A Round of Elter Water.

Start. Elterwater.

Route. Elterwater - Great Langdale Beck - Elter Water - Woodburn Bridge - Skelwith Wood - Park House - Park Farm - Colwith Force - High Park - Stang End - The Cathedral Quarry - Slater Bridge - Dale End - Sawrey Wood - Yew Crag Quarry - Elterwater.

Notes. This is a walk found in the pages of many a Lakeland guide book, and why not it's a classic visiting some very special places en route. Skelwith Force, which I avoided today, Colwith Force hidden in the woods just off the Little Langdale road, Slater Bridge a real gem in Lakeland's crown, a must see for anyone traveling on foot and finally the Cathedral Quarry. Give a few Lakeland quarrymen a pick and shovel, the odd stick of dynamite and they'll tunnel through half a mountain leaving a legacy for hundreds of years to come. Today was a constant battle between sunshine and storm, storm had the upper hand and it was too hot to walk in waterproofs, too wet not to.

I parked in the National Trust car park at Elterwater, sat in the car while a torrential thunder shower passed over, togged up quickly before the next one then followed the waters of Great Langdale beck down stream. With a good path under foot I was soon passing Elter Water, through sheep pastures I walked to access a fine footbridge, Woodburn Bridge guided me across the river to join forest paths which deposited me in sheep pastures near Park House. After wandering passed the farm and holiday accommodation I arrived at Low Park another scattering of converted farm buildings, it was a short walk to the Little Langdale Road from there.

From the Little Langdale Road a finger-post invited me to Colwith Force, I entered woodland at least the tree canopy would keep some of the rain at bay. From Colwith Force I ascended through mature woodland, the path ejected me out at High Park into fine views over Little Langdale, the only view that concerned me was the next pulse of heavy rain sweeping down from the valley head. It hit before I reached the next patch of tree cover, announcing it's arrival a stunning rainbow, suddenly the rain didn't seem to matter.

My route passed the Cathedral Quarry, it would be rude not to pop inside, so in I went. If it's your first time on this round try not to miss it, it's well worth a visit. My visit over I headed for Slater Bridge, built by the same men who dug, chiselled and blasted out that bloody great hole I'd just visited. After fording the river at this quaint little bridge I climbed the hill to access a narrow tarmac lane, I continued ascending tarmac under foot, at Dale End the tarmac gave way to a gravel bridleway. It should have been a straight forward stroll back from here, as I started to descend a path on the left caught my eye, this I followed descending passed disused quarries, imagine my surprise when I emerged from the trees into what was very much a working quarry. I knew the quarry at Elterwater was still worked, I just hadn't realised how big it was, quite a shock at the end of a quiet picturesque ramble, never mind it was pelting down again, the access road made a dry easy surface to walk back on.

view route map.


Loughrigg Fell seen from the riverside path from Elterwater.

Rising above the tree tops the unmistakable Langdale Pikes.

The route ahead.

Grey today the Langdale Pikes seen across Elter Water.

As viewed over Elter Water Lingmoor Fell.

Looking imposing Wetherlam seen across the sheep pastures of Low Park.

En route passed Low Park Farm.

The twin cataracts of Colwith Force.

The River Brathay above Colwith Force.

High Park looking to Lingmoor Fell.

Rainbow over Little Langdale.

Taken from the entrance to The Cathedral, Lingmoor Fell above Little Langdale.

Welcome to The Cathedral....

....a system of interlinked quarries, The Cathedral being the main feature.

Slater Bridge a real gem in the crown of Lakeland.

Near High Birk Howe looking over Little Langdale Tarn.

A shock to the system, Elterwater Quarry..

Beyond quarry buildings, grey on the horizon the Langdale Pikes with Lingmoor Fell rising out of shot to the left.

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