St Sunday Crag

5 May 2008

After yesterday's wet afternoon on Wetherlam, today was warm and sunny (if hazy at times), and a journey was made to Patterdale for a lovely walk. The primary target was St Sunday Crag, the long fell which divides Grisedale from Deepdale, and might be regarded as the long north-east spur from Fairfield. But the walk began with visits to the two subsidiary fells of St Sunday Crag, namely Arnison Crag and Birks.

Walking away from Patterdale, a look up to Arnison Crag

The route ascends alongside this wall almost all the way to the summit, the views back over Ullswater gradually becoming more extensive.

On the summit of Arnison Crag, two powered paragliders nipped past.

The summit of Arnison Crag

 Behind the diminutive summit cairn of Arnison Crag on the right is our next objective, Birks, and centre-left is the peaked summit of Gavel Pike which we will visit on the way to its parent St Sunday Crag, immediately to its right. To the left of Gavel Pike are Fairfield and then Hart Crag.

On the ascent of Birks, looking over the near Arnison Crag, with Place Fell looming large behind on the left.

On Birks, with Gavel Pike and St Sunday Crag on the left. The more popular route goes straight up the steep shoulder of St Sunday Crag, but we will be taking the slanting route that can be seen going across the face to the saddle between Gavel Pike and St Sunday Crag.

The views to the Helvellyn massif are starting to open up across Grisedale. Helvellyn itself is centre-right, with Striding Edge leading up from the right with Catstye Cam behind. To the left of Helvellyn are Nethermost Pike and Dollywaggon Pike.

On Gavel Pike, looking to the summit of St Sunday Crag

The summit of St Sunday Crag. With quite a few people about after our solitary ascent, we moved on a short way and stopped for lunch.

Lunch spot, looking across Grisedale to the Helvellyn fells

Descending St Sunday Crag, with Fairfield on the left beyond Deepdale Hause, Seat Sandal straight ahead and Dollywaggon Pike on the right. In the far distance are the Eskdale fells including Bowfell and the Scafells

A rescue helicopter heading towards Helvellyn

Heading towards Deepdale Hause, Grisedale Tarn now comes into view at the foot of Seat Sandal

Grisedale itself comes properly into view

The head of Grisedale and Grisedale Tarn - our next objective.

Fairfield and the head of Deepdale


Having descended from the ridge, we continue towards Grisedale Tarn

After crossing Grisedale Beck, we turn down Grisedale and head towards Patterdale village, with the long crags of St Sunday Crag towering above on the right.

I thought the grasses on top of the boulder centre-left were interesting - they looked almost like hedgehogs.

From by Ruthwaite Lodge, looking up the waterfalls to Nethermost Pike

Continuing the descent of Grisedale with the level strath now in sight, and Place Fell reappearing once more.

As we cross Grisedale Beck again, a look back to the impressive rugged crags of Nethermost Pike and Dollywaggon Pike

There are some delightful wooded areas in lower Grisedale, but the track stays outside them - a shame as the shade would have been welcome on this hot afternoon. Never mind: an ice-cream awaits us in Patterdale!

Zoom in for more detail, or see map in larger window: Ordnance Survey | Open Street Map | Google Maps

A delightful walk, thoroughly recommended. Total distance 14.3 km and 860 metres of ascent in 5 hours 30 minutes.



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson