Lake District Walks
Great Borne & Starling Dodd
Date: 20th May 2012
Distance: 7.0 miles
Ascent: 2353 feet
Time: 4 hours 50 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY109153
Lovely views of Ennerdale Water were the highlight of this pleasant walk up on to Great Borne and Starling Dodd.
Route Summary: Bowness - Herdus - Great Borne - Starling Dodd - Dodsgill Beck - Nine Becks Walk - Ennerdale Water - Bowness
1. The steep flanks of Herdus
2. Ennerdale Water and Crag Fell
3. Looking down at Bowness Knott
4. A Herdwick with Haycock in the background
5. Looking down at Ennerdale Water from Herdus
6. On the summit of Great Borne
7. Looking along Ennerdale towards Pillar
8. Great Borne
9. Crummock Water from Starling Dodd
10. The top of Starling Dodd
11. Ennerdale Water from Starling Dodd
12. Red Pike
13. Looking down Dodsgill Beck
14. Looking along Ennerdale towards Green Gable
15. The thin woodland path on the Nine Becks Walk
16. Ennerdale Water and Haycock
Walk Detail: After considering approaching these two fells from either Buttermere or Loweswater I decided on this route, from John and Anne Nuttall's 'Mountains of England and Wales', mainly because the last time I'd set foot in Ennerdale was nearly six years ago.
It was a nice bright morning as I set off from the car park below Bowness Knott. Although the climb up Herdus was steep I was able to enjoy, in the initial stages at least, great views across Ennerdale Water towards Crag Fell and Grike.
After a steep, pathless section I was then able to catch my breath on a near level path running along the edge of Herdus to the cairn at 562m. Once again the views down to the lake and across Ennerdale were absolutely first class on what was probably the best section of the walk.
From the cairn on Herdus I crossed the broad moorland plateau to make the short climb up on to Great Borne, a surprisingly rocky top considering the heathery ground below. By this time the early sunshine had almost disappeared as the skies began to cloud over. On the other side of Ennerdale hill fog was beginning to roll over the fells and even the top of Iron Crag, not much higher than where I was, occasionally disappeared into the cloud.
From Great Borne it was an easy moorland walk followed by a short, sharp climb to gain the top of Starling Dodd, my 204th Wainwright. Despite the cloudy skies the views were still very good and there was a nice little cameo from Crummack Water backed by an impressive looking Grasmoor.
After eating lunch on Starling Dodd I set off for Ennerdale, first by dropping down to the col with Little Dodd and then by following the course of Dodsgill Beck to the outskirts of the plantations. Although steep this proved to be quite an easy descent and not as much of a strain on my knees as I'd feared.
Having made it down to the plantations I thought I was going to enjoy a nice easy walk following the course of the Nine Becks Walk through the woods. It seems though that the route marked on the map has fallen into disuse. It is no longer waymarked, as claimed by the Nuttalls, and at one point it looked as if there had even been a deliberate attempt to obscure the place where the route leaves the main forest track.
Eventually I made it through the woods to arrive on the access road to Low Gillerthwaite just above Char Dub, it was then an easy walk along the road back to Bowness with some good views across the lake. All in all this was a good outing, particularly because it was in and above a valley I don't visit very often.