Birks, St. Sunday's, and return via Grisedale

This is a companion route to Birks, St. Sunday, Cofa Pike, Fairfield, Hart Crag & return via Dovedale as it offers a safe way off the mountain should you need a plan B or if you want a walk with less ascent. It is still a great walk in its own right and the descent of Grisedale is a nice contrast to the ascent of St Sunday Crag.

Technical sheet
No. 12584191
A Patterdale walk posted on 03/08/21 by Alwayswiththehills. Update : 20/06/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 6h05[?]
Distance Distance : 8.95mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 2303ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 2303ft
Highest point Highest point : 2720ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 499ft
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 54.535181° / W 2.935776°
Download : -

Description

Car park : 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). Walk past 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 and curves up and to the right (South) behind the cottages. It will eventually lead to the back of the Patterdale Hotel so look out for a path on the left and take this past a small tarn 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) Turn left 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, continue along the path (southwest) and over a section which can be boggy after rainfall, then ascend again up the spur of St Sunday Crag. The path eases off as you gain height and reach the summit.

(4) Continue and descend to Deepdale Hause (southwest), where there is a path straight on to Fairfield and another on the right that descends to Grisedale Tarn.

(5) Take the right hand track that descends diagonally down towards Grisedale Tarn it joins the path leading up from Grisedale to Grisedale Hause, just in front of the tarn itself.

(6) Turn right at the junction and take the track leading down into Grisedale. It is rocky in places and some parts are eroded, so take care as you descend. You will pass Ruthwaite Lodge climbing hut and arrive at a bifurcation in the path.

(7) Take the right hand track which continues to descend and crosses Grisedale Beck via a footbridge (8). Continue to descend more gently until the valley bottom on your left becomes enclosed pasture. There will be a plantation on your left and then a plantation (Elmhow Plantation) on your right after which you will arrive at a working farm, Elmhow.

(9) Pass through the farm and pick up the farm track which leads down the valley. Just after the ruined barn at Thornhow the track becomes a road, follow the road down hill, passing another plantation on the right. Keep and eye out for a gate and signpost on the right after the plantation. If you arrive at a cottage on the left you have missed the gate.

(10) Turn right and pass through the gate, follow the path uphill back to waypoint (2). At the junction turn left and follow the path contouring the hillside back to the Patterdale road at waypoint (1) and then turn left and follow the pavement back to your car.

If you miss the gate at waypoint (10) and arrive at the cottage on the left you can continue down the road to Grisedale Bridge. Then turn right at the junction with the main road and follow the pavement back to the Patterdale Hotel and your car park.

Another alternative is: At the ruined barn at Thornhow, pass through a gate on the right and walk up passing the ruins on the right as you face it into another field. Follow the track diagonally up and across the field to a gate in the wall. pass through and turn left, then follow the track contouring around above the plantation to pick up the junction at waypoint (2).

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 499ft - Car Park - Car park
1 : mi 0.13 - alt. 509ft - Turning onto tarmac single track road
2 : mi 0.94 - alt. 702ft - Junction with track
3 : mi 1.96 - alt. 2001ft - Summit Birks
4 : mi 3.09 - alt. 2710ft - Summit St Sunday Crag
5 : mi 3.7 - alt. 2323ft - Col Deepdale Hause
6 : mi 4.49 - alt. 1788ft - Grisedale Tarn
7 : mi 5.61 - alt. 1063ft - Bifurcation in track
8 : mi 5.74 - alt. 984ft - Footbridge
9 : mi 6.94 - alt. 722ft - Farm
10 : mi 7.96 - alt. 663ft - Gate and turning off road
D/A : mi 8.95 - alt. 499ft - Car Park - Car park

Useful Information

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

This route is a companion to the walk Birks, St. Sunday, Cofa Pike, Fairfield, Hart Crag & return via Dovedale and is useful if you don't want to continue over Fairfield or if the weather turns against you and you need a descent route back to your starting point.

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

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.

Other walks in the area

Walker
Lanty's Tarn
distance 3.49mi Vertical gain +571ft Vertical drop -551ft Durée 2h05 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Patterdale - Cumbria

This is a short, low level walk that can fill a couple of hours. Good if you are short on time or if it has been raining most of the day and has cleared up in the late afternoon. Nice views over the lake and interesting scenery.

Walker
Angletarn Pikes, The Knott, High Street and Threshwaite Cove; Circular
distance 11.28mi Vertical gain +2661ft Vertical drop -2661ft Durée 7h30 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Patterdale - Cumbria

A circular walk from Patterdale which ascends gradually to take in the great views from Angletarn Pikes and The Knott before passing over the Straits of Riggingdale to High Street and The Beacon at Thornwaite Crag. It then descends Threshwaite Cove to Hartsop and a return to Patterdale.

Walker
Birks, St. Sunday, Cofa Pike, Fairfield, Hart Crag & return via Dovedale.
distance 10.14mi Vertical gain +3035ft Vertical drop -3009ft Durée 7h20 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Patterdale - Cumbria

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

Walker
distance 11.05mi Vertical gain +3054ft Vertical drop -3038ft Durée 7h45 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Patterdale - Cumbria

A Lake District walk starting from Patterdale that includes Place Fell, Howtown, and Beda Fell in a circuit of Boredale. The scenic content of this route is excellent with Ullswater providing a contrast to the rugged fells all around you.

Organisation / Walking Club / Mountain guide
distance 18.81mi Vertical gain +4619ft Vertical drop -4826ft Durée 12h40 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Patterdale - Cumbria

The YHA is a great institution and I guess most fell walkers have stayed at a hostel at some time in their lives. Funny how they were created "to help all, especially young people of limited means, to a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside, particularly by providing hostels or other simple accommodation for them on their travels". Here's a collection of routes starting or finishing at a YHA in The Lakes. Along the way are 8 Wainwrights, 2 lakes, 1 tarn and 1 pub

Organisation / Walking Club / Mountain guide
distance 10.36mi Vertical gain +2927ft Vertical drop -3140ft Durée 7h20 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Patterdale - Cumbria

Here's a collection of routes starting or finishing at a YHA in The Lakes. Along the way are 3 Wainwrights, 1 tarn and 1 pub

Walker
distance 9.38mi Vertical gain +2992ft Vertical drop -2986ft Durée 6h55 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Patterdale - Cumbria

A good climb up to Fairfield for all round views and a stretch for the legs

Walker
distance 4.65mi Vertical gain +1713ft Vertical drop -1706ft Durée 3h40 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Patterdale - Cumbria

This Lakeland walk includes two Wainwrights and although the distance walked is relatively short there is a steady steep climb up to the col between Glenridding Dodd and Sheffield Pike. The views are excellent throughout and route finding is generally good with clear paths for most of the route. Choose a fine day to enjoy the views across Ullswater and to the Helvellyn ridge.

For more walks, use our search engine.

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