The Lake District

from Baedeker's Guide, 1890

Continued from here

Extract from Baedeker's Guide to the Lake District circa 1890

The history of Lakeland travel as exemplified in Baedeker's 1890 guide to the English Lake District

Ullswater Section

Travellers who enter the Lake District on the Ullswater side leave the railway at Penrith, whence several coaches ply daily in summer to Pooley Bridge (5 miles; 1 hour), situated at the lower end of the lake. The road leads to the southwest and crosses Eamont Bridge (small inn with two old inscriptions).

A little to the east (left) are Brougham Hall and Castle. A little farther on we diverge to the right from the road to Kendal and pass between Mayburgh (right) and King Arthur's Round Table (left), two circular enclosures of unknown origin (see Scotts 'Bridal of Triermain'). At Yanwath the road crosses the railway. Farther on it passes Tirril and the old parish-church of Barton.

Walkers may turn to the south at the station, without entering the town, and follow the left (west) bank of the Eamont. The route passes Dalemain Hall and crosses Dunmallet Hill (view).

Pooley Bridge (Sun Inn) is a small village situated at the lower end of Ullswater ('Ulfs water'), the second in size of English lakes, measuring 9 miles in length and - miles. in breadth. Its greatest depth is 210 ft.. The scenery of the lake, which some prefer to that of Derwentwater and Windermere, increases in picturesqueness and grandeur as we approach the head. No general view of the lake is obtainable, as its bends divide it into three reaches, each of which from some points seems a complete lake in itself. There is a good road along the whole of the west side of the lake, but on the more precipitous east bank the road stops at the entrance of Boredale. Boats may be hired at the hotels to fish in the lake; boat and man 5s. per day.

The small Steamer which plies on the lake, taking 1 hr. to reach the upper end, starts from a small pier, miles from Pooley Bridge. The scenery of the first reach is rather tame. At the foot of the lake rises the wooded bill of Dunmallet. To the right is the Brackenrigg Hotel, 1 miles from Pooley Bridge. Howtown, the only intermediate station, lies in a bay to the left. Opposite is the point of Skelly Nab.

The middle reach, 4 miles long, extends to the islet of House-Holme. To the left rise Hallin Fell (1270 ft.) and Brick Fell (1670 ft.), with Boredale and the hamlet of Sandwick between them. To the right are Gowbarrow Fell (1580 ft.), the finely-wooded Gowbarrow Park (forever associated with Wordsworth's 'Daffodils'), and Lyulph's Tower (see below). In front of us rises the stately Helvellyn.

We now turn to the left into the upper reach, 2 miles long, which contains a few islets. The view here is very grand. To the left Place Fell (2154 feet) descends abruptly into the lake; opposite is the wood-clad Stybarrow Crag. At the head of the lake lies Patterdale, at the foot of St. Sunday's Crag (2756 feet) The steamboat-pier is near the Ullswater Hotel, about mile from the head of the lake.

Patterdale (Patterdale Hotel and White Lion) is a small village, delightfully situated at the foot of the valley of that name and close to the head of Ullswater. It is a favourite centre for excursions in the northeast part of the Lake District. About 1 mile to the north, on the east bank of the lake, near the steamboat-pier, is the large Ullswater Hotel with pleasant grounds. Near it is a Temperance Hotel. On the hillside above the Ullswater Hotel are the Greenside Lead Mines, which send a stream of polluted water into the lake.

The favourite short excursion from Patterdale is that to Aira Force 4 miles away, which may be made either by land or by water. In the former case we follow the prettily-wooded road along the west bank of the lake, passing the road to Troutbeck station, to the beck just beyond it.

We cross the beck and ascend by the path to the left to the fall. To the right is Lymph's Tower, a square ivy-clad building, the name of which, like that of the lake itself, is said to commemorate a Baron de L'Ulf of Greystoke. A guide may be obtained here. For the water-route, which affords better views, small boats may be obtained either at the Patterdale or the Ullswater Hotel.

The fall of Aira Force, 70 feet high, is very romantically situated in a rocky chasm with wooded sides. Two rustic bridges cross the stream above and below the fall and afford convenient points of view. The scenery of the glen above the fall is also picturesque, and another pretty little fall is formed higher up. A path leads along the left bank of the stream through Gowbarrow Park to Dockray, but the gates are generally locked.

The following is a fine round of 10-12 miles. (4 hrs.) from Patterdale. We take the lane leading to the east from the church and follow the track along the east bank of the lake. (Visitors at the Ullswater Hotel may save 2 miles by ferrying across to Bleawick.) The higher of the two paths on the slope of Place Fell commands charming views of dale and fell. After 1 miles the path descends to the shore and rejoins the lower path, and after 1 mile more It turns to the right, away from the lake, and leads round a plantation. At Sandwick, a hamlet at the entrance to Martindale (view of High Street in the background), a road diverges to the right.

Our path leads straight on through wood and along the base of Hallin Fell (1270 feet), follows the line of the shore, bends to the right 1 mile farther on, and after mile more joins the road about mile short of Howtown (Hotel). From Howtown we at first follow the road, which ascends past the church and the hamlet of Cowgarth to the saddle between Hallin Fell on the right and Steel Knotts (1190 ft.) on the left.

