Elter Water and the Delights of Little Langdale.

Start. Elterwater.

Route. Elterwater - Cumbria Way - Elter Water - Skelwith Force - Woodburn Bridge - Skelwith Force Wood - Park House - Park Farm - Colwith Force - High Park - Stang End - Cathedral Quarry - Slater Bridge - High Birk How - Dale End - Sawrey's Wood - Yew Crag - Burlington Quarry - Great Langdale Beck - Elterwater.

Notes. Every self respecting fell walker needs a few low level walks in his or her pocket for those off-days, wet days, or just generally knackered days. This is one of my favourites, with an impressive succession of lakes, woods and waterfalls. Knowing the Lakes would be busy we made an early start, some guy’s dolced tones on the car radios kept telling us to get ready for a barbecue day, a day for sunning yourself in the back garden, bloody hell he was annoying we were driving through heavy drizzle the high tops of Lakeland nowhere to be seen, Sue shut him up and we drove in silence.

With drizzle on our backs we left Elterwater, a good path under foot, the whispering waters of Great Langdale Beck for company, we headed down stream, soon finding ourselves rambling through attractive park land before joining a gravel trod that ushered us to Skelwith Force. Here the joint waters of the River Brathay and Great Langdale Beck take a dive over a 17ft cliff, the power of the torrent is palpable, take care.

Once we’d had our fill we re-traced our steps to a fine footbridge we'd just passed, Woodburn Bridge conveyed us across the river to access woodland paths that in turn guided us into the high pastures of Park Farm, passed Park House we rambled followed by Park Farm. Pastoral walking ended at a set of steps that deposited us on the Little Langdale Road, across the road a finger-post promised passage to Colwith Force.

A short stretch of woodland walking followed to reach the drama of Colwith Force, twin cascades falling around 40ft, with little water in the river it wasn’t so much a drama as a comedy. Undaunted we climbed through the woods emerging at High Park into grey views over Little Langdale, passed Stang End Farm we strolled to access Little Langdale Quarries, the icing on the cake The Cathedral, we spent some time exploring this vast cavern and a number of other quarries before making our way to a Lakeland gem, Slater Bridge. Built between 1650-1750 by the very quarrymen whom mined the Little Langdale Quarries.

From this quaint little bridge we ascended to a narrow tarmac lane, crossed it to join the lane leading to Dale End, this track descends to Elterwater but we opted for a short diversion. After passing Howe Banks we turned off the track, descended through Sawrey’s Wood to Ewe Crag and the massive scar of the Burlington Quarry, we continued descending through the detritus of the slate industry to access the banks of Great Langdale Beck. With a stoney path and the crystal clear waters of Great Langdale Beck for company we headed down stream towards Elterwater, the path soon gave way to the quarry access road, with the beck now cutting through a deep gorge we casually wandered back into Elterwater village.

view route map.


Spanning Great Langdale Beck the single arch of Elterwater Bridge.

From the Cumbria Way views to a grey Dow Bank.

Great Langdale Beck above Elter Water.

On a calm but grey morning, Elter Water.

Elter Water looking towards Lingmoor Fell.

Wild flower meadows above Skelwith Force.

Skelwith Force where the combined waters of Great Langdale Beck and the River Brathay take a dive into lower pastures.

Loughrigg Fell seen over Low Park.

Not so spectacular today, it's a while since we saw any rain in the Lake District, Colwith Force.

The River Brathey above Colwith Force.

High Park backed by rain washed Lingmoor Fell.

Views across Little Langdale taking in Lingmoor Fell and Howe Bank.

The spectacular Cathedral Cave part of the quarry complex known as the Cathedral Quarries, at 40ft high unless your a climber this has got to be the main attraction.

Escaping The Cathedral we have views to Blake Rigg and cloud capped Pike of Blisco.

A Lakeland gem, Slater Bridge, built by the very people who hewed the Cathedral Cave out of Lakeland slate.

Little Langdale Tarn seen from High Birk Howe.

Near Howe Bank viewing Low Fell and Betsy Crag with Wetherlam under a grey vale of cloud.

Descending into Great Langdale looking towards the Langdale Pikes.

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