King's How

King’s How

Route: King’s How on Grange Fell

Area: Central Lake District

Date of walk: 5th July 2024

Walkers: Andrew 

Distance: 3.5 miles

Ascent: 1,100 feet

Weather: Sunny at first but clouding over

Grange Fell is a lowly fell but what it lacks in height it makes up for in beauty, being set in the heart of Borrowdale, one of the loveliest valleys in the Lake District. It’s a superb craggy little fell with three separate widely scattered tops – Ether Knott, Brund Fell and today’s destination King’s How. I parked in the National Trust Bowderstone car park and from here followed a path which goes through ancient woodland, which is classified as temperate rainforest. The woodland path gradually curves around the steep crags above – a direct assault on the fell would be impossible for ordinary walkers

After walking through Cummacatta Wood I arrived at the steep rocky staircase which marks the start of the ascent. It’s an energy sapping climb but quite a short one, and eventually emerges onto a flat marshy area known as Long Moss. Partly concealed by a yew tree, there’s a path which snakes around the rockier sections and arrives at the summit of King’s How. From the summit there is a superb view over Derwent Water looking one way and Borrowdale looking the other. Sadly the light, which was promising at first, had deteriorated by now and the sky was overcast

A direct descent from the summit is out of the question thanks to the crags on the west, so I followed a narrow path which snakes round the other side of the fell and which descends steeply. Towards the end of the descent high bracken made the path quite hard to follow at times. Eventually I arrived at a clearer path which brought me down to the Borrowdale road.  I followed the road for a short distance – there’s a narrow footpath most of the way – then crossed over at the sign indicating the Bowderstone. I followed this path through the woods, past the massive Bowderstone and back to the car park. During the course of the walk I didn’t see another soul until I arrived back near the start

For anyone following this walk I’d mention that, although the route is only 3.5 miles long, it is likely to take as much time as one twice its length. It’s best to set aside a full morning or afternoon. The terrain is rocky and complicated and there are very few sections where it’s possible to get into a proper stride. Walking poles are a very useful piece of kit to bring along

For other walks here, visit my Find Walks page and enter the name in the ‘Search site’ box

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)

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