Aira Force and Gowbarrow.

Start. Aira Force car park.

Route. Aira Force car park - Aira Force - High Force - Gowbarrow Fell - Shooting Lodge - Collier Hagg - Yew Crag - Hind Crag - Aira Force car park.

Notes. The sunshine and blue skies I complained so bitterly about yesterday seem to have deserted me, today the fell tops were clocked in a vale of low cloud, strong wind and rain forecast for late afternoon, me and my big mouth. I felt the need to stand on high ground, breath in the Lakeland air and drink in awe-inspiring views, getting a little poetic, or maybe pathetic, my sights fell on Gowbarrow, now when was the last time I graced those boggy slopes. This is a walk of two distinct half's, first a ramble through a Victorian park and arboretum, ancient trees and rock scenery are but a mere curtain raiser to the magnificent splendour of Aira Force. After marveling at the spectacle we'll continue up stream to High Force, not so many of the visitors make it this far meaning we may have it to ourselves.

I left the car in the Aira Force car park before wandering off to explore, exploration carried me up stream, passed Aira Force and High Force, I crossed the beck above the latter before continuing towards Dockray. Once above the tree line the path crossed rough pastures, at the second boundary wall I ignored the gate turning up hill, with a dry stone wall to guide me I ascended Gowbarrow, unexpectedly steep, a real leg burner. Steep gets you up quickly, I was soon standing on the summit taking in large lung full's of Lakeland air and drinking in awe-inspiring views between sips of coffee.

My descent first took me north before swinging around the summit crags to head south. This wonderful path clings to the 1200ft contour for much of the way. Above Collier Hags and Yew Crag I wandered, under the cliffs of Green Hill the path started descending, passed Bernard Pike and Hind Crag loosing height with every step, suddenly I reached a field gate allowing access to Aira Force once more.

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Over the tree tops of a Victorian planted park, Gowbarrow Fell.

Under the spreading branches of ancient Yews.

Through a gap in the trees, my first view of Ullswater.

The 65ft cascade of Aira Force.

One of two bridges, one above and one below the waterfall, built to honour two members of the Spring-Rice family from nearby Watermillock.

Aira Beck above Aira Force.

Looking to High Force.

Above High Force viewing Place Fell.

Free of the woodland with views to Brunt Crag for company.

Ascending the western slopes of Gowbarrow, enjoying views over Ullswater.

Pausing for breath looking to Sheffield Pike with Hart Side to the right.

Let the dry stone wall guide the eye to the village of Dockray.

Under cloud Souther Fell seen from the summit of Gowbarrow Fell.

Stunning views to the ridges leading to High Street, Steel Knotts and Beda Fell.

Hallin Fell backed by Loadpot Hill.

Viewing Sleet Fell and Beda Fell across Ullswater with High Raise under a crown of cloud.

Hallin Fell across Ullswater,

Even on a grey day the views from this narrow trod on the southern flanks of Gowbarrow are stunning.

A final view before descending into the trees, Hallin Fell with Loadpot Hill under cloud.

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