Hidden is certainly the word I would use for this campsite and that’s why it is now among my favourites. I was in two minds about going all the way to Ullswater for the one night but as I drove over the Kirkstone Pass and saw the views over to Ullswater I was glad I made the effort. There are a number of campsites dotted along the shores of Ullswater. I chose this one because it was nearest to this side of Windermere and looked like it was going to be a ‘hidden gen’.
On entering Patterdale, a small hamlet on the southern tip of Ullswater you are led up a rough track to a farm. This is where you pay, then you continue along a bridleway (it really couldn’t be classed as a road) to the campsite. There are no other roads on this side of the lake so there is no through traffic! Patterdale is a short walk from Glenridding where most people attempt Helvellyn via Striding Edge (as I had planned), but there is no need to test yourself that much if you don’t want to. The lake has a footpath around it for leisurely walks or you can take the steamer to Pooley Bridge at the northern tip. Martindale is also a popular area with lower fells to test your ability. There is a farm shop and café on-site but more provisions can be found in Patterdale, 15 minutes level walk, or Glenridding, 20 minutes level walk. There are a few pubs in these two villages and I think the YHA in Patterdale offer meals? But surley you’d just have a BBQ!
I paid up in the farm shop/cafe and was happy to be given two dog treats for Rooh! That was a nice touch. The lady was friendly and seemed happy to help if I needed anything.
It was £12 for me and the dog for one night. This is OK although on the website it quoted £8 and £1 for the dog. I’m always a bit miffed when they charge for dogs. My dog doesn’t use any of the facilities and I cant see how she creates anything to merit a fee. The showers are free though so I forgive them.
The area is very large and….well…undulating. It isn’t easy to find a flat spot but that doesn’t really matter. The views are amazing and the hilly nature adds to the wildness of camping. I couldn’t get any of my pegs in, too rocky, but I’m getting used to that being the norm now and it doesn’t concern me once I’ve got all my stuff in the tent. I pitched on a little hill and had views over the rest of the campsite, and towards to lake and fells. Couldn’t have been more picturesque. I used a tree for a bit of shelter from the wind.
Only your typical campsite noises. You can hear the road from Patterdale around the rest of the lake but its a dull murmer and isn’t something to be bothered by. Lot of birds in the trees and you can hear the swans on the lake. Crows were a tad noisy in the morning! My fault for camping by a nest.
I confess I didn’t use the shower so I cant comment. But the toilet block (of which there were 7 toilets) was very spacious and clean enough to suit me. There are washing machines and tumble dryers (at an extra cost) which is useful. The farm (which is about 5 minutes walk from the pitch) has a café, and sells the normal tasty treats. Bins are dotted about the place. Not much else, but that’s all you need.
This is a site I will return to for more than just one night. I have so many more Wainwrights to do in this area and this campsite seems to be the one which is the most hidden on the shores of Ullswater. I’m here at the end of June on a Saturday and it isn’t overly crowded. There is a nice number of people, enough so you are not lonely but not too many that you wish you hadn’t pitched. The majority look to be walkers too, not many children or chavs! Possible because the location is quite rural there isn’t enough to entertain children, and chavs need more pubs? (Postscrip: I found the chavs the next day located by the toilets – classc, can’t be bothered to walk too far from the conveniences) Anyway I’ll be back in September to enjoy the autumn leaves and snow(?!) capped fells.
Saturday (25th June) my mission was to do Helvellyn via Striding Edge. I have done Helvellyn countless times but mostly from the western side, and Wainwright is right – the east side is far more attractive. I walked from Patterdale up Birkhouse Moor. It is a gentle climb and I didn’t find it taxing. As I got towards Striding Edge there were a lot of people attempting it so that put me at ease a bit. Quite a few people have fallen and died along Striding Edge and from a distance it looks daunting. But……I was now following two 12 year old boys, I couldn’t turn back if they were able to do it! The wind concerned me a little. It was fairly strong but luckily blowing in such a way that the Edge wasn’t too windy. It was tricky in places and some clambering with the dog would have been impossible in ice/slippy wet rock or mist. I was so lucky because just as I got to the end of the ridge the mist came down and it started to rain. I looked back from where I had come and it looked scary! I had managed it just before the clouds took all visibility away. I think I would have freaked out if I’d been on the ridge at that point. Anyway I made it to the top and the views were non existent and the wind was biting. I didn’t stick around for long! I came down by White Side towards Bell Cottage and just took my time as I came back into Glenridding. It was a decent 12, maybe 13 mile walk. I felt fit. I used to always get jelly legs coming down but I didn’t this time. Back at camp I sat in my very uncomfortable camping chair and listened to the church bells chime. A man spoke to me, his friend had made it to Striding Edge but turned back – I felt a bit smug. And Rooh did me proud, I only saw one other dog on that ridge.
Sunday (26th June) I woke and packed up my things and left everything in the car ready to go for when I returned from my walk. I wanted to revisit Angle Tarn. It is where I camped when I was 16 when I went on an Outward Bound Course. The walk was from the campsite – the path only yards from my tent. The climb was slow and steady and the views back towards Ullswater really impressive. There were some people camping at the tarn – it was just how I had remembered it. A small jut of an island with two other proper islands in the middle. I continued along a little bit but cut down to Hayswater. If I’d wanted a full day walking I could have gone towards Rest Dodd and The Knott but I didn’t want to go all that far, having work the next day and mindful I shouldn’t do too much at the moment. It was a really nice walk from Hayswater back to Patterdale along a quiet bridleway. I have found Sunday mornings to be a really good time to enjoy the Lakes without the people. It just isn’t the same when you have to share your route with others. When I got back to the campsite literally everyone but two people had left! It was empty. So it was a good time to get some photos for this blog. Yet again I was sad to leave but it is nice to have that yearning for more so that I can spend Monday morning at work planning my next trip and starting to get excited about it, otherwise I would just fill my head with negative thoughts.