25th August 2013

Great Borne, Starling Dodd and Red Pike


Walk Overview
Time 10:10am to 4:10pm
Duration 6 hr
Distance 8.6 mile
Ascent 3200 ft
Walking with Jennifer
Bowness Knott - Rake Beck - Herdus - Great Borne - Scew Well - Starling Dodd - Red Pike - White Pike - Gillerthwaite - forest track back to Bowness Knott
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


"Where should we go today" Jennifer asked, "The forecast is quite good for this side of the Lake District so lets go to Ennerdale and do the walk up Great Borne you've been wanting to do for while". We'd postponed this was quite a few times recently for one reason or another so today seemed like the perfect day to walk here.

From the car park at Bowness Knott we back tracked a short distance down the road before heading onto the fellside and the path you can see running through the bracken over there.

Ennerdale, Crag Fell and Anglers Crag. Conditions were really comfortable today, blue sky, sunshine and a nice cooling breeze.

A wider picture showing the ridge across from Crag Fell and the area around Bowness Knott.

Looking across to the Cumbrian coast. We live over there but it was too hazy to see the town never mind our house. Actually, you couldn't see our house from here if it was a clear day and you had a pair of powerful binoculars because it's hidden by a big hill.

Running across the fellside opposite is the Ennerdale side of Floutern Pass. The fells in view are Knock Murton, Blake Fell and Gavel Fell.

I know it's steep, and although it's a little further, this is still easier than the Rake Beck route which was very eroded and loose in places last time I was there. That's not to say I wouldn't use the other route again. Today, Jennifer just wanted climb Great Borne by a route she hadn't done before.

At Great Borne summit and the extent of the haze became evident.

Behind all the rocks and stones are Knock Murton (left), Blake Fell & Gavel Fell (centre) and Carling Knott (right).

Leaving Great Borne we followed the fence past Scaw Well which was very wet and muddy under foot.
"it was bound to be wet, , , that's the whole point"
"okay, thanks for those words of wisdom"
As I was saying, , , , we followed the fence before heading across to Starling Dodd which you can see in the centre of the picture.

Looking back to Great Borne.


A view back across the broad grassy ridge between Great Borne and Starling Dodd.


This was as close as we got to Starling Dodd summit. Insects seemed to be laying in wait and as soon as we approached they flew out from between every stone to chase us away. 2013 is turning out to be a good (or bad) year for this kind of behaviour.

Now that we were away from the insects we had sit down and a bite to eat. From here you can look ahead at the route to Red Pike.

On the left hand side of us are Mellbreak, Crummock and the Grasmoor fells. The line you can see running across the fellside on the right is the path from Scale Force to Red Pike. I've never used that as an ascent route for Red Pike before, although I have walked down it twice that I can remember of. One of these days I'll have to walk up that way; after all, talking to people about descent routes doesn't have the same appeal as having a conversation about how you got to the top of somewhere.

Starling Dodd seen from the side of Little Dodd.

That's Dodd down there (not the Skiddaw one) seen from Red Pike summit. On the left is the end of Crummock and on the right is part of Buttermere.

All of Crummock Water, part of Loweswater and Mellbreak between the two of them.

Looking the other way, you get a view of Bleaberry Tarn, Buttermere, Robinson, Hindscarth (sort of) and Dale Head.

Lingcomb Edge always reminds be of the area below Crag Fell; only on a bigger scale.

Red Pike summit.

High Stile taken from the walk across to White Pike.

and Red Pike seen from the same place.

It's only about a mile and a half from Red Pike summit to the valley but because this is continuous down hill walking and you can see the bottom almost from the top, it always feels like a heck of a lot further.
Turning around to the right, we can see Starling Dodd and Great Borne.

Around about the same height as the top of the tree line, the grassy fellside gives way to bracken. Thankfully there's a half decent path running through here.

All that remains is the walk through the valley along this forest track.

Gillerthwaite Youth Hostel. As with the rest of these establishments, they also cater for those who would no longer describe themselves as being young; other than at heart..

Irish Bridge seems to be a popular spot today. Hardly surprising as it was really hot on the walk back through the valley and for the time being at least, the sun was out.

The cooling breeze had gone by now and there wasn't a breath of wind as I took this picture looking across Ennerdale to Crag Fell.

That's all for today folks, but to finish, here's a picture showing Pillar, Steeple and Scoat Fell.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks