On a fresher day in this long heatwave, we left Patterdale for the dramatic height of St. Sunday Crag (and does anyone know how it acquired such a lovely name?)
There was an absence of the now familiar blue skies, but clear views across the Lake District as far as Morecambe Bay.
In fact, as we ascended Arnison Crag, there were about twenty intermittent – and very welcome – drops of rain. These soon vanished like a sorceror’s illusion, though a pleasant light breeze was very welcome.
Arnison Crag’s a modest height, and easily attained from Patterdale, but it does offer some splendid views over Ullswater. It must be a couple of years since we were last up there – and I must be a lot fitter for we made the little height in half the time.
Then on to Trough Head, where we followed the ruined wall up to the top of Birks, admiring the scene over Deepdale and Hartsop. So many fells – so many memories.
Onwards up the steep and rocky path to the top of St Sunday Crag.
There were just a couple of fellwalkers about – surprisingly few given that we’d seen hordes on the road between Glenridding and Patterdale.
St Sunday Crag doesn’t have the most dramatic of Lake District summits, but the views from the top are wonderful, particularly towards Fairfield and Helvellyn, with its rocky cliffs.
We wandered a little way down the narrowing ridge to Deepdale Hause, so that we might drink tea with a view over Grisedale Tarn. This tarn was supposedly where King Dunmail threw his sword and treasure before his battle death and burial on what is now Dunmail Raise.
A Terrific story, though old Dunmail probably died in his bed in Rome…
Deepdale Hause is very dramatic – indeed it was a popular ascent for Victorian travellers in the Lakes. My 1872 guidebook, Jenkinson’s Practical Guide to the English Lakes, suggests that this ridge between St. Sunday Crag and Fairfield “is in places very narrow, but not dangerous to one accustomed to mountain work.”
We strolled back to the summit, then to the more dramatic subsidiary height of Gavel Pike, which offers good views down into Deepdale.
We descended by the path leading around the flanks of Birks to Thornhow End, passing several fellwalkers coming up for the afternoon. We usually start early in the mornings, and find that we get the fells more or less to ourselves. I commend the practice to you if you don’t like crowds.
An easy path, with views down into Grisedale, and then Patterdale. It steepens as it descends to Glemara Park, where we encountered our first larger group of walkers – young people out for a day on the fells.
I sometimes look at the young and wonder what their lives will be like when they get to my age? I’m glad I had the youth I did in the times I’ve lived through. I’m glad I’m not young any more.
Young ramblers never seem anywhere like as militant about the countryside and access as my generation did…
And yet these lovely wild places are under more threat than ever…