Last Sunday was a lovely day of blue skies and clear distant views as we headed to Martindale for a walk across the long ridge of Beda Fell from the new church of the dale.
And I maintain that the very best way to walk the fell is to start at the head of the dale, following the lane up to Dale Head before walking back along Beda and down the rocky ridges with the splendid views of Ullswater in sight as you descend.
And so we did.
Martindale is still technically a deer forest, though you see precious few deer on your journey. It was once the preserve of the Lords Lowther, and now is owned by the Dalemain Estate. The last Lord Lowther – the so-called “yellow earl” – hated fellwalkers. The family didn’t mind Kaiser Wilhelm II quite so much. Before the Great War they lent him their stalkers’ bungalow so that he could come and pot a few deer.
Dalemain now lets the same property out as a holiday home.
From Dale Head farm we took the track which leads from Martindale to Patterdale via Boredale Hause (properly Boardale). Probably one of the oldest tracks in Lakeland, its origins lie, maybe, with the Vikings who settled these lands 1400 years ago.
A good track too, with fine views over The Nab and Bannerdale, as it climbs gently up to the ridge.
And when that rocky crest was reached we turned northwards and followed the ridge of Beda Fell itself. Superb views in all directions, notably towards St Sunday Crag in one direction and Ullswater, its long stretch broken by Hallin Fell, in the other. And to our left the drop into Boardale itself.
A rest on the summit, with a warm breeze, before descending Allen Crag and Low Brock Crags and then the magnificent Winter Crag, a terrific viewpoint, before reaching the Sandwick Beck.
A perfect Lakeland day.