Elterwater and Little Langdale.
Route. Elterwater - Elterwater Hotel - Howe Banks - Dale End - Little Langdale - High Birk Howe - Slater Bridge - Cathedral Quarry - Stang End - High Park - Colwith Force - Park Farm - Park House - Skelwith Force - Elter Water - Elterwater.
Notes. I was supposed to be out yesterday, a day to be spent wandering wonderful ridge lines drinking in stunning views. Work called I was needed elsewhere, well it pays the bills. I sat watching the sun rise, painting the horizon a deep red, you know what they say about red sky in the morning. It was the next morning, I was driving into the Lakes, heavy drizzle plastering the wind screen, I hadn't a clue where I was heading. In the event I ended up in Elterwater, to my surprise I wasn't the only clown heading out on a day like today. You've came this far you might as well come along for the rest of this wet miserable outing.
Elterwater was dank and overcast, the hills that so often look down on the tiny village shrouded in mist, a real colourless scene. I left the car in the National Trust car park next to the river, wandered over the narrow road bridge then continued along the tarmac lane heading south, just after the Elterwater Hotel a lane emerged from my right, a friendly finger-post promised passage to Little Langdale. This was my route, first over tarmac then over a rough ankle breaker of a track once the main route to Little Langdale and the quarries at Tilberthwaite.
Between dry stone walls I climbed, through dripping woodland passed long abandoned quarry workings. When I crested the hill it was a short walk to Dale End Farm marking the start of my descent into Little Langdale. With tarmac now under my boot soles I descended to the Little Langdale Road, immediately opposite a farm track, this I followed to join a foot-path leading to Slater Bridge, a Lakeland icon, a must see. I crossed the infant River Brathay at this delightful little bridge before stepping into a walled lane, I swung left between dry stone walls and piles of quarry spoil I wandered, hunting for a path that would guide me to the Cathedral. A small network of inter-linked quarries best known for the main chamber, which stands 40ft in height supported by an inferior pillar of slate, a large window from the main quarry lights the chamber, I had a quick wander around then left.
Continuing along the walled track I soon found myself ascending over tarmac, passed Stang End then on to High Park, here I joined a foot-path that guided me firstly along the edge of sheep pastures then into Colwith Force Wood. After taking the left hand of two paths I descended to Colwith Force, marveled at the twin cascades and sat a while, when a large contingent of walkers arrived I left. My route followed the river to the Little Langdale Road, another foot-path then guided me passed a couple of farms into the woodland guarding Skelwith Force, another fine cascade, one you can get close and personal with, feel the spray and power. Having had my fill of waterfalls I turned to head back to Elterwater, an easy last few miles in the company of the River Brathay and Elter Water, on a good day the views to the Langdale Pikes are superb, alas today nothing just a wall of murk.
view route map.
The road bridge at Elterwater.
This tasteful barn conversion marks the spot I left the road, the start of the ascent to Little Langdale.
Fletcher's Wood kisses the low cloud base.
Viewing my ascent route, for many years carrying horse drawn traffic and the miners of Elterwater over the fell to their place of work in the slate mines of Little Langdale and Tilberthwaite.
It's a grey day in Little Langdale.
Viewing Little Langdale Tarn from the path to Slater Bridge.
Slater Bridge, a real Lakeland gem, built by the quarrymen of Little Langdale sometime between 1650-1750.
Lingmoor Fell through the days murk.
Looking towards Wrynose Fell and Pike of Blisco, take my word for it, there up there somewhere.
A quick look into the Cathedral.
Viewing Lingmoor Fell from the entrance to the Cathedral.
Evaporating into the Lakeland mist.
Lingmoor Fell as viewed over Little Langdale.
Looking to Stang End, the white washed farm building at the end of the lane.
Descending through dripping woodland en route to Colwith Force.
The River Brathay above Colwith Force.
The majesty of Colwith Force, the River Brathay plunges 40ft over a number of shelves, a noisy corner of this quiet woodland.
Birch woods near Park House.
!7ft of noise and spray as the combined waters of the River Brathay and Great Langdale Beck squeeze through this narrow gap.
The woodland of Little Loughrigg seen from the banks of the River Brathay.
The River Brathay looking to Huntingstile Crag.
Elter Water, almost at journeys end.
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