Walking from Keswick to Patterdale along the Old Coach Road

Walking from Keswick on Derwent Water to Patterdale on Ullswater along the atmospheric Old Coach Road between St Johns, Castlerigg & Wythburn and Threlkeld / Matterdale was a pretty good stomp. The Old Coach Road route itself is 8.43km (about 5 miles) at a high level across Threkeld Common and Matterdale Common, beneath Clough Head and ending at the hamlet of Dockray.

The names along the route – Hausewell Brow, Motherstoke Brow and Barbary Fold – evoke the wild route it must have been in the years of stage coach travel. It can’t be a coincidence that there used to be two fine pubs at the Dockray end of the route, the Royal Hotel is still going strong. The Old Coach Road route avoids major river crossings and the Greta gorge using a ford of St. John's Beck. The old route seems to have fallen in to disuse when a bridge was constructed over the river Greta upstream of Keswick, the route established by the railway and now taken by the A66 trunk road. The Old Coach Road route is now maintained by Cumbria County Council as a cycle track although only one cyclist passed me this afternoon.

My destination was Patterdale for another episode of “The Local Organist Entertains” at the church of St. Patricks, Patterdale. Mike Town gave us some sparking Toccatas and Toccatinas on the William Hill organ with longer pieces by J.S. Bach, C.M. Widor and Leon Boëlleman, the growling bass line from Boëlleman‘s Suite Gothique eerily filling the church with almost all the lights switched off.