Friday 22 June 2018. Coledale is an area that I know well although it has always been viewed from a high level on peaks such as Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Sail and Causey Pike. I’ve looked down into the bottom of the valley and wondered what it would be like to walk through the valley to Force Crag Mine at its head. As my sore knee wouldn’t like too much up and down, today was an opportunity to try out this new walk through the valley starting from Braithwaite. The first half of a mile required some bracken bashing on a narrow path, with the attendant risk of tick bites, to join the wider track/road leading up to the mine. It was a gentle climb of just 400ft in the first couple of miles but then the going got tough.
At the mine I had three route choices. I could have a very easy day and retrace my steps back to the start. I could have a really tough day and climb up the zig-zag path to Coledale Hause, around the back of Crag Hill and down Sail. This would have added over 2 miles to my walk and another 2,000ft of ascent. This option was one that I had considered doing with John last week. I’m glad that we didn’t do it. I decided to stick with my intended route to cut across from the valley floor to join the path coming down off Sail. This short section of the walk was only three-quarters of a mile but had an ascent of over 900ft. Much more than I had thought! I needed a sit down and stopped at this highest point of my walk for lunch with a view.
All I needed to do now was to walk down 1,350ft back to the car. It was a steadily descending path, rocky in places, but not too bad. I resisted the urge to climb over Outerside and Barrow on the way down and followed the easier path through Barrow Door. My knee was beginning to ache by now and it came as a great relief when I spotted the Coledale Inn on entering the village of Braithwaite. It had been a very warm walk so I rewarded myself with a pub lunch and a pint of lager shandy. The walk was 5.5 miles with over 1,500ft of ascent.
Tomorrow is a rest day. Watching rugby in the morning and going to cheer-in the 10in10 and 5in5 finishers in the afternoon.