Gowbarrow Fell circular
Lake District Walk
Nat Park - Lake District - Lake District Eastern Fells
Wainwrights - Gowbarrow Fell
County/Area - Cumbria
Author - John Paterson
Length - 3.5 miles / 5.7 km Ascent - 1100 feet / 333 metres
Time - 2 hours 50 minutes Grade - moderate
|Ordnance Survey Explorer OL5
|Anquet OS Explorer OL5
|Ordnance Survey Landranger 90
|Anquet OS Landranger 90
Walk Route Description
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Gowbarrow Fell is less than 1600 feet in height but is very popular with walkers providing an excellent objective for a Lake District walk. Firstly, the views, especially over the head of Ullswater, are excellent. Secondly, it is bounded on the west by the tourist magnets of Aira Beck and Aira Force. Many tourists having viewed the force are tempted to walk at least part of the fell and the section of this route from Green Hill to Aira Force, sees hundreds of visitors a day in the summer holidays. The route described here, is ideal for a summer evening or a half day at any time of the year. It would also be suitable for a party where some of the members did not walk and wanted to explore the force whilst the rest stretched their legs.
Start at the small car park and quarry (GR NY396211) a quarter of a mile south of Dockray on the A5091 as it drops towards Ullswater. Parking here avoids the crowds but the Aira Force carpark could be used.
Leave the car park by a gate and head east down the slope towards the wooded valley of Aira Beck. This is reached after 400 yards at a famous feature known as the "Strid" - Cumbrian dialect meaning stride. This is a narrowing of the flow of the beck between rocks only a yard wide at times of light water flow. (GR400212) Sounds easy, but because of the very slippery rocks it takes a high degree of confidence to stride across. For those who wish to make the move there is no doubt that a pair of walking poles will make it both safer and more inviting. Those who can't pluck up the courage should head down the beck past waterfalls until a wooden footbridge is reached after about 200 yards. Cross the bridge and walk back up the beck past the "Strid" for a further hundred yards or so. The path then leaves the beck and the woodland behind and heads north east over open moor with rocky outcrops. On the moor the path is often not clear but the going is easy and in clear weather it is simply a question of climbing to the top of a few outcrops to sight the summit with its trig point (GR407218) and views of Ullswater, Sandwick Bay and Hallin Fell.
Leave the summit heading south east for 400 yards to pick up a footpath marked on OS maps. Turn right on to this footpath and follow it south west for a further 400 yards before bearing off to the right and heading due west to the viewpoint of Green Hill (GR410207 ). From Green Hill a well worn path descends to the west, past Bernard Pike, with superb views of the head of Ullswater which have graced a thousand calendars and post cards. The path leads back to Aira Beck and crosses it by a stone footbridge at Aira Force. Walk back up the left (west) bank of the beck to reach the Strid and the short path uphill to the carpark.
Other walks nearby
|Clough Head via Great Dodd from near Dockray
|Helvellyn via Striding Edge
|Red Tarn & Grisedale
|Glenridding, St. Sunday Crag & Helvellyn
|Glenridding Dodd & Sheffield Pike
|Red Tarn & Birkhouse Moor from Glenridding
|Catstye Cam from Glenridding
|Hallin Fell from Martindale Church, Sandwick
|Arthur's Pike & Loadpot Hill
|Bannerdale, Boredale & Beda Head
Recommended Books & eBooks
Walking the Lake District Fells - Mardale and the Far East
Part of the Walking the Lake District Fells series, this guidebook covers a wide range of routes to 36 Lakeland summits that can be climbed from the Ullswater, Haweswater, Troutbeck, Kentmere and Longsleddale valleys, with highlights including High Street, Place Fell and the Kentmere fells. Suggestions for longer ridge routes are also included.
The Cumbria Way
A guidebook to the 73 mile Cumbria Way, an easy long-distance walk though the heart of the Lake District National Park, from Ulverston in the south to Carlisle in the north, with good transport links to either end. The route is largely low-level but this guide offers alternative mountain days to climb some of the famous fells en route.