Gowbarrow Fell

Walk Date – 11th March 2016

Distance – 4.6 miles

Weather – dry but overcast and cool


The day started with a lovely sunny morning so we decided that, after the morning jobs were done, we’d go and take an afternoon walk up Gowbarrow Fell. Unfortunately, by the time we were ready to go, the weather had decided it didn’t want to play any more and so we ended up with a sky looking as though it had been given a coat of light grey emulsion which diffused what sunlight remained.


Here I’m looking southwards from the start of the path which is just off the lay-by on the A5091, a short distance below Dockray.

The path eventually leads down to the High Cascades bridge which crosses Aira Force beck.

Looking upstream at the bridge at High Cascades.

From the bridge a look upstream for a view of some of the falls.

Another view from the bridge, this time looking downstream with the hazy sunlight casting a silver sheen on the water as it flows over the rocks and boulders.

A look back along the path which leads from the bridge out on to the open fell side. Not much to see thanks to the low light but Place Fell, the dark mass in the centre, can be identified easily enough.

We left the muddy, grassy path behind us at the gate, now we’re climbing up the muddy rocky one.

Thanks to the poor light the views were very indistinct, you couldn’t even see much detail on the fell closest to us which is Place Fell over to the left. To the right of it you can just about make out Glenridding Dodd rising up towards Sheffield Pike.

I suppose you could say this is what the ‘fag end’ of winter looks like. The sky is murky, the higher fells have snow but its thinning out gradually, the fields have the brownish green winter look of sheep having over-grazed it, and there is no sign yet of fresh green buds appearing on trees, shrubs and hedgerows. It feels as though everything is holding its breath before finally letting go and allowing spring to come bursting through. The snowdrops are out but I haven’t seen many daffodils yet, however, the first lambs are out in the fields though, so that’s a start.

Approaching Gowbarrow top where a group of young walkers are just about to depart.

The view north eastwards along Ullswater from Gowbarrow top.

The trig point on Gowbarrow with Great Mell Fell behind.

This time with Little Mell Fell behind the trig point.

Gowbarrow Fell summit.

A closer look at the snow and sky blending into each other over on the Dodds.

Without the close up this is what the view really looked like across there. Just to let you know what you’re looking at though, over there are the snowy tops of Stybarrow Dodd, Great Dodd and Clough Head.

“Can you be quick please, I’m getting blown away.”

A look back at the summit of Gowbarrow as we begin our descent and get out of the wind.

Looking across Ullswater towards Arthur’s Pike and Bonscale Pike.

The remains of the former shooting lodge. You can’t see this much of it in summer as the bracken grows high enough to cover it.

Another view of the shooting lodge from lower down the path.

To the right, on the shore line of Ullswater just below the snow capped fells, is Hallin Fell.

The terrace path along Gowbarrow. A lovely walk in summer but today I just got a little tired of looking at brown. The flip side of the brown will be the appearance of green in the form of fresh bracken and I don’t like that stuff either. You just can’t please some folk, can you?

Looking north eastwards along Ullswater.

The path passes above the Yew Crag viewpoint, but a very short detour down to the gate takes you on to it and some grand views up and down the length of Ullswater. Place Fell, in brood mood, behind it.

Looking towards the Glenridding end of Ullswater from Yew Crag.

This is the view looking the other way from Yew Crag.

On the centre skyline is the prominent peak of Heron Pike, to its right the ground rises up to Sheffield Pike, and to its left it drops down to Glenridding Dodd.

A look back at the Yew Crag viewpoint, on the right, with the memorial seat on the left.

A brown and brooding landscape. The only sound came from the road which you can see in centre at the bottom of the picture. Part of the road is closed at the moment while things are put to rights again after the storms so you could hear the machinery clanking away, getting things back to normal again in time for Easter, we hope.

Lyulph’s Tower with its mock castle facade. although all you can see from here is the back of it.

Aira Force in good flow.

A close up of the upper section of Aira Force.

The lower bridge just below Aira Force.

Aira Force and the pool its drops into from the viewing platform about halfway up the steps. A small section of the lower bridge is in the shot at the bottom right.

You don’t have to stay on one side or the other of the beck as there are plenty of crossing points. We kept to the path going off to the left today.

High Force.

Finally, we’re back where we started at High Cascades bridge. From here there’s just a very short walk now along the path behind me back to the car park. Gowbarrow is a handy little fell when you only have a morning or an afternoon to spare, its just a shame that the morning sunshine didn’t last.