Birker Fell and Devoke Water

The road over Birker Fell climbs to more than 850ft as it crosses one of the most isolated and wild parts of the Lake District. The views are magnificent over the moors, fields and rough knobbly foreground to Sca Fell, Esk Pike, Bowfell and Crinkle Crags. This area enjoys a better climate than the central Lakes due to its proximity to the sea. On a mixed weather day, more often than not you can be sat in the sunshine watching showers falling on the high peaks right in front of you. Devoke (pronounced ‘Duvvock’) Water is the largest tarn in the Lakes and despite its apparent isolation is easy to get to.

How To Get Here

This is the road that links the Duddon Valley with Eskdale. The approach is described from Eskdale but you could also come in from Ulpha in the Duddon Valley. From Eskdale Green continue in the direction of Hardknott Pass, go over the La’al Ratty railway line and at the King George IV pub continue straight on signposted for Ulpha and Broughton. The road starts to climb and after around 2.5 miles reaches the brow of a hill under Pike Brow. 200m further on there is a road to the left to Stanley Ghyll and a bridleway track to the right leading to Devoke Water. There is roadside parking in lay-bys.

Parking

  • Parking Lat/Long: 54.368084, -3.2779276
  • Parking Postcode: CA18 1RT
  • Parking Grid Ref: SD 170 977

What to Shoot and Viewpoints

Viewpoint 1

From the road/bridleway junction looking along the bridleway towards Devoke Water, follow a faint path on the right directly to the top of Pike How, the small hill you can see. This is an outstanding outlook towards the high central fells with dry stone walls, fields, white painted farmhouses. Try isolating sections of the landscape with a long lens to capture cameos or abstracts.

Walk back down to the track and follow for half a mile to the lakeshore and the boathouse.

Viewpoint 2

Devoke Water has the feel of a secluded Scottish loch with its broad heather moors and rocky outcrops. A dramatic stormy day would enhance the generally wild and remote feel, the boathouse and ruin on the shore adding mystery to the scene. The tarn has plenty of lichen-covered rocks and reeds on the shore but benefits greatly from the presence of the boathouse for a main focal point.  On a still day the reflections enhance the ‘big sky’ feel.

Viewpoint 3

A footpath continues beyond the boathouse and across a stream. Before you reach the next stream there is a fine viewpoint with the boathouse on the lakeshore and the slopes of Sca Fell above. Good any time of day but best with a low sun; meaning at either end of the day or in the autumn and winter months.

Accessibility

It’s a short uphill stroll on tussocky grass to the viewpoint at Pike How. The walk to Devoke Water is 1km or 0.6 miles along a stony Land Rover track with only a gentle climb and descent on the way. Away from the hard track the ground is sponge-like at the best of times so good waterproof boots are recommended. The track would make for a rough ride in a wheelchair.

Best Time of Year/Day

Autumn is the best time, when the brown bracken contrasts with the orange coloured grass. In winter Scafell Pike and the high peaks often have snow. From Pike How you are looking north through east so it’s best from late morning in summer or anytime in autumn and winter. Being high at around 800ft (240m) you are quite often above any morning valley mist or fog. At Devoke Water great sunset shots can be taken from behind the boathouse looking west across the water.