The Coledale Horseshoe

The Coledale Horseshoe, sometimes called The Coledale Round, is a long walk over the Wainwright Fells surrounding the glacial hanging valley of Coledale, situated above Braithwaite near Keswick. On our route the fells visited include the distinctive Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Crag Hill, Sail, and Outerside, which is usually considered the minimum set. Some people who have an excess of energy also go over Stile End, and/or Barrow which isn't unreasonable, but others go for an even more meandering affair to include Grasmoor, Wandope, Scar Crags, and Causey Pike and then Barrow.

Most people will find the basic round a suitably 'good day out'. The route has a mixed bag of steep ascents, scrambly rocky steps, and pleasant soft underfoot grassy lawns. In summer thick bracken lines the lower paths which gradually makes way for heather as height is gained which is particularly noticed on Outerside as you brush through it. Coledale Hause, the half-way point of the walk, is a wide grassy col at the head of Coledale. Incidentally, just after the Hause, whilst heading for Crag Hill, there is a beck alongside the path which is a good point to replenish water supplies for the rest of the walk.

The start of the walk is at Braithwaite, near Keswick. In the summer holidays parking is available at the village school, otherwise there are some on street spaces around. Near the bottom of Whinlatter Pass there is a small car park, perhaps for a dozen cars, that is handy for the ascent of Grisedale Pike. Only the albeit short climb back up to it at the end of the day may feel a little unwelcome. There is also a campsite in Braithwaite which is handily placed.