Ullswater Way – Pooley Bridge to Watermillock

As I said in my last blog, we are gradually walking the Ullswater Way – as the mood takes us and completely out of sequence.

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A Pastoral Scene (c) John Bainbridge 2017

In this stretch we walked from Pooley Bridge to Watermillock. Probably the most pastoral part of the lake as the route passes through quiet meadows and gentle slopes rather than dramatic fellside. Fields full of contented cows and excellent territory for the birdwatcher.

It saddens me to walk through Pooley Bridge. Sad not to see the lovely old bridge, washed away in Storm Desmond. I hope that the new bridge, when it is built, has the architectural merit of the old structure.

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A Quiet Hamlet (c) John Bainbridge 2017

Skirting Dunmallard Hill, we walked up to Waterfoot – once a stately home but now the heart of a huge holiday camp. Beyond is a steady ascent through rough and pleasant pastures climbing gradually up to a ridge with the old hill fort of Maiden Castle (not to be confused with its more famous namesake in Dorset).

Not that there’s a lot to see. The real joy of this long slope is as a viewpoint. Ullswater is in sight now, and so many of the great mountains around – the fells above Glenridding and on the far side of the lake around Martindale.

Then through the quiet hamlets of Wreay and Bennethead, places that seem unchanged by time.

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Orchids in the churchyard (c) John Bainbridge 2017

A walk across marshier fields (ignore the sign suggesting the lane as an alternative) gave us splendid views of Little Mell Fell and Priest’s Crag.

Then to Watermillock Church. Just a few weeks since we had last been there, but different again – the churchyard full of orchids and a variety of other wild flowers.

We returned the same way to Pooley Bridge, well worth doing if you want to enjoy the Ullswater Way in small sections, not least because of the different views you get.

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Priest’s Crag (c) John Bainbridge 2017

The Ullswater Way is very well waymarked – its daffodil symbol accompanying the walker at every junction in the path.

 Next: Aira Force to Patterdale on the Ullswater Way.

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