A relatively modest fell, standing only 784 ft above sea level, Orrest Head is certainly worth the 20-minute climb from Windermere Railway station, for the extensive views it provides over the head of Windermere and the surrounding higher fells.
When is a Wainwright not a Wainwright?
Orrest Head was in fact the first fell climbed by A. Wainwright, and it is included in his book The Outlying Fells of Lakeland. Ironically, as it lies below 1000 ft, it would not be included in the list of ‘Wainwrights’ which present-day hikers set out to ‘conquer.’ I still contest that Wainwright himself would be horrified by the idea of ‘peak bagging.’ He was so beloved of these fells that he would spend weeks and months studying the routes up to a single summit. Now that’s what I call a lifelong love affair…
The route to the summit
Ascent of Orrest Head couldn’t be easier: it’s clearly signposted (on the other side of the A591 from the Railway Station), on a well-marked path throughout, and is even wheelchair-accessible by the marked route. It may leave you a little out of breath if you are out of practice, but the rewards more than outweigh the effort of the climb. It is suitable for children, presenting no technical difficulty or danger.
Rather than talk you through it, let me show you around…