Low Level Walk to Skelwith Force and Cathedral Cavern – (From Elterwater).

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By Lancashire Lad on 02/06/20 at 2:58pm (last edited 04/06/20 at 1:11pm)

Date started:01/06/2020
Distance:14.2 km or 8.8 miles
Ascent:439m or 1440ft
Descent:439m or 1440ft
Start OSGB:NY327047
Time taken:5:16

After several weeks of Covid-19 "Lockdown", recent easing of government legislation (within England) currently allows travelling of any distance for the purpose of outdoor recreation and exercise, so long as social distancing measures are properly maintained.
Cumbria County Council and the Lake District National Park Authority are beginning to gradually "open up" the area to visitors once again, and the National Trust have reopened several of their car parks in the area. These authorities continue to advise that visitors should take all necessary measures to prevent potential Covid-19 transmission, and respect the needs of local communities.
In order to lessen the chances of call-outs, and minimise potential Covid-19 transmission to its members, the Lake District's Mountain Rescue Teams are currently advising walkers to keep within their limits, and for preference, refrain from venturing onto the high fells.
With these things in mind, but also with a burning desire to get out amongst the fells again, I decided to have a trip up to the Lakes with the intention of doing an easy, low level amble in the Little Langdale area.

GPX track of the route: -

Parking up in the National Trust car park beside the bridge at Elterwater, I walked along the riverside path towards Skelwith Bridge.
This is a lovely part of the walk, with a wide, level path, and some superb views across the water to the Langdale Pikes and Wetherlam.

Looking across Elterwater, towards the Langdale Pikes: -

Another view of the Langdale Pikes, taken from the area where River Brathay flows out of Elterwater: -

Wetherlam, with Great Carrs beyond, seen across the River Brathay: -

Still heading towards Skelwith Bridge, I came to the (relatively) recently installed "Woodburn" bridge. Before crossing the bridge, I continued on for another 100yds or so, to have a look at Skelwith Force.

Skelwith Force: -

The view upstream from Skelwith Force. - Amongst the trees, Woodburn Bridge, to which I would return momentarily, can just be seen in the distance: -

Woodburn Bridge. - Installed in 2007, and named in honour of local parish council chairman, Mr Trevor Woodburn: -

The symmetry of Woodburn Bridge: -

Continuing onwards, (after crossing Woodburn Bridge), I followed the path through the woods, and across various fields, passing by Park House, Park Farm, Low Park, and Low Colwith, eventually reaching High Colwith.
It was there that I realised I had slightly gone astray from my intended route, needing to retrace my steps for about two hundred yards, before continuing onwards to High Park, Stang End, and Hodge Close.
From the Old Forge at Hodge Close, I took the path across to the Tilberthwaite to Little Langdale Bridleway, skirting Moss Rigg Wood before ascending leftwards into the Little Langdale Quarries area, towards Cathedral Cavern.

Little Langdale Quarries sign: -

I made my way to Cathedral Cavern via the "long tunnel". - This tunnel is about 100yds in length, and has a headroom of about 5ft. The floor is level, but can be several inches deep in water at various parts along the way. - Fortunately, with all of the dry weather of late, there wasn't much water in evidence, and my boots remained dry!
NB: This tunnel is pitch black and needs a suitable head-torch or flashlight to safely negotiate its length. Note that the tunnel splits as you approach the Cathedral Cavern end. You should bear towards the "light at the end of the tunnel" which will be seen slightly towards your right hand side.

The entrance to the "long tunnel" which goes to Cathedral Cavern: -

Walking to your right as you exit the tunnel brings you onto the "balcony viewpoint" of the upper level area, from where you can look down into the impressive chamber of Cathedral Cavern. Behind you at this point is an area of jumbled rocks and boulders, over which you can (with care!), safely scramble down to an arch-like opening, giving you access into the main chamber.

Looking down into Cathedral Cavern from the upper level: -

Looking across the main chamber after having scrambled down the "rock jumble": -

Looking back across the main chamber towards the upper level viewpoint: -

An unnamed bridge, located about 300yds downstream of Slater Bridge: -

Slater Bridge, with part of Lingmoor Fell beyond: -

A closer view of Slater Bridge: -

Looking downstream from beside Slater Bridge: -

Distinctive red waterweed in River Brathay, immediately beside Slater Bridge: -
(I've seen this red weed elsewhere in Lake District waterways, but have not yet managed to find out exactly what species it is).

Little Langdale Tarn, as seen from the path towards High Birk Howe Farm, having just left Slater Bridge: -

Having completed the walk, and now on my way home, a final shot taken from beside the cattle grid near Elterwater village.
A shot that I've taken many times over the years, and one of my very favourite views of the Langdale Pikes: -

Not my typical "high fells" kind of Lake District walk, and with several "social distancing" and other Covid-19 measures needing to be taken into account. - But a great walk nevertheless, and oh so good just to be able to experience this fantastic area once again.


By TallPaul on 06/06/20 at 11:53am

Nice photos, and you certainly got the best of the weather.

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