Elter Water and Little Langdale.

Start. Elterwater.

Route. Elterwater - Elter Water - Skelwith Force - Skelwith Woods - Park House - Park Farm - Colwith Woodland - High Park - Stang End - Little Langdale Quarries - Slater Bridge - Dale End - Elterwater.

Notes. Found on the pages of most good guide books this walk has over the years become a classic, taking in riverside, woodland, lakeside and meadows, a couple of roaring waterfalls and a chance to let the imagination run wild exploring the Cathedral Quarry. For me it's always been a rainy day walk, but today with a howling gale ripping vast rents in the cloud cover, and the fact I didn't want blowing into the next valley, I'd be keeping to the lower, Elter Water and Little Langdale it would be.

My day started in the National Trust car park at Elterwater, a pitch path follows the waters of Great Langdale Beck. With the beck for company and the good path to guide me I strolled on down the valley, not forgetting to look back every now and again, the views up Great Langdale to the pikes that guard the valley head are staggering. I wandered through meadows passed Elter Water to reach a foot-bridge spanning the beck above Skelwith Force, a short diversion leads to the waterfall, as I've been many times I gave it a miss. After crossing the bridge a good path ushered me through Skelwith Woods ejecting me into sheep pastures near Park House. On I wandered passed a number of farmsteads and holiday homes, a steep set of steps descended to the Little Langdale Road, I descended with them before entering Colwith Woodland. The right hand path leads to Colwith Force, a must visit if you've never been there, I have so ascended the hill, a fine climb through mixed woodland followed I enlightened onto a narrow tarmac lane leading passed High Park and Stang End, it descended into a narrow side valley before turning into a stoney track.

With the infant River Brathay to my right and steep slopes of quarry spoil my left I wandered along said track, the remains of a stile allowed access to the slopes of shifting spoil, I climbed the stile, ascended over shifting slate to reach a level shelf to be welcomed by the entrance to The Cathedral Quarry. Honed from Lakeland rock by the hard rock miners of Little Langdale this network of interlocking quarries is always worth a visit, I entered.

I always find these quarry workings creepy, I've experienced strange shadows on photos in the past, have encountered footsteps with no explanation, today they were full of life, many people were out exploring. Lets ponder over creepy a minute, as I entered the main chamber the low battery alarm on my GPS sounded, simultaneously the equivalent alarm on my camera came to life, two sets of spare batteries concealed in my bag I discovered were also flat, how strange is that. I managed to get two batteries to run the GPS but the camera batteries had to be carried in the warmth of my pocket, inserted into the camera only when I felt the need to take a photo.

On leaving the quarry I crossed a gem of a bridge, Slater Bridge, constructed by the quarrymen of Little Langdale sometime between 1650-1750. The path then guided me to the Little Langdale Road, I crossed to access the tarmac lane leading to Dale End, from the farm it was a rough quarry track that safely ushered me back to Elterwater and the delights of the Britannia Inn.

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On the banks of Great Langdale Beck looking to Loughrigg Fell.

Elter Water dwarfed by the dramatic rock architecture of the Langdale Pikes.

The high skyline is Wetherlam kissed by cloud under a light dusting of snow.

The reason one has to keep looking over ones shoulder, striking isn't it, the Langdale skyline.

Ascending to Park House with this view across Great Langdale for company.

En route through Colwith Woodland.

Spectacular views over High Park.

There are some wonderful views to be had from this narrow ribbon of tarmac descending passed High Park and Stang End....

....Lingmoor Fell over Little Langdale....

....Pike of Blisco with the Langdale Pikes under a light dusting of snow.

Rolling summits, scudding cloud and wonderful scenery....

....then we arrive at this, The Cathedral, a shock to the system, a network of interlocking quarries honed from Lakeland rock by the quarrymen of Little Langdale.

Looking down into the main chamber., a fitting memorial to the quarrymen of Little Langdale.

Slater Bridge, built by the men whom cut these slate caverns.

A window into a past way of life, all ghosts now.

On view from the vast spoil heaps at the entrance to these slate caverns Little Langdale Tarn.

Looking to the Blake Rigg face of Pike of Blisco.

About to close the book on a slice of Lakeland industrial history, with a final look across Little Langdale, the miners would make their weary way home to their cottages in Little Langdale and Elterwater, I'm about to tread in their footfall.

Slater Bridge built by the quarrymen of Little Langdale.

Viewing Little Langdale Tarn and the infant River Brathay.

Looking to the Greenburn Valley closed by the cliffs of Great Carrs with Wetherlam rising to the left and Wet Side Edge dropping to the right.

Dale End marks the start of the descent back to Elterwater.

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