Classic Lake District Walks – The Coledale Round

By Tryfan Williams   

on January 5, 2021   4/5 (1)

Classic Lake District Walks – The Coledale Round

Further Details

Route Summary:

Classic Lakeland circular route.

Start and Finish: Braithwate

Distance: 16.9 km

Ascent: 1245 m

Time: 7 hours

Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.


Pubs and hotels available in Braithwaite village

Public Transport:

The X5 and the X4 connect with Braithwaite from Keswick

Traveline for UK Public Transport


No specific hazards. There are a couple of steeper rocky sections, particularly after Crag Hill where care should be taken

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Keeping Safe on the Wales Coast Path,  Navigation and the Gear and Equipment you’ll need.

Scafell Pike Guidebooks:

Recommended Scafell Pike Maps

Classic Lake District Walks – The Coledale Round Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Classic Lake District Walks – The Coledale Round

You can’t beat a good horseshoe walk, especially when you get to bag a load of summits in the process. The Coledale Round ascends Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Grasmoor, Crag Hill and numerous other tops. If you’re in the habit of stopping for a bite to eat on each top, you’ll be at it all day. Just make sure you take enough grub with you.

The Coledale Round Walking Route

The Coledale Round starts off from Braithwaite to the south of Keswick, with an initial gradual ascent bringing you towards Stile End, with Barrow flanking to your left, then on towards Sail while skirting the Outerside to the right. Of course you could include both the Barrow and Outerside summits if you prefer.

Climbing to Crag Hill via some scrambling on the Scar you’re now reaching some decent heights, once there one of the group produced a hip flask of whisky which was gladly welcomed with the wind picking up and a slight fog gathering.

Stepping off Crag Hill and the Horseshoe, with some extra energy and a couple hundred meters you could bag an extra summit in the form of Grasmoor,which is the highest point of the Coledale Round.

At this point, you can shorten the day if  you’re not quite up to what the rest of the afternoon had to offer in terms of ascents by descending into Coledale and following the old barytes Mine road to Braithwate, a steady level walk, but not losing much for distance.

The Coledale Round now takes you up to Sand Hill, so close to the next summit of Hopegill Head that it’s best to continue onward. This is often the busiest of the summits.

The descent from Hopegill Head requires you to carefully navigate the ascent with the dangers of Hobcarton Crag to the left before tackling the final ascent to Grisdale Pike, the final Wainwright Fell of the round.

The last leg of the Coledale Round descends along Sleet How coming down the long and gradual decent back to the starting point, Braithwate. There you can relax, reflect and enjoy a well deserved pint (or two) in the traditional country inn, the Royal Oak, with a selection of real ales all brewed by local brewer Jennings Brothers.

Images credited to Dave Chick.


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Tryfan Williams

I’m a Welshman born and raised in the shadow of Snowdonia, and you could say the Mountains are in my blood with a name like Tryfan! I would class myself as a relative newcomer to the outdoor pursuits arena, and so my articles will be my attempt to chronicle my adventures, hopefully learning as I go and giving those that are in a similar boat an insight / forum to share and learn.

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