It then descends, crosses a beck, and turns to the right towards Sandwick (see above). About 200-300 yards from the bridge, however, we turn to the left and follow the road leading through Boredale. The road crosses ( mile on) the stream, and ends at the farmhouse at (1 mile on) Boredale Head. From this point we ascend by a steep bridle-path to (1 miles) Boredale Hause (1200 feet; view). The descent on the other side, to ( mile) Patterdale is short and steep.


The easiest route is to take the steamer to Howtown, the land-journey to which has been described above, and ascend thence (2-3 hrs.). Those who wish to drive must start from Pooley Bridge (to Mardale Green 15 miles). At Howtown we pass through a gate at the back of the hotel and ascend to the south through the glen of Fusedale, at first on the left and then on the right bank of the beck.

In about hour we bend to the left, up the fell, and soon cross a little stream (no path). Blencathara now appears in our rear and Helvellyn to the right, while High Street is visible to the south On reaching the ( hour) top of the ridge (Weather Hill, 2174 feet) we have a fine mountain view to the south and west.

In descending we bear to the left and cross the ( mile) Measand Beck by a foot-bridge we saw from above. In 10 minutes more we reach the road on the bank of the lake, which leads to the west (right) to (2 miles) Mardale Green (see below). The direct route from Patterdale to Hawes Water leads by Kidsty Pike (4-5 hours). We follow the Windermere road for about 2 miles, and at the point where it turns to the right, just below Brothers' Water, we keep straight on through the hamlet of Low Hartsop.

About mile farther up our road crosses the Hayes Water Beck, recrossing it in mile more, and passing near the foot of Hayes Water (1348 feet). We then ascend in zigzags to the (-1 hour) top of the ridge. From this point we may diverge to the right and ascend to the top of High Street 2663 feet), which commands an extensive view.

[The name of High Street is derived from an old Roman road that ran near the top of the ridge; some traces of it may be discerned near the summit of High Street. Kidsty Pike (2560 feet) rises in front, to the left. The direct route for Mardale Green keeps straight on through a gate in the wall at the top of the ridge, whence we have a steep and somewhat rough descent of about 1 hour.

Hawes Water (694 feet), 2 miles long and 1⁄3 miles wide, is a solitary little lake, embosomed among lofty mountains. Fair quarters may be obtained in the Dun Bull Inn at Mardale Green 1 mile from the head of the lake. The lower end of the lake is 5 miles from Shap by footpath and 7 miles by road via Bampton. Good walkers may also go on to Windermere (12 miles; 4 - 5 hours) by the Nan Bield Pass (2050 feet), Kentmere, and the Garbourn Pass (1450 feet; fine views descending). Or they may ascend High Street (1 - 2 hours; see above) and descend by the Troutbeck glen to Windermere (3-3 hours).


The ascent of Place Fell (2154 feet; view) takes about 1-1 hours. We ascend nearly to the top of Boredale Hause (see above), and then diverge to the left and climb the ridge. The descent may be made to the road through Boredale (see above). To reach the top of St. Sunday's Crag (2766 feet; 1 hours) we leave Patterdale by the bridle-path through Grisedale, and beyond (1 miles) the farm of Elm How turn to the left and ascend a zigzag green path, on the right bank of a beck, to the ( hour) top of the ridge, where we turn to the right towards the ( hour) summit. The top commands a good view of Ullswater and Helvellyn.

The descent may be made along the ridge and straight down to Patterdale. Helvellyn (3118 feet) may be ascended either via Glenridding (3 - 4 hours) or by Red Tarn (2 - 2 hours), the latter being the shorter but steeper route (pony and guide 12s.; on the second route the ponies must be left at the tarn, mile from the top). By the Glenridding route we leave the high-road opposite the Ullswater Hotel and ascend the cart-track to Greenside Smelting Mill. Here we avoid the track to the right, and follow the bridle-path in a straight direction.

Near Keppelcove Tarn (1825 feet) the path ascends in zigzags to the right, afterwards bending to the left, and soon reaching the top of the ridge, where we turn to the left (path no longer distinct), and reach the summit in hour more. Walkers may shorten the distance a little by ascending to the left of Keppelcove Tarn.

For the more interesting Red Tarn route we follow the Grisedale path for about mile and turn to the right, crossing the beck, at a sign-post. The pony-track from this point to a gateway about 2 miles farther is well marked, and beyond the gateway we come in sight of the Red Tarn (2356 feet), the highest sheet of water in the Lake District.

We keep to the right of the tarn and climb steeply to the top of the Swirrel Edge, along which a narrow path leads to the summit. Mountaineers may diverge to the left at the gateway and ascend by Striding Edge. A good and easy mountain walk (5 hours), commanding excellent views, is the round by Hart Crag (2700 feet, to the south), Fairfield and St. Sunday's Crag.

From Patterdale to Keswick, (various routes; for walkers the best is over Helvellyn and down to Thirlspot, 5 - 6 hours; the easiest and quickest route is by Troutbeck); to Windermere (and Ambleside) by the Kirkstone Pass, to Grasmere by the Grisedale Pass.