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Walk 1230 - printer friendly version

Birks & Arnison Crag Walk

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 5.5 miles / 8.9 km

Ascent - 1775 feet / 538 metres

Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference NY395159
Lat 54.53474 + Long -2.936488
Postcode CA11 0NN (approx. location only)

Despite its relatively short length, this Lake District circular walk has plenty to offer including a steep ascent from Grisedale onto the flanks of St. Sunday Crag. The route was researched during murky conditions so the images do not do justice to the superb views that can be enjoyed.

The start is the small car park in Patterdale (grid ref. NY395159) where a charge is made for parking. Leave the car park and walk south along the main road to reach the shop on your left. Just after turn right and follow the track that goes to the right of the toilets. Stay on this to pass a building on your right before taking a signed path left. Continue on this path as it goes through Glenamara Park keeping the wall on your right.

The path meanders pleasantly with a steep fellside on your left. Reaching a sheep pen (grid ref. 382155) go through the wall and follow the path down to the road/track that runs on the southern side of Grisedale. Turn left along this to walk southwest. Ahead are good views of Dollywaggon Pike and Nethermost Pike and you can also see Striding Edge high above the valley floor. The walking is easy and you make rapid progress soon reaching Elmhow Plantation. At the western end of the trees turn left and follow a steep path that heads up the fellside. Reaching the top of the plantation, cross the stream and locate the rising grassy path that leads upwards into Blind Cove.

The ascent is steep and you have some 700 feet to climb before the going gets easier! The path is cleverly constructed making fairly rapid upward progress in a series of zigzags. Provided you have the OS 1:25000 map then you will find the path marked and it is important that you do not go astray when you reach Blind Cove, which is a wide depression in the fellside. One path heads southwest to the foot of St. Sunday Crag and this is not the path to take. Instead pick up the path heading almost due east that follows a small stream as it climbs. Quite quickly you reach the main path used for ascents and descents of St. Sunday Crag and here you should turn right to head southwest towards the latter fell's summit.

The main path is followed for a short way until you cross a stream. Here turn sharp left and make for the summit of Birks. There are now good views ahead to Place Fell and the Far Eastern Fells and the summit is an ideal spot to stop for a rest. Leaving the summit continue on the path that aims for Place Fell until you reach a large cairn, which looks as though it has been recently rebuilt. Turn right here and descend to locate a wall end (grid ref. 384145). Keeping the wall on your left descend steeply on a feint path. Reaching some low crags the wall turns left and from here you should make a beeline for the col of Trough Head where a couple of murky pools add interest to an otherwise bleak fellside.

Turning northeast from the col a choice of paths leads you along a pleasant ridge to the pleasant rocky summit of Arnison Crag. Like many of the lower 'Wainwrights' the view is superb and you can spend quite some time absorbing the detail of the scenery. All good things must end and descending north from the summit follow the path beside the wall down into Patterdale. At the bottom you join the outward route and all that remains is a pleasant stroll back to your transport.

Walk 1230 Route Map

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