The Hag Beck Skyline.

Start. Patterdale.

Route. Patterdale - Oxford Crag - Arnison Crag - Trough Head - Birks - Thornhow End - Glenamara Park - Patterdale.

Notes. This was a shorter version of the walk I'd originally planned, a rather inclement weather forecast for the afternoon forced me and a number of other walkers I met on the hill to re-think our plans. As it happens this is the Lake District and the weather is unpredictable at the best of times, although the day dulled I never saw any rain or the thunderstorms that were promised. Hag Beck drains the eastern slopes of Birks cutting a small valley known as Glenamara Park, to the east some of Lakeland's lesser heights, Oxford Crag and Arnison Crag, at the head of the valley the deep but easily crossed ravine named Trough Head.

My day started in Patterdale wandering along a path that cuts a route through woodland to the rear of Patterdale Hotel, after crossing a stile I soon reached a dry stone wall and gate allowing access to Glenamara Park, ignoring the gate I turned up hill, in the company of the wall I ascended Oxford Crag before reaching the summit of Arnison Crag. From Arnison Crag my route continued south on a wonderful green trod winding it's way to Trough Head, which I crossed to continue my ascent over the slopes of Birks. Heading in the direction of Gavel Moss I eventually reached the busy coll between the grassy slopes of Birks and the steep craggy ascent of St Sunday Crag, here a good path leads north-east to the lonely summit of Birks. I picked a comfy clump of moss and sat for ages killing time watching walkers ascend St Sunday Crag, across the valley the long drag to the Hole in the Wall. Reluctantly I decided it was time to descend, I swung my bag over my shoulder then followed the path above Black Crag before making the steep descent to Thornhow End. The descent continued now on a pitched path, depositing me on the very popular footpath through Glenamara Park, I turned right in the direction of Patterdale. After fording Hag Beck and passing through the gate I'd ignored earlier, I stepped back into the woodland behind Patterdale Hotel.

view route map.


Hidden by the birch woods Patterdale Hotel, too high to be hidden Place Fell across Patterdale.

Just before I start climbing my first view of Ullswater.

Ullswater from Oxford Crag.

Catching the sun, seen from near the summit Arnison Crag, Dove Crag and Hart Crag.

Towering above the Patterdale valley, Hartsop Dodd and Gray Crag with the long ridge of High Street reaching across the skyline, in the middle distance Brock Crags.

On the summit of Arnison Crag with sunlight illuminating the pyramidal profile of Catstye Cam, in the middle distance my descent route Thornhow End.

One of the stunning views from the summit of Arnison Crag, let the shadowed Deepdale face of Hartsop above How carry the eye to Dove Crag and Hart Crag, with the pointed summit of Lord's Seat seen over Trough Head.

Striding out on a little used path, looking back to Arnison Crag.

I'm on a short horseshoe walk today, here's a spectacular view to another, Hartsop Dodd leading to Coudale Moor.

Rising ominously behind Arnison Crag, Place Fell, look closely there's another walker on the hill.

Seen over Trough Head Lord's Seat leading to St Sunday Crag.

On the approach to Trough Head, looking to Dove and Hart Crags over Deepdale.

I've just rounded the corner to be greeted by this view, High Spying How leading to Striding Edge and a cloud capped Helvellyn, the obvious path leads to St Sunday Crag.

The lonely summit cairn on Birks looking to the steep slopes of St Sunday Crag.

The coves and wonderful ridges of the Helvellyn massif, from right to left, Helvellyn itself, the deep bowl of Nethermost Cove, with the ridge leading onto Nethermost Pike, High Crag above Ruthwaite Cove and to the left Dollywaggon Pike, all seen from my comfy perch on Birks.

Sheffield Pike and Glenridding Dodd seen from near the summit of Birks.

A slightly different angle of the Helvellyn massif, this shot includes Catstye Cam over Low Spying How, with the shadowed slopes of St Sunday Crag to the far left.

Above Black Crag with a quite magical view over Arnison Crag.

Seen from the steep descent to Thornhow End the cliffs of Bleaberry Crag and Low Spying How, the path across the valley leads to The Hole in the Wall.

As I reach the foot of my descent the cloud begins it's descent, views up Grisedale.

Spring foliage across Grisedale with Sheffield Pike dominating the horizon.

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