Ullswater, Gowbarrow Fell

Gowbarrow Fell

Route: Gowbarrow Fell

Area: Eastern Lake District

Date of walk: 13th January 2022

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly 

Distance: 5.0 miles

Ascent: 1,200 feet

Weather: Sunshine and blue skies

The best of today’s weather was forecast to be in the east of the district, so we decided to head that way and revisit one of our favourite routes – Gowbarrow Fell. As on the last occasion we parked in the main National Trust car park below Aira Force. An alternative start may be made from either of the other two National Trust car parks on aptly named Park Brow. There’s a choice of paths through the woodland, though this was restricted today following major damage caused by a tree which fell into the gorge in August 2021. The resultant path closures meant that we were unable to enjoy the usual view of Aira Force, a spectacular waterfall which plunges down the gorge. We followed the path on the left side of Aira Beck and then crossed the bridge above Aira Force to join the path on the other side

We continued to follow Aira Beck and the upper falls, eventually emerging onto open fellside. After an easy climb beside a dry stone wall we reached the summit of Gowbarrow Fell. The views from here are extensive, but pale in comparison with those of Ullswater from the terraced path above the lake – one of the best miles in lakeland – and which we’d saved for last by walking the circuit in a clockwise direction. The descent is initially through rather featureless terrain but before long views of Ullswater appear and the remainder of the walk is along a mid level terraced path which contours around the flanks of Gowbarrow Fell. This is one of the finest paths in lakeland, with new views opening up as the path weaves its way around the fellside 

We paused briefly at Yew Crag, from where there is a fabulous panorama towards the head of Ullswater. Blinding low winter sun obscured some of the view, but it was a magnificent one nonetheless. We then made the gentle descent back to the Aira Force visitor centre, enjoying the views over Ullswater for most of the way back

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Click on the icon below for the route map (subscribers to OS Maps can view detailed maps of the route, visualise it in aerial 3D, and download the GPX file. Non-subscribers will see a base map)

The day before the walk, a late afternoon visit to Buttermere…


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