Whinfell Common and the ‘Other’ Borrowdale

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Tebay Gorge.

As travel restrictions were relaxed, Britain’s new found fervour for getting into the outdoors wasn’t abating at all. Old certainties regarding parking could no longer be relied upon. In the past, car parks would generally have spaces before about 10 and remote and less popular spots would never fill up anyway. On this occasion, we were meeting at the small parking space just off the A685, close to Low Borrow Bridge in the Tebay Gorge. At 9 it was already full, but I managed to squeeze in by parking behind a couple of friends cars, blocking them in.

Between Little Coum and Great Coum on Grayrigg Pike, a few bends in the contours hint at the possibility of a pleasant ridge route to the top. I’ve become a bit obsessed recently about finding these off-piste routes. I knew this one was good because I’ve been this way before. And I’m not the only one to have noticed it, since there’s actually a faint trod following the ridge all the way to the summit cairn.

All along that path, and, in fact, generally along the subsequent ridge route, we saw regular grey curls of…

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Fox scat.

Full of tiny bones and hair and often situated on a prominent rock or small mound by the path. I was confident at the time that this was Fox scat and I’m even surer now that I’ve had a chance to do a little research. For some reason the EWO took exception to my identification. I don’t know why he chose to argue, it’s not like I ever disagree when he’s pontificating about his chosen area of expertise, the weather. Oh wait – I always disagree when he’s opining about the weather. Fair enough.

Actually, I realise, that’s what the EWO have always done when we’re out for a walk together, hashing over the latest news in politics, or conservation efforts, or the measures around COVID19, or the most recent stupid fads in education, or whether the midfield can accommodate both Gerard and Lampard (we’ve been doing this for a long time!). I think it’s only by adopting a contrary position whilst gently arguing with the EWO or UF on a walk, that I know what I actually think about an issue.

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Grayrigg Pike – the first of many tea stops.

It was my dad’s birthday, so I video-called from Grayrigg Pike and chatted with him and my mum and shared the somewhat hazy views whilst enjoying a cup of almond tea.

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The onward route – Whinfell Common.

The weather wasn’t brilliant, but it wasn’t dreadful either, and with such good company and the ridge almost to ourselves it made for a very fine day.

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Whinfell Beacon
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Looking back to Grayrigg Forest.
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Looking back again, Grayrigg Forest on the left, Whinfell Beacon on the right.
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The way ahead, Castle Fell and a tree-covered Mabbin Crag behind.
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Stone shelter on Mabbin Crag.
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Around the cairn on Mabbin Crag.

It’s a lovely ridge walk this, not spectacular, but little walked. I was highly amused by the Prof, by far the youngest member of the party, who skirted around Whinfell whilst the rest of us went up, and then moaned in disbelieve each time he realised we had another ascent to deal with over Castle Fell, Mabbin Crag and Ashstead Fell (which has a number of knobbles to be ascended).

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On Ashstead Fell, Mabbin Crag behind.
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On Ashstead Fell, looking into the upper reaches of Borrowdale.
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Borrow Beck.

Aside from a pleasant leg-stretcher in good company, I’d been looking forward to this walk because Borrow Beck is a tributary of the Lune and therefore a part of my Lune Catchment project. I’ve never walked along the valley before and it didn’t disappoint. We even squeezed in one final brew stop on the banks of the beck.

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Rough Crag and Castle Fell.
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Wandering down Borrowdale.

All-in-all, a grand day out.

Andy’s account of the day, with somehow slightly less grey looking photos, and a map is here.

Andy reckons 11 miles and 2,500 foot of ascent. MapMyWalk gives 12 miles, but only around 1,800 feet. I’m not sure which to believe.

Whinfell Common and the ‘Other’ Borrowdale

5 thoughts on “Whinfell Common and the ‘Other’ Borrowdale

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Scholes in centre mid? Great player, but couldn’t time a tackle, ever. No place for Nicky Butt? I’d always have Gerrard in the team, he could play anywhere. You see – we’ve started now!

      1. Wouldn’t trust Nicky Butt to carry around the half time oranges, and certainly no place for him in my squad. Gerrard is in every team I’ve ever had, just not centre mid as he isn’t disciplined enough. His best years were behind Torres, so further forward for him

  1. One of my favourite venues discovered by myself many years ago rather than being told about it or reading about it, That is always the best way to find a gem – it then becomes more personal. It has featured often on my blog over the years.

  2. This Borrowdale was a gem, the fact we had it to ourselves was the clincher. A really fine walk, combination of interesting ridge and fine valley. Or should I take a contrary position and say the tops were boring and the valley drab and uninteresting?

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