Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite
Distance: 15.5 miles
Height Gain: 2,300 feet
Highpoint: Head of Loft Beck (1,970 feet)
Walking time: Approx 6-8 hours
Part 1: Ennerdale Bridge to Low Gillerthwaite
Follow the road directly east out of the village, until reaching the weir at the end of Ennerdale Water. Take the southern path beside the lake which is narrow and rocky in places and cut by many lovely streams. Take a break at Robin Hood’s Chair, the first of many references to the man whose bay we are heading for. At the eastern end of the lake, cut diagonally across the fields to your left, cross the footbridge and pick up the Landrover track that takes you past buildings at Low and High Gillerthwaite, the latter being a Youth Hostel.
Part 2: Low Gillerthwaite to Black Sail
There now follows about 4 miles of Landrover track. You can’t go wrong here, just stick to the track and look ahead and to your right for views of Pillar and Steeple. Much of the coniferous forest has been felled in recent years and views are much better than in Wainwright’s day. Before long you will see the head of Ennerdale valley and the low building of Black Sail Youth Hostel nestled in the folds of the land. If you’re lucky, the hostel will be open to fill your water bottles, but this is not a tea room and there will be no toilets open.
Part 3: Black Sail to Rosthwaite
Now comes the first tricky bit of navigation. Make sure you select the correct beck to ascend. Straight ahead is Tongue Beck, this is not the way to go. Look to your left as you leave Black Sail behind and see Loft Beck climbing out of the valley. Follow the faint track to the right of the beck and at the top bear right to follow the stony and rugged track beneath Grey Knotts. This soon meets the old Tramway, a well laid path, steep in places that takes you down to the slate mine at Honister. There is a cafe and toilets here. Follow the road past the Youth Hostel before picking up the old toll road that runs beside the road and loops around to enter Seatoller from the east. There is a cafe in Seatoller too. The path now runs through the beautiful Johnny Wood, past Longthwaite Youth Hostel and into Rosthwaite.