6 - 7 hours
The walk around Deepdale's skyline crest, taking in all its summits, is a rather surprising walk. In terms of distance it's not particularly long and in terms of height its summits are by no means highest in the Lake District, but for out and out mountain feel, it packs one hell of a punch. This is due to the extreme steepness of its surrounding slopes. They fall away in dramatic sweeps on all sides. Some crag bound and made up of great buttresses and gullies and others long uninterrupted slopes of scree and rough vegetation. This all round steepness gives the crest a great degree of exposure and loftiness that seems to lift it high above the level of the neighbouring mountains. This is just a trick of perspective of course, but this trick is what gives the walk its character.
The path around the horseshoe is easy enough to follow; the only things that might bother you are a couple of rock steps; one on the approach to Fairfield, and one on the descent from Hart Crag. To overcome them they require the right route selection and the odd use of hands but the correct route is easy enough to spot on the ground and once committed to them you will barely give them a second thought. The route is described in an anti-clockwise direction starting at Bridgend just down the road from Patterdale. The advantage of doing it in this direction is that you get the steep slopes of St Sunday tackled in ascent leaving the long easy ridge of Hartsop above How for the descent.
1. From Bridgend follow the path West for 250m to a junction and turn left onto the Deepdale Path. Follow the path South West up the valley passing Deepdale Hall and Wall End until you reach Coldcove Gill.
2. Cross the gill then immediately turn right and leave the valley path climbing the steep hillside on the South side of Coldcove Gill. As height is gained, leave the gill and head South to the top of Latterhaw Crag. Behind Latterhaw Crag head West across the shoulder and climb the steepening blunt ridge to Lord's Seat. Continue climbing west and surmount the narrower crest of Gavel Pike to finally reach the domed summit of St Sunday Crag.
3. Head South West from St Sunday Crag and descend to Deepdale Hause. Continue South West across the col negotiating the narrow crest to reach the base of Cofa Pike. Make the easy scramble South over Cofa Pike to gain Fairfield's stony summit.
4. Cross the stony summit plateau East then South East and descend to Link Hause. Cross Link Hause and make the short ascent to Hart Crag.
5. The correct descent from Hart Crag can be trick to locate in mist so make sure you take the correct line. It lies East - North East across rocky ground and becomes more clearly defined after about 700m. Once established on the ridge of Hartsop above How it is easy to follow. The long gentle descent along its crest leads you eventually to woodland at the ridge end. Follow the path through the trees to gain the A592 just South of the start at Bridge End.
|Time/Effort:||2 out of 5|
|Navigation:||2 out of 5|
|Technicality:||3 out of 5|
|Height gain/loss (metres):||971metres (3,186feet)|
|OS map:||OS Landranger 90, OS Explorer OL5|
- Start point: (near Ullswater)