for a brew before heading back to the car.