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Today follow ancient hooves up the packhorse route to Sticks Pass and then break out onto the rounded giants at the northern end of the Helvellyn range before heading back to the comforting hotels, and dramatic scenery, of the Borrowdale Valley.
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!
Thirlmere - Threlkeld - Keswick - Borrowdale
1. From the Kings Head go north on the A591 to the junction with the B5322. Turn right then join a bridleway on the right; an ancient packhorse track connecting Stanah with Glenridding. This is today's main climb and follows the bridleway to Sticks Pass. Stop and admire the retrospective views!
2. From Sticks Pass the route zig-zags along the rounded crest of the main ridge first visiting Stybarrow Dodd, then Watson's Dodd, Great Dodd, Calfhow Pike and finally Clough Head. The going is over smooth grass and the ups and downs are fairly gentle, but watch out for mist; this part of the Helvellyn Range is quiet and some of the paths are vague and easily lost, so check the direction if in doubt.
3. From Clough Head descend northeast for about 1km, when you pass the shoulder of White Pike turn north and head downhill to join the Old Coach Road at Hausewell Brow.
4. Turn left and follow to the B5322 at Wanthwaite Bridge. Turn right to the A66. Cross with care and head into Threlkeld for lunch and a pint at the Horse and Farrier.
5. The old Keswick railway line provides an easy and picturesque walk to Keswick. The old line opened on the 2nd January 1865, and linked Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith. The Beeching report (1963) recommended closure and the last service ran on March 6th 1972. Retrace your steps through Threlkeld and turn right by the Police Station, follow for 250m to a junction. Turn right to the A66. Follow the cycle path for 200m to join the old railway. Follow this over a series of bridges to the leisure centre in Keswick. Head into the town centre and use the water bus on Derwentwater or the bus service to get back to Borrowdale.
6. Head back to your hotel and reflect on your adventure over a pint of 'Pure Lakeland' Cumberland Ale; made from the finest ingredients and Lakeland water drawn from the breweries own well.