The Other Borrowdale: The South Ridge

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Tell your mates that you have been walking in Borrowdale and they will almost certainly think of the valley to the south of Keswick, but there is another Borrowdale not too far away from there – the 'Other Borrowdale', otherwise known as the Westmorland Borrowdale. The Cumberland Borrowdale, near Keswick, is the one that most people know well, drawing in walkers, climbers or people who just want to admire one of the most attractive valleys in the English Lake District. Its namesake in the old county of Westmorland however, is quiet and deserted.

The reason for the neglect is simple – most walkers don't know that these hills exist. Borrowdale Beck rises in the backcountry that is dismissed with the broad title of 'Shap Fells' and just to confuse fans of the Lake District even more, there is a Wasdale and Wasdale Head just up the road about three miles away, but these are not Lake District hills really, they are more reminiscent of the nearby Howgills and share the same sense of peace and quiet.

The valley runs roughly east to west, from the A685 near Tebay to the A6 between Shap and Kendal. Containing the valley are two parallel ridges, one to the north and one to the south; this walk includes most of the South Ridge plus all of the valley bottom.

Starting from the small car parking area near Low Borrow Bridge, the route follows the valley bottom all the way to its junction with the A6 near Huck's Bridge. From there a steep pull-up leads to the triple summits of Ashstead Fell and the start of the South Ridge. The route continues over Mabbin Crag heading for Whinfell Beacon, followed by the repeater station mast that marks the start of the descent to the valley bottom and the start point.

During the walk you will see a great deal of the North Ridge, which makes another great walk in its own right (Walk 6091) or which can be combined with this walk to make a truly big day out of 18km and 850 metres height gain. (See the Additional Information section in the route description). You may also see flower meadows in late spring, or buzzards soaring overhead, but what you won't see are loads of people – remember that these are quiet, deserted hills.

(Note: as this route shares many features with Walk 6091, you will find that the text for both is often the same. However, the detail differs where appropriate).

England - North England - Cumbria - Howgills

29/10/2016 - ruth day

Having now walked 6091 The North Ridge and therefore coming to point 5 from the other direction way we see that we were wrong about point 5 ,not being a ruin , the house without a roof sits neatly behind the barn, apologies for that. The rest of our comments do not change Ruth Day

08/10/2016 - ruth day

02/10/2016 a good walk on a sunny day, point 5 High Borrowdale Farm no ruins just a small rebuilt barn, OS map shows a path on right hand side of Borrowdale Beck and there are way markers,ignore them, cross the beck by the bridge onto a clear track to point 6 , point 11 stone hut well trod track is straight on into the wood no sign of path to right but track bears right to a break in wood, this section is very very wet and boggy, step stile over fence is broken continues wet and boggy to point 13, point 18 to 19 boggy & wet. Plus side of walk is great views on a clear day from point 7-8 Ruth Day

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