Gummer’s How

Date: 29 Jul 2019 Weather: 19’C, partly cloudy
Height gain: 417 ft Distance: 2.2 miles
Time taken: 1 hr 30 mins Wainwrights: Outlying 6 of 116

Another Outlying Fell walked over a year ago but written up during the Coronavirus Lockdown in April 2020.

This is an unusual walk for us as we don’t start until mid afternoon – around 3pm.  I can’t remember now why we set off so late – maybe the skies didn’t clear until the afternoon.  It’s been six days since our last walk (Latterbarrow) – this time we’ve been kept off the hills by the heat – a record temperature of 31.4’C recorded on 25 July 2019.  This is not what I moved to Cumbria for!

Anyway – for whatever reason we’ve planned a short walk to what is said to be a beautiful viewpoint at the top of Gummer’s How on a nice but not desperately hot afternoon.

We drive until we nearly reach Newby Bridge before taking a sharp left hand turn at Fell Foot to drive up to the big car park at Astley’s Plantation.  There are lots of people doing the same as us, many of them family groups with young children.  We get our boots on and head a short way up the road before turning left onto the footpath up Gummer’s How.

It’s a pleasant path initially up through woodland and we can see the end of Lake Windermere peeping out below us through the trees.  It’s busy, though, and we feel like we’re in a procession.

We emerge out of the woodland and reach a rocky and very steep section of the path.  There’s the option to zig-zag a bit which helps with the steepness and it’s an enjoyable little scramble for us but some groups are finding it more challenging.  After a bit of waiting for others we reach the top of the steep section and a final walk at a friendly gradient to the summit:


…. and despite having sat and enjoyed the views waiting for the summit to clear for the photo opportunity this is the least crowded it got in all the time we were up there.

We move away from the crowds and the kites flapping around us to find a quiet spot to sit and enjoy the views.  From here we can see many miles along Lake Windermere to the hills behind it:


I enjoy watching the Windermere cruiser as it makes slow and steady progress towards Newby Bridge:


As we sit cloud starts to bubble up over the mountains and we watch it slowly build up although it’s not going spoil this lovely afternoon:


Once we’ve soaked up the views we leave our quiet spot and re-join the busy footpaths across the summit to pick up our planned descent path off to the north.  It’s an obvious path to start with and plenty of noisy groups surround us but they soon peel off to the right to re-join the path we came up on.  We decide to carry on down on this route to walk around the bottom of the hill to get back to the car.

There’s a wall below us and we initially head for that, hoping we can cross it.  Once we reach it we find an obvious path off to the right which is where we want to head so we follow it.  As we descend further the path peters out and the terrain starts to get boggy.  We keep picking our way through the mud as best we can and keep going in what we know is the right direction back towards the main path.

As we make progress we can see the stream of people about half a mile away on the main path.  As we get closer we reach a small stream which we have to cross.  We find a shallow bit and wade through and finally we’re back at the path.

We fall into line with everyone else and trot the last few metres to the road for the short section back to the car-park.

It’s been busy with lots of noisy groups today – we won’t make a habit of late afternoon walks to tourist hot-spots in July – but it really was a very picturesque hill with the views living up to expectation.  I really enjoyed our little adventure going off-piste on the way back as well.  I hope we do this one again in the future.

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