Alternative Wet Weather Wander.

Start. Elterwater.

Route. Elterwater - Elterwater Hotel - Dale End - Little Langdale - Slater Bridge - Cathedral Quarry - Stang End - High Park - Colwith Force - Park Farm - Park House - Skelwith Force - Elter Water - Elterwater.

Notes. I was expecting rain and sleet today, snow on high ground backed by gale force winds with thunder and lightning thrown in just to scare the hell out of me. I was expecting wet feet with water in every orifice, what I didn't expect was any decent conditions to take photos, altogether a day of not very great expectations, but at least I was out. I've got a friend who often talks in riddles, he's an exceptional good photographer, on the subject of bad weather he says “don't take pictures take pictures”, I've no intention of translating that, I'm just setting out in the wind and rain to take pictures of the latter.

Head down against the weather I crossed Elterwater Bridge, I continued along the lane, on reaching Elterwater Hotel a sign on my right announced I'd reached the off road cycle route to Coniston, rather them than me. The boulder strewn lane once the main route between Elterwater and Little Langdale guided me out off the valley, past long disused quarries, through moss covered woodland, after a short ascent I passed Dale End before descending to Slater Bridge, built sometime between 1650 and 1750 by the quarry men of Little Langdale, this is a real Lakeland gem. To thank them for a dry crossing of the beck I visited their place of work, The Cathedral, a vast slate cavern the roof held aloft by a 40ft slate pillar.

My route continued as did the rain, passed Little Fell and Great How, passed the farms of Stang End and High Park. At High Park I left the lane, a muddy path guided me through sheep pastures before descending through woodland, my descent terminated at Colwith Force, a spectacular twin cascade, even more so after heavy weather. With the river and a good path to guide me I wandered down stream, crossed the valley road before ascending to Park Farm, I continued along the farm lane to Park House, a few yards further on a yellow arrow pointed the way to Skelwith Force, another spectacular water fall. My route now followed the River Brathay north, this popular path was busy, young and old, dog walkers and pram pushers all mingled with ramblers and mountain bike riders, a hectic end to a rather lonely day, I'm not complaining the rain had stopped allowing the Langdale Pikes to come out and greet us.

view route map.


Seen from the parked car, the single arch of Elterwater Bridge.

Looking to Fletcher's Wood from the stoney lane leading out of Great Langdale.

A glimpse of Elter Water.

Black Fell across Little Langdale.

Under a light dusting of the white stuff, Wetherlam.

View taken over Little Langdale Tarn.

Bearing witness to years of heavy foot fall, the well warn slabs of Slater Bridge.

The infant River Brathay at Slater Bridge.

The Cathedral a maze of interlinked quarries, honed out of the fell side by the hard rock miners of Little Langdale in their search for green slate, easily found in Atkinson's Coppice above Slater Bridge.

Views into Little Langdale, from a rather more modern bridge further down stream.

Stang End.

Looking up the lane to High Park.

The River Brathay above Colwith Force.

Still above Colwith Force, looking at the extensive system of weirs, and the fact I've been wandering through coppice woodland I think I'd be right in saying there was once some king of mill or bloomery here about's.

Spectacular after heavy weather, Colwith Force.

My route ahead, and a delightful one it is.

A rather noisy Skelwith Force, quite spectacular today.

At Skelwith Force the River Brathay's squeezed through a narrow gap, plunging 17ft, it's noisy, wet, a real spectacle, and because it's near the road gets lots of visitors.

The River Brathay above Skelwith Force.

The Langdale Pikes.

The Brathay a little further up stream, showing no sign of the drama just out of shot.

Seen from the banks of the River Brathay, Black Fell.

The majesty of the Langdale Pikes as seen over Elter Water.

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