The Coledale Round.

Start. Braithwaite.

Route. Braithwaite - Whinlatter Pass - Kinn - Sleet How - Grisedale Pike - Hobcarton Crag - Hopegill Head - Sand Hill - Coledale Hause - Grasmoor - Crag Hill (Eel Crag) - Sail - High Moss - Outerside - Low Moss - Stile End - Barrow Door - Barrow - Braithwaite Lodge - Braithwaite.

Notes. This is a Lakeland classic, high, wide and handsome views all day, wonderful airy ridge walking, it's not easy but then if it was there would be lots more walkers on the hill. In the past I've always omitted Grasmoor in favour of the scramble up Eel Crag, today Grasmoor's in favour, as are Outerside, Stile End and Barrow, instead of the long ridge leading across Scar Crags to Causey Pike, I'll save those for my next visit.

I left Braithwaite ascending the Whinlatter Pass road, five hundred yards into the climb a small car park allowed access to a set of steps leading onto the fell. From here my route was simple but not easy, I just followed the path, first north before swinging south west, ascending Kinn then Sleet How, all part of the steep ascent to the airy wind swept summit of Grisedale Pike. The ridge walk that followed was one of the best, after traversing Hobcarton Crag I made the ascent to the rocky summit of Hopegill Head. A stones throw to the south clearly visible the round featureless top of Sand Hill, I crossed the summit before descending to Coledale Hause, several paths meet at this pass high in the north western fells. I forded the stream to follow a faint path above the Gasgale Gill face of Grasmoor, after an easy climb I stepped onto it's massive summit plateau, a shelter cairn adorns the summit, a good place for a brew and well deserved sandwich.

I hung around on the summit plateau, not wanting to leave, it's just a good place to be, eventually I forced myself to descend. East on a good path crossing Wandop Moss before a short climb to the trig point marking the summit of Crag Hill. The 217ft of descent that followed fell dramatically over two rock steps making for an easy but interesting descent, that was more than could be said for the summit of Sail, a small cairn next to a dry hole (normally a muddy puddle). I carried on descending the ridge on an obvious path eventually reaching Sail Pass, another high mountain pass once the main route between Buttermere and Braithwaite.

This next section could be called the final chapter, the lower but no less interesting summits of Outerside, Stile End and Barrow. Ignoring the ridge path ascending Scar Crags I turned left following the Sail Pass track to High Moss, here I left the path to ascend Outerside. A long never ending descent through heather followed, the narrow path deposited me on Low Moss from where I ascend Stile End. The legs were getting tired, I had to fight temptation, the descend from Barrow Door looked easy, down hill all the way. If I'd succumbed the wonderful views from Barrow would be imaginary, as would the long airy ridge walk back to Braithwaite, on tired legs I ascended my final summit.

view route map.


Seen from the start of the ascent, on the far horizon, Clough Head leading to Great Dodd.

Over the tree tops the rocky summit of Barf, in the valley Bassenthwaite Lake.

Towering above me, in dappled light Grisedale Pike, yes that's the path.

On the steep slopes of Grisedale Pike with a stunning panorama of the Dodds, with sunlight reflecting off the surface of Derwent Water.

As seen from the Sleet How ridge the many shades of green of the Whinlatter Forest.

Across Coledale Barrow backed by Cousey Pike, the small notch to the far right is Sail Pass my descent route later.

Rising high above the head of Coledale, the dramatic rock scenery of Crag Hill and Eel Crag.

Almost at the top looking back down my ascent route, the long ridge of Sleet How.

Descending to Hobcarton Head, in shadow the impressive cliffs of Hopegill Head.

Ascending Hopegill Head looking to the spectacular ridges leading to Ladyside Pike.

The summit of Sand Hill might be featureless but you can't complain about the view, Gasgale Gill between the slopes of Whiteside and Grasmoor.

On a faint path heading up Grasmoor, looking to Whiteside Edge, still the best ridge walk in the Lake District.

Mouth-watering views over Dove Crags, taking in the Loweswater Fells and the Cumbria coastal plane.

A litany of Lakeland giants seen from near the summit of Grasmoor.

Extraordinary views from the summit of Grasmoor.

The scree and heather slopes of Mellbreak rise almost sheer from Crummock Water.

I had to include this shot, a couple of hills walked last weekend, Great Borne and Starling Dodd looking quite insignificant from up here.

On the summit of Crag Hill looking to Skiddaw down the length of Coledale, hills already under my belt to the left, yet to summit the right.

Robinson seen over Knott Rigg.

The high skyline is Skiddaw, the three small hills in the foreground are Outerside, Stile End and Barrow, yet to be climbed.

Viewing the broad grassy saddle of Coledale Hause, with Force Crag presenting a formidable barrier, bottom right.

From Low Moss Tarn views to Stile End.

Ascending Barrow on a re-assuring path, with views over Braithwaite and Bassenthwaite Lake as far as Binsey on the edge of the Lake District.

Gracing the north western skyline, Grisedale Pike, in the foreground Outerside and Stile End.

The stunning view across the green fields of Newlands taking in Derwent Water, the sylvan slopes of Walla Crag leading to Bleaberry Fell, with the Dodds stretched out across the skyline, all makes Barrow a well worth climb.

An inspiring view, in shadow Cat Bells everyone's favorite hill, seen over the lush green pastures of the Newlands valley.

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