Grisedale Pike via Coledale.

Start. Braithwaite.

Route. Braithwaite - Coledale - Force Crag - Coledale Hause - Sand Hill - Hopegill Head - Hobcarton Crag - Grisedale Pike - Sleet How - Kinn - Braithwaite.

Notes. I've talked about walking with the ghosts of the past many times, in a literal sense if you know what I mean, now close your eyes a second, imagine the scene, I'm walking through Coledale, the sky's alive with scudding cloud, the fells with dancing shadows, a cooling breeze blowing down from the valley head. It's early morning, above the sound of bird song I can here a distant galloping horse, most definitely over cobbles, it sounds like it's thrown a shoe (or only has three legs), I can here a cart rattling as clear as day, the sound reverberated around the fells. The track in front and behind is empty, this is a situation I'm unable to handle, I stop, the horse continues to approach, louder now, I continue walking, each time I stop the sound gets closer, I decide it's maybe better not to stop and continue to Force Crag without looking back. Believe in ghosts or not I bet now I've mentioned it, next time you wander through Coledale your ears will be pricked and you senses a little more alert.

To the affairs of the day, after parking in Braithwaite I made my way up the Whinlatter Road, just as the road begun to climb a finger-post invited me to Couldale Hause, I followed this narrow path through gorse and rowan, it deposited me on the track leading to Force Crag Mine, trying my best to ignore phantom horse drawn carts I wandered up the valley (briskly). On reaching the rusting buildings of the Force Crag Mine I forded the beck before starting my ascent. up the south edge of Force Crag passed a disused dam and on to Coledale Hause, an eventful three miles I'd say.

From Coldedale Hause a loose path guided me onto Sand Hill then across the summit to the craggy crown of Hopegill Head, after a quick brew my sights turned to the ascent of Grisedale Pike, with an obvious ridge path to follow navigation was easy. Above Hobcarton Crags I wandered before my assault on the pike itself, I stopped again the view from the summit was wonderful, after drinking it in a while I started my descent, it was then I realised why everybody else was walking in the opposite direction. Steep and loose, a real ankle breaker, tentatively I descended, stopping regularly to assess the route ahead, I reached the ridge path across Kinn unscathed, soon I was descending back to the Whinlatter Road a few yards uphill from where I left it earlier. Passing the path that carried me into Coledale I was so tempted to wander back into the valley, see if my friend was still galloping around, well maybe next time.

view route map.


A small slice of Braithwaite, from the foot of the Whinlatter road views to the hills bordering Coledale.

Sunlight and shadows welcome me to Coledale, with views to Stile End and Outerside backed by Causey Pike and the long ridge of Scar Crags, to the right the rounded top of Sail with the bulk of Crag Hill closing the head of the valley.

I've just stopped not to admire the views over Braithwaite to Lattrigg and Skiddaw Little Man, but to try and work out where that bloody horse is I can here.

Approaching Force Crag, my route can clearly be seen, over the coll to the left under the Eel Crag face of Crag Hill.

Looking down on the Force Crag Mine, now in the safe hands of the National Trust. A brief history, the last working metal mine in the Lake District, mined for lead from 1839-1865, zinc and barytes from 1867, finally abandoned in 1991, don't you think it looks out of place in the Northwest corner of England, like something from the Klondike, I love it.

Above Force Crag looking down Coledale, dominating the horizon the Skiddaw massif with the shadowed slopes of Outerside and Stile End to the right.

Wonderful views from Coledale Hause.

My high ground for today, Grisedale Pike.

From Coledale Hause views over Gasgale Gill, taking in the Gasgale Crags and the long ridge of Whiteside.

From Sand Hill views into a sun kissed Buttermere valley.

Crag Hill or Eel Crag as old Wainwright preferred to call it, seen over Coledale Hause.

Seen from the summit of Sand Hill, Causey Pike and the Coledale face of Scar Crags.

Seen from Hopegill Head the long ridge walk to Whiteside and the flat lands of the Irish Sea coast.

Drinking in the views from Hopegill Head, the Dove Crag face of Grasmoor....

....and behind me Grisedale Pike and Hobcarton Head.

Who can resist another look along the ridge leading to Whiteside.

Grisedale Pike and Hobcarton Head backed by the long run of the Dodds, all on view from the rocky crown of Hopegill Head.

Viewing Ladyside Pike and the Whinlatter Forest.

Sand Hill and Hopegill head seen from the ascent of Grisedale Pike.

From the summit Grisedale Pike views over the Vale of Keswick.

Let the long ridge of Kinn guide the eye to the Skiddaw massif.

Looking back up my descent route.

Views taken from Kinn, in shadow the slopes of Barrow with the notch of Barrow Door to the right, Swinside's had a bit of a trim, on the far shore of Derwent Water, Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell and High Seat, all backed by a skyline of Helvellyn and the rolling Dodds.

The final view of the day, Bassenthwaite Lake backed by the northern most of the Lakeland fells, Binsey.

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