Birks, St. Sunday, Cofa Pike, Fairfield, Hart Crag & return via Dovedale.

This is a great circular walk, taking in some of the higher tops and with a descent via the tranquil and less frequented Dovedale.

Technical sheet
No. 12584059
A Patterdale walk posted on 03/08/21 by Alwayswiththehills. Update : 20/06/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 7h20[?]
Distance Distance : 10.14mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 3035ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 3009ft
Highest point Highest point : 2844ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 495ft
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Lake District
Location Location : Patterdale
Starting point Starting point : N 54.535297° / W 2.935764°
Download : -
St Sunday Crag from Flinty Grave Dovedale Dove Cragg (Climber can be seen if you look closely) Mine workings above Hartsop Hall

Description

Park opposite the Patterdale Hotel in the paid car parking.

(D/A) From the car park join the main road (A592), cross over, and turn left. Walk in front of the Patterdale Hotel and then past the White Lion Hotel (opposite side of the road) and some house fronts to a tarmac track leading up and past the White Lion beer garden and some cottages.

(1) Take the track which ascends (South) and curves up and to the right behind the cottages. It will eventually lead to the back of the Patterdale Hotel so look out for a path on the left (South-West-West) and take this past a small tarn on your left and then through a gate.

The path leads around the base of Arnison Crag with nice views over Patterdale and the bottom part of Ullswater. It passes through a second gate and contours around to a junction with a path ascending from the Grisedale Road.

(2) At the junction, turn left (South) and head uphill at a steady rate of ascent up Thornhow End. The path gets steeper after you pass through a gap in a wall and zig-zags a little as you ascend the spur of Black Crag and up onto Birks. It is always worth stopping for breath and to get some good views back over Ullswater, as you gain height.

(3) From the indistinct summit of Birks (622m), continue along the path (South-West) and over a section which can be boggy after rainfall, then ascend again up the spur of St Sunday Crag (841m). The path eases off as you gain height and reach the summit.

(4) From the summit, continue and descend to Deepdale Hause (South-West), where there is a path on the right that descends to Grisedale Tarn; this is a good path to take if you need to cut the walk short in bad weather, keeping left (South-West).

(5)For this walk, continue from Deepdae Hause and ascend the rocky path up (South) and over Cofa Pike (823m) to the summit of Fairfield (873m).

(6) The summit of Fairfield is fairly broad and can be featureless in misty weather, it slopes away on four sides and it is easy in mist or cloud to find yourself descending South via Great Rigg if you are not careful. Our route continues in an Easterly direction gently descending the broad shoulder above Rydale Head. In good weather you can keep to the Northerly side and get the views into Deepdale but always bear in mind that if you do this you need to avoid descending via The Step and into Link Cove. The path curves South from the end of the broad shoulder and descends to Link Hause then makes the final short ascent to Hart Crag (822m).

(7) From Hart Crag continue in a South-South-West direction and descend to flattish ground at a col beneath Dove Crag.

(8) At the col take an indistinct path on the left (North-East) leading in a North-Easterly direction. This path is easy to miss so take care. It descends and eventually follows one of the streams, it is paved/stepped in the steepest parts and as you descend this section, views of Dove Crag will appear on your right. On a dry day you might see climbers hanging out on the steeply overhanging wall. The path continues, crossing a stream coming down from Houndshope Cove and to a junction with a path on the right.

(9) The path on the right is an alternative route; it crosses a footbridge and descends into Dovedale with waterfalls and Dovedale Beck on the left and it will eventually rejoin our route at waypoint(10).

Our route continues straight on (North-East-East) and contours the hillside beneath Gill Crag. I take this way as it leads from the open fell side into light woodland, crossing an old leat which brought water into an old mine working. As you descend through the wood keep an eye out for the old leat and the mine workings that are on the left. Eventually, the path will bring you down to Hartsop Hall.

(10) Take the track behind the hall (North-East-North) which leads through gates to the side of Brothers Water. After passing Brothers Water lake go through another gate and look out for the path on the left which runs to the left of and above the road (A592).

(11) Take the footpath above the road and follow it through the bottom part of Low Wood to where it rejoins the roadside again. (Look out on your right for the ground works where the original course of Goldrill Beck is being reinstated)

(12) Keep to the left side of the road (A592) and follow the path/ verge passing Deepdale Bridge and back to Patterdale and your car. The traffic can be busy on this road so take care as there is not a continuous footpath. Sometimes you are on a grass verge, sometimes you have to cross over, and sometimes you have to walk with the traffic coming towards you. Always stay in single file, keep dogs on leads and take care(D/A).

A safer but longer alternative is to cross over the road at Deepdale Bridge and take the farm track in an Easterly direction to pick up the path from Hartsop to Patterdale. Cross the river to join the Hartsop path, turn left and follow the path to a T junction with a tarmac road. Turn left and walk down the road and across the bridge to Patterdale. There is only a short section along the road back to the car.

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 495ft - Car Park Opposite Patterdale Hotel
1 : mi 0.13 - alt. 505ft - White Lion Pub
2 : mi 0.9 - alt. 705ft - Track Junction
3 : mi 1.88 - alt. 1998ft - Birks Summit
4 : mi 2.98 - alt. 2710ft - St Sunday Crag Summit
5 : mi 3.83 - alt. 2205ft - Deepdale Hause
6 : mi 4.41 - alt. 2818ft - Fairfield Summit
7 : mi 5.09 - alt. 2644ft - Hart Crag Summit
8 : mi 5.42 - alt. 2441ft - Path Junction
9 : mi 6.32 - alt. 1211ft - Path Junction
10 : mi 7.36 - alt. 564ft - Hartsop Hall
11 : mi 8.31 - alt. 558ft - Cow Bridge Car Park
12 : mi 8.78 - alt. 545ft - A592
D/A : mi 10.14 - alt. 495ft - Car Park Opposite Patterdale Hotel

Useful Information

You will be in high fell terrain for a lot of this walk. It can be cold and windy so take appropriate clothing, food and drink with you. There are few shelters other than walls.

There are sections which are rocky underfoot and parts that are loose, I would always recommend boots for this walk.

Car park : Park opposite the Patterdale Hotel in the paid car parking. (Coordinate: 54.535149, -2.935624 or postcode : CA11 0NN)

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

The views are fantastic, you can see over to Helvellyn and always look back for the views over Ullswater.
The descent of Deepdale is tranquil and a contrast to the rugged mountain tops and open fell sides.
Look out for the mine workings, it is easy to miss them.
At the time of writing the original water course of Goldrill Beck is being restored to help prevent flooding downstream, there were information posts in Low Wood explaining the work being carried out.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.