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A walk to England's newest mountain-Little Lingy Hill.
by trailmasher » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:00 pm
Wainwrights included on this walk: Carrock Fell
Hewitts included on this walk: Carrock Fell
Date walked: 16/10/2018
Time taken: 4.29
Distance: 15.08 km
Ascent: 716m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Chris had 5 Wainwright's left to climb in the Northern Fells and chose Carrock Fell as a way of reducing this number to 4 remaining ones, those being out on the western side of the Northern Fells. As he is also intent on completing the Birkett's he appears to have made it his mission to drag me around with him for my second circuit of these mostly wonderful little hills of 1,000 feet plus some, although one couldn't put today's - apart from Carrock Fell - in that category as the six that are included with Carrock Fell are nothing but large humps of grass with only two of them showing any signs of a bit of grey rock to break the monotony of the varying shades of brown grass and heather that is more or less dead now brought on by the early winterish conditions of the higher fells.
As we drove across Mosedale Bridge the parking area was full of cars, 4x4's and covered trailers full of Beagles awaiting their release onto the fells for one of their fox trail events. I don't condone fox hunting but as long as these 'trail events' are done properly that's fine and the sight and sounds of the hounds working their way amongst the crags is a sight to see and I always marvel at the speed, strength, and energy at the way they negotiate the fellsides. There were a few vehicles parked at various points along the road, spotters with their two way radios, supporters and no doubt anti hunt people making sure that this event is what it is, an event and not a free for all to any creature that crosses their path.
It was another cloudy day as we arrived at our parking place just north of Mosedale - NY353337 - where there is an unused quarry, a big shallow gash just back from the road surrounded by a ruck of boulders that is aptly named Apronful of Stones. The off road parking is just an area of relatively level grass from where the path begins to angle up the grass and scree below the crag of Scurth…
A view east from below Scurth
and later along the narrow grassy gully of Further Gill Sike that after a steepish climb terminates at easier ground where the top of the gully is even more eroded than the last time that I was here just a few months ago with E.
Erosion at the top of the gully
From the top of the gully it is easy walking on good paths and we made good progress and although the views along the plains below us were clear the clouds were low. We passed the old sheepfold and as we arrived at the area known as The Trough at 560 metres our heads were just about level with the clouds giving us a narrow downwards view of pastures green with a blanket of grey from eye level upwards. So another walk with no views then. Another 3 or 4 minutes saw us approaching the Pike, Carrock Fell's subsidiary summit as it loomed out of the clag…
The Pike looming in the fog
and just a short climb up the rock and heather covered bank saw us at the top of this minor top that sports a small cairn sat on the northern side of it.
Chris on Pike - Carrock Fell behind
Under normal conditions we would have had a good view of Carrock Fell's summit from Pike but today it was just another unidentifiable hump in the fog. Another few minutes of careful walking over wet slippery rocks saw us on the rocky summit with its tall cairn and shelter, a shelter that we gratefully climbed into as it gave us relief from the strong and cold wind that had been following us for quite some time. It had also by now begun a light drizzle of rain, and although there wasn't much to see anyway it was hard to keep cleaning the camera lens in this sort of weather and I had to try and keep my back to the wind that wasn't always possible.
Shelter and cairn on Carrock Fell summit
We had a snack, warm drink, and got cold hands whilst the wind howled over our heads and to be honest I wasn't too keen on getting up and setting off again to head off into the wind, drizzle and fog to enter a nether world of hazy and indistinct apparitions where even a small hump of vegetation or rock can be manifested into a citadel sized structure until it is approached and seen for what it is.
As we got ready to leave I asked Chris if he wanted to have a look at the remains of the old Iron Age Fort walls that surround the top of this fell but he answered to the negative so we bagged up once again and set off blindly…
The view forward from Carrock Fell
westwards heading for the Birkett of Round Knott, a small hump of grass and rock that has a height of 603 metres, a mere 3 metres higher than the surrounding ground. To get there we walked along wet paths both wide and narrow before arriving at the low grass covered rounded shape that has bare rock showing on its east face…
Round Knott wrapped in clag
and a few up thrusts of grey rock on its top. Just before taking the next photo the fog was too thick to make out Chris as he stood on the highest of the rocks.
The cloud is lifting off Round Knott
You wouldn't want to be out in a place like this on open fog covered fells without any navigating aid be it traditional or modern because one quarter turn one way or the other without it could prove to end up nasty.
