Walk The Coledale Round
Route Summary: A long, undulating classic over the high fells of Coledale
A long, undulating classic over the high fells of Coledale
|20.4 km||1675 m||8.5 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Car Park off B5292 west of Braithwaite village
Walk The Coledale Round Route Map and GPX Download
Summits and Places on this Route
Walk The Coledale Round Details
As Lakeland walks go, the Coledale Round is a biggie – a long walk over the high fells surrounding the glacial valley of Coledale, situated right at the heart of the north western fells. If it’s Wainwrights you are after then this is the walk for you. It’s considered a classic for a reason. There are some favourites in here; such as Grisedale Pike and Grasmoor but also some unsung heroes; Causey Pike for instance.
Several peaks in the range are optional and the overall route can be varied depending on your own experience. This route tackles what we consider the full set, so save a long summer day and enjoy the scenery. The route has a mix of steep ascents, crags and pleasant grassy slopes while the views are superb throughout.
The Coledale Round Route Description
1 – From the parking area, aim for the steps to the right, possibly obscured by overhanging leaves. Sadly, there is no warm-up for this walk as the steps climb steeply up, to begin with before easing to a slightly gentler gradient, climbing along a sweeping ridge towards Kinn and gaining the main Grisedale Pike ridge.
2 – Pass the minor top of Kinn and then climb a steep grass bank to Sleet How. The steep, narrowing ridge of Sleet How is loose and stony but does not last too long. Scrambling over the rocky outcrops can add some entertainment to the climb. At the top of the steep ridge is the small summit of Grisedale Pike.
3 – Follow a line of old fence posts south-west from Gridesale Pike into a shallow depression and over the top of Hobcarton Crag (the named summit of the rocky curtain ahead of you). Keep right, following the rim of the crags towards the dramatic Hopegill Head, arguably one of the most impressive mountain peaks in all the Lake District.
4 – Return in the direction you arrived but bear right where the paths diverge (NY 18596 22115). Cross the summit of Sand Hill and descend to Grisedale Hause. Cross the hause then look out for a smaller path which departs to the right from the main path across the stream (NY 18858 21041). This path climbs steadily to the summit of Grasmoor across the top of Dove Crags. Grasmoor’s summit and shelter cairns can be found at the far end of the fell.
5 – From the shelter on Grasmoor, take the broad path heading due east (to the right of the path you arrived along). This path, now high above Rannerdale Beck, leads down to a high col between Grasmoor and Crag Hill. You will find a crossroads of paths here (NY 18610 20168). Wandope is an easy ‘bag’ up the grassy slopes to your right. Otherwise, continue east, following the path which climbs to Crag Hill.
6 – At the Crag Hill trig pillar, bear right and descend the narrow, rocky ridge called The Scar. This is the most precipitous part of the walk and, while not scrambling, care should be exercised. At the col, a short climb then leads to the grassy summit of Sail. Unless it’s been exceptionally dry, the summit usually sports a fine puddle, often with the cairn sat in the middle of it. Pass the summit puddle and begin the zig-zag descent down the over-constructed path.
7 – At the foot of the hill you will find another crossroads (NY 20434 20474). If you’re feeling fatigued, you can escape here and begin your descent. Otherwise, continue ahead on along the undulating ridge which leads across Scar Crags to Causey Pike. Causey Pike has a sensational view across Keswick and the north of the Lake District.
8 – Backtrack from Causey Pike’s summit and bear right down a path (NY 21575 20882) which cuts across the hillside into High Moss. Turn left onto the main path before finding a faint path which climbs to Outerside to the right. This is perhaps the vaguest part of the whole Coledale round but, before long, the path will widen as it crosses the summit of Outerside.
9 – Descend into Low Moss where a number of paths wind around the knolls of Stile End. Avoid descending along Stonycroft Gill. You are aiming for the col of Barrow Door which is due east of Outerside. At Barrow Door the path becomes much clearer, making the final climb of the day onto Barrow and then a long descent along the grassy ridge to Braithwaite Lodge and the minor road at the south side of the village.
10 – Head north through the village, across the bridge over Coledale Beck and turn left at the Ivy House Hotel towards the B5292. Turn left at the junction and follow the road uphill back to the car park.