Distance: 9 miles
At breakfast, we told our host, Ian, that we were hoping to climb the mountain known as Helvellyn and hike Striding Edge, a very narrow, knife edge path following the north/south, top ridgeline of the Helvellyn range. As it turned out, Ian, also a ranger in the Lake District, knew the area and advised us not to attempt that particular hike due to the weather forecast of high winds and possible rain. We bid him good-bye and left the Old Waterview Hotel, walking past the White Lion Inn and the Patterdale Village Store which has hiking supplies, sandwiches and Coast to Coast memorabilia. I found and bought a good-looking C2C patch for my backpack.
Just a mile down the road from Patterdale was the village of Glenridding, where the trail turned toward Grasmere. Having decided not to tackle Helvellyn and its famous Striding Edge Walk, we would instead hike up the Grisedale Valley Route.
Trying hard not to be too disappointed, we began to walk up Grisedale’s valley, a beautiful area. We were quickly entranced by this fascinating and lush woodsy path – any disappointment faded quickly.
Sheep were our constant companions on most of our trek and today was no different. At one point we had to wait for a herd of sheep and their lambs to pass before we could continue.
Our trail took us alongside Ruthwaite Beck as it flowed down through the valley and under a graceful arched bridge that crossed the beck.
Slowly ascending, we kept an eye on the Helvellyn ridge route high above us, still wondering if it could have been accomplished.
The view backward to the Grisedale Valley below us:
Towards the end of the valley, the trail became quite rocky and steep as we approached the tarn (a small mountain lake).
Finally, we got a peek at Grisdedale Tarn and knew the pass was near.
As we neared the tarn a bitter, cold wind rushed over the water, a wind that would have been colder and sharper on the mountain ridge at the top of Helvellyn, confirming for us that we had made the right decision to stay off Helvellyn’s ridge trail. I would not have wanted to be blown around by this wind on a steep, narrow path.
At last, the pass was reached!
Our next objective was now in view, down the Great Tongue to the lovely, green valley where the beautiful Grasmere village was located.
Hiking down the trail to Grasmere, we encountered some very hearty Herdwick sheep which are native to the Lake District, are able to live off the land and do not stray.
Our descent provided wonderful views of this gorgeous part of the Lake District.
I checked into my very cozy, attractive B&B, The Silver Lea, while Deb, Hannah and Kait checked in at the Youth Hostel just down the road. Unfortunately, the Silver Lea B&B has since closed permanently.
Grasmere was a delightful village to stroll around, taking in the sights. It was also a tourist trap – bus loads of vacationers were wandering around enjoying the many shops. William Wordsworth lived here for 14 years and thought it to be the loveliest place on earth. The gray stone buildings covered in ivy and sprinkled with flowers made for a charming community.
We bought gingerbread at Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread Shop before having dinner at the Dove and Olive Branch Pub. By that evening the throngs of tourists had left the area in their buses, and we could enjoy a relaxing walk through the now quiet village.