A walk to the Bowder Stone

On the day with the most promising weather forecast this week, hubby and I packed a picnic lunch and set off for a National Trust car park in Borrowdale, Cumbria.  We had never been there before, so we took an Ordnance survey map with us.  The Bowder Stone car park is well signposted and there are picnic benches nearby.  With the sun hiding behind clouds, we were glad of all the layers of clothing we had taken with us!

We had not visited this spot before. There is a direct path to the Bowder Stone, which was our destination.  We would not need a map.  After we had found and photographed the massive boulder, not to mention climbing the steep steps to the top of it, we wondered where the path led beyond it.  But the map was in the car!


Before we began our walk a beetle was investigating our car.  Perhaps it found some warmth there.  On the path to the Bowder Stone we watched two small birds, which we decided were young robins.  They flew away before the people catching up with us could see them.  We noticed  foxgloves thriving in a clearing.

I climbed the steps, perhaps a little too fast as I was breathless at the top.  My vertigo prevented me from climbing on the rock.  I had to descend backwards.  My motto is, “Don’t look down!”  Hubby was more adventurous.  I hardly dared watch.  He appears in my snap of the steps, taking his own photos.


We retraced our route.  From the car park we set off in a different direction along a path.  There is a smaller fallen boulder in boggy land with cotton grass, moss, reeds and wild flowers including more foxgloves.

Landscape with foxgloves
Landscape with foxgloves





We do not subscribe to the theory that the boulders were left by glaciers, but rather that they split from the rocky outcrops on the mountains and came to rest lower down.  The chances of a boulder resting on a small side are perhaps less than for it to continue onto a larger one.  There are stable states and metastable states.  The Bowder Stone is an example of a metastable state which has continued for a very long time.

The Bowder Stone
The Bowder Stone

There was a little light rain from time to time.  Although it was cool, the weather made the walk more pleasant than it would have been on a really hot day.  For anyone put off by the uneven steps near the information boards, an alternative route would be back down the road and then up the wheelchair-friendly path.

A highlight of the day was spotting two species of orchid.


car park = parking lot (US English)

Cumbria is the English county, formed in 1974 from part of Lancashire and the whole of Cumberland and Westmorland.


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