Lanty's Tarn, Birkhouse Moor, Red Tarn, Catstycam

A classic round of the two Wainwrights of Birkhouse Moor and Catstye Cam often includes Striding and Swirrel Edges, but for some folk the sustained scrambling is a bit too much and they also make for a long day which is not always available. Here is a shorter route which includes the two fells and also visits the picturesque Lanty's Tarn, and Red Tarn which is set between the edges in a dramatic glacial corrie.

The walk starts in Glenridding, passes the village hall and climbs up to Lanty's Tarn. Then, in a slight departure to the typical, we take a direct line up to Birkhouse Moor following a dry stone wall for much of the way. This gives wonderful views back to the village and Ullswater. There are two tops, as the path reaches the ridgeline; the shorter top is not far to the right and worth a short stroll: it feels like it should be the summit. Returning to the wall which goes directly over the highest point and therefore the official summit it is marked by a squat collection of stones. Keeping our companion wall for a bit longer to the iconic Hole-in-the-Wall we then take a well maintained path across the moorland to Red Tarn.

Catstye Cam, or as Wainwright refered to it "Catstycam", is the imposing triangular termination of Swirrel Edge and has a reputation for attracting lightening so if visiting it in a storm watch out and don't linger! The path from Red Tarn up to Swirrel Edge and then along to the summit is a straightforward walk. The summit is at a confluence of three paths, the recommended descents are either the simple retracing of one's steps, or down the east shoulder where there is a clear if steep path. Dropping down Red Tarn Beck the path is rough in places but otherwise well maintained. And the last bit back to Glenridding is along the base of Birkhouse Moor following the line of a water race from when the area was busy with heavily industrialised mine workings.

Red Tarn is home to a small population of the Schelly which is a rare freshwater white fish which is only found in a few tarns in the Lake District and the Arctic.

Lanty's Tarn was named in the 18th century after the owner Lancelot Dobson, Lanty being a lakeland diminutive of Lancelot. It was later owned by the Marshall family of Patterdale Hall, now an outdoor education centre, who enlarged the natural tarn by damming its outflow and used it for fishing. In winter ice was collected and stored in a nearby ice house for use in summer.

There is parking in the centre of Glenridding in the Lake District National Park Authority pay and display car park and at the Ullswater Steamers car park, where cheap rates in the winter months may be preferable.

Sometimes an autumn day starts with beautiful golden light... then the weather rolls in earlier than forecast. This was one of those days.