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COAST TO COAST PATH - Day 4
Grasmere to Patterdale

We did this walk on 25th May 2011. We had had a very nice stay at the Travellers Rest Inn overnight and in the morning set off for Patterdale for what was the shortest days walking of the trip. For once the weather forecast was quite reasonable, with only a small chance of rain predicted, so I was able to wear my Rohan trousers rather than my waterproofs which made a pleasant change; this was one of only two days of the walk that I was able to do so. I had my usual bacon and egg for breakfast and Chris had ordered the continental style breakfast of croissant, jam, bread and cheese. When this arrived there were three huge wedges of cheese, more than enough to have fed all four of us, let alone for one person who had already had a large bowl of porridge; needless to say they didn't get eaten! One thing I noticed on this walk as we were eating out a lot was how big the portions we were given often where, there were numerous occasions when I was unable to eat all I had been given, even after having been out walking all day which did seem rather a waste of food. As it was I actually managed to arrive home heavier than when I had left.

Travellers Rest Inn
Start of the path to Hause Gap
Crossing the stepping stones
(1) Travellers Rest Inn, nr Grasmere
(2) Start of the path to Hause Gap
(3) Crossing the stepping stones

Anyway back to the walking, setting off from the Travellers Rest Inn, photo 1, we only had to head a few yards up the A591 before we reached the bridle path that leads up to Grisedale Tarn. The route heads up besides some cottages, photo 2, along what was the old pony track up to Helvelyn. Reaching some stepping stones across Little Tongue Gill, photo 3 there is a choice of routes up to Hause Gap and we choose the left hand route which appeared to offer the better views.

Path leading up to Hause Gap
Waterfall on Tongue Gill
Approaching Hause Gap
(4) Path leading up to Hause Gap
(5) Waterfall on Tongue Gill
(6) Approaching Hause Gap

This was a long, steep slog uphill so soon after breakfast but the steep ascent meant that it did not take us too long to do the couple of miles or so up to the pass at the top of the hill at Hause Gap. We had all got quite warm on the way up however the cold wind at the top soon had me putting my fleece and coat back on and effectively wearing the same outfit that I wear for winter walking in the south east. Many years ago I had been walking with a couple of friends on Helvelyn in May and they both got sunburnt; this was definitely not going to the case this May. At least as we had been climbing up the cloud level had steadily lifted and by now was clear of the tops of the surrounding peaks.

Grisedale Tarn
Sara on the path to Deepdale Hause
View over to Striding Edge
(7) Grisedale Tarn
(8) Sara on the path to Deepdale Hause
(9) View over to Striding Edge

From Hause Gap we descended down to the head of Grisedale Tarn, photo 7 where there was a parting of the ways. Val continued downhill into Grisedale while Chris, Sara and myself (after much deliberation), joined a footpath on the right that headed up the flank of St Sunday Crag, photo 8, to Deepdale Hause. Over to our left we could see over to Striding Edge, photo 9, across Dollywaggon Pike and Nethermost Pike. Sara and Chris had been considering heading down Striding Edge but in the end it was just too windy to make this a feasible option.

Heading up to Deepdale Hause
Heading towards St Sunday Crag
Approaching the summit
(10) Heading up to Deepdale Hause
(11) Heading towards St Sunday Crag
(12) Approaching the summit

After the slog uphill at the start of the day this was a fairly easy track up, photo 10, and we soon joined the footpath from Fairfield running along the top of the ridge, photo 11. There were excellent views on both sides, to our left over Grisedale towards Helvelyn and Striding Edge and over to the right to Hart Crag and Dove Crag and behind us back to Fairfield and Grisedale Tarn. For a while we able to spot Val heading down Grisedale while we steadily ascended up to the summit of St Sunday Crag along a path that was more or less dry and not too rocky, photo 12. This was actually a pleasure to walk along and I was glad that Sara had convinced me to head up this way.

At the summit of St Sunday Crag
Plotting the route ahead
View over Ullswater
(13) At the summit of St Sunday Crag
(14) Plotting the route ahead
(15) View over Ullswater

The wind was blowing very strongly across the ridge and on a few occasions almost strong enough to blow us over requiring walking poles to be planted firmly in the ground by myself and Sara to steady ourselves and accounts for the rather strangely posed photo on the summit, photo 13. The weather though was still improving and we were walking in sunshine for much of our descent into Patterdale. Soon after leaving the summit, we stopped for a snack break behind some rocks and had a look at the map to plot out where our route tomorrow would be taking us, photo 14, over the other side of Patterdale as well as admiring the views ahead across Ullswater, photo 15.

View over Grisedale
Heading down to Patterdale
View towards Place Fell
(16) View over Grisedale
(17) Heading down to Patterdale
(18) View towards Place Fell

It was a long and often steep' rocky descent which I had to take quite slowly in order not to put too much pressure on my right knee which actually has stood up to all the walking surprisingly well so far. For todays walk I had switched over to my leather boots which although probably more suited to the hills do put more pressure on my knee as the sole of the boots are much more rigid and thus my foot and ankle absorb less of the shocks than when I am wearing the more flexible fabric boots. Having said that my fabric boots, Scarpa ZG65,'s are fairly solid themselves. However after the soaking they got on days two and three they have become incredibly smelly, which is quite strange, they been very wet before but never smelt of anything, now they could double as stink bombs. I have been very surprised to see that three of the walkers who we have met up regularly with are actually doing the walk in fabric walking shoes, not even boots, which in my mind is a bit light for the terrain however all seem to be coping well.
Away to our left we coud see the shadow of the clouds heading over Grisedale making intersting shapes on the hillside, photo 16. As we descended hthe weather warmed up and the lower flanks of the slopes still had a carpet of bluebells amongst the bracken, photo 17. Eventually the descent ended and we joined a more level path that headed off to the right with views ahead to Place Fell, photo 18.

Lane nr Goody Bridge
Sitting outside the Patterdale Hotel
(19) Lane nr Goody Bridge
(20) Sitting outside the Patterdale Hotel

We followed this path into Patterdale where we met up with Val sitting in the sunshine outside the Patterdale Hotel. While we were sitting outside the hotel a couple of RAF jets flew very low overhead down the valley. The entire days walk had only taken four and a half hours and we had a leisurely drink outside the hotel, photo 20 before heading over to the nearby White Lion Inn which was our accommodation for the night. While we were by the hotel the two women who had been at Low Cock How came down the hill as did a couple of lads we had seen at Rosthwaite a couple of days earlier.

After dropping off our bags we headed down the road to Glenridding, where I brought a couple of more pairs of socks to try and counteract the smelly boots, and had a nice cup of coffee sitting outside a cafe. On the way to Glenridding we had met Denis and Sylvie and on the way back me saw Ralph and also some of the large group we had met by the coast on day one and by Ennerdale on day two. We ate at the White Lion where I had my favourite meal of the trip, a Thai prawn red curry. This was one of the days specials and was really well made, complete with a few Kaffir Lime leaves in the sauce. The others were not so pleased with their meals but mine was great which goes to show that even within the same place, on the same day, the quality of the food can vary. It was nice to have had another relaxing day; it had taken me the first three days to really get into my stride and the routine of moving from place to place each night. For the remainder of the walk I felt much more together regards picking the right clothing, eating enough while walking and generally feeling fitter and less tired at the end of the day.

As usual I have uploaded the route of the walk which can be accessed here: Coast to Coast Path Day 4.

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