The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Gowbarrow Fell and Aira Force

The first look out of the window this morning, just as I was poised to spring out of bed ready to embrace the day, revealed a scene so foggy that I decided that another hour and a half of repose was called for and thus it was approaching quarter to eleven by the time we made tracks towards today’s objective of Gowbarrow Fell. The delay had been worthwhile, in that there was some visibility by the time we set off, but it was clear that we were in for another murky day:


At 350m there’s enough visibility to be able to see all the way down to Ullswater.

A very pleasant path took us undulatingly along the edge of the hill until, by a ruined building, we headed off on an icy path up to the trig point atop Gowbarrow Fell.


By then, all views had been lost (although we could see enough of our surroundings to appreciate that they were very nice) and it was rather bracing up there, so we didn’t pause for more than a few minutes before shunning the obvious, made path and taking a less-travelled line down to Aira Force and High Force.

We’d not visited these falls before and I’d not anticipated that they would be as interesting as they were, with deep gorges, some associated narrows, a high fall and a couple of pretty stone bridges. We even managed to bag a particularly good, sheltered lunch spot overlooking one of the narrows.



I do like how I’ve captured Mick looking at the tree in wonder at how it comes horizontally out of the rock face before making a 90 degree turn to head skywards!

Looping back around below Gowbarrow Fell, along another lovely hillside-hugging path (which must usually boast excellent views over Ullswater and the hills beyond), our outward route was picked back up and our lollipop-shaped walk completed, totalling 8 miles with 2400’ of up.


  1. Those hillside hugging paths on Gowbarrow are lovely - but the bracken is awful later in the year. I used to run up and around this fell when I was young and silly. Drove past here only today and thought I need to go and walk around this fell again soon. Pity, I didn't realise you were in the vicinity!

  2. We were in the valley all week, moving on Thursday down the road from Watermillock to Patterdale, where Mick bumped into Andrew Walker in the pub - small world that it is.

    Had we ordered our week a little differently, we might have met you on the way up to Boredale Hause, but as it went, we were a couple of days behind you.