Borrowdale - the Other One
In August this year after a process of public consultation the Lake District National Park grew by an extra 27 square miles adding areas to its south and east. The extended Eastern area of the Lake District National Park includes Birkbeck Fells Common, Bretherdale and Borrowdale. The Yorkshire Dales National Park also got bigger by almost a quarter at the same time, which means in the east the M6 is now the dividing line between the two National Parks. Hopefully this change of status will draw attention to the much neglected fells that occupy the area between the A6 and M6.

The walk described below takes in Borrowdale not to be confused with the Borrowdale at the southern end of Derwentwater beloved of climbers, walkers and artists. Eastern Borrowdale is a different kettle of fish.  It may not make claims to compete with the dramatic scenery of its namesake but it would beat it hands down for peacefulness and seclusion.

Start/Finish: Huck's Bridge Layby on A6 Postcode (Nearby LA8 9LF) Grid reference



There is a BT phone box on the layby but for how long is anyone's guess.

Fact file:
Distance 8 miles 13k
Time: 4 ½ - 6 hours
Grade: Strenuous to begin with moderating to very easy on the return leg.
Map: OS OL7 The English Lakes South eastern area


 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press


1. From the layby cross the A6 (exercising considerable caution for while the road is not busy what traffic there is travels at high speed!) turn right and walk along the verge for 200yds and then turn sharp left onto a farm track leading towards a gate with Borrow Beck beyond.


Through the gate turn right onto a not altogether convincing path leading steeply up the slopes of Ashstead Fell with a fence to the right.


As the fence turns right follow it. On reaching a broad grassy platform below crags follow a path branching left which takes you around the crags and up.


As you gain height the top of Ashstead Fell will come into sight. Soon on more definite paths make your way to the crafted cairn.


The way ahead along the rest of the ridge becomes clearer. A narrow but distinctive path leads south eastwards over undulating ground


then descends to a large conifer plantation.


After a wall the path climbs gently up a break between trees and then bears right to reach another well-crafted cairn on Mabbin Crag.


The path descends to another plantation entering trees close to a stone hut. The way through these woods is excessively boggy.


On emerging on the far side cross a fence as best you can (the stile is broken) and then a ladder stile to follow a wall for 200yds


before bearing left to attain the summit of Castle Fell which is adorned with a small cairn. Now make your way back to the wall and continue on the ever widening ridge. After a gap keep ahead following the wall to your right. The way begins to ascend the slopes of Whinfell Beacon. Just before the summit cross a wall by a stone stile. As if to make up for the small cairn on Castle Fell this has a much more substantial pile of stones.


2. This is a fine viewpoint particularly for the Howgill Fells to the east. Further along the ridge are a couple of masts in close proximity to each other. Aim for these. A clear path leads through the grass.


After a sheepfold keep ahead to wall. Over this soon after arrive at the service road for the repeater station.


Turn left. Edging round the perimeter of the nearest mast and now looking towards the second mast


bear left on a soggy track which is a bridleway. This becomes more obvious as you descend towards Borrowdale.


After passing through an area of Scots Pine


the track reaches the valley bottom and a broad farm road.


3. Turn left. There follows a three mile long easy tramp back to Huck's Bridge which will take you a little over an hour. In less than half a mile the track crosses the beck


and continues to Low Borrowdale Farm. The right of way turns into the yard and then turns left by the farmhouse buildings.


After High Borrowdale the track becomes grassier as it crosses wide fields


and then reaches a bridge.


Here a choice. Keep on the north side of the beck or re-cross it on a track that was found to be quite boggy when we checked it out.

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