Four Stones Hill round

Walk date – 8th May 2024

Distance – 4 miles

Weather – low cloud, a sunny spell, light southwesterly breeze, dry and mild


A low cloud day today and with most summits obscured by it we made the short drive over to Burnbanks village to take a short walk over to Four Stones Hill. It wasn’t until late morning, when the skies over here in the east brightened up a little, that we finally decided to go over to Burnbanks and after having hastily packed coffee and a couple of sandwiches off we went. As can be seen from the photos below it wasn’t a day for the shrouded high fells but the weather remained mild and we did get one sunny spell so it wasn’t all bad.


Burnbanks Lane – Aika Hill – Drybarrows – Pinnacle Howe – Four Stones Hill – Birkhouse Hill – Burn Banks – Burnbanks Lane

We started today’s walk after passing through this gate situated on the lane into the little hamlet of Burnbanks. We’re parked just a short distance back along the lane at the junction of this lane and the road which carries on around to Mardale Head. No problems parking today and there wasn’t a soul, or a sound, anywhere as we walked up to the gate to begin our walk.

A shot over to our right for a view of the lonning across there. I expect most viewers will know what a lonning is but just in case its a new word for anyone here’s a link to its meaning:

Our route up from the gate was simply a matter of following the wall, beyond which at this point was this appealing little view. Its only a stand of trees, a cluster of bare rocks and some standing water but together they created a lovely little view beyond the wall.

The land begins to rise more steeply as we approach the route around Aika Hill but …..

….. just how steeply we soon found out. At this point there was a very inviting boulder with a flat top so we made full use of it while we got our breath back.

A house in the little hamlet of Drybarrows at the top of the hill, which perhaps is the farmhouse as it was quite close to the farm buildings.

The view down to the farm at Drybarrows as we make our way over to Pinnacle Howe.

From Pinnacle Howe a look across to the holiday rentals at Carhullan, the white buildings on the left, and Moorahill Farm, the small white building over on the right.

Looking across to the stand of trees at The Hause. The path from Moorahill Farm up to Low Kop passes just above the trees. The fell on the skyline beyond The Hause is Loadpot Hill.

Looking towards Little Birkhouse Hill from Pinnacle Howe and assessing the best route to take across the marshy patch between the two.

From Pinnacle Howe the view across Aika Hill.

A look back at Pinnacle Howe as we negotiate our way across the marshy flatland between it and Little Birkhouse Hill.

Looking back at the hilltops above Drybarrows. By keeping to the edges we avoided the worst of the wet stuff.

We followed the path around Little Birkhouse Hill and eventually came to the pile of stones, possibly an ancient tumulus, which has been fashioned into a circular wind shelter. We had a short break in the shelter which gave us a brief respite from the breeze which was coming directly towards us and much more strongly than we had experienced so far. In the distance behind the shelter is a very dour looking Measand End.

The view up to Four Stones Hill as we walk across to the tarn after our break in the shelter,

Measand End, looking very dull indeed, from the tarn just below Four Stones Hill.

Four Stones Hill from the tarn.

No view of the high fells around Haweswater from the remaining two stones on Four Stones Hill. The forecast was correct, it is a low cloud day .

Four Stones Hill from the two remaining stones as we climb up to the top. From the two stones its only a couple of minutes walk up to the top.

Haweswater from the top of Four Stones Hill. Over to the right the cloud is just beginning to clip the top of Measand End.

From Four Stones Hill we made our way down to the pyramid shaped cairn just below us. Haweswater is looking very full at the moment.

Down at the pyramid cairn for another look across Haweswater. The cloud is still covering the top of Measand End over on the right.

A look back at the cairn and Measand End as we continue on our way. Our backs are now to the breeze but its still a nuisance, it keeps blowing my jacket hood over my head.

Fell ponies ahead as we make our way across Great Birkhouse Hill. I think they must belong to the farm at Drybarrows as the farm is noted locally for breeding them,

By the time we reached them their number had risen to five and while we were there two more arrived. The white one on the right is standing full square across the path …..

….. but after checking us out it was heads back down again as they returned to their favourite occupation and completely ignored us.

Leaving the ponies behind we continue our downward path. Like most fells there are numerous paths across here but it doesn’t really matter which one is taken and you get some good long distance views. Well, you would do on a less cloudy day than today.

I think this is the Haweswater end of Pinnacle Howe but its hard to be sure, after all one green hump looks very much like another.

A minute speck of blue sky appeared over Haweswater, a moment now recorded for posterity just in case we never get another one.

Blow me down with a feather! We got a sunny spell a few minutes later.

Passing below the Haweswater end of Pinnacle How (I think) and the sunshine has dimmed a little although there are still a couple of blue bits above us.

By the time we reached the site where the former radio mast once stood we were back in the gloom again. There is a bright spot quite nearby though so I turned around for a shot of it …..

….. the summit cairn on Burn Banks which takes less than a minute to walk over to …..

….. and which must be the easiest route ever to a fell summit. Here’s a look back to the former radio mast site from the top of Burn Banks which shows just how short a distance it is.

From Burn Banks we begin our final descent back towards the wall which we walked up beside a couple of hours earlier. Over on the extreme left you can just see the little area of water, rocks and trees which I took a shot of as we walked up.

Further down we also have a bird’s eye view of the lonning I took a shot of at the start of our walk.

We’re on the home straight now and as we descend we are looking straight across at Hugh’s Laithes Pike, the tree covered hill behind the barn in the field below. I’ve always wondered if there really was a ‘Hugh’ and whether he had some ‘laithes’ up there with him. I’m probably taking the name of the fell too literally and its name might refer to something else entirely.

We’re back at the gate where we started so today’s walk is just about at an end. When we go through the gate and turn left there is only a very short walk back to where the car is parked. The skies are still dull but we did have the one sunny spell and when we got back to the Eden Valley the sun was shining from a blue sky dotted with white cloud, typical! Ne’er mind, we’ve had a bit of exercise and fresh air and it didn’t rain once so all in all it wasn’t too bad a day.