Low Borrowdale Fells

This Borrowdale is not its much better-known namesake near Keswick, but, rather, the one that stretches between the M6/A685 from Low Borrow Bridge (near Tebay) to just beyond the A6 at Huck’s Bridge. And although it lies outside the National Park, from a scenic point of view it compares well with many areas that are included within it.
I was drawn to it partly from hearing about in general, and more particularly because of the classic Lakeland profile of its main south-eastern fell, Grayrigg Pike, with its obvious potential as a panoramic look-out point, glimpsed fleetingly many a time from the motorway. And indeed, one of the main attractions of this walk was to be able to view, from this strategic eyrie high above the M6, just how fine the neighbouring north-south line of the ‘Lune Gorge’ is. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the roads hereabouts, especially the M6, and the railway, the combination of the eastern end of Borrowdale, the Gorge itself and the Howgill Fells that rise on the other side would make it one of the most sought-after spots in the whole of the surrounding area. As it is, sadly, most hurtle straight by instead, but this also means that the walking is very secluded: I saw nobody else the whole day out, until near the end of the return along the valley bottom road.
The ascent followed the first part of the excellent guidance provided by Mark Richards in his Open Access Walks Information Sheet on Whinfell Ridge. Accordingly, I started out from the parking area off the A685 near the eastern entrance to the valley, then up to Birk Knott, on to Little Coum and thence to Grayrigg Pike summit. Once Birk Knott summit area was broached, increasingly fine views began to open out towards the east, down into the northern and southern parts of the Lune Gorge and over to the Howgills, as well as, from time to time, towards High Borrowdale to the west. From there, the route continued on to the rather featureless summit of Grayrigg Common, then to two telecommunications repeater stations, and finally up to the summit of Whinfell Beacon. Views from here are also rather featureless, but the descent back to the repeater stations and thence to Borrowdale Wood offered fine views towards High Borrowdale.
A great round in very quiet surroundings (apart form the noisy initial and final section near the motorway), and a very good way of developing an appetite for completing the round of all the remaining southern and northern fells that frame this delightful ‘hidden’ valley (watch this space!).
Highest point (Whinfell Beacon): 1549 ft./472 m. Distance: 7.3 miles/ 11.8 km. Ascent: 1816 ft./ 553 m.)

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