Elter Water and the Waterfalls.

Start. Elterwater.

Route. Elterwater - Elterwater Hostel - Dale End - Little Langdale - Slater Bridge - Stang End - High Park - Skelwith Force - Side Gates (Little Langdale Road) - Park Farm - Park House - Skelwith Force - Cumbria Way - Elter Water - Elterwater.

Notes. Every fell walker needs a number of low level walks for the off-day, the wet day or just the rest day, this is possibly one of my favourite wet day walks. One of the best with a liberal mix of lakes, woods and waterfalls. You may pose the question, what's he doing here on a dry day? Because it was supposed to be overcast, misty and wet, you can't trust anybody these days not even the weather gods.

I parked on the National Trust car park at Elterwater, crossed the bridge then left the village, after passing Elterwater Hostel a finger-post depicting a mountain biker announced the challenging route to Coniston. I followed this track as it ascended over steep ground, tarmac at first before a stoney ankle breaker of a track took over. Passed disused quarries I climbed, over the shoulder of the hill before descending to Dale End and a narrow stretch of tarmac. Between hedge rows I continued to access the narrow valley road and the start of a path signed Slater Bridge.

The short walk through sheep pastures to Slater Bridge gifts the rambler with stunning views over Little Langdale Tarn, today the views were atmospheric, alive as sunlight painted the vast bowl containing the tarn with a curtain of dark cloud hanging over the valley head, I stopped many times. The final time was at Slater Bridge, a real gem, a stone footbridge in two parts, a slate slab and traditional arch connect on a rocky island in the middle of the infant River Brathay.

I left Slater Bridge joining a stoney lane running passed mountains of quarry spoil, wandering east this lane ushered me onto tarmac, passed Stang End then on to High Park where I left the track descending through woodland to witness the spectacle of Colwith Force. Twin cascades drop around 40ft in several stages, a noisy corner of this otherwise quiet woodland.

My route followed the river down stream, crossing the Little Langdale Road to join another path cutting through rough pastures, after ascending a steep flight of steps I wandered passed Park Farm then Park House to access woodland once again. This woodland path ushered me to noise and commotion, more white water as the combined waters of the River Brathay and Great Langdale Beck thunder through a narrow gorge plunging 17ft into a deep pool, you can get close and personal with this spectacular curtain, feel the force, just take care.

If you haven't fallen in we'll wander back along the Cumbria Way the River Brathay and Elter Water for company, usually you get stunning mountain views, but not today they still have the drapes down, the Langdale Pikes are having a lay in. Lets hope the landlord of the 500 year old Britannia Inn in Elterwater is up, it will be lunch time when I wander back into the village.

view route map.


The track guiding me out of Great Langdale, a route of old probably the main road into Little Langdale and on to Coniston.

Dale End with views to a misty Birk Fell with Wetherlam vanishing into the murk.

The saw tooth skyline of Black Fell seen over Little Langdale.

Who can resist a rainbow, Lingmoor Fell seen from pastures above Little Langdale Tarn.

A wonderful play of light over Little Langdale Tarn, if it's all the sunlight I get it will be worth coming out.

Built by the quarrymen of Little Langdale sometime between 1650-1750, Slater Bridge.

A splash of colour on Howe Bank.

Drinking in the view from near High Park.

Woodland walking, descending to Colwith Force.

The River Brathay at Colwith Force.

Stunning in these conditions, the combined waters of the River Brathay and Great Langdale Beck thunder over a slate lip forming Skelwith Force, you can get up close and personal with this one, take care.

Spanning the river above Skelwith Force, the Trevor Woodburn Bridge.

Looking to Dow Bank and Huntingstile Crag from the banks of the River Brathay.

The River Brathay Reflections.

View taken over Birk Rigg Park.

Elter Water backed by Lingmoor Fell with the Langdale Pikes under cloud to the right.

Dow Bank above Elterwater village.

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