Coast to Coast – Patterdale to Haweswater

Date: 17 April 2019 Weather: 20’C, sunny spells, hazy
Height gain: 2,644 ft Distance: 8.4 miles
Time taken: 6.5 hours Wainwrights: 74, 75, 76 of 214

We’ve decided to start our Coast to Coast walk somewhere en-route – mainly so that the initial sections we walk are closer to home.  Today is going to be a glorious day so we decide to make this our first section so we can combine a Coast to Coast walk with adding three new Wainwrights to the list.

We set off from home in reasonable time and in separate cars heading for the car park at the end of Haweswater Reservoir which will be the end point of today’s walk.  It’s a long time since we’ve done a “two car” walk so lots of faffing had to be done to make sure we had all the right things in the right cars – including remembering a second pair of shoes to be left in the endpoint car.  Unusually we also made our own sandwiches today – not popular with S who prefers a pasty on the mountainside.

The drive to Haweswater was uneventful and took about 45 minutes.  We arrived at just gone 10 am to find a very busy car-park which was already full, but we found a good spot in the first big layby back along the road for my car to be left.  I made doubly sure I had my car keys on me before hopping into S’s car for the trip to Patterdale.  It took a long time – almost an hour, including the last few miles behind what was surely the slowest car in Cumbria today.  The driver pulled over to let us past just as we got to Patterdale, only about 100 metres from the car-park, which she then pulled into herself.

The Patterdale car park was also very busy, but we found a spot by the wall close to the pay machine.  We managed to find £4.50 in coins and got our ticket for the day.  We changed quickly into boots and loaded up the rucksacks and made a fast bee-line for the toilets just past the village store in Patterdale.

Duly refreshed we headed out of the village and turned right for Boredale Hause which is a well defined path which climbs 1,000ft along the side of Place Fell with great views across the valley.  It’s a familiar route we’ve done a few times before as it can be the start for many different mountains.  Sometimes it seems steep and hard work and sometimes it seems a gentle start to a climb.  Today I was really struggling but S was having no problems – it was the other way around when we were here 11 months ago for a climb to Angletarn Pikes.

Like the car parks, the route was very busy with a wide variety of walking groups, especially lots of families.  It’s two days before Good Friday and a late Easter so school holidays are in full swing.  Good to see so many small people in full walking gear clearly enjoying themselves in the mountains – although I felt envious of their ability to talk at the same time as going uphill.

We were keeping pace with a woman walking with her four dogs of varying sizes and enthusiasm.  She was struggling a bit with the heat but eventually overtook us heading for Place Fell.

We turned right at the top of the Hause to head for Angle Tarn and happily for us everyone else seemed to be heading for Place Fell so within a few metres we left the crowds behind.  I was surprised as I thought Angle Tarn would be very popular on a lovely day like today.

The next mile walking beside the Tarn was the highlight of the walk.  We stopped for lunch at the far end of the tarn, looking across at the Helvellyn range:

Angletarn 1

And as it was so beautiful here it is again, looking back at Heck Crag and the path we’d walked along:

Angletarn 2

We took our time eating our sandwiches and enjoying the warmth, the quiet and the views, even if they were a little hazy.  Somewhat reluctantly we decided it was time to carry on.  We headed over Satura Crag and on towards The Knott, our first Wainwright of the walk.  We both remembered the last time we had done this section of the walk, in the opposite direction The Knott to Angletarn Pikes.  Wainwright describes the ridge route as “an interesting walk full of variety” with only 300ft of ascent.  We found it was over 2 miles of stony, undulating, uneven walking which went up and down over and over again until we’d nearly lost the will to live.

It seemed much more straightforward in this direction, although we did find ourselves heading for Rest Dodd instead of the The Knott.  We came down the 100ft we’d climbed in error to join the lower path which bypasses Rest Dodd and when I worked out which one was actually The Knott it looked a very long way away.  However, we kept plodding along and it soon got closer.

There’s a good zig-zag path which takes you up the last 600ft.  Lunch had sorted out my energy levels and I was doing fine at this point, unfortunately heavy sandwiches had had the opposite effect on S.  By the time we eventually reached the top of The Knott I had a very tired S on my hands.

We took the obligatory summit shot:

Top The Knott

….. then found a spot just below it to eat the last of our sandwiches.  The views across to High Street are impressive:

To High Street crop

After our food we walked the 100ft back down to the col then had a straightforward 200ft ascent up Rampsgill Head.  Not a very distinctive top, but at least we can find it unlike last time we were here in thick hill fog:

Rampsgill Head a

A quick photo then the short stroll across to the high point of the Coast to Coast walk, Kidsty Pike:

Top KP a

It has stunning views down what looks like a sheer drop into the valley:

From top KPa

After yet more photos we start to make our way down.  The descent starts very gently as we walk along a ridge with great views of the High Street ridge to our right.  There is only one steep rocky section as we negotiate Kidsty Howes.  We pick our way down carefully as an eight year old girl hanging onto an enthusiastic Labrador marches confidently past us, Dad in tow a few metres behind.  We reach the grass again and progress is once again straightforward and we’re soon back to the edge of Haweswater, looking lovely in the evening sunshine:

Haweswater

At this point we come off the Coast to Coast route to get back to the car – a couple of miles over a grassy tree covered knoll then along the reservoir and over the footbridge to reach the Mardale Head car park.  The car is nicely in shade – which is fortunate as I realise on the way back to Patterdale that the air-con has stopped working – a trip to the garage is needed for regassing.  We take a better route back to Patterdale and at this time in the evening the roads are quieter and the journey home a lot quicker then the journey across this morning.

A great start to the Coast to Coast on a beautiful April day which was surprisingly quiet once we left the masses to enjoy their day on Place Fell.