INTO THE FELLS
ASCEND FROM LOWTHER BARN INTO THE FELLS
So far the walk has been softly undulating and pleasant, but now you will begin ascending into the hills. From the tearoom, take the footpath left straight after the stream and follow it up until the beck appears alongside you on the right. Keep turning around on this stretch, as views behind you onto Ullswater are breathtaking, and despite the steep climb you’ll be glad to be gaining some height and heading away from the shores. Continue along the obvious footpath, keeping the beck to your right (though not always visible) as you pass a disused quarry (left) and crumbling building (right).
After the quarry, the footpath becomes a little vague and the ground can be boggy after rainfall, but head towards the low sheep-pen where a path from the left joins. Turn right so you are facing the foothills of Place Fell. At this point, views of Ullswater have disappeared beyond the hills you have just climbed up, replaced by the surrounding yellow moorland.
N.B. Before ascending, consider the weather conditions. If bad weather and low visibility, we’d recommend staying on the Ullswater Way all the way back to Glenridding. However, if the weather is fine and you’re feeling fit, start the ascent to Place Fell.
THE FINAL ASCENT UP TO PLACE FELL
After turning right at the sheep-pen, you will come to a split in the footpath in around 50 metres. Here you have two choices: the left-hand path heads directly up to the summit of Place Fell, on an obvious and easy to follow track; the right-hand path is a little vaguer and longer, but views down to Ullswater are unbeatable and the moorland that opens up before you is simply breathtaking. From the right hand track, you can actually see the whole trail you’ve been following up from Ullswater, with views of rolling moorland and distant peaks; an array of textures, colours and shadows.
N.B. The rest of the route description will describe the right-hand track (the one that we took and that needs a little more explanation).
Head around the corner past Mortar Crag as Ullswater disappears behind you. At times the track seems to be lost and there is some boggy marshland to avoid, but you should soon cross a beck which you can then follow almost to the summit. The ground around the beck is quite boggy, but don’t worry if you have to venture away from it as the cairnstones for Place Fell can actually be seen looking up to the left – so as long as you keep these in sight, and the beck fairly visible, you can’t go too far wrong! Pass Hart Crag on your left (a rocky outcrop that sits below Place Fell), then at some point you should see the other path join from the left and a small tarn nestled into the hillside. Begin the final rocky ascent to the summit of Place Fell until you reach the cairnstones.
Views from the summit are fine, as Ullswater reappears into sight in the north, and the green valley of Patterdale is visible in the south. Yet the most striking view is that of the eastern flanks of the Helvellyn range, a sharp ridgeline that still showed remnants of snow in early May, when we visited, despite the warm weather for the previous few weeks. Bring a warm and windproof jacket for the summit, and find a sheltered spot to eat your lunch and take in the views.