The penultimate section of the Cumbria Way carries on the mountain feel of the third, Dungeon Ghyll to Keswick, section. Climbing out of Keswick it quickly entwines with the fells, firstly passing less than 1.0km (0.6 miles) from the summit of Latrigg - a visit is recommended if you haven't been up to the summit before as the view to Keswick and beyond is stunning.
The impressive Glenderaterra valley between Lonscale Fell and Blencathra follows shortly after where lonely Skiddaw House hostel sits at the head of the valley amongst the only trees in Skiddaw Forest. It also acts as a waypoint marking a turn to the north east alongside the River Caldew for just over 5.0km (3.1 miles). This river is also a companion on the last section into Carlisle.
Shortly afterwards Mosedale Road provides the only viable escape from the route once started so consider this when thinking about what you would do if the weather turned nasty or one of your party couldn't continue for some reason.
As you continue on Carrock Wolfram mine at the bottom of Grainsgill Beck was the only one of its kind in the country. Wolfram, otherwise known as tungsten ore, is a pretty rare mineral in Europe. More information is given on a new board at the mine.
Then it's on to High Pike. This is a Wainwright Fell and the only one on the whole of the Cumbria Way if you follow the official route. It has fine views north to the Solway Firth and Scotland. It is also the only place where the Way leaves easily followed paths so care is needed, especially so in poor visibility, to ensure the drop down to Caldbeck is uneventful!
For poor weather a western alternative route was originally documented, however we feel this is so poor as to be deeply unsatisfactory. It continues forward at Skiddaw House to follow the supply track to Dash Falls and all the way to the Orthwaite road at Peter House Farm. Crossing over it descends through fields and woodland to then climb steeply to Little Tarn then back to the road. Leaving the road at Longlands it takes a track skirting the Northern Fells, to a road at Branthwaite and into the back of Nether Row. People who take this alternative have said don't bother going down through the fields the other side of the farm but continue along the road as it is boggy and and generally horrid.
As mentioned the Mosedale road is the only viable escape from the middle of the main route. The "Caldbeck Rambler" goes from Keswick through Mungrisdale, passes the other end of the Mosedale road, and then on to Hesket Newmarket and Caldbeck. It only operates on certain days in winter although through the summer it runs daily.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the clock tower end of the town hall and tourist information centre pass alongside the left side of the building. Keeping left go up to the road opposite the Keswick Boot Company on the corner and turn left into Station Road. Follow the road up to the main road and cross using the pedestrian crossing. Continue along Station road, passing Fitz Park on the left and right. Where the road swings right at a junction, bear left up to the Leisure Centre. Go around the right hand side, then continue slightly left to a mini-roundabout. Take the first exit, Brundholme Road. There is an off road path on the right hand side of the road. Keep left and swing left to Briar Rigg. Turn right into Spooneygreen Lane, signposted bridleway to Latrigg.
Follow the bridleway, over the A66 bridge, and through the gate beside Spooney Green cottage. Sometimes there are escaped chickens in the lane. Pass the information board and continue the steep climb along the edge of the woods. Keep to the track, which as you climb gradually becomes more like a wide path. Bear left to the viewpoint below Mallen Dodd where there are excellent views to Bassenthwaite and back to Derwent Water.
Keep to the track, ignore the bridleway turning off to the left, continue up to the car park at the end of Gale Gill Lane.
Turn right through the car park at the top of Gale Gill Lane and exit at the top gate. Turn left following the path through a couple of gates along the field edge, turn left at the wall end to go through another gate. Immediately bear right gradually away from the wall and fence to join a track and descend to the ford crossing Whit Beck.
Continue on the track gradually swinging left to go through a gateway and into the Glenderaterra valley between Lonscale Fell and Blencathra. The track becomes a sensational terraced path high above the beck. Further along the valley gradually flattens out.
Keep to the path, past the ruins and the guide stone, and go through the gate at the bottom of Burnt Horse ridge. Now through heather the path climbs to Skiddaw House.
At the far end of the Skiddaw House enclosure, turn right at the post to head north east. Follow the path alongside the fence down to the River Caldew and cross at the footbridge. Bear right to continue on the path.
Keep heading north east with the Caldew to your right meandering around the valley floor. The path becomes a track, and then crosses the bridge at the end of the Mosedale road. Turn right and follow the road for only a few metres then turn sharp left through a gateway onto an old track.
