We have past this small bumpy ridge so often on the way to somewhere else that we decided to make it the aim of our walk. The reward was the superb view, from the top of ridge, of Burnmoor Tarn with the magnificent Scafell range beyond. In the opposite direction we looked down on Miterdale and out to the sea.
There are clear paths to and from Boat How but make sure you find these as on either side of the paths the ground is covered in tussock grass with some bog between the huge ‘tufts.’ Later in the season bracken will make some of the paths more difficult to locate so choose a good day and go soon – it is a delightful walk.
Park at Dalegarth Station, £3 for all day, grid ref 178012, where there is a good shop and restaurant.
1 Turn left out of the car park and walk along the road, with care. Bear left just beyond Brook House and stroll in front of the cottages with their pretty gardens. Cross the bridge over the Whillan Beck and pause to enjoy its waterfalls. Continue past Eskdale Mill. Beyond the gate, keep ahead to ascend a distinct heavily reinforced track, passing through great banks of gorse in flower. Head on up to reach several peat huts, two of which have been roofed and where you might wish to do a little exploring. Go on up the main track, to glimpse, ahead and right, the little ridge, Boat How.
2 The way brings you to a series of stone circles and ancient cairns. When you reach the final circle, look for the track going off right towards the ridge. Very soon you have to negotiate a rough wet area. Make sure you return to the track. A short way along is a much smaller wet area. Here look for a narrow grassy track leading left and going ahead across the fell towards the ridge. This soon becomes evident, easy to walk and brings you to the foot of the ridge. Ascend the steepish grassy slope and wind around left onto the top (1,105-feet/337metres). From here you can see the distinct path continuing on, winding around on the right side of the next craggy projection. Beyond, carry on and climb up the next high place. Pause here to enjoy the fabulous view of Burnmoor Tarn with the splendid Scafell range providing a dramatic backcloth. Then walk on to descend, easily, on a grassy path that leads in the direction of the tarn. This soon joins your earlier track from the stone circle. Turn left and carry on to the lovely waterside. If the weather is kind, this is where you will want to pause.
3 To return, take the main track leading away (south) and uphill from the tarn. It traverses Eskdale Moor, keeping roughly parallel with the your earlier path but well to the left of it. Parts of the track are wonderfully grassy. Avoid the left turn down to Lamford bridge and continue over the high moor to reach the first of a series of gates - the route never in doubt. Eventually it comes beside fine woodland, full of bird song. The tree covered slope drops steeply down to the Whillan Beck cascading on its way to join the Esk. Finally, you arrive at the last gate that leads into a grassy rocky area where you turn left. Go through the gate, cross the bridge and walk onto the valley road. Then turn right to return to the car park.
Distance: 5.5 miles
Time: 3 hours
Terrain: Mainly good paths. High fell. Wide open views. Lots of interest.
Map: OS Explorer OL6
NB: Restrictions on space mean that this article provides a general summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.