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Great How ~ Thirlmere

Date & start time: Sunday 16th January 2011, 3.30 pm start.

Location of Start : Little How, Thirlmere, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 316 193 )

Places visited : Great How Wood, Great How.

Walk details : 2 mls, 700 ft of ascent, 1 hr 20 mins.

Highest point : Great How 1072 ft - 330 m.

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Clearing after heavy overnight rain.

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Great How at Thirlmere at EveryTrail


An afternoon walk combining a walk to a less frequented fell with a visit to friends afterwards.

I spent a morning at Theatre by the Lake looking at scenery and after lunch Ann and I drive over to Thirlmere

and climbed the diminutive but still very delightful Great How.

Crossing the bridge from the A591 at Little How to access the woods.

Up the new forest road, part of the Thirlmere Cycle Track.
Easy walking if a bit up and down.

There's a path off to the right here, signposted for the dam.

Maybe this would be a good track to find if we wanted to do a circular walk around Great How.

Helvellyn Gill, shown on the map at this point of the walk as How Beck, is flowing fast today due to the heavy overnight rain.

Water cascades off every slope . . . here a small rivulet . . .
. . . across the valley, the full force of Stanah Gill.

The new building is the "Lodge in the Vale" a new cedar wood lodge style, hotel and tearooms.

The straight cut known as Sty Beck. It rarely has water in it.
More fine waterfalls on Fisherplace Gill, next up the valley.

Both these major streams have only a minor effect on the water level in Helvellyn Gill as most of the water is diverted off into a leat feeding directly into Thirlmere reservoir. (The aqueduct can just be seen above the houses, below the last waterfall).

Sty Beck, above left, only has water flowing when the aqueducts are full to overflowing. In recent times, a small portion of the aqueduct water is now fed back into this river system at source, higher up near Swirls car park, in order to reinstate Helvellyn Gill headwaters and improve the river for fish spawning.

The new cycle track follows up the side of Great How . . .
. . . leaving an old track to continue into the field.

The old footpath up the fellside at this point, seen above under the leaves, has been abandoned to nature

but the old finger post remains . . . to tell of its passing.

More evidence of the heavy overnight rains, in fact it has been quite stormy for the last 36 hours.

Thankfully the winds have died down and the rain has stopped today.

Looks like I'm in a hurry for a photo opportunity.

We turn right at this point, so the further I go the further I'll have to come back.

There you are . . . the physical exercise was worth.

Hope you agree about the view south down the lake, or I should say more correctly, south up the lake.

Harry waits for me to catch up as we start up the track to the summit.
A steep section up, with a stream using it as an easy way down.

Nearing the end of the forest trackway there's a green footpath signpost which takes us up the final rise to the top.

In the old days, when we first climbed this summit, the area was all shrouded in trees.

Now they have cleared the top we have the opportunity of some nice views.

An elongated summit cairn, looking more like a six foot stretch of walling when viewed from the side.

A slight hint of sunset pink as we enjoy the fine views from the top.

From here the view north features High Rigg, Skiddaw and Blencathra

with Iron Crag on the left and Bram Crags on the right.

You can also look down on . . .
. . . Castle Rock and one of the houses of Legburthwaite.

However, since they have cleared the top a new summit has arisen to challenge the old establishment viewpoint.

The Patterson Cairn (because that was the name of the chap from Fornside who laid the first stones)

looks out across to Brown Crag and the snow corniced summit of Whiteside on the Helvellyn Ridge.

The intrepid explorer

camera in hand

hair blowing in the wind

(holding his stomach in)

looks out on the view.


- - - o o o - - -


Photo by Ann of course,

as are many from these walks.

We tend not to declare who took any particular photo

but some like this are a bit of a give away !

A loose cut piece of timber acts as a seat at the southern viewpoint.

Looking down on the reservoir from more or less the same place.

Zooming in to get the detail of the top of the spillway and the road crossing on the dam wall.

Excess water in time of heavy rain flows either side of the square structure

and down the hole, under a road bridge and back into the original valley river bed.

Sunset over, it's time to be getting back down before the light fades.

Clearing skies and a touch of colour in the clouds.
Back down the way we came.

One last look up the lake before we retrace our steps back along the cycle track / forest road.

Castle Rock across the valley again as we reach the end of the walk in darkness under the trees.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . . 'A' Team Dog Treats for well behaved dogs ! ( p.s. And a haircut Roger !!!)

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