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Patterdale, Grisedale, Paper Bridge, Fairfield, St Sunday Crag, Cumbria.
[17.2 km] Wed 13 May 2015

OS Grid Ref: NY 39716 15824
Lat/Long: 54.534084,-02.933133

I managed to find the last parking space in the lay-bye in Patterdale.
My main objective is the visit the Paper Bridge by Steve Messam which is an artwork but still a functioning bridge. It is made from 22,000 sheets of locally made paper weighting about 4 tonnes and only existing from 8th to 18th May 2015. The location is at the western end of Grisedale.

Leaving Patterdale

I set off along the road to the NW then turned left to follow the minor road that leads part way up Grisedale. As I set off up the lane a couple were walking down and the man was carrying a chair. Later in the day I saw on Twitter a photo of a lady sat on the chair on the top of the paper bridge.

Heading up Grisedale


First view of the Paper Bridge

Paper Bridge and audience

Paper Bridge

There were nice patches of sunshine on the fells as I walked up the valley. Eventually I saw the Bridge in the distance. Its distinctive dark orange colour made it stand out in the landscape. The approach path was quite wet and the bridge spanned Nethermost Cove Beck which was also very wet on both sides. A couple were already there taking photos and enjoying the views from all sides.

Formwork for the bridge

I lingered for a while enjoying the bridge and climbing over it. As I stood on the top I could make it wobble quite a bit. Nearby was a fenced area where the wooden construction formwork was stored. There were also some paper offcuts so I rescued a couple of pieces as souvenirs. I continued up the valley to Ruthwaite Lodge. It is a climbing hut and a sign on the wall says:
“Ruthwaite Lodge. Restored by the maintenance team of Outward Bound Ullswater and dedicated 26 Mar 1993 to the memory of Richard Read and Mike Evans, tutors from O.B.U killed on Mount Cook, New Zealand 31 Jan 1988”

Ruthwaite Lodge

Before reaching Grisedale Tarn I made a short detour to visit the Brothers Parting Stone.

Brothers Parting Stone

Known as the Brothers Parting Stone, it marks the place at which William Wordsworth last saw his brother John. Hardwicke Rawnsley erected a stone in 1882 with the inscription:

Here did we stop; and here looked round
While each into himself descends,
For that last thought of parting Friends
That is not to be found.
Brother and friend, if verse of mine
Have power to make thy virtues known,
Here let a monumental Stone
Stand–sacred as a Shrine.

Brothers Parting

By now there were lots more people on the path which were mostly coming over the other way from Grasmere. At Grisedale Hause I turned left to start the very steep climb up to Fairfield.

Grisedale Tarn

Grisedale Tarn

Path up Fairfield

The first part had a lot of stone steps which seemed fairly new. It’s a while since I’ve been this way and didn’t remember them from the last time. Although steep I took it steady and reached the summit area which has three stone shelters, all occupied. After yesterday’s high winds it was almost windless today. The earlier sunny spells were now gone and there was full cloud cover. I turned north to take the steep and scrambly path down to Cofa Pike.

Then it was up again and another steep descent to Deepdale Hause. The steady climb up St Sunday Crag followed and it seemed to have three false summits. Eventually I got there and had wonderful views in spite of the high cloud. Further on I was able to look down into Grisedale and see the paper bridge surrounded with people.

Towards St Sunday Crag

I continued my descent to Thornhow End where the safe path is a sharp turn to the left. A path continued to the grass and made a much steeper descent through difficult rocks. I would have been better taking the easier descent. Continuing down I reached the level path running west east. I turned right and had to negotiate a lot of walkers. Fortunately I managed to overtake them and continued back to my car in Patterdale.

View of the Paper Bridge from St Sunday Crag