Gowbarrow Fell - 481m (1,578')
Completion Date: 12.04.12
This fell shows more about what we are trying to achieve more than any of the previous fells. It would have been easy for us to attempt the short ascent from Dockray, but as AW says, "[it] is much less attractive." So instead we decided to follow AW's suggested route, taking in the panoramas of Ullswater.
The walk began with us with parking at the car park for Aira Force; a National Trust car park that unless you're a NT member you'll have to pay for the privilege to park there (£4.00 for up to 2 hrs, £5.50 between 2 & 4hrs, and £6.50 for over 4hrs). We tried to find free parking nearby but as we were on a bit of a deadline we settled for the car park.
The walk began with us leaving the car park and heading up towards Aira Force. We took the first bridge to our right across the beck and followed the fence enclosing the area up and round until we quickly found ourselves leaving the wooded beck and heading through the gate towards the foot of the hill. The picturesque waterfall would have to wait until we had conquered the fell.
With the southern slopes to our left and Ullswater to our right we began to ascend the well maintained pathway up towards Yew Crag. This route offered spectacular views of Ullswater and a clear view of one of Wainwright's favourite walks around the foot of Place Fell, "It is the author's opinion that the lakeside path from Scalehow Beck near Sandwick, to Patterdale (in that direction) is the most beautiful and rewarding walk in Lakeland." - I can't wait to do that walk on a summer's evening this year, I just need to figure out a way of keeping the beer in the tent nicely chilled for our arrival back to Side Farm Campsite, but I digress....
|Stunning views back across Ullswater|
The path eventually lead to a gate in the wall which was crossing our path and the remains of the old shooting lodge. This is where our path broke away from the path on the OS Map, but as we were finding out, if AW suggested a good route to walk, it will inevitably be walked and therefore easy for us to follow, which it was.
|Remains of the shooting lodge indicating the turning point from the OS Path|
|Our 1st glimpse of Gowbarrow Fell|
|Look! It's no longer a cairn!|
|Showing a bit of leg...|
On leaving the fell top we headed due south. The path initially follows to the left of the next set of rocks and is easy to pick out. There are many smaller intersecting tracks across the top of the fell, but once again, the major route is well walked and can be picked out from the rest. The route cuts back and forth, but on a clear day Place Fell can be seen in the distance with the protuberance of High Dodd being a good guide to head towards. In poor visibility care should be taken as this route does take you on a course straight over the edge of Yew Crag! But as we found out, the point where the path strikes right off the summit plateau and down the shoulder of the fell towards Aira Force, a cairn has been constructed to instruct lost walkers of this junction.
|The cairn on above Yew Crag telling you to turn right!|
|Katie marvelling at the wonders of a stream!|
|The main waterfall plummeting through the rocks|
|Some old-school graffiti|
|Until next time!|