It is a fairly short climb from near Windermere Railway Station – and there are plenty of benches at the top where you can sit and admire the wonderful view.
On a clear day, there is a 360 degree view, from the Yorkshire fells in the east to the Langdale Valley in the west. Even Morecambe Bay can be seen clearly to the south.
Near the end of the climb is a metal gate known as a ‘kissing gate’. The name is said to derive from the fact that the straight part of the gate has to touch (or ‘kiss’) each side of the curved part of the gate in order for a person to go through. The legend has arisen that the first person through the gate can demand a kiss in return from the second person before allowing them through the gate.
In the past, Orrest Head was a popular walk for day-trippers from the Lancashire mill-towns, because of its proximity to the railway station. In 1930 it was the first ‘climb' that Alfred Wainwright did on his visit to Lakeland from his home town of Blackburn. Later he said “God was in his heaven that day, and I a humble worshipper.” He fell in love with the view of the lake, and this gave him his lifelong love of the fells which led eventually to him producing his guide books. These contain hundreds of walks and climbs, all hand-written in his neat writing, and accompanied by his own pen-and-ink drawings.