Driving along the road between Patterdale and Glenridding it is very easy to miss the steep fall of St Sunday Crag's north east ridge. Tucked away behind trees and the church of St Patrick's, those who look that way deliberately tend to have eyes for the way to Helvellyn and Striding Edge. Blink and the little fell of Birks will be gone. The summit ridge is rather plain grass, the summit cairn just a small un-majestic gathering of stones. Hardly fitting for the dramatic, steeply sided fell presented from Glenamara Park at its base. Although it is initially a steep climb a stone pitched path makes the footwork easy and the only difficulty is finding the concerted effort required to keep on going. Just reward are the views behind to Ullswater and beyond. Higher up the view across to Birkhouse Moor, Nethermost Cove, and on into Grisedale is spectacular.
Walking through Glenamara Park you are bound to meet the lovely Aberdeen Angus cattle the National Trust have put in to control the bracken, and allow new trees to establish. Cows graze differently to those highly efficient woolly mowers called sheep that chop everything down to the turf. Whilst they are a pretty laid back breed it's wise to be careful around them especially if you have a dog. Jessie and Beth walked past the small herd only a couple of metres off the path without a hint of trouble. Always treat them with great respect, and if any doubt remains come back another day. You may meet some more cattle on the way to Arnison Crag, but these were too far away to determine what breed they were or their friendliness.
Arnison Crag on the other side of the park, rising directly above Patterdale has arguably better views of Ullswater looking straight down onto the southern end and the Glenridding pier. It's also a fine viewpoint for Place Fell. Any crag with juniper growing amongst its rocky summit outcrop scores extra points with us. Much like Birks, we think it is unfairly under-rated.
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.
If you need accommodation we have details of 14 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Return to the road from the car park and turn right to head towards Glenridding. At the end of the straight bit, follow the road round to the left, past the church, and then turn into the first left signposted "Lane to Grisedale" which is just before Grisedale Bridge.
The entrance to Patterdale Hall is soon to your right, continue on the road, don't take the driveway to Home Farm but follow the road as it takes a right turn and begins to climb steeply. Pass Close Cottage on the right, and shortly after turn left through the field gate signposted public footpath. Follow the path up through the field to the gate in the fence above. This is Glenamara Park.
A path makes its way along the fence linking Patterdale to Grisedale however continue straight ahead to now climb steeply upwards.
A short section of rough path quickly makes way for well established stone pitching. Climbing through bracken and well spaced trees it makes steep and steady progress to the right hand side of the craggy ridge line. Approaching the wall it bears left to climb roughly to the knoll of Thornhow End and a gate.
Go through the gate and continue ahead. Less steeply this airy path still climbs and has excellent views down into and across Grisedale to Birkhouse Moor. Ignore the path on the left climbing steeply again, our route is ahead on an easy path to the col between Birks and St Sunday Crag. Approaching the col the path bears slightly left to climb a wide and shallow gully which is a little boggy, at the top of which the path is indistinct. Have confidence and continue ahead aiming for the visible col and the path returns within a few metres.
Reaching the small col and ridgeline, turn sharp left to ascend a narrow path climbing grass slopes. The path meanders across a couple of minor bumps to reach the the summit marked by a small squat cairn.
Continue along the path from the summit for just under 200m (220 yards), where at a slightly set back collection of stones turn right on a faint path through the grass. This soon bears right again and then left to join alongside a wall. Keep the wall on your left and follow it down the steep fellside.
Reaching a grassy mossy knoll where the path appears to split, the wall and lesser path going left, take the slightly more worn branch around to the right. This drops to cross the dry Hag Beck just below Trough Head.
Climb the bank the other side and turn left on a path heading north east for Arnison Crag. This path meanders and undulates along a wide ridge. Minor tops appear on both sides, the path generally takes the middle line between them and is a little boggy. Occasional tarns or puddles may be useful to a dog.
The path continues to the left hand side of the tall rocky outcrop of Arnison Crag. At a small col below it turn right and follow the path as it climbs along a handy rake and as it looks like it might miss the summit it swings left for the final clamber to the cairn.
Return from the summit outcrop back to the small col and turn right to continue descending alongside the wall. Eventually, after many fine views to Ullswater and the surrounding fells you reach a gate in the wall. Don't go through the gate back into Glenamara Park, but turn right. Continue to the gate on the path, go through, and where the path splits bear left to drops down to the back of the Patterdale Hotel. Bear left and return to the road directly opposite the car park.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|St Sunday Crag and Grisedale Tarn||36m (40 yards) away|
|A visit to Place Fell overlooking Ullswater||41m (45 yards) away|
|Place Fell and a stroll alongside Ullswater||184m (202 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||1.3km (0.8 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||1.4km (0.9 miles) away|
|The Dovedale Round: Hartsop above How, Hart Crag, High Hartsop Dodd||2.7km (1.7 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