Saturday, 1 July 2000

Gowbarrow Fell

A beautiful day at Gowbarrow Fell
Height: 481m (1,578ft)
Prominence: 100m (330ft)
Region: Eastern Fells
Classifications: Wainwright, Birkett
Summit feature: Trig pillar
Times climbed: 1
Related trip report:
The Mell Fells & Gowbarrow Fell - 13/01/2015
The fell is owned by the National Trust, their logo is proudly displayed on the summit
What Wainwright said:

"Gowbarrow Fell is one of the best known of Lakeland's lesser heights much of it being National Trust property and a favourite playground and picnic-place. It is not the fell itself that brings the crowds, however, and its summit is lonely enough: the great attraction is Aira Force".

Gowbarrow Fell is an outlier of the Eastern Fells, standing to the north of Ullswater. The fell's name was recorded as Golbery (about 1250) and Golebergh (1294) which probably mean 'windy hill' from Old Norse gol, 'a gust of wind or breeze', and Old Norse berg, 'a rocky hill'.

The fell was part of a medieval hunting-park, Gowbarrow Park, which belonged to the lords of Greystoke. The fell, along with 750 acres of the park, were bought by the National Trust in 1906.

Gowbarrow Fell is bounded by Aira Beck on the west which separates it from Watermillock Common and the foothills of Hart Side. This flows down from the rolling fells of the Dodds, through the village of Dockray, and then turns south into Ullswater. The beck drops 140 m between Dockray and the lake over a number of waterfalls, including High Force and Aira Force.

The summit is the rocky Airy Crag, on which an Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar has been built. This now bears a National Trust plaque, reflecting the ownership of the land. This summit is set back to the north of the fell, about 1.6 km from the shore of Ullswater, limiting views of the lake though the fells beyond it and up the Patterdale valley can be seen. Better views of the lake may be had from Green Hill, the southern summit.

Return to Lake District – Eastern Fells