Follow it up to the Carrock Wolfram Mine where there is an information board.
Bear right from the signboard along the track which climbs gently. Very shortly another small track crosses. Here a choice can be made: the official route follows Grainsgill Beck which many people not used to rough and ready wet scrambling find tricky and very slow. The route we recommend is to cross the track and in a few metres bear left picking up a path through bracken as it materialises from the rough ground.
At the sheepfold in Arm o' Grain continue directly ahead for only 10m (11 yards) or so and bear left to pick up the path again which turns left around the shoulder and heads for the beck. Approaching the beck - this is where you meet people giving up on the direct beck ascent shown on OS maps, bear right up boggy ground. Now follow the line of the beck, but to its right, amongst the rock and bracken. The path is intermittent but traces will be found. A large stepped stone near the top of the climb is a good place to stop for lunch or a bite to eat. Just after the stepped stone turn right along the path to Lingy Hut (a bothy) which can be seen 300m (330 yards) away.
An alternative which avoids Grainsgill Beck completely is to bear right from the sheepfold in Arm o' Grain gill following a feint path along the beck for a couple of hundred metres crossing 2 small becks before bearing left to pick up a path directly to the hut.
From the hut, heading NNW keep on the path, pass below the sheepfold on the eastern slopes of Great Lingy Hill, and Hare Stones. High Pike can now be seen slightly left, northwards. Bear left onto the first path, cross a small boggy patch and climb to the large cairn, memorial seat, and trig point of High Pike.
Leave High Pike heading NNE past the windshelter standing a little way off and descend on the path. Do not follow the path blindly as it bears right, NE, along the ridge. Instead, bear left along one of the paths heading north - in clear weather aim for the right most of two tall television masts visible in the distance.
Drop down grass slopes aiming to be alongside the beck at the mine workings. Keep left at the first set of workings and fenced off shaft. Follow the track descending to another set of workings and below the mines keep to the track as it bears right and then sharp left.
Stay on the track as it turns right again to Hollows Farm and cottages. Go through the gateway and bear left through the buildings. Exit onto the road to Nether Row.
At Nether Row keep ahead, the alternative route from Skiddaw house joins in from the left so don't confuse the routes!
Leave Nether Row by the minor road, follow this to a cross-roads. Go ahead into the overgrown lane marked access only, for 200m (220 yards).
Bear right on the footpath and almost immediately bear left over a stile into a field. Cross the field and bear left to go through a gate near new buildings. Cross the lane, and follow the path along the edge of the field and on into Caldbeck. At the road turn right into the village centre.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|The National Trust Centenary Stone from Keswick||14m (15 yards) away|
|A short walk to Friar's Crag from the Moot Hall, Keswick||14m (15 yards) away|
|Castlehead Viewpoint from the Moot Hall, Keswick||20m (22 yards) away|
|Around Derwent Water||36m (40 yards) away|
|The Old Keswick Railway Line and Latrigg||0.5km (0.3 miles) away|
|Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell from Great Wood||2.0km (1.3 miles) away|
|Walla Crag and the Great Wood||2.1km (1.3 miles) away|
|Skiddaw Shepherd's Memorial||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|Misty Skiddaw||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|A longer walk over Bakestall and Skiddaw||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|Latrigg: a short stroll||2.5km (1.5 miles) away|
|Lonscale Fell via Burnt Horse Ridge||2.5km (1.5 miles) away|
|Castlerigg Stone Circle||2.5km (1.5 miles) away|
|Catbells||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Catbells, Maiden Moor, High Spy - A Half Newlands||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Catbells and the Newlands valley||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|To Force Crag Mine - a Coledale Low Round||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|A Shorter Coledale Round||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|The Coledale Horseshoe||3.7km (2.3 miles) away|
|Causey Pike and Scar Crag||3.8km (2.3 miles) away|
|A Short Walk From Ashness Bridge to High Seat||3.8km (2.4 miles) away|
|Grisedale Pike and Hopegill Head||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Force Crag Mine||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|A Short Stroll to Lodore Falls||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Whinlatter Forest - Heavy Sides Walk||4.4km (2.8 miles) away|
|Words In The Woods||4.4km (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