Around Low Borrowdale

Walk Date – 12th May 2018

Distance – 5.7 miles

Weather – warm and sunny start, cloudy and cool later


A busy morning so just a short afternoon walk today and, as we hadn’t walked right to the eastern end of Borrowdale on our last walk, we decided to combine that with a walk over some of the fells at the eastern end of the Borrowdale ridge which would provide a short circular walk for the afternoon. We drove down to Tebay from where we followed the A685 southwards, crossing the M6 and the West Coast railway line and on down to the bridges where the M6, the A685 and the railway cross Borrow Beck. Borrow Beck flows into the River Lune just to the east of the road and rail bridges. Here we turned off to the right down a short stretch of tarmac lane leading to the small, free parking area. We were fortunate to get the only space left, there would have been more but for an inconsiderately parked camper van taking up about three potential spaces. A metal gate at the end of the car park marks the start of the walk.


Low Borrowdale Woods – Borrow Beck – Low Borrowdale Farm – Roundthwaite Common – Belt Howe – Casterfell Hill – Jeffrey’s Mount – Low Borrowdale

Through the gate and the path passes through Low Borrowdale Woods as it runs alongside Borrow Beck. Easy, pleasant walking on a warm and sunny afternoon.

Looking up at Jeffrey’s Mount which will be our last fell today, from there the only way is down whichever direction you choose.

Casterfell Hill from the valley path.

One of the phone masts appears, a familiar sight from our previous walk, today seen from the eastern end of Low Borrowdale.

Looking back along the path with the Howgills to the right, while one of the cows peers over the wall to see if the grass really is greener on the other side.

Crossing one of the many little streams feeding into Borrow Beck from the western slopes of the  valley.

Belt Howe and Casterfell Hill towards the eastern end of the Whinash Ridge.

A substantial landslip on the slopes below Belt Howe.

A view back along the track with the Howgills in the distance.

A lovely spot beside Borrow Beck for a group of youngsters who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying their camping weekend.

Another familiar sight from our previous walk, Castle Fell and Mabbin Crag.

The track takes us below the old arboretum and once again we have a different view of the familiar scene.

Things become even more familiar as we reach the bridge over Borrow Beck and once again walk part of the route from our previous walk.

From a curve in the beck we have a view of Whinfell Beacon and Castle Fell.

We carry on making our way to Low Borrowdale Farm with Winterscleugh and Roundthwaite Common on the skyline.

The stand of trees in the centre is sheltering Low Borrowdale Farm which is where we will turn off and climb the traverse path across the slopes of Roundthwaite Common.

On the left are two more familiar sights from our last walk, Mabbin Crag and Ashstead Fell.

Just before Low Borrowdale Farm is this rustic toilet block, doors securely locked but we peeped over the top. Yes, there was a toilet, with lids down, in both cubicles, and each one was set flush (no pun intended) within a built in platform covered in blue plastic sheeting. Shabby chic gone rural? Just as well we weren’t in need though.

We follow the track round into the yard of Low Borrowdale Farm, no-one around today, and go up the slight slope to the left of the house.

The Borrowdale track continues off to the left (out of shot to the right) but we turn off it to the right and climb another short slope up to a gate.

Looking back to the gate from the track up the field with Castle Fell on the opposite side of the valley.

Ahead of us the path begins its traverse across the slopes of Roundthwaite Common leading us up to the little col between it and Belt Howe.

The view back to Mabbin Crag and Ashstead Fell as we begin the climb.

Below us is Borrow Beck with the phone masts appearing once again on the skyline of the western ridge.

A little higher and another look back along this lovely, unspoiled valley with some of the western ridge fells we walked across on our last walk. Low Borrowdale Farm is now hidden once again by the stand of trees below us.

At the little col we have a view of practically all of our previous walk across the western ridge, Whinfell Beacon on the left, then Castle Fell, Mabbin Crag and Ashstead Fell, which I just about managed to squeeze into the shot.

Looking the other way from the little col with Cross Fell and the Northern Pennines on the distant skyline.

Looking west again, now with the camera a little to the left, for a view of Grayrigg Common, at the extreme end of the western ridge, and the arboretum, which looks rather sparse from this viewpoint.

We reach Belt Howe where the Howgills begin to make their presence known. AW once described them as looking like ‘a huddle of squatting elephants’. They aren’t as dramatic as the Lake District fells but that doesn’t make it any easier to walk over their grassy ridges and rounded summits which are separated from each other by deep gills.

Fell ponies were dotted here and there as we looked over towards Tebay from Belt Howe.

The cloud was thickening by the minute but a brief splash of sunlight over Greyrigg made things seem a little more cheerful for a few seconds.

Looking back to Belt Howe as we …..

….. make our way over to Casterfell Hill with Jeffrey’s Mount just behind it.

We have a view of the Howgills and the Lune Valley as we cross over.

The cloud had become really heavy by now and it became quite chilly as we made the crossing. The Howgills standing guard beside the M6 as it winds its way through the Lune Valley.

A closer look at the M6 with the West Coast railway line just below it.

Down Casterfell Hill and up to Jeffrey’s Mount …..

….. for this view of Tebay and the M6 from the summit. The whoosh of the traffic was still audible even from up here.

Looking towards the western ridge of Borrowdale from the cairn on Jeffrey’s Mount …..

….. then a look south eastwards towards the Howgills. The heavy cloud cover and a strong breeze was making it quite chilly up here so we didn’t hang around for too long …..

….. and from the cairn we strolled across to the south west hoping it might be possible to get a view of the M6 as it passed below Jeffrey’s Mount but it wasn’t. Well, it would have been had we been prepared to walk a lot further down a very steep slope and then have to walk back up it again so we didn’t bother.

We begin the steep pathless descent over the slopes of Jeffrey’s Mount with this view along Low Borrowdale with its western ridge on the skyline.

You get a marvellous bird’s eye view of the River Lune, the West Coast railway line, the M6 and the A685 from the steep grassy descent.

Safely down the steepest part and we make for the green path running above the wall which …..

….. eventually leads us round to this metal gate and …..

….. the end of the track beside the A685 where we turn right and …..

….. walk the grass verge for a couple of hundred yards before turning into the little tarmac lane, up ahead on the right, leading to the parking area. It might not look it but this is a busy road and one where drivers will not be expecting to meet pedestrians, best to keep to the grass verge because vehicles will come whizzing by fairly frequently. So that’s the end of this afternoon’s walk and very nice it was too. We would have liked to have walked the whole of the eastern ridge but we just didn’t have the time, which is just as well given the abrupt change in the weather and the rapid drop in temperature towards the middle of the afternoon. As we walked back to the car it also began to rain so we had a short walk in decent conditions and not a longer one in the cloud and rain. A fortunate stroke of serendipity.