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" Ashness and Lodore Falls "

Date & start time:      7th April 2024.   10 am start.

Location of Start :     NT car park, Ashness Bridge, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 270 196).

Places visited :          Bark House, Barrow Falls, Lodore Falls, Surprise View, Ashness.

Walk details :              4 miles, 800 ft of ascent, 3 hours 15 mins.

Highest point :           Ashness Woods, 835ft - 257m asl.

Walked with :              Seven Mob friends, plus myself and Dougal.

Weather :                     Sheltering from Storm Kathleen.  Very windy on the lake or high tops.



© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


The plan for today was to walk High Seat via Watendlath and the new high level pathway, a walk that I had reconnoitered two weeks ago.

With stunning sunny weather that day, today's walk was never going to be as good weather wise.

However I didn't expect "Storm Kathleen" to come crashing through, bringing heavy rain yesterday and 50 mph winds today.

Time for a quick re-think . . . the same starting point but a lower level walk was needed.

I know . . . a 'two for the price of one' waterfall walk . . . at least there'll be lots of water in the rivers.

The view, the wind on the lake and the state of the pier were all good reasons to stop at the Ashness Bridge road junction

for this quick photo before I met the rest of the group.

A select band of eight merry men and women met up at the Trust car park at Ashness Bridge.

There was Dougal as well but he's out of sight by my feet.

Pippa, Chris, Peter, John, Hugh, Ann and Judy . . . plus myself to complete the group.

We're all from the Loweswater / Lorton part of the Lakes and meet for walks under the pseudonym of the Mockerkin Mob.

On the way up I noticed that the Bark House building was open today, so we called in on the way past.

Inside there would be a warming fire later today, but no teas and coffees, just shelter and a National Trust chat if people wanted.

On the recent recce I set off up the hill towards Watendlath, today I changed that and we all set off down the road.

- - - o o o - - -

I had heard there was a Bob Graham Memorial around here somewhere.

Today I found it . . .

about fifty yards down the road, close to the wall.

Bob Graham was famous in fell running circles for having set

a real Cumbrian Challenge . . . 42 peaks, 66 miles and 27,000 ft of ascent

. . . to be completed within 24 hours.

- - - o o o - - -

Just a little further down the road from the small cairn is a gate into the top of Barrow House Woods.

We entered and followed the river down, reaching the first of our waterfalls for today.

The top cascade has a weir and draw-off pipe for hydro power.
The rustic steps lead us on down alongside the waterfalls.
A second is an impressive twenty foot waterfall . . .
. . . but the tallest was the lower cascade (this photo by Peter).

The falls were new to some of the group and they were even more impressive today due to the amount of water in the river.

Onward and downward, around the back of Barrow House.

The foundation stone of Barrow House (then known as Barrow Cascade House) was laid by Joseph Pocklington in 1787.

The building was home to the early industrialist, then became a Guest House and Hostel, latterly the Derwent Water Independent Hostel

Sadly the hostel has had to close recently, as "improvement to the building relating to additional fire safety and to staff accommodation

were prohibitively expensive considering the possible ending of the lease in the next year or so".

The House has commanding views of Derwent Water and many of its islands.

We head down the driveway to the main road, in order to cross to the lake.

The sheltered Barrow Bay, a real contrast to the high winds and white horses out on the open lake.

A storm damaged tree frames a distant view of Skiddaw, Carlside and Ullock Pike.

The water in Barrow Beck was running quite high under the bridge, but didn't seem as copious as the waterfalls had made it look.

The reason was clear.  On the other side of the bushes the upstream river had overflowed and formed a tricky and wet flood plain to cross.

Safely over with wet boots but dry feet, the path became a little more reasonable.

Across the lake the sun was breaking through, the wind causing fast moving sunlight streaks and shadows on Maiden Moor.

Note the white horses that had been whipped up on the surface of the lake, caused by the same strong wind.

Around the corner and looking now towards the head of Derwent Water.

We get our first view of the Lodore falls as a white streak falling down the fellside, to the left of the steep sided Shepherds Crag.

Great discussions seem to be held en route, as we reach Kettlewell car park.

A gap in the Borrowdale traffic and we were safely on the other side, where we could take the footpath through the woods.

No room for a pavement, so the path follows the road on the other side of the wall.

The path rejoins the road just at the point when the Lodore path strikes off to the left.

As a result we can continue the walk without the need to mix with the traffic.

A short walk through the woods brings us around the back of the Lodore Hotel . . .

. . . and to the viewpoint of the equally impressive Lodore Falls, the second big waterfall of the day.

Do check out the link to Southey's poem about the falls, at the base of this page.

Reaching this far, safe and dry, calls for a celebration today . . . well a coffee stop at least.

After everyone had a good look at the falls it was time to go . . .
. . . the question now was which way ?

I had been here many years ago and remember the faint footpath found on the map.

Not having walked this recently I had a quick look around and decided the one we wanted was the easier looking path that set off left up the slope.

The path settled down to a well worn track with ever improving views out across the lake.

It turned as expected and I was more confident of the route.
Views down now included the hotel far below.

The path turned again, on a route not shown on the map.

  I went to explore the short straight-on path but it was a dead end.  It did however provide me with a fine viewpoint.

Back on the correct path and we kept climbing up through the woods, sometimes under them too . . .

. . . into an area shown on the map as Hogs Earth.

This was a delightful part of the climb, the trees, rocks and walls were all covered in thick moss, a real temperate rain forest location.

Our path followed the river, which was a beautiful peaty brown colour.
This made a rather nice pool look like a pint of foaming Guinness !

A slight diversion brought us over to the bridge with the triangular sign.
Signs of Spring too, in the form of bright new leaves on the larch saplings.

The walk up through the woods had been a delight and not at all stormy, despite the weather down by the lake.

I think the west facing slopes of the fell had protected us from the worst of the winds.

The path ended its climb as we reached the valley road, at the point I had departed from the road two weeks ago.

A walk downhill now . . . to that famous viewpoint.

The view from on high . . . click here or on the photo above for a larger, annotated version of this Surprise View panorama

Mob walks are usually a bit longer and so people had brought refreshments for lunch.

We were only a few minutes from the car . . . but even less from a nice view . . . so time to sit and enjoy an early lunch.

Suitably over-indulged we headed off once more . . . down the road past the field gate to Ashness Farm.

Chance for a better photo of Ashness Lodge as I pass this time, a delightful re-build, completed just before Covid.

The garden now boasts a wildlife pond, raised beds for vegetables and a solar array to generate power.

The walk concluded back at the car park just a short distance further on . . . which was handy for finding the car of course !

I'll leave you to caption this photo with what Pip was saying to John.

Not the planned walk for today but a nice one nevertheless . . . and two waterfalls for the price of one . . . can't be bad.

- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with my iPhone 11pro mobile phone camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . an alternative, low level option for a stormy day.

Go to Home Page . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 31st March 2024 - Workington's Slag Heaps

A previous time up here - 4th October 2014 - Laudable Lodore

Click here for a link to Robert Southey's famous poem 'The Cataract at Lodore'

Next event - 9-11 April 2024 - A Birthday and A Birth Day