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A WALK IN THE SOUTH-EASTERN LAKE DISTRICT, FROM WINDERMERE -


SOUR HOWES - 483m.

- a short circular walks from Windermere - 10 miles

I took 20,740 steps and used 823.8 calories.

 - Revd. John N. Merrill 


Map - O.S.  Explorer No. OL7 - The English Lakes - South-Eastern Region.


Inns and cafe’s - None of the route, take what you need; Windermere has everything at the end!



ABOUT THE WALK - I chose Sour Howes for the simple reason I had not walked there! I suppose like many people upon reaching Windermere, I headed for the Langdale’s or other major fells. I decided not to make a quick ascent from High Borrans, which Wainwright  says is an enchanting route! But, to do a longer walk of some 10 miles from Windermere and back.


It proved an unforgettable day out from London, following a full English breakfast outside in Windermere. Then first the ascent to Orrest Head and its vantage point not just to Windermere but northwards to the flank of Sour Howes. I pressed on along paths and lanes to High Borrans, now an Outdoor Centre. The route was largely as Wainwright stated but little used and often no path or track. The route was obvious by the wall to the fir plantation near Capple Howe. Here I joined a path to the summit of Sour Howes. I saw no one on the ascent and while trying to get a shot of myself on the summit a couple of walkers arrived from the Troutbeck side and took my photo.  


The views, which I enjoyed all through the ascent showed the main Lakeland fells and down to Troutbeck. The return to Windermere was down a delightful steep rock stepped ridge, which Wainwright never mentions, to the Garburn Road (track). Then along paths and tracks to Far Orrest and onto St. Catherine’s and Windermere. I highly recommend this forgotten “peak” and area ; it is the true flavour of Lakeland walking and away from the crowds.


WALKING INSTRUCTIONS -  To the left of the Windermere Hotel is the start of the route to Orrest Head, with large board indicating the way. The route is mostly gently uphill along drives. In 1/4 mile keep right on a wooded path; the track to your left is your return route!  Later turn right again at a kissing gate onto another path, before, ascending left to Orrest Head. From the summit descend northwards to a stile and path sign - Causeway 1/3 mile. The defined path keeps near a wall on your left and leads to footbridges and stile at the road near The Causeway Farm.



Turn right along the lane and straight ahead along it for 3/4 mile to your second road junction. Here turn left and right to the follow the lane (Borrans Lane) to High Borrans - as bridle-path signed. After 3/4 mile the lane curves right around High Borrans - Outdoor Education Centre. Pass a barn on the left and immediately afterwards turn left through a gate and follow the gently ascending track by a wall on your left. After 1/2 mile the wall turns left and just keep ahead on the track. Eventually reach a gate.  The track now is undefined but by keeping ahead you reach a gate and cross a stream. Continue ahead picking your way carefully and aiming for the wall ahead. Once reached turn right and walk beside it all the way to the fir trees above Capple Howe. Just past them reach the corner of the wall and a path from Kentmere. Here in the corner is a stile.


The defined path leads past the fir trees to a stile. Bear left keeping to high ground on a path to the small summit of Sour Howes. Descend to a path below - eastwards - and keep ahead to a steep rocky stepped ridge with views down to Troutbeck. Descend the defined path and follow it to the Garburn Road (track) to a gate. Opposite is a ladder stile and cross this and descend right to another. Here gain a walled track and turn left and gently descend to a small wood on the right. Just after turn left onto another walled track - Longmire Road - and now heading southwards.


Pass Latrigg and later The Reath and reach Moorhowe Road. Turn right and 100 yards later left at a gate and path sign - Far Orrest. Follow the track to Far Orrest, turning right immediately before the hamlet to reach the road there, using gates. Turn right and almost immediately left, as path signed - Crosses Farm. Follow the track to a stile and keep ahead on the path to gates and wall on your right. Reach the road by Crosses Farm and turn left and shortly right onto a path into St. Catherine's - National Trust property. Keep straight ahead on this wooded path into High Hay Wood and path junction. Turn left, as path signed - Windermere 1/2 mile. Orrest Head where you were at the start is clearly to your left. Follow the track and reach your starting out drive and turn right following your earlier route back to the road and the Windermere Hotel.


I just had time to have a pint in a Windermere pub before catching the train back to London. It had been a hectic but memorable day out in the Lake District……enjoy!



Walked by John, June 17th. 2017.




View from Orrest Head to Sour Howes.








High Borrans.


















Windermere from Sour Howes.