Walk 2032 - printer friendly version
Great How, a short ascent above Thirlmere Walk
Author - John Paterson
Length - 2.0 miles / 3.3 km
Ascent - 600 feet / 182 metres
Grade - easy
Start - OS grid reference NY307189
Lat 54.560567 + Long -3.0731672
Postcode CA12 4TG (approx. location only)
Great How is a thickly wooded hill and the trees reach above the summit cairn. However, only 50 yards down from the summit is a viewpoint with stunning views which make the walk well worth doing on the first or last day of a holiday or on one of those days when foul weather clears late in the day. The best times of all are near sunset or in the early morning as the sun rises over Helvellyn. Navigation and weather conditions will pose no problems at any time of the year for this short Lake District walk.
Leave the A591 Grasmere to Keswick road at GR316194 and take the minor road passing Bridge End Farm and the thickly wooded hill of Great How on your left before crossing the dam to a car park GR307189 in the woods at the western end. Raven Crag towers above the car park and is best seen when crossing the dam.
Leave the car park and walk back east over the dam. About 25 yards after the end of the dam a path goes up steps to the right and into the woods. Follow the woodland path above Thirlmere for just over a quarter of a mile and follow it as it trends upwards to the left away from the lake. After a further 200 yards or so a crossroads is reached in a clearing. Turn sharply left on a path which climbs steeply north. At first the path is a broad forest track but after a few hundred yards it ends and a sign marks the start of a much narrower path which climbs steeply through the woods to the right.
Follow this path to the summit cairn after a few hundred yards. The conifers reach above the summit and, apart from a slight thinning of the trees to the west, the summit views are disappointing. Great How is not a "Wainwright" although it is about 1100 feet high. Possibly, access was restricted when the great man wrote his books - possibly he just forgot about it - who knows?
Descend on the same path as you used to the summit but about 50 yards down the path, as it makes a sharp bend to the right, look for a track to the left heading south to a magnificent viewpoint perched high above Thirlmere with views south along the lake and west to Raven Crag. There is a seat here and the spot certainly merits a lengthy pause to take in the view. Leave the viewpoint by the same track and rejoin the main descent track back to the clearing. Once the clearing is reached take the track to the left to complete an anticlockwise circuit of the fell. When a gate by the A591 comes into sight look for a fainter path to your left leading to the minor road near Bridge End Farm. Once this minor road is reached turn left past the farm. (Note: at Bridge End Farm the route is joined by the footpath linking this walk with the Raven Crag walk) Follow the minor road back over the dam to the car park.