Glencoyne Skyline Walking

Above Ullswater, the shy side-valley of Glencoyne is not well known, and its principal habitation is the gloriously-named Seldom Seen. Yet this short loop is a doddle to access and provides two of the loveliest views in all Lakeland: the celebrated panorama from the wall below Brown Hills, and the eye-watering bird's-eye perspective over Glenridding from its Dodd. No less impressive, though more wild than beautiful, is an intimate appraisal of the cleft northern face of Catstycam from White Stones, that will stir the blood of any mountaineer.

Panorama over Ullswater from the wall below Brown Hills  © Norman Hadley
Panorama over Ullswater from the wall below Brown Hills
Fetching Map

Detailed description

1
NY3871517921 From the quarry car-park, head north alongside the road. Helpfully, there are paths, all part of the Ullswater Way, that keep you away from the traffic.

2
NY3937119426 At a small footbridge, turn left to pick up an indistinct "shortcut" footpath that takes you through pastures to the A5091 Park Brow road.

3
NY3964920158 Head up the road, looking out for traffic. Bear in mind the view over your shoulder is absolutely stunning and oncoming drivers may be distracted. At least you've only got a quarter of a kilometre of tarmac to wrangle.
The distracting curve of Park Brow  © Norman Hadley
The distracting curve of Park Brow
© Norman Hadley, Jul 2020

4
NY3971820492 Just before the Aira Force car park, dink sharply left back on yourself, on a charming path taking a slightly rising diagonal across slopes of woodland and bracken. If the weather is fair, expect your camera to see serious service along here but be patient: towards the end, this path will rise up to a gate in a wall and you'd better hope your data card has some juice remaining.
The steamer cuts a serene wake over Ullswater  © Norman Hadley
The steamer cuts a serene wake over Ullswater
© Norman Hadley, Jul 2020

5
NY3788219359 Follow the intriguing balcony track, a relic of the valley's early Victorian mining history, over two deeply incised gills: Wintergroove Gill and Deepdale Slack.

6
NY3607519076 At the second of these, abandon the miners' track and follow the gill directly up to the outlying summit of Hart Side.

7
NY3590819729 Saunter southwest to the rounded swell of White Stones, a subsidiary summit of Stybarrow Dodd. The northern flank of Helvellyn looks tremendous from here.
Helvellyn range, foreshadowed by oddly similar rocks  © Norman Hadley
Helvellyn range, foreshadowed by oddly similar rocks
© Norman Hadley, Jul 2020

8
NY3526918737 Descend on an east-south-east bearing, veering gradually to south east, taking care not to veer too far right and get embroiled in quarry workings. At the col of Nick Head, the terrain becomes more heathery and peaty up to Sheffield Pike. Continue to the lower summit of Heron Pike.

9
NY3728417831 From Heron Pike, the descent looks intimidatingly steep, as if abseiling ropes will be needed. In practice, difficulties can be turned on the right (south) side. Descend to another col.
St Sunday Crag seen from the Glenridding Dodd col at the top of Mossdale.  © Norman Hadley
St Sunday Crag seen from the Glenridding Dodd col at the top of Mossdale.
© Norman Hadley, Apr 2022

10
NY3782617556 At the col, make a very short out-and-back up to Glenridding Dodd. Again, unless the light is poor or the rain horizontal, you will not want for photographic opportunities: every subsidiary knoll reveals a fresh, pleasing composition. Under no circumstances attempt a direct descent from the Dodd. Imagine an Eastender's voice in your head admonishing, "Leave it; it ain't worff it." Instead, retrace your steps down to the col and take the much nicer wooded path down Mossdale that emerges suddenly onto the lakeshore and the start. Celebratory dip optional.
Aerial prospect over Glenridding from the Dodd  © Norman Hadley
Aerial prospect over Glenridding from the Dodd
© Norman Hadley, Jul 2020

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