Whinlatter is a small fell in the
north west of the English Lake District just north of the Whinlatter
Pass and is part of a horseshoe around the valley of Aiken Beck. It is
easily climbed from the top of the Whinlatter Pass through the Forestry
The Whinlatter Visitor's Centre, a
popular tourist attraction, is on the south side of the fell.
fells name originates from a combination of the Old Norse and Gaelic
languages. With the Old Norse word 'hvin' meaning gorse or furze and the
Gaelic word 'lettir' meaning slope. Therefore the name translates
as "The Gorse or furze-covered slope."
Whinlatter Forest has several attractions for the visitor. The main
visitor centre has a cafe, gift shop and children's play area and is the
home of live camera feeds from the nearby Osprey's nest. There is also a
'Go Ape' ropes course allowing adventurers to slide and climb through
Finally the Altura Trail, Quercus Trail and
Cyclewise Whinlatter cater for mountain bikers with a fully equipped
bike hire centre and shop along with several mountain bike trails.
The red graded 'Altura Trail' is 19 km of flowing, mountain
singletrack, the Quercus Trail is an easier 7.5 km blue graded trail
which is still great fun to ride, even for advanced riders.
details and 3D Virtual Tours of the Altura and Quercus Trails may be
found at Virtual Tours on Greattrails.co.uk
The North Western
Fells occupy the area between the rivers Derwent and Cocker, a broadly
oval swathe of hilly country, elongated on a north-south axis. Two roads
cross from east to west, dividing the fells into three convenient
groups. Whinlatter is in the most northerly sector, rising between
Whinlatter Pass and the Vale of Embleton.
The hub of this group
of fells is Lord's Seat, the highest point north of Whinlatter Pass.
The main line of high ground runs east to west, taking in Barf,
Lord's Seat, Broom Fell and Graystones, before petering out in the
direction of Cockermouth. Lord's Seat however sends out a substantial
additional ridge which starts southward, curves west and finally turns
back north. This is Whinlatter and the valley enclosed between it and
the main ridge is that of Aiken Beck.
The descending ridge from
Lord's Seat has a number of tops along its length. First is Ullister
Hill (1,722 ft) which is normally reckoned part of the parent fell. The
ridge then narrows at Tarbarrel Moss (1,617 ft), before rising again as
it turns westward to arrive at Whinlatter Top, the summit. A final top,
Brown How (1,696 ft) stands above the terminal descent to Aiken Beck.
From Ullister Hill to Tarbarrel Moss the ridge line and both flanks
fall within Thornthwaite Forest.
All sides of the lower slopes of
Brown How also form part of the Forestry Commission holdings. Depending
on the stage in the planting cycle large parts of the fellside will
therefore be clad in conifers at any one time. Access problems have now
been resolved and the landowner welcomes walkers, many marked trails
being available through the woodland.
The southern boundary of
the fell is formed by the Whinlatter Pass road. The summit of the pass
lies south east of Whinlatter Top, marking the line of the Derwent-Cocker
watershed. This falls from Tarbarrel Moss to the road, bypassing the
highest point of the fell so that all of its waters flow to the Cocker.
From the road summit Whinlatter Beck runs westward beneath the
steepest face of the fell, Whinlatter Crag being a little below the
To the north of Whinlatter is the quiet valley of
Aiken Beck, its entrance neatly hidden in the woods between Brown How
and Graystones. Its tributaries Willybrag Gill and Drycloff Gill drain
the slopes of the fell. One wonders at the derivation of the former
name. Aiken Beck and Whinlatter Gill combine to form Blaze Beck, a
sizeable stream flowing into the Cocker at Low Lorton.
bears a large circular hide or windshelter, whilst Whinlatter Top itself
has only a modest cairn.
The view is poor, except for the
close-ups of Hopegill Head and Grisedale Pike across the pass, showing
their full craggy glory on this side. Through Whinlatter Pass there is
also a sight of the Helvellyn range and Skiddaw group.
easiest ascent line is direct from the top of the pass, either up the
side of the forest fence or snaking through the woodland along the
Brown How can be reached from Aiken, allowing a
start from Scawgill Bridge on the western side of the pass.
full circuit of Aiken Beck, taking in Graystones, Broom Fell, Lord's
Seat and Whinlatter is also a possibility.
routes near Whinlatter