14th February 2009

Gowbarrow and Aira Force


Walk Overview
Time 10.30 to 14.40
Duration 4 hr 10 min
Distance 4.6 mile
Ascent 1300 ft
Walking with Members of the OFC
Aira Force car park - Yew Crag - Shooting Lodge - Great Meldrum - Gowbarrow Fell - High Force - Aira force - Aira Force Car Park
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Aira Force

The size of this car park reflects the popularity of the nearby Aira Force waterfalls. Don't forget though, there is more to see in this area then just the waterfalls. For example Gowbarrow Fell which is within easy reach of this car park.

There is a tea room next to the car park, but there is a charge to park here.


Route Map

Crossing the lower of the bridges over Aira Beck.

Rather than head straight up to Aira Force or indeed Gowbarrow Fell, we followed the path around the south and the eastern side of the fell. Despite the modest height, some of the finest views of Ullswater can be had from this section of the walk around the slopes of Gowbarrow Fell.
As an aside; this area of the Lake District was bought by the National Trust in 1906, with the money being raised by public appeal. I'd love to know what the cost was, but I've been unable to find out.

Lyulph's Tower, an impressive building found between Gowbarrow Fell and the main road next to Ullswater.
Despite its ancient look, the building was built as recently as the second half of the eighteenth century and was originally a shooting-box. Various different sources tell us that it does actually stand on the site of a much earlier building (peel tower / castle?) which was thought to have been built by Lyulph, the first Baron of Greystoke in the eleventh century.


The view across Ullswater's middle reach to Arthur's Pike and Bonscale Pike.

Following the terrace footpath around the eastern side of Gowbarrow.

That's different; there used to be a footbridge across this section of path.

Eventually you reach the ruins of an old shooting lodge. This was decision time for which route we wanted to take. One option was to turn into the woods and walk through Swinburn's Park. After some discussion however, we decided to follow the path on the other side of the wall up to Great Meldrum, before cutting back across to Gowbarrow Fell summit.

Little Mell Fell seen from the grassy summit of Great Meldrum.

And now, just to complete the duo, a picture of Great Mell Fell. This photo was taken from Gowbarrow Fell's summit.

Gowbarrow Fell offers so many different options to get too and from its summit. The quickest and possibly the easiest is this route alongside the wall to the area between Millses and High Force.

A close up of Dockray.

One of the waterfalls at High Force.

We'd crossed back over to the other side of the beck now and were heading down to Aira Force.

An unusual view of the higher of the two "stone" bridges at Aira Force.

And not such an unusual view of the bridge.

Aira Force and the viewing platform.


David Hall -
Lake District Walks