The Coledale RoundThis horseshoe walk is unmissable for the Lake District rambler. It allows a circumnavigation of the whole Coledale valley, taking in the major peaks of the area. The views are unsurpassed, and despite the relatively modest length (11 miles) completion leaves a real sense of achievement - not just because of having climbed 4500 feet and seven 2000 feet fells, but from the memory of being privileged to spend time in such sublime surroundings.
11 miles; 4500 feet of ascent. Time - 7 hours
The beginning is the same for the walk up Grisedale Pike: leave 1 Bridge Cottage, over the bridge and onto the Whinlatter road, past the quarry and up the gorse track on the left. From here it is almost a direct line to the summit: the path is well-worn, but that does not detract from the surroundings.
From the summit, descend to the col and then follow the sweep of Hobcarton Crag up to Hopegill Head. Take time to enjoy the views of Loweswater before descending to Coledale Hause. With Eel Crag to your left, climb the imposing flank of Grasmoor, and again enjoy the vista that opens to the West.
Now return East: either retracing steps for three quarters of a mile before taking the footpath that runs right towards Crag Hill, or in clear weather more directly past the cairn and straight on where the main path veers north-east. From here it is eastward-ho: Crag Hill (or Eel Crag, as listed by Wainwright), Sail (peak-baggers should note that the path just misses the summit cairn: Sail is as shy underfoot as she is on the skyline), Scar Crags, and finally Causey Pike.
Take a moment in the heaven of the high fell before descending to Braithwaite. The direct route continues on the path east to the road by Stoneycroft, and then after a mile on the (quiet and attractive) road take the bridleway left to Braithwaite Lodge and then Braithwaite. Alternatively (for those who are allergic to roads!) and only in good weather, return to the col between Causey Pike and Scar Crags, and then follow the indistinct track right down to the miners' track by Outerside. Take the left hand path to Barrow Door (the miners' access route to the Barrow Mine and Uzzicar workings) and thence to Braithwaite.
As this route down passes the Coledale Inn, maybe some liquid refreshment is called for to assist "that inward eye/That is the bliss in solitude" in recalling the glories of the walk?