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Aira Force Loop

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Aira Force Loop
Author: Ollysebay, Published: 04 May 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Aira Force Loop Cumbria Walking Guidestar1 Aira Force Loop Cumbria Walking Guidestar1 Aira Force Loop Cumbria Walking Guidestar1 Aira Force Loop Cumbria Walking Guidestar1 Aira Force Loop Cumbria Walking Guide
Cumbria, Ullswater
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Aira Force Loop
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Aira Force Loop Cumbria Walking Guide boot Aira Force Loop Cumbria Walking Guide boot Aira Force Loop Cumbria Walking Guide
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A walk past Aira Force waterfalls and a panoramic birds eye view of Ullswater Lake. Some of the most stunning scenery I have ever experienced in the UK! The walk climbs up Benard Pike giving the view over the entire Lake of Ullswater. The key attraction is the deep gorge and waterfalls of Aira Force.

This loop walk can be done in either direction depending on your preference. The direction described takes the more gradual climb (with a steep decent) but means walking with your back to the best view (best to stop for a picnic and enjoy it in any case). It also finishes with the beautiful falls. However if willing to brave the steep climb at the start, in reverse the final third of the walk provides the epic views of the lake in front. You will need to negotiate steps, footbridges and gates on route, but there are no stiles.

NOTE: Read the instructions about parking!

IMPORTANT!! Access is via the main road around the water's edge on the north side of Ullswater Lake. This can easily be joined from the M6. The car park is quite expensive (£5/2h, £7/4hr, £9/8hr and free for National Park Members - correct May 2016), however it is absolutely worth the charge. Just bring coins (no cards accepted), or in peak visitor months the visitor cabin will be open where you can exchange notes. Approximate post code CA11 0JS.

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Walk Sections

Start to Glade Bridge
Start to Glade Bridge

Start point: 54.5719 lat, -2.9285 long
End point: 0 lat, 0 long

Start in the Aira Force Car Park. Head out of the top of the car park towards the sound of the water with the stream to your right. After 100 metres the path splits (left heads up to the tea room - useful to remember on the return - or right follows the stream). Go right keeping alongside the stream. After another several hundred metres go right through an iron gate heading towards the water.

Glade Bridge to Lower Aira Stone Bridge
Glade Bridge to Lower Aira Stone Bridge

Start point: 0 lat, 0 long
End point: 54.5741 lat, -2.9284 long

At the stream you will find Glade Bride, a wooden bridge a across the water. Cross over and head up the gorge with the water now on your left.

Lower Aira Stone Bridge to Lake View
Lower Aira Stone Bridge to Lake View

Start point: 54.5741 lat, -2.9284 long
End point: 54.576 lat, -2.9303 long

With the Lower Aira Stone Bridge coming into sight, look for a path on the right which takes you away from the water. Follow this path almost back on yourself (but still climbing) with the lake soon coming into view ahead.

Lake View to Cairn View Point
Lake View to Cairn View Point

Start point: 54.576 lat, -2.9303 long
End point: 54.5754 lat, -2.9237 long

Once the lake has come into view ahead walk around the side of the hill now putting the lake on your right. Keep walking until you see a path on you left that climbs diagonally up the hill. Take this left-hand path. Although a fairly steep climb, this is actually the more gradual climb up, (as will be seen on the way down). Be careful about being tempted to look back over your shoulder at the lake view - it is stunning but you are likely to trip unless you stop walking first!

Cairn View Point to House Ruins
Cairn View Point to House Ruins

Start point: 54.5754 lat, -2.9237 long
End point: 54.5774 lat, -2.9086 long

At the top of the hill a gate will be seen on your right, through which a Cairn will be found marking the view point across the entire lake. Take time to enjoy. Continue to follow the path up the hill after tearing yourself away from the view....

House Ruins to Gowbarrow Fell Trig Point
House Ruins to Gowbarrow Fell Trig Point

Start point: 54.5774 lat, -2.9086 long
End point: 54.5875 lat, -2.9076 long

After having followed the path around the hill for a 1/2 a mile you will pass a small waterfall (not the main attraction) and come to a ruin of an old house. Follow the path to the left of the house gradually climbing further up the hill.

Gowbarrow Fell Trig Point to Hill Descent
Gowbarrow Fell Trig Point to Hill Descent

Start point: 54.5875 lat, -2.9076 long
End point: 54.5881 lat, -2.9182 long

After completing the climb you will come to the top of Gowbarrow Fell and find a trig point where you can further enjoy views across the lake district, even spotting the sea to the north on a clear day. Head back to the path across the flat of the top of the hill towards a wall ahead. Follow the wall down the hill, this is where in gets steep, thankfully not climbing.....

Hill Descent to Aira Force Falls
Hill Descent to Aira Force Falls

Start point: 54.5881 lat, -2.9182 long
End point: 54.5856 lat, -2.9315 long

Towards the bottom of the descent go through the gate. You will begin to hear the waterfalls ahead. The path starts to flatten where it will meet another path. Follow this to the left with the sound of the water on the right.

Aria Force Falls to End
Aria Force Falls to End

Start point: 0 lat, 0 long
End point: 0 lat, 0 long

As you follows the path it meets the upper Aira Force Falls bridge that looks down on the falls. Notice the long descent of steps at the bottom of the falls that you will use shortly. Cross the bridge and walk along the path to the top of the steps. Descend the steps to view the waterfalls at its best. Cross the lower Aria Force Bridge and follow the path back down the gorge alongside the water (where you walked up). Notice the awesome log bench with thousands of coins hammered into it. Go back across the Glade Bridge to reach the car park where you started. Hope you enjoyed it!

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network Aira Force Loop Cumbria Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author Ollysebay and may not be reproduced without permission.


1 responses to "Aira Force Loop"

Think maybe should be made a 4 boot walk as the decent from Gowbarrow is very steep and quite challenging in places.

By tuesday on 2016-06-08 15:58:28

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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