Place Fell overlooks the villages of Patterdale and Glenridding alongside Ullswater, presenting an intimidating jumble of crags and steep rocky scree. But for an old track that would be true. Climbing steeply, but never uncomfortably so, a rustic path makes use of rakes and gullies to outsmart the crags and deposit the enthusiastic walker between Birk Fell and Place Fell.
In good weather there is a lot of scope for exploring this high somewhat boggy ground. In poor as we experienced it is best to stick to the established paths and head for the summit. On the ascent the lower west facing slopes are of grass and bracken. Higher up, you climb through a wonderful collection of our favourite English evergreen; the juniper. Above them the slopes turn to grass and heather and as the gradient eases to the undulating plateau the ground becomes boggy. The easiest descent is south to the crossroads of Boredale Hause, a stone pitched path down Steel Edge ensures a safe and reliable escape.
Parking is severely limited in Patterdale and fills quickly at weekends and holiday times due to this also being the start point of a classic round of the Helvellyn ridges. It is largely limited to the overflow car park of the Patterdale Hotel where a charge is made.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the car park return to the road, cross to the pavement on the other side and turn right.
In 200m (220 yards), just past the school, take the lane alongside the hut signposted "Side Farm". Follow the lane across the bridge over Goldrill Beck and head up to the farm. Go through the farmyard, some folk might want to note the tearoom here, to the track on the opposite side. Turn left on the track and go through the gate.
In just 50m (55 yards) turn right on to a narrow path climbing up on the open fell side of the wall. Keep right through the slate quarry debris to reach the higher path. Turn very sharp left. Keeping right, you shortly reach a cave.
Continue on the path past the cave, climbing gently to a seat, and onward. Approximately 800m (880 yards) past the seat, with Silver Crag and the lower path climbing an obvious shoulder in view ahead, keep an eye open for the narrower path bearing off right. Although not cairned or otherwise marked the start of the path is fairly obvious. Having passed this test bear right and start climbing in earnest. Initially on a fine grass rake, it soon becomes rocky and gets a little slippery when wet. Higher the path meanders through juniper towards Hare Shaw and uses whatever small gullies it can to maintain progress. Bearing right it zigzags a little more directly upwards. Eventually the gradient eases, the grass returns, and so does moss. Entering a shallow ravine with the crag of Hare Shaw on the left, and much higher ground on the right, bear right at the path split. This junction is clear but the natural tendency is to continue ahead.
Follow this meandering path making its way through crag and knoll, and it turns to a more southern direction to the tall trig point on an outcrop of rock - the summit of Place Fell.
With a well timed break in the clouds the views down to Ullswater and the villages are stunning. As is the view to High Street.
Cross the summit and continue on the path heading southwards. Bear right around a boggy patch and then left along the ridgeline to the cairn on Round How.
This southern top can be climbed, and then the path descending Steel Edge rejoined down a short rocky gully.
Continue on the path, now sporting well pitched stones in sections down to Boredale Hause. Turn right in front of the ruins - a collection of stone which could have once been a sheepfold or a windshelter or, as it happens, a chapel.
Descend gently on this boggy path and as the view down opens out again bear right on a descending traverse back towards Side Farm.
Reaching the path coming up from the cottages above the gate, bear left to the gate and then left again on to the tarmac road. The gate on the right drops down to the tearoom at Side Farm ...
Otherwise drop through the cottages, and then bear right back to the main road. Turn right, past the village shop and back into the car park to complete the circle.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|St Sunday Crag and Grisedale Tarn||14m (15 yards) away|
|Birks and Arnison Crag||41m (45 yards) away|
|Place Fell and a stroll alongside Ullswater||222m (244 yards) away|
|Glenridding Dodd||1.3km (0.8 miles) away|
|Lanty's Tarn, Keldas, and Patterdale Circular||1.3km (0.8 miles) away|
|Lanty's Tarn, Birkhouse Moor, Red Tarn, Catstycam||1.4km (0.9 miles) away|
|Helvellyn, The Classic Ridges of Striding and Swirral Edge||1.4km (0.9 miles) away|
|White Side and Raise, from Glenridding||1.4km (0.9 miles) away|
|Glenridding Dodd, Heron Pike and Sheffield Pike||1.4km (0.9 miles) away|
|Greenside Mine and Glenridding Beck Circular Stroll||1.5km (0.9 miles) away|
|The Dovedale Round: Hartsop above How, Hart Crag, High Hartsop Dodd||2.7km (1.6 miles) away|
|Around Hayeswater Reservoir||3.3km (2.0 miles) away|
|Rest Dodd and The Nab||3.3km (2.0 miles) away|
|Pasture Beck Round, from Hartsop||3.3km (2.0 miles) away|
|Brock Crags and Angletarn Pikes circular walk from Hartsop||3.3km (2.0 miles) away|
|Aira Force and Gowbarrow Fell||4.2km (2.6 miles) away|
|A short walk to Hart Side from Park Brow||4.6km (2.8 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011