Latterbarrow and Claife Heights

View from Latterbarrow, The Lake District
View from Latterbarrow, The Lake District

Route Introduction

Latterbarrow and Claife Heights are two of Alfred Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland. They’re situated in the south of the Lake District National Park. This route card suggests a fantastic route for someone peak bagging the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Wednesday 29th July 2020. These were Outlier numbers 70 and 71 of 116 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these outlying fells too.

Latterbarrow and Claife Heights Route Stats

Fells: Latterbarrow (244m) and Claife Heights (270m)

Total Distance: 12km / 7.48miles

Total Ascent: 304m / 1,000ft

Approx Walk Time: 4 hours

Grid Reference Start: SD 379954

Latterbarrow and Claife Heights Route Report

The Lead Up

I’d walked all of my previous Outlying Fells of Lakeland with either my boyfriend James or with friends so it was refreshing to hike these two outliers alone. The previous week I’d hiked the Naddle Horseshoe in the far east of the Lake District National Park.

Starting the Hike

Donation point for the car park at Braithwaite Hall in Far Sawrey
Donation point for the car park at Braithwaite Hall in Far Sawrey

I parked in the car park at Braithwaite Hall and paid by donation in the box by the entrance. Heading left out of the car park I walked past the Cuckoo Brow Inn and then turned right to walk steeply uphill on a tarmac road.

The Cuckoo Brow Inn, Far Sawrey
The Cuckoo Brow Inn, Far Sawrey

It would be five and half kilometres of walking before I reached the summit of my first Outlying Fell – Latterbarrow.

View over the dry stone wall to beautiful English countryside
View over the dry stone wall to beautiful English countryside

The view over the dry stone wall was beautiful, overlooking rolling fields of green. I walked over the cattle grid and then followed a finger post onto a track, which led to a foot bridge over the Wilfin Beck.

Foot bridge over Wilfin Beck, the Lake District
Foot bridge over Wilfin Beck, the Lake District

Crossing the bridge, I picked up the rocky footpath on the other side which led to a gate. I then went through another gate before turning right onto a wider track which continued north with walls on either side.

After passing through another gate, I hopped over the Wilfin Beck yet again, this time on stepping stones.

Stepping stones over Wilfin Beck
Stepping stones over Wilfin Beck

The path then led up until Moss Eccles Tarn came into view on my left.

Moss Eccles Tarn, the Lake District
Moss Eccles Tarn, the Lake District

I carried on, following the finger posts, as the path wound through fields of calm cattle, until I reached another gate.

Gate on the ascent of Latterbarrow
Gate on the ascent of Latterbarrow

Beyond this gate was a wow moment. A simply stunning view of the higher Lakeland fells opened up in front of me over the top of Wise Een Tarn.

Sheep in front of Wise Een Tarn with the Lake District mountains as a backdrop
Sheep in front of Wise Een Tarn with the Lake District mountains as a backdrop

The Langdale Pikes looked sharp and jagged on the right of the skyline and the Scafell range loomed in the centre with Wetherlam off to the left. I was in awe!

Continuing the Ascent

Mountain bikers on the trail ahead cycling towards Latterbarrow
Mountain bikers on the trail ahead cycling towards Latterbarrow

After passing the Scale Tarn on my right, the path became grassier underfoot. I followed the path which soon ran alongside a wall on my left and then continued up and into the woodland through a gate.

Gate leading into the woodland
Gate leading into the woodland

I really enjoyed the woodland trails of this walk, they were so full of bird chatter, it was much cooler thanks to the shade of the tall tress and I found the earthy woodland scent to be so calming.

Woodland trails en route to Latterbarrow
Woodland trails en route to Latterbarrow

350m after passing through the gate into the woods I followed a finger post which branched off the main path to the left. This led to a crossroads at the bottom, where I turned left to follow a wider track.

Left at the crossroads
Left at the crossroads

At the next major crossroad I turned left again, and followed the path for another 200m before turning right, avoiding passing through the gap in the wall ahead and instead following the path north.

The right hand turn before the wall
The right hand turn before the wall

This part of the route was narrow and muddy at times.

I followed the trail downhill before it rose up again up some steps.

The steps on the trail towards Latterbarrow
The steps on the trail towards Latterbarrow

It weaved, twisted and turned for a while before I turned left at the next t-junction, surrounded by Christmas trees. I followed the trail over a large gap in a wall before it led to a stile. Over the stile, I turned right to start the final ascent of Latterbarrow.

I could see the summit of Latterbarrow from a distance due to the prominent summit obelisk
I could see the summit of Latterbarrow from a distance due to the prominent summit obelisk

The Summit – Latterbarrow

The summit of Latterbarrow is not the huge monument (that you’d probably expect it to be), it is in fact a small rock 3 metres away. But there’s no doubt about it, the tower on the summit of Latterbarrow is what draws the eye, both when you’re nearing the summit and from afar.

Summit of Latterbarrow
Summit of Latterbarrow

The obelisk is many metres tall and stands proud atop the 244m fell.

