Gowbarrow Fell

Walk date – 12th February 2024

Distance – 4.5 miles

Weather – some sunny spells to begin with, then mostly overcast, intermittent rain showers, brisk wind


The morning was dull and very overcast to begin with but about 11.15 a.m. the cloud began to break up and revealed, little by little, blue skies and sunshine. It happened rather too late in the day to think about a longish walk so we decided to drive over to the old quarry parking area at Park Brow and take a walk over Gowbarrow, always a nice little fell to fall back on when there is only a morning or afternoon to do something with. Unfortunately the blue sky and sunshine eventually went somewhere else  but it was nice while it lasted.


Park Brow – High Cascades bridge – Gowbarrow summit – Yew Crag – Aira Beck – Park Brow

As we started out from the Park Brow parking area we thought we would be enjoying a dry and sunny afternoon but it wasn’t to be. However at the time, albeit with a fairly brisk wind blowing, we set off down the hill towards Aira Beck in good spirits.

Aira Beck was roaring thunderously below us as we made our way down the hill.

I made my way gingerly across the damp, slithery rocks for a closer look at some of the falls at High Cascades.

A less precarious view upstream from High Cascades bridge. Lots of folk around today, some were doing the up and down walk alongside the beck, others were making their way up to the path above the beck to take a walk up the fell itself.

Parkgate farm and Watermillock Common as we walk the path across the open fellside. The path from the bridge through the woodland was running with water, as it often is, the path across the open fell was less watery but far more muddy. Swings and roundabouts I suppose.

Oh dear! The gaps in the heavy cloud allowed the sun’s rays to cast a silver sheen on Ullswater but the weather is coming from that direction and it doesn’t look at all promising, does it?

Approximately where the wooded area ends we turned off the usual path alongside the wall to follow this path just to vary our route a little. From this path this is the view over to the west. They are a little difficult to identify in the shot but beyond the farm and Watermillock Common are Birkett Fell, Hart Side, Stybarrow Dodd and Great Dodd all of which still have some remnants of snow scattered over them. A zoom in might help to differentiate between them all.

Looking north from the same spot we can see Blencathra which is also showing what remains of last week’s snowfall. We haven’t really had any snow covering at valley level, it has fallen as sleety rain instead. The first of several rain showers started pitter-pattering on our jacket hoods as we got going again. They weren’t heavy and didn’t last long, long enough though to create a build up of raindrops on my specs.

Still following our alternative path with Airy Crag, the summit of Gowbarrow fell, just ahead. We were between showers at this point.

Ullswater isn’t quite as silvery as it was although some sunbeams are getting through. Seems like the bands of cloud are joining forces.

A look back along the path we’ve taken for this view over towards Place Fell which is also still sprinkled here and there with snow remnants ….

….. and from the same spot, more sunbeams land on Ullswater and over on the right skyline the Helvellyn range appears to have a rather more substantial snow covering.

Looking westward across Matterdale towards Clough Head (L) and the Skiddaw group (R). Blown there by the strong winds some snow still nestles against the field walls of Matterdale. Clough Head has barely any but Skiddaw still has plenty by the look of it.

Sunbeams still managing to get through the small gaps in the cloud and illuminating Place Fell in the process. Wonderfully atmospheric and dramatic theatre by courtesy of mother nature.

The trig column and an almost sunny Great Mell Fell from a very windy Gowbarrow summit, we didn’t hang around.

Looking over towards Blencathra as we left the summit to find a sheltered spot in which to take a short break and have a drink. The sunny spells have become fewer now with longer cloudy spells between them.

Great Mell Fell gets another dollop of sunlight which misses us completely as we begin to make our way down to the terrace path for our return journey.

Little Mell Fell is briefly similarly favoured.

Great Meldrum in the centre of the shot with just a smidge of Ullswater to its right as we make our way down the muddy and very slippery path. As we went further down a young woman, in running strip, asked us if we had seen a mobile phone along the way but we hadn’t so she carried on up the path to look for it further up. She caught up with us again as we reached the old shooting lodge at the bottom of the path so we asked if she had found it to which she replied ‘Yes, thankfully’ before continuing her run along the terrace path.

Another shower moving along Ullswater as we walked along the terrace path …..

….. and immediately behind it another heavier one came along. A sunshine and showers day if ever there was one. As we progressed along the terrace path it had given way in a handful of places and careful consideration regarding crossing the gap was required. The result of too many feet and too much wet weather on a very narrow path I suppose.

A zoom in on Hallin Fell and Sandwick which were both lit up like Christmas trees in comparison to the very shaded Loadpot Hill/High Raise ridge

Zooming out for a longer view of the ridge and the middle section of Ullswater. The brighter weather has headed eastwards.

The end of a rainbow lands behind Heughscar Hill.

A look back at Yew Crag as we pass by and …..

….. a look at the view ahead as we make our way along. A solitary sunbeam pierces the cloud, just misses lighting up Silver Point and falls, appropriately enough, on Silver Bay instead.

Eventually the clouds won and that was the last we saw of the sunshine. Methinks the camera has automatically compensated for the low light as things were much darker than the photo shows. Looks as though another rain shower is falling at the Glenridding end of the water.

A zoom in on the castellated roof of Lyulph’s Tower as we pass above it. Another shower landed on us too so I didn’t take any more shots until …..

….. we reached the fellside path above Aira Beck and headed back up to High Cascades from where the following shots were taken …..

….. where the bridge was back in view and the water still thundered down over the rocks.

Back at the bridge and all that is left to do is walk back up the path to the A5091 and cross the road over to the parking area in the old quarry at Park Brow. It has only been a very short walk and nine days have gone by since we were last able to get outdoors so it was good to be out in the fresh air and sunshine again, even if the latter didn’t stay around very long. By the time we were home it was raining, again!