Today’s hike climbs out of the Borrowdale Valley and up to Greenup Edge (613 metres). While the traditional route (Alternative Low route) descends into the valley, this high route follows a ridgeline and offers excellent views, before descending into Grasmere.
Rosthwaite and Grasmere sit in separate valleys. To navigate between them you must climb Lining Crag and Greenup Edge; from these viewpoints, you can enjoy (weather permitting!) wide, dramatic views of Derwent Valley as you leave it behind, and glimpses into the next valley and down to Grasmere village itself.
Much of this walk is spent beside rivers and streams that tumble down from the surrounding mountains. There are numerous river crossings; sometimes a bridge is provided, but other times demand a little adventurous spirit to leap from one stepping stone to the next. Keep your eyes peeled for waterfalls, especially if it has rained recently!
This track is the high route option, which turns left after 7.3 kilometres to continue along a ridgeline instead of descending into the valley. This ridge is fairly flat and doesn't require too much more ascent, but it offers vastly greater views and passes several craggy outcrops, so therefore it is our recommended route unless there is heavy rain and wind or low visibility, in which case the lower route will provide more shelter.
Grasmere is a perfect spot to finish your day, frenetic with the buzz of other walkers and day tourists in what Wordsworth called ‘the loveliest spot that man hath ever found’.
Be sure to regularly look behind you as you climb up to Lining Crag. I found the views mesmerising as you can see a long way through the valley; I particularly liked the meandering patterns carved by the streams.
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.
There are lots of river crossings in today’s walk. There were always stepping stones available but these may be slippery. Take extra caution on these crossings.
At the top, just before reaching Greenup Ridge, the path becomes less clear and harder to follow. There are cairns (pile of stones) to help guide the way. In addition, check the map regularly to be sure you are going the right way.
There are steep drops and exposed edges at points along the ridgeline. Be sure to stick to the marked 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
Renowned English poet William Wordsworth produced some of his most famous poems in Dove Cottage, inspired the beauty of Grasmere and its surrounds. Today the museum recreates what life would have been like for Wordsworth living here at the end of the 18th century, and provides information about his life.
More information available here: https://wordsworth.org.uk/your-visit/planning-your-visit/
Allan Bank is a villa built in 1805 on the edge of Grasmere and was home to English Poet, William Wordsworth, and poet and founder of the National Trust, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley. There are plenty of walks and picnic spots here, and the grounds are perfect to spot red squirrels; the National Trust supposedly spends £900 per year on feed to encourage them. Tea and Coffee refreshments are available.
More information available here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allan-bank-and-grasmere
Food and Drink
There is no food and drink available between Rosthwaite and Grasmere so be sure to bring enough food with you for this section. Packed lunches are available in Rosthwaite.