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Wast Water - Scafells
Wast Water
Patterdale - Helvellyn
Great Gable from Scafell Pike
Great Gable from Scafell Pike on the previous day. Styhead Tarn and Pass are to the right leading to Borrowdale with Derwentwater at its head. The peak above Derwentwater on the horizon is Skiddaw.
Kirkby Stephen
Danby Wiske
Ingleby Cross
Clay Bank
Lion Inn

Today was planned as an easy day to recover from what I hoped would be a couple of strenuous days in the hills around Wasdale. Actually the first day was a bit of a stroll and yesterday was fairly easy as well. However the only reasonable alternative was to haul a heavy pack over to Grasmere via Styhead Pass, Esk Hause and the Langdale Pikes. Thus I slept in a little, took my time packing up and finally left around 10 am.

The path up Wasdale starts in the gap between the inn and the other buildings - following a stream behind the houses for 100 metres until the stream is crossed. On the other bank of the stream, various fields are passed through until the valley narrows and a stone wall intervenes between the broad path and the stream. The other side of the path is formed by the steepening slopes leading up to Kirkfell.

A couple of kilometres (or so) from the inn, the path crosses over a creek on a small wooden bridge. The bridge isn't special but it does mark a good point for a stop. Down the dale, you can see the inn and a last sighting of Wast Water. Climbing up beside the creek is Moses' Trod, an old pannier-way (and occasional smuggling route) from the slate quarries above Honister, rising to the col between Kirkfell and Great Gable.

Our way though continues up the valley, at first on a gently rising dirt track and then on a wide stony causeway that climbs (sometimes steeply) along the slopes of Great Gable. Soon the pass is in sight and the gradient decreases as the path gains the tiny ridge above Styhead Tarn. This is quite a crossroads with the all-too-obvious eroded track up the scree on Great Gable to the left, the path dropping to Styhead Tarn ahead of you, a well-formed trail rising off to the right up to Esk Hause and the clear and exciting Corridor Route winding along Great End's slopes over Wasdale.

Stockley Bridge
Stockley Bridge

The path drops slightly to the left hand (north) side of the tarn and follows its outlet stream down into the next valley. At some point the stream is crossed and the path resumes on its southern bank. A kilometre of easy descent brings you to a bend in the dale where the outlying fields of Seathwaite Farm are sketched in by stone walls. The dale merges with the valley above the farm and the path crosses over a neat stone bridge (Stockley Bridge) spanning Grains Gill (this runs down to the River Derwent). This is a nice scenic spot for a break. Upstream of the bridge there is a good view of the Allen Crags and the start of a path up to Esk Hause.

Over the bridge, there is about half a kilometre of walking before Seathwaite Farm is reached. The farm buildings are not entered as the path approaches them and then wanders off to the right through a gate. The path follows a stone wall and eventually reaches the B5289 minor road. Seatoller forms a small cluster of cottages and farm buildings a couple of hundred metres to your left. Head for the carpark at the near end (this is also the terminus for the "Borrowdale" bus from Keswick) to rejoin the Coast to Coast Walk for a while. If you want to stay in the mountains then there is a youth hostel (Honister Hause) a couple of kilometres back along the Coast to Coast Walk.

A stile at the back of the carpark leads to a fork. The right fork is the Coast to Coast Walk and takes you through fields and Johnny's Wood to the Borrowdale Youth Hostel at Longthwaite. A closer inspection of the oaks of Johnny's Wood can be had by taking the left fork which climbs uphill to pass through the centre of the wood and then drop back down to the youth hostel. I arrived at the youth hostel in mid-afternoon so there was initially no one around (British youth hostels open for business at 5 pm) until a couple more walkers arrived. For some reason I decided not to stay at the youth hostel (maybe it was full) but chatted with the walkers for a while before leaving with them along the lane leading to Rosethwaite. They headed through the fields while I kept to the lane and the B5289 road. At Rosethwaite, temptation appeared in the form of a country hotel (the Scafell Hotel) and I quickly gave in.

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