High Borrowdale Fells

This Borrowdale was once again not its near-Keswick ‘big brother’, but rather, the one that lies between the Lune ‘Gorge’ close to Tebay and... and... it’s actually quite difficult to name the location of its other, north-western end, but let’s say it’s around Huck’s Bridge on the A6, about half-way between Kendal and Shap.
This time the walk was at the latter end, comprising Ashtead Fell, Mabin Crag and Castle Fell. From the lay-by at Huck’s bridge, the path slanted eastwards to Ashtead Fell, then gently on to Mabin Crag. From here, down through increasing conifers, past a lone, small slate ‘bothy’ and then gradually over and up to Castle Fell summit. The way down thereafter to the valley bottom followed a wall running along the side of a ghyll between Castle Fell and Mabin Crag, and, at the end, after some adroit fence negotiating, back along by the side of Borrow Beck to the start once again.
Apart from a small and rather dreary-looking section between Castle Fell and Whinfell Beacon, this outing completed my exploration of the southern (‘Whinfell’) ridge of fells along this lonely and beautiful valley. The views down into the dale were very good throughout, and also, on the far horizon, of the snow-capped high fells of Lakeland, from the Coniston to the Scafell massifs, as well as, standing apart and looming maginificently in its own right, the huge dome of Great Gable. These ‘dear friends’ were a particularly heart-warming sight on a very cold and short winter’s day.
PS Apart from Mark Richards’ excellent guide to this walk and its earlier close relative, I strongly recommend Wainwright’s ‘Walks on the Howgill Fells’, which, despite the title, includes ‘the Whinfell Ridge’ in Part One.
Highest point (Mabin Crag): 1580 ft./481 m. Distance: 5.4 miles/ 8.6 km. Ascent: 1521 ft./ 463 m.)

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