Coast to Coast, Lake District

  • St Sunday Crag and Patterdale from Dollywaggon Pike - © William Mackesy
  • Ennerdale Water - © William Mackesy
  • Ennerdale Woodland - © William Mackesy
  • Back down Ennerdale valley from near Black Sail YH - © William Mackesy
  • Tongue at Ennerdale head, Great Gable in cloud to right - © William Mackesy
  • Buttermere and Crummock water from below Grey Knotts - © William Mackesy
  • Buttermere and Crummock Water from below Grey Knotts - © William Mackesy
  • East from near Grey Knotts across high ridges to Helvellyn massif - © William Mackesy
  • Top of slate tramway above Honister Pass,  Borrrowdale - © William Mackesy
  • Near Honister Pass,  descendng into Borrrowdale - © William Mackesy
  • Descendng into Borrrowdale - © William Mackesy
  • Borrrowdale - © William Mackesy
  • Borrrowdale - © William Mackesy
  • Stonethwait - © William Mackesy
  • South, leaving Borrowdale - © William Mackesy
  • From Lining Crag north down Greenup Gill - © William Mackesy
  • Easedale and Grasmere - © William Mackesy
  • Easedale and Grasmere - © William Mackesy
  • Easedale and Grasmere - © William Mackesy
  • Field patterns, Easedale - © William Mackesy
  • Across Tongue Gill, good colours - © William Mackesy
  • back down Tongue Gill - © William Mackesy
  • Across Grisedale Tarn toward Patterdale - © William Mackesy
  •  High Street from Dollywaggon Pike - © William Mackesy
  • Patterdale from Dollywaggon Pike - © William Mackesy
  • Patterdale and St Sunday Crag from Helvellyn - © William Mackesy
  • Striding Edge from above - © William Mackesy
  • Striding Edge - © William Mackesy
  • Striding Edge - © William Mackesy
  •  Helvellyn from Striding Edge base - © William Mackesy
  • Helvellyn ridge from Striding Edge base - © William Mackesy
  •  Helvellyn from Striding Edge base - © William Mackesy
  • Across Patterdale to High Street - © William Mackesy
  • Shap Abbey - © William Mackesy

Key information: Coast to Coast, Lake District

    • This is the western part of the great Coast to Coast trail, crossing west-to-east (or vive versa) one of the world's most beautiful and best-loved places.
      • The route has been brilliantly chosen, passing through consistently beautiful landscape as it meanders up perfect valleys and crosses high ground, with magnificent views of the peaks, lakes and valleys all around.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating90.5
  • Beauty33
  • Natural interest15.5
  • Human interest9
  • Charisma33
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating90.5

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 69+km
  • 4 days
  • Maximum Altitude: 700m (969m if Helvellyn)
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
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Buttermere and Crummock water from below Grey Knotts - © William Mackesy

WALK SUMMARY

This is the western part of the great Coast to Coast trail, crossing west-to-east (or vive versa) one of the world?s most beautiful and best-loved places. To state the obvious, it is the region's glacially scoured scenery that sets it apart, with gorgeous lakes winding between ancient, wild hills sporting soft woodland, foaming streams and waterfalls on their lower slopes. You would have a heart of stone were you not moved and inspired by this wonderful region.

<span style="font-family:" en-gb"="">The route has been brilliantly chosen, passing through consistently beautiful landscape as it meanders up perfect valleys and crosses high ground, with magnificent views of the peaks, lakes and valleys all around.

This walk takes 4 days (5 if starting from the coast at St Bees).

Day 1: Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwait (Borrowdale) (23km/ 14.5 miles)

A long walk into the heart of the high country, beside lovely Ennerdale Water, then up the increasingly magnificent upper Ennerdale, below craggy Pillow and Hay Stacks, to the great bowl at its head. After a slog up to the high ground to the north, swing round, enjoying ravishing views down onto Buttermere and Crummock Water, to the Honister Pass and thence to Borrowdale, many think the most perfect of all the Lake's valleys.

Day 2: Rosthwait to Grasmere (11.3km/ 7 miles or more)

A relatively easy day, climbing up the stunning eastern head of Borrowdale, crossing the rough high ground of Greenup Edge, before descending into the beautiful Easedale to wind up at Grasemere. If the weather is OK, do take the longer alternative of a tramp along the superb Calf Crag/ Helm Crag ridge to the north.

Day 3: Grasmere to Patterdale (11km/ 7 miles or more)

Another relatively easy day climbing north-east up Tongue Gill to lonely Grisedale Tarn in its scoop below three mountains. Thence the C2C winds slowly down gorgeous Grisedale to Patterdale just above the head of Ullswater. Wild at first, all vivid fields, stone walls and sheep lower down. But you can divert, over St. Sunday Crag to the right, or leftwards up Helvellyn, England's third highest mountain, and the famous knife-edge of Striding Edge to the north ? an unforgettable walk on a good day.

Day 4: Patterdale to Shap (24km/ 15 miles)

A long but fascinating trek up, across the fells east of Ullswater, to the great ridge of High Street, along which run a Roman road, followed by a descent off the last of high Lakeland to Haweswater and thence to Shap. Again, you can divert, this time north along the long High Street ridge, following the course of the Roman road, before dropping down towards Bampton and Shap.

 

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You can stay in pubs/BnBs/hostels the whole way ? there is plenty of accommodation ? or you can camp. And you can carry all your kit, or slackpack, ie have your bags carried to your next night?s stay.

The Lakes have lots of weather. While there are periods of glorious sunshine, come prepared for cloud and rain. Some of the Lakes' most beautiful light is on showery, broken cloudy days, so don't be disheartened by a mixed forecast!

A Northern Coast to Coast Walk - Terry Marsh, Cicerone: as usual an inspiring book, packed with valuable information, including excellent maps and good detail on the route. Recommended. Find relevant books by using our Amazon search function:

 

See our Lake District and Coast to Coast pages for further photos and general and practical information.

WILLIAM MACKESY'S ACCOUNT
of this walk

Day 1 – Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwait (in Borrowdale) ( 23 km/ 14.5miles)

We set out from Ennerdale Bridge in a good mood, partly at being back out on our feet, and partly relief to have apparently missed the forecast terrible weather - although we are under low cloud the whole way up Ennerdale, so the high ground is usually cloaked and the light unsparkling.

We start by following roads through fields and pretty woodland to the lake foot, giving our first real Lakeland view up the valley to the shrouded.....

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Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS AND PHOTOS

Name: Joe Ridge
Posted on: 15/11/2016
Hello. Looking for a guide for this walk. Recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Walkopedia says: any suggestions, community??

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

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back down Tongue Gill - © William Mackesy

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Borrrowdale - © William Mackesy...
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