Friday, 7 January 2011

Borrowdale - The Other One

It was day two of the new year and another crack of noon start when Nick and I headed out in Nick's car to go to Little Langdale and walk up Pike O'Blisco.  As we drove out of Kendal by a back road, I happened to ask Nick what the hills were out of his window.  It went something like:

Me: "Is that Shap over there?"
Nick: "No, it's Borrowdale.  Shap's further north"
Me:  "Don't be ridiculous.  It's in the wrong direction for Borrowdale"
Nick: "Ah, yes but this is another one.  Shall we go there instead?"

So having stopped the car to look at the map and realised that neither of us had a map for this "other" Borrowdale, we drove back to Nick's house, got the sheet we needed and started all over again.  It was still quicker than driving over to than Langdale.

Borrowdale "The Other One" or Borrowdale "TOO" (geddit?) lies about 8 miles north of Kendal and runs between the A6 and the M6, which crosses it by a viaduct.  If you go under this you are straight on the edge of the Howgill Fells.  There is a convenient layby on the A6 just before the bridge which crosses Borrow Beck and signals the start of this small dale.  The gate onto the footpath was padlocked and a sign posted by Cumbria Council said that the path was closed because of 'dangerous' erosion of the river bank.  But we are made of strong stuff and undeterred, we vaulted (well struggled manfully) over the gate and negotiated the erroded bank.  If you've walked down Glen Feshie, south of the bothy with the impossible name, you'd know what erosion was and this was nothing like it so we say pah! to Cumbria Council.

The actual plan (and remember this was already plan B) was to cross the hill, north over to Bretherdale and then walk back down Borrowdale but as we reached the top of the climb we spotted a path running east along the ridge line and this looked so inviting that we instigated Plan C - along the ridge and back up the valley bottom.  And so that's what we did.  And it was grand.

Climbing up out of Borrowdale, shortly after the dangerous bit

Despite it being a grey cold day, there were some splendid views across the M6 and over to the northern Pennines.

Looking towards Dufton Fell and High Cup Nick

The M6 south of Tebay, the Howgills and (probably) Wild Boar Fell in the far distance

The view along the 'ridge' towards the Howgills

The track, despite not being marked on the OS 1:10k was clear enough and the going underfoot was mostly short, springy grass.  Really, quite pleasant.  We came across some wild ponies who approached us expectantly, looking to scam some food but we had to disappoint them. 

Wild Ponies

We somehow walked past the bridleway which crosses the ridge and which would have taken us down into Borrowdale, so we cut down the fellside to the bottom of the valley and came out near one of the bridges which crosses Borrow Beck.  We made a brief stop for lunch of pork pie and cake and then followed the valley path back to the car.

Eastern end of Borrowdale looking west.

7 miles and 1500' (more or less)


Mike Knipe said...

There's good walking on the ridges on both sides of Borrowdale(too)
with parking at the foot on the Tebay/Kendal road.
There's also a Wasdale Head (too) nearby and a walk between there and Wasdale Head via Kirkstone Pass Inn is a fine expedition. (take three days over it!)
All good stuff...

Pennine Ranger said...

Hi Mike. Yes actually plan C was to walk out on one ridge and back along the one on the other side of the valley but we couldn't see an easy route to get up without crossing walls or walking a lot further. So really, the route I've described was plan D!

Wasdale Head to Wasdale Head sounds a excellent project for sometime.