Whinfell Ridge and Borrowdale

Outline of Route
Huck's Bridge - Ashstead Fell - Mabbin Crag - Castle Fell - Whinfell Beacon - Repeater Station - Borrowdale - Huck's Bridge (Grid ref. NY 552038)
Total Distance 8.5 miles, Total Ascent 1250 feet, Equivalent Distance 11.0 miles

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Escape Routes

  1. None. Before Whinfell summit go back, after the summit, go on.

Details of Route
About eight miles out of Kendal, on the Shap road, on the left just before Huck's Bridge (a.k.a. High Borrow Bridge) there is a lay-by with a telephone box. The walk starts from here. It has long been popular with the local population, but has only become known generally in recent years (photo). From the lay-by walk back up the hill towards Kendal, cross the road and find a gateway to the Borrowdale farm road on the left. Go back downhill to this gate and through it and find a footpath leading up on the right to Ashstead Fell (photo).

The path leads to the first of Ashstead Fell's three peaks, where there is a good view back towards Upper Borrowdale, and more particularly towards the Kent estuary, Morecambe Bay, Kendal, and the Coniston and Langdale Fells from the southwest to the west. Each of the peaks (photo) is visited by the path, in turn, before it heads for Mabbin Crag (photo).

As the path starts down from Mabbin Crag there is an excellent view of Lower Borrowdale (photo). From here the path leads down to a boggy area, over a stile in a fence, and then to the junction of two walls, one of which leads up between the twin peaks of Castle Fell (photo). There comes a point on the ascent where the left-hand, higher, summit comes into view. A bee-line can be safely made from here to the top, where there are fine views all around. Head back to the wall as it makes for Whinfell and continue through a farm gate at the bottom and up the other side to Whinfell Beacon. From here head east towards the first - and lower - of the telecommunications towers, taking particular care to avoid the barbed wire when crossing a stile over a wall. The path may not be easy to follow - it depends on the season - but you will ultimately arrive at the tower. From the road by the tower there is a path heading northeast to a gate in a wall. Follow this, through the gate and continue on the path, alongside a fence down into the woodlands of Borrowdale. The view from this path up the valley is charming (photo). Continue downhill following the path. Once down in the valley follow the farm road back upstream. It is a haven of agricultural odours.

Cross the bridge onto the east bank of Borrow Beck (photo) and continue up the valley, past Low Borrowdale Farm and the ruin of High Borrowdale Farm to the open fields, usually filled with cows (photo). Cross the beck once more and continue along the farm track back to Huck's Bridge for a last glipmse of Borrowdale (photo).

Rev. 02 September 2014

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