THE steep sided valley of Deepdale near Patterdale provides a serene warm up to climb the popular St Sunday Crag. But be warned: the weather on the tops can be a lot worse than in the valley, writes JOHN EDMONDSON.

After passing attractive waterfalls a short scramble up to Deepdale Hause is rewarded by views over Grisedale Tarn. A steady climb to the summit of St Sunday Crag is followed by descending to the oft-missed Arnison Crag. The walk then returns to the start beside the pretty Goldrill Beck.

Start from the layby (bus stop) by the telephone box at Deepdale Bridge, map reference NY 399 143.


Distance: nine miles with 3,000 feet of ascent

Time: 5 hours

Terrain: fell paths and open fell, steep in parts.

Maps: OS Explorer OL5.


1 Cross the bridge and turn left along the footpath to Deepdale Hall Farmhouse, bending right along the tarmacked and grass lane. Turn left in front of the houses and follow the track for two and a half miles up Deepdale valley. The valley curves right to the bottom of waterfalls. Follow a path ascending on the right of the beck to above the falls. On reaching a sheepfold the way ahead to Deepdale Hause can be seen to the right of crags at the base of Cofa Pike. Follow a path to the right of a low ridge then scramble up the steep slope to the lowest part of the Hause (a col). Turn right onto the stony track. A path on the left down to Grisedale Tarn starts just before the ascent to St Sunday Crag and offers an escape route in case of bad weather.

2 A steady ascent of the broad ridge leads to the 2,759-feet summit of St Sunday Crag. Begin descending in the same direction. Two ridges appear ahead, with the main path heading to Birks on the left. Go to the nearer summit on the right. This is Gavel Pike, from which a good view of the route previously followed along Deepdale can be seen. Follow a faint path, which is rocky in parts, down the east side of the pike. The path swings left around Lord’s Seat then continues its descent towards Deepdale. Leave the path and continue northwards to cross Cold Cove Gill near the head of a gulley then pick up a faint path skirting around the slopes of Birks leading to Trough Head.

3 Cross to the other side of Trough Head, keeping left and walk north-easterly along the ridge above the right of the valley. Go to the top of the first summit to enjoy views over Hartsop of the valleys and fells to the south. This summit is only 10 feet lower than Arnison Crag ahead, but reaching it requires a short descent and another climb. Splendid views of Ullswater can be enjoyed from the summit. Descend northwards over Oxford Crag along a path beside a high boundary wall of Glenamara Park. Join a larger path going right and descending to a gate into woods. Turn right immediately after crossing a beck and descend past toilets to the A592 opposite the White Lion Inn. Cross the road, turn right then left across Goldrill Beck to Rooking. Turn right onto the footpath signed Hartsop, and continue past Crookabeck and Beckstones. Fork right onto the bridleway signed Deepdale Bridge. After 300 yards the bridleway goes through a gate on the right and across fields to meet the A592 at Deepdale Bridge. Turn left and cross the bridge to where the walk began.

Next week: Waterhead, High Sweden Bridge and Ambleside.

NB: restrictions on space mean that this article provides a general summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.