This is a very short walk, but ideal if you simply want an excellent viewpoint of the southern lakes without putting in much effort. As only one lane is largely followed the directions are brief. Even though the walk is very short the views are worth the stopping off before the remainder of the Lakes are explored. The walk starts on the A591 on the opposite side of the road to the railway station, behind the green railings by the pedestrian crossing. It begins by turning up the lane by a large signpost informing you that you are on the footpath to Orrest Head. It also informs you that the summit is 784 feet above sea level and that it gives unrivalled views of the Lake District Fells, Lake Windermere, Morecambe Bay and the Pennines. It also suggests that it is 20 minutes’ walk to the top. View from the summit of Orrest Head Once in the lane, it splits. Here take the left of the three possible routes; the lane here is still tarmac underfoot. The lane then winds its way uphill through trees before reaching a farm. The lane here now becomes rougher underfoot. Just past the farm, as the path levels, the path again splits into three. His time take the right hand path which leads uphill with a wall a few yards over to the right. In this wall there is an interesting metal gate. Continue up here, and then turn right at the top into a fenced lane. Proceed along this level lane past various benches until after a couple of hundred yards a kissing gate is reached on the left. On either side of this kissing gate are stones with engravings in memory of Arthur Heywood who donated this area to the use of the public forever. Pass through the kissing gate and climb the steps up to the summit. There is a view indicator on the summit which points out the various landmarks on the surrounding skyline. There is an excellent all round view, with the coast to the south and looking across Windermere to the West are Swirl How, Wetherlam, Crinkle Crags, Scafell Pike right around to Wansfell Pike, Red Screes, the Kirkstone Pass and Ill Bell to the North. Return now back down to the main road using the same path as that used for the journey up.
Start at the Tourist Information Centre in Windermere and walk up to the main Keswick-Kendal (A591) road and turn right. Go up the hill passing Orrest Head Farm on the right hand side, keep heading up the hill past Alice Howe until you reach a large wooden gate on your right hand which will lead into rough land. Go through the gate and follow the track for approximately 200 yards to reach a Y-junction. Head right and go through a wooden gate and continue along the track, when you reach the opposite corner of the field turn left across a stile. Carry on alongside the right hand wall then take a sharp turn to your right. Continue along keeping parallel with a wire fence to reach a wooden stile. Watching out for any passing trains!!! Go straight across the railway line to enter the field opposite. Follow the footpath for approximately 50 yards then turn left to climb over a stile. Cross over the beck to join a track and turn right to reach a Y junction. Turn left at the signpost for School Knott and continue along until you reach a gate. On the opposite side of the gate turn left following the public footpath sign and follow the grass path going down to reach a wooden stile. Go over the stile and turn right, at this point look up and you will see School Knott – the shape resembles a saddle. Go on up the path to reach the highest peak. To go down from the top you need to locate School Knott Tarn, which is visible from 350 yards away. Go down across the grass directly towards the Tarn to go through a swing gate adjacent to a second gate. Walk towards the edge of the Tarn heading left to walk beside a gully on the left. After a short distance go through the second gate you pass. Carry along a double-rutted track which gradually goes downwards to come to a Y junction. Continue straight ahead through a large wooden gate, once through the gate proceed for a short distance then turn left off the main track.
From the car park turn right, uphill along the roadside for a little more than 100m.
1) Turn left through a gate signpsted ‘public footpath Gummers How’. From the excellent path there are superb views down to Lakeside at the foot of Windermere and to a whole array of mountains beyond, the Coniston Fells being particularly prominent. The track passes through light woodland, with abundant silver birch. Cross a small stream before starting the rise to the summit, mainly on a well constructed natural stone stairway.
2) At a junction a little way below the summit there is a choice of path; the direct route goes straight ahead, involving just a little mild scrambling (if the short walk option is taken this is the preferred upward route). A diversion to the right circles below the summit, easy and without scrambling, bearing round to the left to reach the peak, with its shapely little column. (For the short walk this is the recommended return route).
3) To continue the full circuit head just a little east of north from the summit. There are several grass paths, none of them reliably continuous, which seem to be heading in more or less the right direction. The objective is a ladder stile over a cross wall, close to a farm gate, a little more than a half mile from Gummer How. Before reaching this stile a derelict wall is crossed and the path soon becomes better defined, heading for woodland.
4) Go over the stile; through the woodland the path is generally clear on the ground, never far from the busy little Burrow Beck.
5) Reach a cart track. Turn right to cross the beck to a signpost. Follow ‘Cartmel Fell’, rising quite steeply up the valley side. Go straight ahead at a junction to continue rising. Go left at a waymark on a post, still rising, going straight ahead at further waymarks. There are now long views over much of the comparatively soft ‘Silurian’ farming landscape of southern Lakeland. The track narrows, with a section by the side of a wall. Cross a stream, then another stream, with mini waterfalls. Go over a waymarked stile, pass the remains of an old wall and continue along a delightful path, including a section boardwalk.
6) At a waymarked junction there is a small ruined building to the left. Go straight ahead, cross a stream and continue to a gate/stile giving access to the public road.
7) Turn right to walk by the side of the very quiet road for almost one and a half miles to rejoin the outward route at point 1 and return to the car park.