Quite a tough, isolated, little hill, requiring on this walk some concerted effort to climb the steep scree on the north west slope. Wainwright describes this tongue of scree as "laborious", it's very loose and in places small rock avalanches can take away a good deal of one's efforts. That said, it's rather good! Exhilarating even, without the terror of the vertical world of the climber and with handy clumps of heather to keep upward progress going albeit quite slowly.
Scale Force is an impressive waterfall at the far end of this walk. The main drop which can be reached by a bit of a scramble over rocks at the entrance of the ravine and is 52m (57 yards) high. It is thought to be the highest in the Lake District.
There is little parking around Loweswater village itself. At the telephone box there is space for a couple of cars or so, and at Church Bridge another half-dozen may squeeze in although recent reports suggest this may be blocked off at the moment. However, there are two car parks on the outskirts: at Maggie's Bridge with space for 10 cars. And another much bigger car park but slightly further at Scalehill Bridge/Lanthwaite Wood. Parking at Kirkstile Inn is for patrons only.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From Maggie's Bridge return to the road and turn right, bear next right signposted to the "Kirkstile Inn". At the junction beside the Inn bear right, and right again to cross in front of, and below, the buildings to our start point.
From Scalehill Bridge leave the car park and return to the road, turn left, and continue straight ahead at the crossroads. At the junction with the telephone box bear left signposted to the "Kirkstile Inn". Bear left again as you reach the Inn, and then right to cross in front of and below the buildings to our start point.
From our start point follow this lane past the farm buildings and onto the track between dry stone walls. Continue to the gate, go through and, rather than following the track round, take the rough track straight in front of you through the trees. Cross the narrow track above the trees and continue on the grass path to the bottom of the obvious tongue of scree.
The brave will tackle the scree head on, while lesser mortals might try the bypasses left or right. The right, as shown in our track, is not much nicer than the main tongue. Just as steep, and you still need to negotiate the rock gateway at the top. It does however have a few variations and clumps of heather.
The path going right to left from the base has a number of variations evident. With luck you might end up on a broken path on the nose of the first knoll, or it might get a bit exposed through the crags. Your choice!
Tackling the tongue or the right hand side bypass is not too bad and there is no trouble route finding. Both ending up at an obvious 'gateway' gully through the crags which is filled with loose rock scree. Heather on the edges can be a useful climbing aid. Continue through the gateway until the headwall and turn left to climb out. Continue on to the first knoll.
If you wish, part way up the gateway you can escape out to the right and climb through the heather. In another small gully continue to its headwall and scramble out. Swing left above the top of the gateway and continue on to the first knoll.
There is a little more, easier, scree on the way to the second knoll.
Thereafter it is an easy walk through heather to the north top.
There are two cairns here, the one to the right is perched on
marginally higher ground at
The south top lies across the col approximately SSE just over 1.0km (0.6 miles) away. Continue over the north top, heading due south. The many narrow paths all seem to join at various points to form a well trodden and boggy path down to the col.
Cross the low point, keep left and start the climb back up to the south top. The path meanders round knolls, bogs, the odd tiny tarn, and heads generally south east.
Blink and you may miss the south top, there is not a cairn despite it being the highest point on the fell (and on this walk).
Continue over the south top following the path as it meanders south again. The fence marked on the OS 25K map is but an occasional isolated post. Just rounding a knoll the path descends steep grass. Reaching the small col with Scale Knott, bear left across pathless grass tussocks and moss to the highest point. Turn right and return to the path. Bear left and continue descending. Cross the fence where many people have done. It's fairly low anyway, and there's enough room under the bottom wire for a collie or similar to slip under.
The path continues to a cross-roads, go straight over and meander down to the beck, cross over the stepping stones, and then climb through bracken up the other side. Reaching the stile, cross. There is a hole in the fence for dogs. Wander up to Scale Force and admire its 52m (57 yards) drop.
After exploring the force, return to the metal gate near the stile. Go through and follow the fairly boggy path alongside Scale Beck. Don't cross the wooden bridge. At the fence bear right and follow the path very close to the Beck. At the second bridge turn left onto the circular path round Crummock Water.
Continue round the lake. Part of the path is stone pitched across a very boggy section. Low Ling Crag juts out into the lake and is a good place for a breather.
After 2.0km (1.2 miles), approaching the wall bear left and climb the hillside to the upper path. Head for the wall corner, and continue on the path with the wall to your right. Continue down to and through Green Wood which appears to be a lovely stand, mainly of oak.
Don't drop through the gate to the houses, but continue above the houses to the far gate at the top of the lane.
Go through the gate into the lane and down to the tarmac road. Turn left, over the Park Bridge, and at the road junction turn left again. This brings you back to the Kirkstile Inn.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Hen Comb from Loweswater village||248m (273 yards) away|
|Gavel Fell and Blake Fell from Maggie's Bridge, Loweswater||0.7km (0.5 miles) away|
|Lanthwaite Wood and Crummock Water||0.9km (0.6 miles) away|
|The Grasmoor Six Wainwright Fells||1.7km (1.1 miles) away|
|A stroll to Holm Wood beside Loweswater||2.8km (1.8 miles) away|
|Burnbank Fell, Holme Force and the woods||2.8km (1.8 miles) away|
|Fellbarrow from Thackthwaite, Lorton Vale||3.0km (1.9 miles) away|
|Grasmoor via Lad Howes ridge||3.3km (2.0 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