Coast to Coast Day 6: Patterdale to Shap (Low Raise alternate)

Today we completed just over 15 miles in just under 8.5 hours of walking. This was our final day in the Lake District and this blog will be a bit different from the others so far. First, I am seeing the real danger of all the days blurring together. Even though experiences might sound similar and the photos kinda look the same, each day has been tremendously different. So, I will include a few more photos to catch the vibe of the moment. Selfishly, this is my journal, yet I hope you like it too! Second, I want to provide a bit more info about the route we took. This leg includes the highest point on the Coast to Coast, and the guidebook is not kind about how hikers feel at the end in Shap. Our hostess at the B and B had encouragingly explained how it was not that bad, but this contradicted most of the reports I had read about in the Facebook Group, except for one ray of hope around a different descent via Low Raise which we took. I want to describe it to encourage others.

But let’s start at the beginning of the day! Tracy and Dean decided to take the roundabout route to Shap via Penrith in a taxi. They graciously did some laundry, and our socks (Samuel’s and mine especially) were what you’d expect after 4 days hiking, so they are true heroes. As that thought might make you squeamish, I won’t share any more about Tracy’s blister which is the biggest I have seen and caused this tremendous act of service. The blister might be the only thing about Tracy that is inappropriate for children!

We knew it was a long day so we got our breakfast as early as possible. The first five miles is up. While there are some level sections in that, one is greeted by a 1000 ft climb immediately out of the B and B. We made good progress, and the weather continuously threatened rain and sometimes delivered. Lakes that we had never heard of came into view. We made it to Angle Tarn, which is about half way up, sharing the trail with a few other pairs or groups of hikers. While nothing like our Day 2, it was wet and windy and a tough climb. There are lots of different paths and we chose the wrong one a couple of times, but we blame the people in front of us who we were following! 😎 We went in and out of cloud which cleared just as we approached Kidsty Pike.

This was where our alternate route kicked in. I had found a link to a comprehensive description by Dave Walsh. I confirmed it’s suitability in the Facebook Group and got an OS Map link from Anthony Pipes. We chose not to go up Kidsty Pike, and wanted to get on the track to Low Raise. As we approached Kidsty, I could not see a trail to the left so we bushwhacked across the longish grass for about 50 yards until we came across a faint but discernible path towards High Raise. We took the turn to Low Raise where we stopped for lunch in its wind shelter, and then followed the track all the way down to close to the end of the reservoir. The path is soft grass with a few damp places, wonderfully kind to the feet even though you are descending. There were a couple of steepish bits that needed care, but it sounds so much better than the main route along the reservoir. When we rejoined the main route, a couple of gentlemen that had overtaken us on the way up overtook us again, and were intrigued how we’d done it. Their descent and journey along the reservoir sounded as bad as everyone described, and we’d shortened the trip by a mile as well! My GPX file is linked here. This alternative route is strongly recommended!

Even though we had found an easier route, we still had 5 miles left to Shap. The environment had changed from the fell, ranging from pine trees to cows. There were lots of pretty stiles that become a much greater challenge after 14 miles of hard walking. But we made it into the village, heading straight for its famous Chippy, where we met Dean and Tracy. It did not disappoint, and a convenient grocery store close by allowed us to stock up on snacks before heading to our hotel and a well-earned rest. Team Sloth is hiking together again tomorrow for a short trip to Orton and some interesting sights, and the psychological crossing of the M6 motorway.

We were treated to see a red squirrel during breakfast at the Old Water View. They have been reintroduced in the National Park, with the rangers culling the invasive grey squirrels.
Even though we were going in different directions today, we are still one team!
We quickly gained altitude with great views back over Patterdale and the Old Water View just left of centre. In the distance, Striding Edge and Helvellyn are in the clouds.
After all the previous practice, we hardly slow down to cross rivers.
However, I might have looked for opportunities to take photos so I could briefly rest. We had seen plenty of slugs each day so far.
Foxgloves often line the trail.
Watch out for the thistles as they are prickly!
Brothers Water came into view, and the weather continued to look ominous.
But Angle Tarn was just around the corner.
A cool place to camp if you want some solitude!
But then the rain came and made us sad. What was really annoying was stopping for selfies! 😎
But then the rain stopped and the path leveled, so we were happy again!
I thought it would be great to capture a photo of Janet in the clouds, but I don’t think she agreed. This could be a caption competition!
Seeing the pointed top of Kidsty Pike lifted our spirits.
It’s amazing how these sheep thrive up here.
The missing horn suggests he has been in some battles…
The clouds come down over Kidsty Pike as we follow an easy path.
Some of us are happy to take a selfie with Kidsty in the background.
Samuel, our guide, was happy to follow a pretty clear path. Behind him the trail goes to High Raise.
A panorama of the plateau between High Raise and Kidsty Pike. The weather is clearing!
The path to Low Raise branches to the right before High Raise summit.
One is rewarded with a first glimpse of Haweswater.
The rocks at Low Raise provided a wind break, but did not stop Bailey from posing for photos with the backdrop showing what our future looks like beyond the Lakes.
But first, we enjoyed a hearty lunch of sandwiches, sausage rolls, and lots of chocolate.
The trail down from Low Raise was easy to follow. It was kind to the feet and the view of our future hiking was enthralling.
Cute lambs are never far away.
The view of the end of Haweswater was so exciting that…
… a song was required!
The path was a bit steeper towards the bottom as it passed through bracken.
Though there were more good excuses to stop!
We rejoined the “main” trail at Measand Beck
We immediately sense a change in vibe when we see our first honesty box by the path!
The paths are smooth, in this case an old bridge is now for pedestrians, next to the “newer” road bridge.
It was warmer in the valley so stopping for pictures was OK.
And route finding was assisted by signage, but a map was still needed.
Are you sure we need to go that way? Is that a cow or a bull? Oh good, I can see an udder…
On the approach to Shap is Shap Abbey which dates from 1199. The kids did quite well at feigning interest!
Finally we made it to the chippy to reunite the team and enjoy dinner!
By the time we made it to the hotel, the team was somewhat scattered, but Bailey and I managed to take the day’s finisher’s photo.

Don’t forget to check out Day 6’s Relive video at https://www.relive.cc/view/v8qkBLXxmK6

This page is linked to from my England’s Coast to Coast home page.

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Published by Peter Ireland

I am originally from England, and my wife Janet is from Louisiana. When we started Geocaching in 2002, we needed a name, and the Cajunlimeys were created, and that is the name I use for my blog. Even though Janet has no Cajun blood, her cooking is excellent! “Limeys” comes from the nickname for English sailors, who ate limes to prevent scurvy. We live in Houston, Texas, with Bailey and Samuel. We love adventures and want to share the experiences with others. When planning trips, I have found other people’s sites very useful, so I want to give back and add a different perspective.

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