Gowbarrow Fell is the first area of interesting high ground on the northern shores of Ullswater, and is a very popular fell, mainly due to the large NT car park for Aira Force at the south-western corner of the fell. Even so most people stay in the valley or the western slopes so the main summit can be quiet.
The overall layout of the fell is fairly simple, with steep side leading up to a large plateau, with the highest ground in the northern part of the fell.
Gowbarrow Fell is only connected to other high ground at its north-eastern corner, where a ridge leads over Great Meldrum and Little Meldrum before ending with the grassy lump of Little Mell Fell.
Grid Reference of Summit: NY 407 218
Routes of Ascent
Elsewhere the northern slopes are gentle as are the north-western slopes, so could both be used for ascent.
Our ascent of Gowbarrow Fell climbs it using the path that runs around the southern and eastern slopes then descends via the south-western corner.
The summit sits a bit too far back from the edges of the fell to offer really excellent views, but the top of Green Hill at the southern end of the large plateau provides really good views of Ullswater.
Streams and Tarns
Aure Beck runs along the western side of the fell, before turning west towards Dockray. Riddings Beck curves around the north-western corner of the fell.
A series of becks flow into the bowl west of the fell. Collierhagg Beck is closest, flowing east off the fell then turning south towards Ullswater. Kirkstyle Gill is born in the gap between Great Meldrum and Gowbarrow Fell, and also turn south to head for Ullswater, joining Parkhouse Gill just before the lake.
A number of smaller streams flow north away from the fell, with Todgill Sike marking the northern side of the border with Great Meldrum.
Gowbarrow Fell has no tarns, but it does run down to Ullswater on its southern side.
Gowbarrow Fell's best known feature is Aire Force, a series of waterfalls to the west of the fell. Low Force is the most often visited of the falls, and makes a dramatic plunge from directly under a foot bridge. Further upstream there are a series of smaller falls, leaving up to High Force, with a delightful path along the eastern bank of the stream.
Lyulph's Tower, at the south-western corner of the fell, was originally a hunting lodge.