Martindale

Martindale

Route: Boredale and Howe Grain in Martindale

Area: Far Eastern Lake District

Date of walk: 17th April 2019

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 6.3 miles

Ascent: 1,500 feet

Weather: Sunny, warm but very hazy

I planned today’s walk with a view to avoiding the Easter Bank Holiday crowds, and could think of no better place than remote Martindale. This area, in the far east of the district, contains two of my favourite valleys, Howe Grain and Boredale, which can only be reached by driving along the narrow lanes on the east side of Ullswater and then up the steep zigzags to Martindale Hause

We parked by Martindale Old Church (St Martin), and were pleased to note that only one other car was parked there. We crossed nearby Christy Bridge and followed the lane along Howe Grain as far as Dale Head. The valley lane, and that along its neighbour, Boredale, is almost completely traffic free. Both are dead ends, and there are only a handful of houses and farms along both valleys

The area is home to the oldest red deer herd in England, and as we approached Dale Head it was a thrill to see a large group of them. From Dale Head we followed the easy slanting path up the slopes of Beda Fell up to Boredale Hause. Ullswater came into view here, as did the Helvellyn range, but the long distance views – which would normally be spectacular – were spoiled by a thick haze

From the hause we descended into Boredale. The path is quite steep, loose and stony near the top but the gradient soon levels out and before long we were on the valley floor. We joined the lane beside Boredale Beck, and enjoyed another sighting of red deer as went along. Near the end of the valley there’s a sting in the tail, with a short but steep ascent over the big toe of Beda Fell (this could be avoided by continuing along the valley road, but it would be at the cost of extra mileage)

The path then gently descended back into Howe Grain, and we enjoyed some lovely views along the valley as we strolled back to the car to end a wonderful walk, during the course of which we’d only seen a small handful of other walkers

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