By penrithplodder

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?


Country Walking magazine

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!


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I want to walk the Ennerdale Horseshoe - what's the best route??


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Tortoise says

Re: I want to walk the Ennerdale Horseshoe - what's the best route??

Yes, that is the obvious alternative. I was wondering though whether anyone knew if the farmer at Whins farm was still a problem. My experience of him was 8 years ago now and those quotes are from 3 or 4 years ago I think. So he might have retired/moved/died/ or possible even had a change of heart since then!

04 September 2008 15:38


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penrithplodder says

Re: I want to walk the Ennerdale Horseshoe - what's the best route??

I managed to solve the problem by parking at the Bowness car park and walking a short way back along the road northwards. After a left hand bend there is a permissive footpath off to the right which takes you straight up Great Borne and completely avoids Whins Farm.

Sadly we picked a really pants day weather-wise to attempt the Round. We spent over 15 hours walking in thick fog and descended off Scoat Fell and so didn't manage the full walk. We aim to try again in better weather!

03 September 2008 16:07


Tortoise says

Re: I want to walk the Ennerdale Horseshoe - what's the best route??

I was under the impression that this route was still notoriously dodgy due to the extremely aggressive farmer at Whins.  Is this no longer the case?  I came across the extracts below whilst looking into this recently....


"On 13/1/04 a West Cumbrian sheep farmer has surrendered himself to police after more than three months on the run because a row over a footpath on his land. Thomas Ireland (48) of Whins Farm, Ennerdale, is now in custody at Durham jail, where he will spend two weeks for contempt of court. He went on the run to avoid imprisonment after repeatedly breaching an injunction preventing him from blocking footpath on his farm, which he maintains is not a right of way. A county court judge in Carlisle found him guilty of contempt of court in October after he failed to appear to answer any charges, and issued a committal order for 14 days. When the police raided his home they seized a number of firearms. They also revoked his gun license and charged him with possessing shotguns."

and the second is a forum post on 25 Apr 2004 from the BMC:-

"At approx 0930 whilst trying to find and follow the footpath shown on the 1:25000 running from the lake shore to the minor road by Whins farm. The path was not clear on the ground and initially blocked by a fence with some corrugated iron across it to prevent access. We negotiated this without causing any damage and followed the line of the path into a field by an old barn. Although the lane was 2m from the field edge it became apparent that there was no safe way of exiting the field - two barbed wire fences a few feet apart with barbed wire zigzagged between them - so we decided to retrace our steps. At this point a man appeared and became very abusive, shouting obscenities and demanding - in a very intimidating manner - to know what we were doing on his land. I tried to explain that there appeared to be a right of way crossing the field and we were trying to get to the lane beside the field.

He became very irate and shouted further obscenities. Fearing further confrontation we felt that further attempts at rational discussion would be futile so we apologised for disturbing him and asked him how we could most easily leave his property. He informed us that the footpath had not existed for years and he couldn't understand why all these people kept trespassing on his land. The man was extremely aggressive and the encounter very unpleasant. His suggestions of how we should have left his property were also anatomically impossible."

We are planning to do the C2C in a couple of weeks time and wanted to take in the full ridge down Ennerdale starting with Great Borne - hence my interest!

28 August 2008 10:37

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