The wide, grassy, and sometimes boggy, undulating ridge between Graystones and Lord's Seat makes for a modest but cracking circular walk of a little over 10.0km (6.2 miles). The views are predominantly of the Skiddaw massif to the north west, and Grisedale Pike to the south. The summit of Graystones is unclear, precisely which bit of rock or grassy patch is the real summit is not immediately obvious such that the Wainwright and Birkett tops do not coincide. The difference is shown in the walk instructions.
Spout Force, a small waterfall hidden in the woods is an optional out-and-back detour. The best time to visit it is in winter when the surrounding vegetation is dormant, and obviously in or shortly after rain.
Parking is at the Forestry Commission's Scawgill car park on the west side of the Whinlatter Pass. There are two small parking areas, the first on the left near the entrance, and the second which we recommend is the patch just before the forestry gate opposite the driveway to Darling How.
This walk takes you to the top of the following hills: Widow Hause, Ullister Hill, Tarbarrel Moss, Lord's Seat, Graystones (Birkett), Graystones, and Broom Fell; and includes 3 Wainwrights, 5 Birketts, 2 Dodds, 1 Marilyn, 2 Deweys, and 1 HuMP.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the parking area opposite Darling How return towards the entrance. Just before reaching the first parking area bear right down the bank to the stile below the road. Cross the stile and follow the edge right hand edge of the field round to the stile above the ravine. Cross the stile and drop down into the ravine by the path and steps. Cross the bridge at the bottom. Turn left towards the Whinlatter Pass road.
If wishing to visit Spout Force you should instead turn right and follow the path for approximately 200m (220 yards) to the viewpoint in the woods. Return here afterwards.
Continue on the path and go through the gate. About midway between the gate and the road turn right onto a narrow path ascending steeply through the gorse. Initially it looks like it heads for the quarry however when it splits bear right and head to the wall and fence on the right. Do not cross the wall or fence but bear left and tackle the ascent of the grass slope alongside directly. It's not too bad. Short and sweet, or something!
Reaching the rocky step either tackle it directly as Jessie did, or bear left to skirt around. The path continues above the step.
The gradient eases and the top appears across the now broken wall. Cross the wall at a suitable place and follow the narrow path across the grass to the poor excuse for a cairn. There are two contenders for the top, the nearest high ground is the Birkett. The other to the left across a small col is the Wainwright. You may wish to visit both, as we did.
From the Wainwright summit, bear right to the north east to pick up one of the paths heading down to the stile at the junction of the fences on the corner of Darling How plantation. Drop down to and cross the newly refurbished stile where the builders have given no thought to our faithful friends. On the other side of the fence bear right to follow the path above the dense conifers.
Cross Widow Hause and go though the gate. Continue straight ahead up steep slopes again. Follow the path bearing right to the tall, well built cairn on Broom Fell.
Cross the step stile next to the cairn on Broom Fell, there's a big hole in the fence next to the stile for dogs. Follow the obvious and slightly boggy path south east to the rounded top of Lord's Seat. There is no cairn here, just rusted remains of a fence post which seems to be its high point marker.
From the summit area of Lord's Seat descend southwards to the fence and cross the step stile. Follow the winding gravel path to the junction. Post no.5 is on the corner here. Turn right and follow the path as it descends gradually with woods to your right. After a while the path becomes wider and eventually into the usual hard packed forest road. Reaching a junction bear right to continue descending.
At the next two junctions as roads come in from the left, keep right. After approx 2.0km (1.2 miles) at a crossroads, keep ahead the rest of the way back to Darling How.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|A short walk to Spout Force||0.5km (0.3 miles) away|
|Whinlatter||2.5km (1.6 miles) away|
|Ling Fell||3.3km (2.0 miles) away|
|Fellbarrow from Thackthwaite, Lorton Vale||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Barf, Lord's Seat, Ullister Hill and Seat How||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Whinlatter Forest - Heavy Sides Walk||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|Words In The Woods||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|Sale Fell||4.5km (2.8 miles) away|
|Force Crag Mine||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
|Grisedale Pike and Hopegill Head||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011