Grisedale Tarn, Fairfield and St Sunday Crag

Located in the stunning Grisedale Valley, Cruck Barn and Elm How really are on the doorstep of a walker’s paradise. They are two of our new Ullswater Cottages and being over a mile from the nearest public road with no TV signal means the best thing to do from here is walk!

I have adapted a favourite walk of mine and hope you enjoy it too.

Set off from either property and head deeper into the valley towards what is known as Grisedale Forest despite the very apparent lack of trees. You will pass Ruthwaite Lodge, a climbing hut on your right as you make your way through rocky scenery towards Grisedale Tarn. The imposing craggy face of Dollywagon Pike looms above but wait for your photo opportunity, it is even better further on.

Just off the path before the tarn is Brother’s Parting Stone and much easier to spot from this direction. A poem is inscribed into the stone though it is weatherworn and largely unintelligible. The stone is said to mark the spot where William Wordsworth and his brother John last saw each other before John drowned at sea.

As you reach Grisedale Tarn cross the stepping stones to the left and walk clockwise around the tarn towards Hause Gap and follow the clear path alongside the wall to the summit of Fairfield. Due to the rocky nature of the summit and various piles of stones, shelters and paths in many directions, a map and compass are essential to get off the summit safely in poor conditions.

There are many shelters on Fairfield for a lunch stop and are perfect to survey the view.  The next leg of the walk heads downwards over Cofa Pike a rocky pinnacle between Fairfield and St Sunday Crag. From here don’t forget to look back to Dollywagon Pike across the valley for the impressive view of the craggy face.  

The descent from St Sunday Crag offers several choices, a straight down descent from Birks to Elm How Plantation, which gets you back to your accommodation quickly and directly. However my preference is to walk down over Birks towards Trough Head and through the interesting rocky tops of Arnison Crags. This route takes you straight down into the garden and carpark of the Patterdale Hotel, which is a perfect place to stop for a well deserved pint or cup of tea in the welcoming bar.

It is possible to return home by retracing your steps to the fell wall at the foot of Oxford Crags and then keep the wall on your right all the way back to Elm How Plantation.
 

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