There is a sad group of people called Fellwalkers who are addicted to climbing high hills and mountains. As with all addictions it starts innocently enough – perhaps a well-intentioned grandparent taking the child to the top of Pendle as a way of occupying the childminding shift but it will only take a few more outings like that before a person is hooked. This need to get high often morphs into an obsession with lists of mountains that need to be “bagged”. So we have “Wainwrights” (214 Lakeland Fells) and Munros (282 Scottish peaks over 3,000ft) the crystal meth of walking. In order to combat this serious social disorder which appears to create happy, contented people, I have devised a therapy which involves not going up a mountain but around it as a way of weening them off this dangerous life enhancing habit. The following describes a route that circles one of the most popular fells in the Lake District – Place Fell at the southern end of Ullswater.

Start/finish: Patterdale Village Centre CA11 0NN

Distance: 8 miles 13k

Time: 3½ - 5 hours

Grade: Strenuous

Map: OS OL 5 The English Lakes North eastern area


 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press


1. From the Patterdale Hotel walk along the road in the direction of Glenridding. Before you reach the church


turn right onto a farm road leading across the valley bottom to Side Farm a well-known camping site. Pass through the complex to reach a bridleway on the far side.


Turn right. After 150 yds pass through a gate by properties. After the next gate turn


left onto a bridleway leading up the steep-sided flank below Patterdale Common. The path is quite obvious


and in a little under half a mile levels off


to swing eastwards onto Boredale Hawse. "Hawse" is an old Cumbrian word for col. Still none the wiser? It is the lower part of a ridge between two (or more peaks) and as such forms a natural pass. As the track levels out there may be a temptation to bear off left on the path leading to the summit of Place Fell - especially if it is a clear day. If you cannot resist the temptation it will add an hour to the walk returning to Boredale Hawse. Focusing on the route as you cross the hawse pass the ruin intriguingly marked "Chapel in the Hawse" on the map,


and then after a rise


bear left to commence your descent into Boredale. Initially there is a steep rocky path


to negotiate with care but once past this the way becomes delightfully easy which a broad grassy track to guide you to Boredale Head Farm.


When you reach the farm pass through its yard to access the road


and continue down the valley crossing the beck near Nettlesack and then continuing to a junction beyond Garth Heads.


Here turn left for Sandwick.

2. As you approach Sandwick a little way after Mill How on your right turn left


on a bridleway part of the newly created Ullswater Way.


A signpost indicates that Patterdale is 3½ miles away. Over the next two hours you may have many reasons to doubt the veracity of this information. As it skirts the base of Place Fell above the lovely shores of Ullswater here is a track that put the "un" into "undulating". At first it sets out from Sandwick benignly enough


but this is to raise false hopes. A new tea room opened in Lowther Barn offers refreshment.


Take it as you'll need all the help you can get for what follows as the track uns


and dulates


all the way back to Side Farm. Having said this the views are just about the best to be had anywhere in Britain.

POI After reaching Ullswater you may become aware of greater number of people than seen as you descended Boredale. The reason for this is you will be joining one of the most popular tourist walking routes in the country - Howtown to Glenridding using a vessel in the fleet of Ullswater Steamers. (See www.ullswater- ) As with my route around Place Fell this is another excellent route to help peak-bagging addicts kick the habit. It has now been incorporated into a longer challenge walk of "The Ullswater Way" which opened in 2016. (See At 20 miles a super-fit walker could do it in a day but this length makes it an ideal walk for a weekend/short break.