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The final day involves crossing the backbone of the Helvellyn range back to the start at the Inn on the Lake. To do this the route exploits the line taken by an ancient packhorse trail that crosses the ridge at the dip between Dollywaggon Pike and Fairfield. Between these two giants lies a broad depression occupied by the wild waters of Grisedale Tarn; 33m at its deepest point it is reported to hold some of the largest trout found in the Lake District's high tarns.
Either side of the tarn on the western side are a couple of cols. The route over from Grasmere crosses the southern of the two called Grisedale Hause. The approach to Grisedale Hause is short but steep, whilst the descent down the other side along Grisedale is long but at a more moderate angle. The last leg is over the minor subsidiary ridge of Keldas which at the high point of Lanty's Tarn gives an absolutely stunning view down to Ullswater.
Before setting off please make sure you plot the suggested route on OS maps and pack a compass. They are essential for a safe, enjoyable day in the hills!
Grasmere - Ullswater
5 - 6 hours
1. From the Wordsworth Hotel backtrack along the previous days route a short distance along Easedale Road to Goody Bridge. Cross it, and continue a short distance to a junction, turn right and follow the lane to another junction by Low Mill Bridge. Turn right and follow the lane to the A591.
2. Carefully cross the A591 and join the bridleway/track. This is the start of the old packhorse route up to Grisedale Hause. Follow it to the water intake at the foot of Great Tongue. The packhorse route/bridleway climbs alongside Little Tongue Gill then up the steep crest of Little Tongue. As Little Tongue merges into the slopes of Seat Sandal the bridleway turns and traverses at an easier angle onto the flats of Hause Moss. Head across the moss and then make the short zig-zag up the enclosing headwall to the col at Grisedale Hause.
3. Cross the col and follow the bridleway easily down to the ruffled waters of Grisedale Tarn. Cross the outlet stream and head a short distance to a junction. This is the start of the descent into Grisedale. Turn right on to the bridleway and follow it. It has the odd steep rocky step but generally its easy going. Ruthwaite Lodge (an Outward Bound climbing hut) is soon reached after which the bridleway descends to a footbridge. Ignore it and instead continue dropping a short distance until you reach a second footbridge over Grisedale Beck. Cross this and continue all the way down Grisedale until you reach the road head just by Thornhow.
4. Turn left at the road head and cross Grisedale Beck by the bridge. On the other side the track turns at a junction with a path. Ignore the track instead head straight on and climb up the path a short distance to another junction. Turn left and follow the path to Lanty's Tarn. Past the tarn the path descends steeply to the houses at Westside. Continue past the houses, then turn right onto a bridleway which is then followed into Glenridding. Turn left onto the A593 which is crossed over the bridge to the Inn on the Lake.
5. The journey is now complete and you have explored some of the best landscapes the area has to offer. Sit back and reflect on your journey with a final pint of Jennings classic awarding winning Cumberland Ale or the distinctive, quality ale Cocker Hoop.