21 April 2008 10:39
I'm planning to walk the Ennerdale Horseshoe next month to raise money for charity. Unfortunately my guidebook is a bit vague regarding the start. I'm planning on starting by climbing Great Borne but can't see any obvious paths up it on the map. I tried out the start yesterday and ended up walking around the side of Gt Borne until I was near Floutern Tarn and then going off right to the summit but this seems a long way round. Is there a better way?
By Country Walking magazine
We asked one of our routes experts for Cumbria, Mary Welsh, for her advice:
“Ennerdale is the only big horseshoe walk with no simple start or finish. There are at least three different routes, all of between 22-25 miles long and approximately 8,000 feet of glorious up! Starting at Great Borne can be tricky as the ground is very boggy – below is a suggested route from near Ennerdale Bridge, taking in as many summits as possible. You’ll need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure 4 to hand to trace the route.”
>>Park at car park (grid ref: NY085153) at the end of the road which leads to the lakeshore from Ennerdale Bridge. Walk left along the shore path, then take fourth footpath going off left which leads up to Whins and a wet Floutern Pass up to the fells. Bear right (south) well before Floutern Tarn, up Steel Brow and, keeping to the high ground, climb Great Borne.
Then stroll an indistinct path due east for 1 1/2 miles to the smooth, rounded top of Starling Dodd (not to be recommended in the mist) and on to Little Dodd. From there, aim for Red Pike, bearing sharp right (south-east) at the summit to start the fantastic ridge walk of High Stile, High Crag, Seat - down to Scarth Gap Pass - and up to Haystacks. The route is generally clear and mainly dry!
From Haystacks, continue to the famous Innominate Tarn where Wainwright’s ashes were scattered. At Blackbeck Tarn, wind round the far eastern shore and head south-east, keeping right of Great Round How and Brandreth and on to Windy Gap to climb right to summit of Great Gable. Descend, with care, north, to Beck Head.
Pass between tiny cairns, following old fence posts and then climb steeply to Kirk Fell. More posts lead you down, north, to Black Sail Pass and on west over Looking Stead and on to Pillar.
From Pillar, descend south-west, to Wind Gap and on up to Scoat Fell and Haycock. Then, using the map, head west to Caw Fell, then north around the top of Iron Crag, curving north-west to Boathow Crag.
From here you have a choice – traversing down the hillside to Angler’s Crag and following the lakeshore path back to the start, or staying on the higher ground to Crag Fell and following Ben Gill down. Do note there’s no continuous path down the gill but it’s a pleasant scramble.
>> For a slightly shorter route, you can park at the Bowness Knot car park (grid ref NY110153), follow the lakeshore track to High Gillerthwaite, then turn left on a signposted path for a steep climb to join the route at Red Pike. Follow the horseshoe as described above, round to Scoat Fell and on to a saddle just below Haycock, then turn right (north) at cairn and walk along crest of spur and on down Deep Gill and forest to the valley and river. Turn left, cross two footbridges, then take broad track right to join outward track and turn left for car park.
Whichever route you choose, you’re climbing some of the most beautiful fells in Lakeland – so enjoy!