One of the greatest times of my life was to visit St Kilda with my friends Geoff and Andy back in 2010 celebrating a special birthday. (I leave the reader to deduce which one)St Kilda once populated until 1930 is a remote archipelago 40 miles or so into the Atlantic beyond the Western Isles which seem pretty remote themselves. To reach St Kilda Andy, Geoff and I had a three hour voyage courtesy of Kilda Cruises (see ) from Harris and it was thrilling to approach the furthest point of these British Isles seeing the great stack of Boreay looming out of the mist and to marvel at the wildlife spectacle of seabirds in their thousands swirling around the great cliffs towering above us. When we reached the landing stage on Hirta the main island the first sound we heard was… a Land Rover engine starting up!  St Kilda’s position makes it a great place to put signal beacons for air traffic – the very symbols of modernity. The vehicle was there totake engineers up to the wireless station. How even the ends of the earth or at least the UK have been appropriated for our needs! There is something of that contrast between the wild and hi-tech with this walk. You climb to the top of a rarely visited hill in the eastern Lake District within hearing distance of the M6 down in the Lune Gorge and then to top it off there are two radio masts further into the walk. Yet in no way do these detract from the beauty of Borrowdale  just as the Land Rover on St Kilda did not detract from the adventure of a lifetime. 

Fact File:

Start/finish: The first test of navigation comes in locating the small car park


off the Tebay-Kendal Road A685 Nearest postcode CA10 3XX Grid ref: NY606014 If coming from Tebay it is the first turning on the right after crossing the M6.

Distance: 6 miles

Time: 3 - 4 hours

Grade: Strenuous

Maps: A problem for those of you who use them - the route of the walk is annoying on the cusp of two - OS OL41 Howgills for the start and finish and OS OL7 The English Lakes South eastern area for the middle bit.


Map by kind permission of Johnston Press 


1. Once kitted up go through the metal gate


and continue along the lane for well over half a mile with Borrowdale Beck to your right heading west. After an enclosed plantation turn left


on something of a track that climbs up the fell


towards a scattered stand of pine trees heading south and soon with a wall on the left. 500yds from the valley bottom cross a wall on the left at a wall junction - this might prove an awkward clamber and once over it head east with a wall on your left.


This section of the walk is absent of footpaths as such and soon dips towards a small beck


before swinging south (right) still hugging the wall as a handrail taking you over the rise of Birk Knott.


From here you are treated with a surprising view of the escarpment with the first objective - Grayrigg Pike at the end of it.


You might wonder as I did why isn't this attractive piece of upland better known? The way is clear as a more definite path leads you to a depression below the Pike. Bagging it entails locating a gap in the wall and then traversing 600yds of moorland to reach the summit cairn.


The view is - all the usual superlatives apply ! In particular you are treated with a bird's eye vision of the M6 almost 1000ft below. Looking north west the next objective is in sight - the trig point on top of Grayrigg Forest. (There is no forest as such - presumably the name is used in an archaic sense meaning hunting ground.) Retrace your steps to the gap in the wall and aim in the direction of the trig point.


2. This is little visited top - not just by Lake District standards - by any standards


yet the next part of the walk quickly brings you back into contact with modern civilisation as you continue along the wide ridge


towards a radio transmitting mast.


While the path may not be defined the direction is clear as the way dips to a wall with stone stile


and then intercepts the tarmac drive beyond the mast. Follow this down to a second mast - a repeater station.

3. The final part of the walk returns you to Borrowdale Valley. At the perimeter fence of the second mast turn around


and bear left on something of a track which is in fact a bridleway that slants away from the ridge to reach a gate over 500yds later.


Through this the bridleway decides to become clearer as it descends


to the scattering of pines noticed near the start of the walk.


Where the track divides bear right and soon return to your outward route.