Summit of Latterbarrow, the Lake District
Summit of Latterbarrow, the Lake District

The walk from Colthouse is a popular one and I saw multiple families all arrive at the summit and sit down in their small groups to enjoy lunch on the summit of Latterbarrow. It was a glorious day to enjoy the views across the Lake District. As good as the views were towards the nearer fells like Wansfell Pike to the north east, I couldn’t take my eyes of the Langdale Pikes to the north west over the top of Black Fell.

Summit of Latterbarrow, an Outlying Fell of Lakeland
Summit of Latterbarrow, an Outlying Fell of Lakeland

Linking Latterbarrow and Claife Heights

I left the summit of Latterbarrow with a full stomach and retraced my steps.

View down to Hawkshead from the descent of Latterbarrow
View down to Hawkshead from the descent of Latterbarrow

I enjoyed a lovely view of Hawkshead as I returned to the stile at the bottom of the hill and continued back along the same path I’d taken earlier. When I came to the second of the two main crossroads I’d encountered earlier, this time I continued straight on.

As the main track bent around to the right, I took the footpath which led straight on following a finger post.

The left turn from the main track
The left turn from the main track

230m later the path forked again, and I turned right to head uphill on a forest path.

Forest trails
Forest trails

As I glanced to the right through the trees I caught a glimpse of Lake Windermere and the Fairfield fells beyond.

View to Lake Windermere through the trees on the Claife Heights section of the walk
View to Lake Windermere through the trees on the Claife Heights section of the walk

This section of the route was by far the quietest of the day. I didn’t see many people at all between here and the Claife Heights (High Blind How) trig pillar.

The path led me through the woodland, over a foot bridge, before leading me down onto another wide track.

Footbridge en route to Claife Heights from Latterbarrow
Footbridge en route to Claife Heights from Latterbarrow

I turned right onto this track for only a short distance before following another finger post marked ‘Far Sawrey 2 Miles’.

Finger post to Far Sawrey
Finger post to Far Sawrey

This section of the walk was really pretty, with established woodland and beautiful fox gloves popping up all over.

Foxgloves in the woodland
Foxgloves in the woodland

I forked right before the path started to dip downhill to continue uphill towards the summit.

At the next fork in the path, I turned left which led through bracken to the Claife Heights trig pillar (High Blind How).

The Summit – Claife Heights

Touching the summit trig point of Claife Heights (High Blind How)
Touching the summit trig point of Claife Heights (High Blind How)

Alfred Wainwright wrote in his book – the Outlying Fells of Lakeland – that this trig pillar was now lost in conifers and inaccessible, but it is possible now, you just have to follow the trail, weaving through a sea of shoulder-height bracken to get there!

The summit trig pillar of Claife Heights (High Blind How)
The summit trig pillar of Claife Heights (High Blind How)

I paused for quite some time on the summit rocks. It was so peaceful. There was nobody else around and it was so quiet. I just sat alone and listened to the breeze pass through the trees for what felt like ages.

The Descent

When it came time to leave, I continued along the bracken-filled path to rejoin the woodland path which was covered in pine needles and soft underfoot.

Woodland trails to start the descent
Woodland trails to start the descent

I reached the valley bottom and crossed a foot bridge over a stream which fed Three Dubs Tarn over to the west.

Bridge over the stream
Bridge over the stream

I picked up the path on the other side of the foot bridge and walked up past a finger post signed to ‘Sawrey Ferry’.

Signpost to Sawrey Ferry
Signpost to Sawrey Ferry

The trail led up and over lumpy terrain to reach a view point of Windermere lake and weaved around some large crags.

View towards Windermere
View towards Windermere

I continued along the trail, following the finger posts which were now very regular. At one point I stopped to give directions to Three Dubs Tarn to a Scottish couple who were away on holiday.

Signpost to Far Sawrey across with a Windermere backdrop
Signpost to Far Sawrey across with a Windermere backdrop

At a t-junction in the path I turned right, again signposted for ‘Far Sawrey’. Along this path I went through a gate and continued south, keeping the wall on my left.

Views from the descent towards Far Sawrey
Views from the descent towards Far Sawrey

At this point the track twisted and undulated beside some impressive dry stone walls and later, there were walls running either side of the trail.

Walled footpath
Walled footpath

At the next path junction I turned right to join the bridleway.

Right to join the bridleway at the finger post
Right to join the bridleway at the finger post

Keeping the wall on my right, I followed the bridleway down to meet the track at the bottom. Passing through the gate a beautiful view opened up on my right.

Final view of the descent of my Latterbarrow and Claife Heights adventure
Final view of the descent of my Latterbarrow and Claife Heights adventure

The path brought me out right opposite my car.

Wrapping Up

Next on the list was Orrest Head, School Knott and Brant Fell, a walk where the phrase ‘break a leg’ was taken quite literally!

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist, Wainwright ‘Compleator’ and is hiking her local Outlying Fells of Lakeland in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

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