The Patterdale Parish Boundary Walk (PPBW) takes place on the first Saturday in July every year. I’ve wanted to have a go at the challenging 30 mile route with 10,000 feet of ascent for some time, so when Sue O and Mike P suggested that Sue and I join them this year (Sue O and Mike have done it many times before) we jumped at the chance.
Sadly, when the day arrived, neither Mike nor Sue O, who we’d picked up from Ann and Alvar’s in Penrith, felt fit enough to attempt the whole route, so Sue and I agreed without demur to alter our ambition and tackle just the easier second half of the Boundary walk, from Kirkstone Top to Patterdale. This meant that we could join David, Heather, Carmen and Rowan, who were doing just the second half as the organisers don’t allow under 16s like Carmen to do the whole lot (though Rowan, who is also under 16, may have managed to sidestep that particular rule).
So the long anticipated 5 am start passed us by as we lay in our beds or tents listening to the rain, the morning slowly drifting into a leisurely affair with Mike and Marian, who had kindly allowed the Sues and me to stay for a couple of nights in their homely and conveniently positioned library/garden.
Eventually, on a showery day, setting off at 11.40 from a car park inundated by banana thieves on an unrelated endurance event, we tackled the second half of the Patterdale Parish Boundary Walk, starting from Kirkstone Top. Here we are - David, Sue, Martin, Carmen, Sue, Heather and Rowan.
It was showery enough for the waterproofs to stay on all day, but without getting particularly wet. Albeit I think someone who used Paramo did get a bit soggy!
Here are the others near the start of the walk, ascending St Raven's Edge to John Bell's Banner.
In gaps between the showers there were good views to the Kentmere summits, including Froswick and Ill Bell, and from Caudale Moor we could see ahead to Thornthwaite Crag and High Street. Whilst the pictures don’t really show it, the hillsides were covered in the small white flowers of Heath Bedstraw.
It was a slithery descent in rain, with good views down Trout Beck to Windermere, to Threshthwaite Mouth, where we enjoyed lunch in and out of showers, trying to protect sandwiches and crisps from getting soggy. This boosted energy levels for the steep ascent to Thornthwaite Crag.
Here’s the view to Trout Beck and Windermere from the slithery descent.
The path to High Street from Thornthwaite Crag looked easy as we paused to regroup and chatted to a resident couple in the welcome shelter of the protective wall by the beacon at Thornthwaite Crag, from where there were clear views to Froswick and Ill Bell beyond.
Our route turned north, with the wind conveniently on our backs as we headed over High Street towards The Knott and Rest Dodd. Hereabouts there were lots of folk wandering around in pairs, scrutinising maps, as we enjoyed the views towards Hartsop and Helvellyn. We later discovered that the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon was taking place and that the puzzled looking folks with flappy maps must have been taking part in that event.
We admired distant views towards Place Fell as we passed over The Knott to reach another climb up to the summit of Rest Dodd, from where there were good views towards Ullswater.
It’s a lovely path down to Angle Tarn, past various lumps and bumps that we didn’t bother to ascend on this occasion.
The views from the two Angletarn Pikes summits (eg as in the header picture) are however excellent, so the Sues and David and I popped up to those summits whilst Carmen and her mum and pet enjoyed a second lunch.
The Angletarn Pikes are gnarly nobbles with sufficient telephone reception to enable us to warn Mike P, aka The Patterdale Canary, of our presence should he wish to join us for the final stage of our walk.
Turning my back on the sunny scene above, Ullswater and Place Fell seemed to be temporarily engulfed…
We strolled slowly down to Boredale Hause, catching up with the family rejuvenated after their second lunch. No sign of the canary. The six of us regrouped on our final summit - Place Fell. The rev (David) seemed relieved; he had been feeling a little fragile - a state probably worsened when I reminded him that this was the last hill, and he could ‘put his back into it’.
We now took a short cut, despite David’s presence not sticking religiously to the Parish Boundary, and headed west before reaching The Knight. The path now led easily down to Patterdale. Shortly after starting the descent we were joined by the trusty aforementioned canary (you’ll see why I’m describing him thus if you view the slideshow to which there’s a link below), Mike P testing his damaged leg. It hurt, he reported. It hasn’t really fully recovered from a serious ski accident in 2015 and Mike was clearly frustrated not to be able to join us for more of the walk.
Low down, near where the path passes above Side Farm’s campsite, there's a bench on which residents of Patterdale can pause to admire their Parish. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a view like this within a ten minute walk from home?
Time was marching on. We had a table booked for 7.30 in the White Lion. So we marched on, past a Patterdale relic, just for AlanR….
…. to the PPBW finish at the local school, where we were plied with tea and were awarded medals, bunches of bananas and certificates. We were told that over 80 people had taken part, just 7 managing the entire circuit. We were the last to finish, at about 6.40 pm, though this final checkpoint is normally open until around 10 pm as strugglers (sic) make their way off Place Fell in semi darkness to complete the entire 30 mile route.
Next year, perhaps.
The route (the second half of the PPBW) is about 20 km with 1200 metres ascent. It took us 7 hours.
Here’s a 37 image slideshow. Click on the first image then click ‘slideshow’.
There is no entry fee for this Beating the Bounds of Patterdale event, which raises much needed funds for St Patrick’s Church in Patterdale and the Patterdale Church of England Primary School. Participants are asked to gain sponsorship or to make a donation at the end of their walk.
A worthwhile cause, and a lovely event to take part in. The full route is a challenging day out. Diarise 5 am on Saturday 1 July 2017?