Travel: Seen the series? Now explore the scenery

SUNDAY WALK: Jimmy McGovern set his disturbing drama 'The Lakes' in Glenridding. Mark Rowe enjoys the reality behind the series

GLENRIDDING, if you watched last year's BBC drama The Lakes, is a Cumbrian village of intrigue, murder, sex, and more sex. Happily, I have visited it twice and have yet to see anything more licentious than an over-exuberant group of hikers out on the booze after climbing England's third highest mountain, Helvellyn.

A more topical reason for visiting the Lakes in 1998 is that it is the 200th anniversary of William Wordsworth's annus mirabilis; the publication in 1798 of his Lyrical Ballads.

It is perhaps because people are simply worn out after a hard day's slog up Helvellyn that Glenridding, with its idyllic location by Ullswater, is a tranquil village at night. But it is also a base for a more rarely trodden path, along Place Fell, the solid lump on the east side of Ullswater.

Place Fell rises dramatically from water level to 2,154ft within little more than half a mile. The initial ascent is deceptively steep: to be completely honest, it is a swine to climb. So much so that on our first attempt, begun one winter's midday, we used a brief smattering of rain as an excuse to retreat downhill.

The next day, however, we started early and found that, with time to spare, Place Fell is an unhurried delight that offers views as pleasant as those of its more illustrious neighbours in the Lake District. The round trip of eight miles, of which the last three-and-a-half are a pleasant amble along the side of the lake, should take around five hours.

The first leg took us south, out of Glenridding to the tiny hamlet of Patterdale. Here we turned right towards Side Farm and arrived at the foot of Place Fell, where the flat walking comes to an abrupt halt. We turned right to follow a signed footpath to Angle Tarn and Boredale Hause. The path is steep but straightforward and continues for half a mile, which was actually quite pleasant since we could see where it ended and that encouraged us to keep plodding along.

In next to no time we were well above Side Farm, with views emerging as we climbed higher. To the west was the brooding dark-green mass of Helvellyn with Striding Edge clearly visible, seemingly thin as a razor blade. To the south was Brothers Water, a small lake at the foot of the dramatic Kirkstone Pass, the only road south to Ambleside.

We arrived at Boredale Hause, once the meeting place for several pack horse trails. It is not a "house" at all, but simply a flat grassy coll: all that remains are a few stones of what is believed to have been a chapel.

Looking back along the path we had climbed, Patterdale and Glenridding seemed improbably distant. Far away, we spotted people walking on High Street, the old Roman way which runs like a Humpback whale's backbone along much of the eastern Lake District.

After we regained our breath we studied our map and were encouraged to find we only had another 800ft or so to climb. There is no clear route to begin with - we simply headed upwards and north but soon found an obvious path through scree which gave us views through the wild valley of Boredale. We came to Round How, a preliminary summit before striding up the last gentle stretch to the top.

The views were glorious; Helvellyn loomed large, and to the north we could see right along Ullswater. To the east was Martindale: come in the spring and you may be lucky enough to spot one of the golden eagles which nest near the adjacent Haweswater Reservoir. In times of drought, the reservoir level sinks to reveal a flooded village.

The evidence of our own eyes made the second half of the walk a pure joy. We gradually descended to the village of Sandwick. Here, you could make a small diversion to Howtown and take the boat back up the lake to Glenridding - but save it for another day: the walk along Ullswater's east side, with no cars and few people, is a delight. The route stays above the waterside land and there are several view-points at which you can sit, stare, and enjoy a picnic.

The path eventually returns to Side Farm, where there are refreshments. We then retraced our steps to Glenridding. As the dark winter's evening began to draw in, a mist hung above Birkhouse Moor below Helvellyn. Now that really is a suitable place to retell tales that will excite the imagination.

And despite Jimmy McGovern's tense television drama, the only thing I found frightening in Glenridding was the size of the cream teas.

8 The Ordnance Survey "Lake District Tourist Map" is adequate for this walk. The OS "Lake District Pathfinder Guide" provides a detailed description.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
Drinking - often heavily - is a running theme throughout HBO's Game of Thrones adaptation
food + drink
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living