We will set off and aim toward Grisedale Tarn and upon arrival, we'll have to decide which path to take to our final destination of Patterdale. We can basically take the high road or the low road. The high road adds about two miles to the walk as well as more climbing and exposure. I'm all for exposure and since this is only a 7.5 mile day, I'll try to get Lauren to agree to the high road. Or perhaps I won't tell her about the low road...
Our guide book says its not a complicated climb up to Grisedale Tarn (I never would have guessed it by the name but that's a mountain lake. Why don't the Brits just call it Grisedale Lake?) and the descent is no more complicated. Just below the tarn is the Brother's Parting Stone, where the story goes that Wadsworth last met with his brother John in 1800. John died at sea a few years later. I plan to leave a pretty stone or flower on the Brother's Parting Stone in case William or John are hanging around.
The route I hope to convince Lauren to take will mean climbing to Helvellyn, the 3rd highest peak in England. We will have already climbed the highest so it should be easy breezy beautiful color girl! This is where the guide book gets dramatic and I quote:
"..having reached the top, you then face a nerve tingling drop on a crumbling slope above Red Tarn, followed by a knife-edge walk along Striding Edge Ridge to reach the trail dropping to Patterdale." Alfred Wainwright himself (the man who designed the Coast to Coast Walk in 1972) himself waxes lyrical about this part of the walk, describing the notorious Striding Edge as "the best quarter mile between St. Bee's and Robin Hood Bay". How then, could we NOT chose the high road?
Fortunately, Patterdale, although a beautiful valley hamlet, remains quite undiscovered and free of crowds. We'll be spending the evening and night at lovely Grisedale Lodge and the magnificent owners have offered to pick us up upon our arrival to Patterdale. We can then walk to a nearby youth hostel for our evening meal. I spoke with the owners of Grisedale Lodge via skype for quite a long time and they were simply gushing with hospitality. I honestly look forward to an evening in their company. I do hope its restful because the next day, we're off to Shap and it'll be a 16 mile day!
It'll be our last day in the Lake District and it will be a difficult one. However, our long day will be rewarded by spending two nights in Shap! We'll arrive, gobble a hot meal and some pints, crash in our beds and then have an entire day to relax. I doubt if we'll walk other than from chair to breakfast table to chair to lunch to chair to dinner to bed!
17 Day Itinerary
Our walk begins in St. Bee's on the West Coast of Great Britain at the Irish Sea. Almost 200 miles later, we will find ourselves at the North Sea in Robin Hood's Bay.
Day 1 - Moor Row, 9 miles The Jasmine House
Day 2 - Ennerdale, 8 miles Low Cock How Farm
Day 3 - Seatoller, 14 miles Seatoller Farm
Day 4 - Grasmere, 10.5 miles Town Head Farm
Day 5 - Patterdale, 7.5 miles Grisdale Lodge
Day 6 - Shap, 16 miles Brookfield House
Day 7 - Orton, 8 miles The Westons
Day 8 - Kirby Stephen, 13.5 miles The Black Bull
Day 9 - Keld, 14 miles Keld Lodge
Day 10 - Richmond, 14 miles The Old Brewery
Day 11 - Danby-Wiske, 14 miles Old School House
Day 12 - Osmotherly, 12 miles 32 South End
Day 13 - Clay Bank Top, 11 miles The Maltkiln House
Day 14 - Blakley Ridge, 8.5 miles The Sevenford House
Day 15 - Grosmont, 14 miles The Station Inn
Day 16 - Robin Hood's Bay, 16 miles The Raven House
Of course, these distances don't account for getting lost and doubling back a few times, avoiding an aggressive herd of heifers or navigating the moors.... or wandering off in search of a pint.