At the bus stop by Windermere Station I quickly ascertained that there was no bus direct to Patterdale except at weekends and school holidays. This did not come as a complete surprise to me and I had prepared myself for a bit of a walk. The question remained walk from where? Just then the open top service bus Route 555 to Ambleside pulled up. On a bright summer’s morning in July it was a no brainer – I would start the walk from Ambleside.
Deposited in Ambleside just before noon I set myself the target of reaching the Kirkstone Inn for lunchtime. The Kirkstone Inn is located at the top of the Kirkstone Pass and claims to be at 1480ft Britain’s fourth highest pub. Below I describe the route in detail but it has to be said that it would be far easier in reverse.
My plan worked out well and I made lunchtime positioning myself conspicuously outside the Inn in case any marshals or competitors should be passing by to give me a lift to the event centre. Alas no such luck so I headed downhill on a concessionary path that led past the eponymous Kirkstone and descended to Brothers Water. From there it was a matter of joining the Patterdale road and walking round into Deepdale.
Start: Ambleside Tourist Information Centre LA22 9BS
Finish: The Kirkstone Inn
Time: 1 ½ - 2 ½ hours
Map: OS OL7 The English Lakes South-eastern area
From the TIC walk along Rydal Road towards the town centre. After crossing North Road keep ahead to the corner of the Market Place.
Here turn left onto Stockghyll Lane. Signed for Stock Ghyll Waterfalls
this soon bends to the left and climbs up a leafy lane. After 400yds a sign on the left indicates entrance to the falls.
After wet weather these can be dramatic and even in the height of summer are worth a diversion. The path through the woods leads to a viewing platform below Stock Ghyll Force with its 70ft drop.
From here the path leads back to the lane. Turn left to continue the climb.
taking you to Middle Grove
once a farm now holiday lets with breath-taking scenery to the west as you gain height.
At Middle Grove pass the buildings to a gate leading onto a grassy track.
Soon this reaches the bare fellside
and continues to the ruins of High Grove
set in an isolated holt. Keep ahead on the track as it leads across the upper reaches of Stock Ghyll
to reach the road leading up from Ambleside.
The final part of the walk to the junction with the A592 is labelled "The Struggle" on the OS map and this will give you some idea of gradient.
Just remind yourself there is a friendly inn at jouney's end.