THIS is a dramatic walk with a long ascent, then a wet descent followed by a very stony one.
The views are spectacular and the fells and the woodlands are at their autumnal best right now. Go as far as you feel comfortable and then you may wish to return by the same route to enjoy all the views you missed on the way up first time.
The leadmine closed in 1962 after being in operation since the 18th century.
At one time it was the largest lead mine in England producing massive amounts of lead – and a steady flow of silver for the Bank of England.
Park in the large car park in the centre of Glenridding. Grid reference 387170.
1 Leave the car park, cross the road and walk north along the pavement of the A592. After a few steps, take a path off right leading down towards Ullswater, descending steps almost to the water’s edge. Continue along a raised embankment, soon to follow the path up to the side of the road. Hug the wall on the right as you walk on under Stybarrow Crag.
Pause if the traffic isn’t too heavy to enjoy the superb view of the lake. Just after the end of the wall and a few steps beyond Mossdale Beck, rejoin the lakeside path and walk through the trees until you take a path climbing steadily towards the road once more. Do not join the road, but continue on a pleasing high-level path, up against a wall on your left.
After a short walk, look for the gap in the wall, go through and cross the A-road to continue up a wide track.
2 Where the track divides into three, take the middle one to walk through glorious Glencoyne Wood. The path ascends and where the track winds around to the right, look down into the valley to see the Glencoyne farm. Carry on steadily ascending to come to a divison of the way. Take the narrower grassy path ahead, the wider track leading into the Seldom Seen row of cottages. A few steps on along the path you can look down on the picturesque row. Press on up through the trees, the path distinct but narrow and rougher under foot.
3 Pause to enjoy the lovely tawny coloured fells and large areas of bronzed bracken, then begin your climb ahead, remaining beside the wall on your right and under the shadow of Sheffield Pike on the left. The path is partly grassy but often stony. At first it rises steeply and then levels just before a gate. Once through the path slants left as it begins another steepish climb up Bleabank Side. Stand still to enjoy the pleasing view of Glencoyne Beck. The climb eases for a little bit and then ascends again towards Glencoyne Head.
4 The path then winds left, away from the Head and the dry way just ends. Look down from here to see the old mine, below a long grassy sward – alas the latter is boggy. Any path you take is muddy or wet in parts. The first indistinct right turn traverses the fell slope to join Sticks Pass. You need to take the next right turn, very close to the first one, and slant down the fell towards a vast wall of stone waste. Just below this is a wooden footbridge, where you cross Swart Beck. Follow the reinforced cairned track, with more splendid views of Sheffield Pike’s southern slopes. Follow the track and be prepared for it to become stony as it curves several times to ease the severe gradient.
5 At the waymark, as you near the valley, turn left and follow the winding wide track to walk on beside the old leadmine buildings now put to other uses. Go on gently descending and enjoying the lovely views ahead and of Glenridding Beck tumbling over its rocky bed. After less than half a mile along the road, look for where the wall on the right turns a little right before continuing. Here pass through an easy-to-miss waymarked gate, on the right, to follow a grassy trod, down the fell.