25th May 2007

Something in the undergrowth below Great Borne


Walk Overview
Time 15.05 to 17.50
Duration 2 hr 45 min
Distance 4.5 mile
Ascent 1890 ft
Walking with On my own
Bowness - Herdus - Great Borne - Clews Gill - Dry Beck - Ennerdale Water - Bowness
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Bowness Knott, Ennerdale Water

Difficult to reach, well perhaps it is a little, but Bowness Knott is in effect the gateway to the wonderfully remote Ennerdale Valley and therefore well worth the effort required to get here. The valley beyond the car park stretches for over six fantastic traffic free miles.

Parking is free and the car park always has plenty of empty spaces available.


Route Map

A clear view across to Herdus from the road near Bowness Knott.

I had expected to be walking on Muncaster Fell straight after work this afternoon, but when the time came to get changed into my walking gear I realised I'd left my boots at home. Never mind, I'm sure for a short walk up Herdus and Great Borne are worthy as a plan "B" in anyone's book.

The Bowness area of Ennerdale Water. The fell in this side of the lake with the trees is Bowness Knott.

A very steep off path route up to Herdus or rather the ridge below Herdus.

The view towards some of the Loweswater fells. The highest fell in the picture is Knock Murton.

Blake Fell and Gavel Fell.

Notice the path running across the picture, just above the gill. This is the Ennerdale side of Floutern Pass; and if ever there was a route to be avoided then this is it. Not due to the terrain or the length of the path I should add, but because the farmer at Whins farm is known to have an extreme dislike of walkers. He doesn't just shout and tell you to get off his land, he's actually been taken to court on more then one occasion for threatening walkers with a gun.
The footpath signs near the farm have been cut off and the stiles have had a chainsaw ran through them. Even though he is in the wrong and the path is in fact a public right of way, it's not worth claiming your rights and ending up having a gun pointed at you. So as I said, a route to avoid.


Much easier going now with the views really starting to open up on route to Herdus summit cairn.

Looking across to the rocky summit of Great Borne from Herdus.

Great Borne summit. The fells on the left are the Grasmoor fells, with Robinson straight above the summit and Clough Head and Great Dodd visible in the far distance (left of the summit).

Water rising out of the ground at Scaw Well. Straight ahead is Starling Dodd, Red Pike and High Stile and on the right of the picture are, amongst others, Great Gable and Pillar.

Rather than continue along to Starling Dodd as you'd expect, I felt like exploring a bit, so I took an off path route down to the sheepfold next to Clews Gill before walking above the tree line and eventually cutting through an area that had had its trees felled which I'd seen while I was on Herdus.

A short walk through the heather brought me to this interesting, rocky area next to Clews Gill.

And after picking my way through the rocky outcrops, a little further down the fellside I reached this sheepfold.

Standing next to the sheepfold looking towards the head of Ennerdale Valley; a wonderful remote place not yet reached by the masses.

I always feel as though tree felling like this leaves an unsightly mess on the side of the fells, which of course it does. As I was walking across this area today however, I couldn't help but notice how much new growth there is with the grasses, new trees and the heather. With each step I took it was also evident that the lines of stumps and dead branches were actually starting to rot back into the ground.

Then it turned really interesting, , , well sort of.
I'd followed one of the broad forest tracks for a while and simply had the idea that anything heading downhill is good. The track then narrowed into a path similar to this one and eventually that path just seemed to vanish. Not to worry I thought, just keep walking downhill in the same direction and sooner or later I'm bound to reach the Smithy Beck Trail; seen here. Before getting this far though, the trees and the bushes got thicker and thicker and at one point I had to take my bag off and crawl along the ground to get through the seemingly impenetrable undergrowth.

Tall trees swaying in the breeze.

Almost at the end of the walk and looking down Ennerdale Water to Pillar, Steeple and Haycock.
Notice the sign post on the left of the photo which marks the start of the Smithy Beck Trail.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks