Saturday, July 3, 2010


Hikers Near Kidsty Pike,
The Hightest Point on the C2C

Days 5:  Glenridding/Patterdale to Shap

The fifth day of our coast to coast hike across England was a 17 mile hike from the Glenridding/Patterdale area to Shap.  We began with a short walk up the Patterdale Valley, followed by an ascent to the beautifully shaped Angle Tarn.  Continuing upwards on rocky paths, including an old Roman road, we made our way to Kidsty Pike, the highest point of the C2C.  In good weather, the views from Kidsty Pike are usually superb. On the day of our traverse, however, the summit was enveloped in a heavy fog, so we pressed on with a steep descent to Haweswater,  a man-made reservoir that is just east of Kidsty Pike.  

After the descent, we stopped beside Randale Beck for a lunch break and a little reflection on the fact that we were finally leaving the fells of the Lake District behind us.  We then hiked up the western shore of Haweswater and entered a series of beautiful woodlands, fields, and pastures that took us to Shap Abbey, the first abbey built in England and the last to be dissolved by Henry VIII.  From Shap Abbey, it was a pleasant walk across fields and pastures to the village of Shap, where we spent the evening.

Leaving Glenridding and Patterdale

Looking Back at Patterdale and Ullswater

Ascent Toward Angle Tarn

Continuing the Ascent

Angle Tarn

Crossing the Summit of Kidsty Pike in Fog

Descent to Haweswater

Leaving Haweswater

A Break on Haweswater Beck

Thornthwaite Force

Crossing Field Towards Shap

River Lowther in Route to Shap

Arriving at Ruins of Shap Abbey

Day 6:  Shap to Kirkby Stephen

Day 6 was a 20 mile hike through mostly moderate terrain, including farmlands and moors, to the small town of Kirkby Stephen -- small, but the largest town we had entered since the beginning of the C2C.     

Robin Hood's Grave
(according to legend, not facts)

Hiking Across Fields and Pastures

Landscape of Farmstead

 Black Labs Greeting us Along the Path

Patchwork Fields with Buttercup Meadows

Wildflower Field

Lunch Break in the Moors

Walking Across Moors

One Fine Day


Descending to Old Stone House

Smardale Valley with Howgill Fells in Distance

On Smardale Bridge

Smardale Viaduct in Distance

Approaching Kirkby Stephen

One of the Country Pleasures of the C2C

Kings Arms Hotel in Kirkby Stephen,
Where we Enjoyed a Well Deserved Dinner

Next Posting:  Days 7-9 -- Kirkby Stephen--Keld--Reeth-Bolton-on-Swale


  1. Just breath-taking views George. Must have been wonderful to have all your senses immersed in legendary beauty of a country so rich in history and lore.

  2. Bonnie,

    This may sound a bit overly dramatic, but I think this trip will have a lasting impact on me, not just because of the physical challenges, but because of the rare and exquisite beauty of places that have not become too "civilized."

  3. I'm just aching to get back up there after seeing your pictures, George. (Shows how you don't need sunshine for great photos, doesn't it?)

    This weekend I've ordered some solo backpacking gear (never had this before, always gone car camping except when I was young) - lightweight tent, backpack, sleeping mat. I've always wanted some gear like this, so I thought to myself: why not? Hope to test it out, perhaps in the Lakes, before too long...

  4. What fabulous scenery between Shap and Kirkby Stephen, the field of buttercups and wildflowers are lovely. That's a great photo of the two Labs as well:) The more I see of your photos the more I feel I'd love to do this walk, not sure I'm up to it though, legs and lungs can cope but I tend to get light-headed on steep ascents and there appear to be rather a lot of those!

  5. To Solitary Walker,

    If you can believe this, Robert, I have been home for only two weeks and I am already aching to get back to the C2C or some other place of natural wonder. I hope that you get a chance to do the walk at some point. It has your name written all over it.

    Getting that new gear will prove interesting. The quality of the new lightweight gear is just amazing. Once it arrives, you will be headed for the fells, I'm sure.

  6. To Rowan,

    I liked your comments, Rowan. Some people think that the scenery begins and ends with the Lakeland Fells. I, however, found the C2C to be stunningly beautiful every step of the way. I love the patchwork fields, the wildflower meadows, the grazing sheep, and the barren moors as much as I love the dramatic panoramas of the peaks.

    I think you could successfully handle the C2C, Rowan. If your legs and lungs are up to the challenge, that's ninety percent of the game. Walking with a group towards a goal might be enough to overcome the lightheadedness you sometimes get on steep ascents. If you're not up for the entire C2C, you could always consider doing those portions in which the terrain is relatively moderate.

  7. I should be able to wave to you on day 9!

  8. To Weaver,

    Great! I will be waving back at you.

  9. what stunning views, and idyllic spots to rest and everything is so green and lush and you are so lucky--what a feat to walk across England-- I am green with envy.

  10. The Howgills... Fantastic little hills they are. Nothing quite like them: not quite like the Dales, not quite like the Lake District hills, either.

  11. Your account is proving quite inspirational, George.
    Several years ago I started to follow the E10, a long distance footpath that traverses Europe from north to south. My aim is to just walk the section in the Czech Republic, one stage at a time. Initially I thought that I would do one stage a month, but it has proved to be about 2 a year. You've convinced me that I can do a further stage this week...Tramp

  12. To Donna,

    After only two weeks of rest, I am ready to return. Doing something challenging in a place of great natural beauty is a perfect formula for me.

  13. To Dominic,

    One of the things I liked best about the C2C was the sheer variety of the terrain. Every place seemed to have its own quiet beauty, its own character, all of which made every step a new, exciting adventure.

  14. To Tramp,

    Thanks for the nice comments. Maybe I need to start thinking about the E10. That's always sounded interesting to me. I"m delighted if my postings have convinced you that you can increase your own walks. One of the things I have learned from my C2C experience is that the body can transcend the self-limiting mechanisms of the brain. Go, my friend; continue your journey in all of the directions in which it calls you.

  15. Wonder if the little stone house is for sale!! Just looks like the most wonderful spot to just sit and be! Lovely pics,thanks for sharing!

  16. To KSAM,

    There were several in our group who had the same question. It is a wonderful spot, one of many on the C2C.