A day of contrasts from a leisurely walk through pleasant farmland to a steep ascent, rewarded with stunning views.
Country roads lead you out of Keswick to the pre-historic Castlerigg Stone Circle, and beyond into quiet farmland in St John's in the Vale. From here a steep climb up Sticks Path takes you to the route's highest point on the flank of Stybarrow Dodd, before a long descent into Glenridding and Ullswater below. A final climb and welcome bench provide a great view point over Ullswater, before a glimpse along Grisdale and another steep ascent to Lanty's Tarn through the woods before descending finally to Patterdale.
The steep climbs on the route are rewarded with iconic Lakeland views. On the way up Sticks Path be sure to look back at Thirmere, the Derwent Valley and Skiddaw. After all that's what you are here for. The final ascent at Glenridding affords a great view of Ullswater, well worth the effort.
Care is needed on the short road section at Stanah, though the road is a minor one and not busy. The descent down towards Glenridding can be tricky due to the amount of loose rock from previous mining activity, especially in wet weather.
Boots, waterproofs and extra layers are essential when walking the higher, more exposed sections. Walking poles may be preferred when descending on loose rock into Glenridding.
Keswick has plenty of outlets where you can buy supplies for the walk. However, refreshments are available en-route. There is a cafe at the climbing centre near Castlerigg and Low Bridge Farm in St John's in the Vale offers drinks and cakes. There is a cafe in Stanah before the climb up Sticks Path. The Youth Hostel on the descent from Sticks Path advertises drinks for walkers too. Patterdale has pubs, a shop, Post Office and phone box.
Points of Interest
Moot Hall Keswick.
The present building was erected in 1813 and has served as a court house, prison, museum and town hall. It is famous for the one handed clock found on the west wall. It now houses the Tourist Information Centre.
Castlerigg Stone Circle.
Surprisingly little is documented about this strikingly located Neolithic/Bronze Age stone Circle. Estimated to be roughly 5000 years old, this oval stone circle is one of the most photographed in Britain.