A steady climb from Grasmere up to Grisedale Tarn, and then a continued ascent, partly along a ridgeline, up to St Sunday Crag, before a beautiful descent overlooking Ullswater.
The standard Wainright Coast to Coast Route, is an ‘up-and-over’, climbing to Grisedale Tarn, and then descending beside Grisedale Beck towards Patterdale. For extra excitement, however, and infinitely better views you can continue the ascent from Grisedale Tarn. Turning left will take you up to Helvellyn while a right turn leads to the featureless peak of St Sunday Crag.
Like Helvellyn, the path to St Sunday Crag walks atop a ridgeline and allows you to stand proudly where two valleys merge, but unlike Helvellyn’s fearsome Striding Edge, you shouldn’t experience any vertigo here. You can also expect less crowded footpaths up to St Sunday Crag which adds an exciting element of isolation.
From the summit beautiful views stretch in every direction – rows of jagged mountains peaks scratch at the sky, Grisedale Tarn appears cradled by its surrounding mountains, Grisedale Beck trickles through the pronounce V-shaped valley far below – but the most spectacular views lie ahead. Ullswater shimmers in the sun (if you’re lucky) curving through the valley like a long bony finger while steamer-boats ferry tourists across it, tufts of trees flourish in the crevices of the valley, and nestled amongst it all are the isolated dwellings of Patterdale and Glenridding, where you will spend the night.
Stop in the White Lion in Patterdale for some good hearty food. English poet, William Wordsworth was in this pub when the news reached that Admiral Nelson had died at the Battle of Trafalgar.
There are a few stretches where you must walk on the road as there is no pavement or verge. Walk on the right side facing the oncoming traffic unless there is a right-hand turn, in which case you should cross to the outside edge to allow drivers the maximum chance to see you.
There are several river crossings in today’s walk. There are always stepping stones available but these may be slippery.
The section along the mountain tops can be featureless. It is important to read the instructions and check the map regularly to ensure you stay on the correct path. If visibility is poor, we recommend taking the low route.
There are steep drops and exposed edges throughout the walk today. Be sure to stick to the path to avoid these.
Sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required. The weather can change quickly so be sure to take all equipment even if the weather looks okay. Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of these ascents and descents.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.
This walk is isolated with few opportunities to buy food or water so be sure to bring enough with you.
Points of Interest
The best way to see Ullswater is from the summit of Helvellyn or St Sunday Crag. The second-best way to experience Ullswater is up close on a historic steamer. These steamers stop at several jetty’s around the lake, allowing you to get off for an explore, or just remain on the boat and enjoy the tour!
More information available here: https://www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk/
Food and Drink
There is no food or drink between Grasmere and Patterdale so be sure to come adequately prepared with all the provisions you will need for the journey.
It might be beneficial to arrange a packed lunch in Grasmere.