Day 4 …. May 11 …. Patterdale To Elterwater Via Striding Edge …. 15 miles

A beautiful, frosty morning greeted me through the upstairs window. Breakfast was at a sensible 8:00 and I was off by 8:35 with a banana and a pear for my lunch.

Only shop in Patterdale - Across From White Lion Pub 4th Day - View Of Ullswater As I Climb Out Of Patterdale 

I gained the fells behind the post office as if to climb St. Sunday, but cut down across Grisedale Beck and started the long climb to Grisedale Brow. I already started feeling the adrenaline in anticipation of straddling Striding Edge.

Crossing Grisdale Beck On Way To Grisdale Brow And Striding Edge 

Eight other walkers were on the trail; a couple passed me and I passed six others. Most of the hard climbing is done when the Brow is reached at 2000 feet; then there is another 500 ft climb to Striding Edge.

Looking East Toward Patterdale From Grisdale Brow 

Across the valley, St. Sunday was very prominent through a light haze and I could see the descent from Fairfield. I’m glad I didn’t take it yesterday, doesn’t look nice. I saw walkers starting to make their way across the Edge. It’s been two hours to come this far and will take another hour across.

Looking West Toward Grisdale Pass Climbing Onto Striding Edge - Get A Grip 

The Edge was surprising - extremely rocky, many ups and downs like hills and gullies. There are places you can bypass the top edge. I walked the top in most places (1 yard wide) but took advantage of the bypasses when I didn’t feel comfortable. The young couple in front of me walked across every high section. At one place, there is a drop down a chute where you have to wedge yourself and lower your body, maybe 20 feet, pressing against the side with your arms. The couple was having a hard time, so I went to the other side of the Edge and found a different way. Finally, there is a rock climb straight up onto Helvellyn. Oh, I packed my poles away because I constantly needed my hands to rock scramble.

Ascending Striding Edge from Grisdale Brow A Ways To Go - Prepare Well 

This route wasn’t scary so much as very hard. On each side of the Edge, the slope is almost vertical all the way down. I don’t seem to be as scared of heights as when I was younger - in my twenties, I don’t think I could have done this.

Looking Back Across Striding Edge A Higher View - Did I Really Do That? 

Elevation on Helvellyn is over 3000 ft with quite a bit of snow. It’s hard to explain to people in California that 3000 ft here is like 10,000 ft in the Sierra Mountains because, I think, of the difference in latitude.

I talked to four guys from Poland who spoke little English. I left them with “muchas gracias, adios”, they reply “por favor”. I surprised them and they surprised me in return.

A long ridge led to Dollywagon Pike, then down, down, down to Grisdale Tarn at 1768 ft.
I rested next to the Tarn, an idyllic place for lunch. Lunch was a banana, the last half of a rocky road bar, a stick of cheese I unexpectedly found in my pack and lots of water.

Grisdale Tarn With Grisdale Pass Beyond Tongue Gill On Descent To Grasmere 

It was 13:00. I crossed over Grisdale Pass and started the 1 1/2 hour descent down Tongue Gill to Grasmere…..easy going. At the Co-op in Grasmere, I treated myself to an ice cream bar, then circled the far side of the lake to find the path to Elterwater. Passed by High Close and on down to Elterwater YHA in the village; arrived at 16:30.

Grasmere In Bloom - Not Far To Elterwater Overlooking Grasmere On The Way To Elterwater Hostel And Brittania Inn 

This hostel had the same cook as High Close two days ago, so I opted to eat at the Brittania Inn, enough said. I started with a pint of Coniston Bluebird and chose Lamb Henry with red wine sauce and spring onion mash, also new potatoes and vegetables. All was excellent. I was in seventh heaven; one of my favorite ales and my favorite dish.

I shared a table with a fellow who works at Wainwright’s Inn and claims the food is better there. So what was he doing here? Drinking Bluebird!

At the hostel, My dorm mate is Jeff, age 59, an avid climber. He is slowing down, so has hired a guide to help him with some difficult technical climbs, climbs he has wanted to do all his life. Go Jeff! He is fascinated with what I am doing.

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