Can’t decide if it’s better to get the tough climb over right at the start, tackle it halfway through or leave it until the end. If you’re a believer in getting it out of the way, then stage 4 of the Coast to Coast walk might be for you.
The route takes you from Patterdale to Shap and there are some stunning views to enjoy as you leave Ullswater behind and climb up to the felltop route known as the High Street. The views get better and better the more you climb, and then you come across a couple of secret Tarns – Angle Tarn being the most angelic – apart from the abandoned tent left behind by some Muppet wanting to ruin the landscape for others.
It’s a tough descent down towards Haweswater and then fairly steady going after that as you walk on the left side of the water. Over farmland, there’s a definite change in terrain for the first time as the fells are left behind and the paths start to cross farms. Before long you come to the ruined Shap Abbey and is this point that marks the edge of the Lake District National Park. It’s quite a sad boundary of the walk, the awesome scenery and dramatic paths of the lakes are so appealing you’re left wanting more of them. But be encouraged to know you’re heading to the north Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales.
Arriving in Shap, we were pleased to see a quiet pub with outdoor seating – a swift half pint and a sit down as we contemplated stage 5 – a gruelling ten hour ramble to Kirkby Stephen.