There has been a small route change on Day 7 between Hayeswater Gill and The Knott. Any GPX or maps downloaded before 09.08.23 should be replaced by the following files:
On the map above, which was surveyed in 1859, you can see a section of the old packhorse track between the hamlet of Hartsop and The Knott. After crossing Hayeswater Gill, the course of the track takes a zig-zag climb up the steep western shoulder of The Knott.
The track then continues and merges with the High Street Roman Road at the Straits of Riggindale. This route was a vital trading link between the valley of Patterdale and its neighbouring valleys of Mardale and Kentmere.
On today’s maps, the route is still shown as a bridleway, but sadly a large section of the track, beyond the footbridge, has been lost to time and only a faint trace of it can be seen. On closer inspection, a few old cairns, partially hidden by long grass, can be spotted along the course of the old track.
On the map above I’ve illustrated the two paths that exist today on the western shoulder of The Knott. Paths like these, which are more direct, are formed when a route is more popular as a way off the fells and less so as a way up. As a result of this, the zig-zag section of the bridleway became undesirable.
Initially the Lakeland Way followed the direct path from the weir at Hayeswater, but after many days of persistent rain the crossing here can be difficult to negotiate and result in very wet feet. It was John Falcus, the first person to walk the whole of the Lakeland Way in one go, who notified me of this problem after he finished his walk in July 2023.
As a result of this information provided by John, and a recce of the paths by myself on the 8th August, the Lakeland Way now takes a route over the footbridge and follows the direct path that runs parallel with the wall.
It is a shame that this part of the old packhorse route is lost. Instead, we are left with a laborious ascent.