Grisedale Pike and Hopegill HeadThe Coledale Horseshoe dominates the horizon in this part of the Lake District, and the two most noticeable peaks are surely Causey and Grisedale Pikes: the two pikes face each other at opposite ends of the Horseshoe. Grisedale is the taller of the two, at 2593 feet, and is an obvious magnet for the walker; the name “Grisedale” comes from the valley that runs north-east from the summit to the Whinlatter Pass. The name means “valley of the wild boars” from the Old Norse “gris”, “wild pig”. The ascent from Braithwaite is perhaps the best of all routes to this peak, with views of the summit predominant after the first section, and Derwent Water and Skiddaw a delight for the descent.
8 miles; 2700 feet of ascent. Time - 5 hours
Leave 1 Bridge Cottage crossing the Bridge and then taking the left hand turn after The Ivy House to reach the High Bridge. Join the Whinlatter road, following it uphill past a quarry car park on the left (and ignoring the first signpost!) to a track on the left through the gorse. This joins a wall which it follows until the gradient eases and the summit comes into view.
Hospital Plantation to the right takes its name from the old isolation hospital, now called Lakeland View. The path passes Lanty’s well (unlikely, sadly, to be named after the famous Langdale moonshiner, Lanty Slee, given the distance from his haunts) , over Sleet How, and more steeply to the summit cairn.
It is possible, of course, to retrace one’s steps; however, the circular route is not difficult, and prolongs the delights of the walk. Take the path down south-west down the ridge to Hobcarton Crag. Owned by the National Trust, this fractured crag is the only known place in England where the Red Alpine Catchfly grows; A. Harry Griffin suggested in the Guardian (17th May, 2004) that this would be a more suitable county flower for Cumberland than the Grass of Parnassus. The path curves around to Hopegill Head, and then down to the Coledale Hause. The path east drops to Coledale Beck and back to Braithwaite. On the way down, pause for Force Crag mine, now also owned by the National Trust, the last working metal mine in the Lake District – it closed in 1991.
The walk ends passing the Royal Oak. Jennings, anyone?