There wasn't much point in lingering due to no views in sight but at least by the time that we had got to here the wind had dropped considerably therefore making the walking so much easier. Next on was Miton Hill at only another 4 metres higher than Round Knott from where we now had to walk northwest, a grassy dome of a hill that didn't even warrant a photo and one that is passed over without really noticing that one has done so, and anyway in this clag…
We passed over that hill and continued on in the same direction on a fairly wide path to reach the old mine road at Red Gate that runs up the fellside from Carrock Beck and other tracks that serviced the mines of long ago.
The 572 metre high Red Gate
Red Gate is just the precursor of climbing the long slope up to the top of Hare Stones, another Birkett at 627 metres…
Hare Stones from Red Gate
and from where we got a cloud covered view of High Pike.
From afar the slopes of Hare Stones look ridiculously steep but in reality and once on them it is but an easy walk up to the summit from where through rain spattered lens I could see west towards the massive Brae Fell and the lesser Great Sca Fell…
West towards Brae Fell and Great Sca Fell
whilst Great Lingy Hill now to our southwest was just another indistinguishable mound from the many others that were around us.
Great Lingy Hill under cloud
The clouds are moving up and down like the proverbial fiddlers elbow across these fells whilst in the far distance we could see the sun shining, covering large areas in spotlights of warm light.
We left Hare Stones by way of a narrow path through the grass and small clumps of heather and when at the lowest point of the fell took a look back to Hare Stones and apart from the colour of the grass it could have been any of the fells that we had been on today.
Looking back to Hare Stones
Up to now we have seen no other signs of life be it man, beast or bird apart from the odd black slug rushing through the grass and up here in the clag no sound apart from the wind has crossed our ears with the fog muffling any sounds that might have liked to intrude on our hearing. The patch of red grass in the col made a welcome change and flash of colour to the endless brown that surrounded us.
The patches of red followed us up the lower slopes of Great Lingy Hill…
Ascending Great Lingy Hill
to soon leave us with the carpet of brown again. A few minutes and the cairn was in sight…
Cairn just in sight on Great Lingy Hill
a small lump on the skyline just visible through the clag.
There was rain in the air again as we landed on top with the cairn of stones sat on a patch of grass surrounded by heather that was still showing their now faded flowers.
Chris and Sonny on Great Lingy Hill
Another narrow path to the west saw us leaving this hill to make our way towards Little Lingy Hill - aka Miller Moss - England's newest mountain,
Little Lingy Hill with Knott under cloud
a mountain that looks nothing like a mountain. Chris feels as though he's been short changed as there has been no obvious change in the landscape, just a walk up and over grassy humps. I've been on Little Lingy Hill twice before, the first time when E and I made our way up the rough and easy Roughton Gill…
A view down Roughton Gill to Dale Beck
on our way to Great Sca Fell with great views back along the valley towards Fell Side, passing over Little Lingy Hill as an aside, of no consequence in those days as it was just a hill to me and not a Birkett as I found out it was many years later to make that my second time on it. Today, a few years later we're soon going to be on a mountain, whilst myself, instead of growing with age have shrunk to a mere shadow of what I used to be. Technology has done nothing to increase my stature by even a millimetre never mind a whole 1.1 metres and I'm sure that there will never be a queue of rope and cam swaddled climbers waiting to scale these dizzy heights. It was a big grassy hill thousands of years ago, and it still is, with no redeeming features apart from a fairly large cairn the rocks for which someone has had the patience to excavate from this otherwise mostly rock free hump of grass and heather.
Chris approaching the summit of England's newest mountain
Little Lingy Hill summit with Great Sca Fell behind
When on this hill the views north and west are blocked by the higher fells with High Pike to the north and Great Sca Fell, Knott, and Brae Fell over to the west and northwest whilst looking across Miller Moss affords some sort of a view along to Coomb Height and our way back. Looking along Roughton Gill leads the eye along Dale Beck and the northern farm lands.
High Pike right from Little Lingy Hill
Brae Fell back right
The cloud had lifted and our spirits with it as we needed all we could muster as we looked at our way forward, now south across Miller Moss that could be quite a mission of rough walking before we reached firmer ground below the slopes of Knott.
Miller Moss, a large expanse of rough and wet ground that is fairly level in its early reaches but gets decidedly rougher as the opposite slopes are reached with peat hags and groughs appearing underfoot.
Crossing Miller Moss
I had planned to walk cross the Moss as far west as we could without having to do any unnecessary climbing up the slopes of Knott or Rigg and avoiding the worst of the wet ground and this we mostly achieved although the crossing was still a bit rough with holes full of water hidden below the long grass of the small but numerous tussocks and swathes of heather. Once we had got over that and had reached the hags and groughs apart from having to wend our way through trying to keep to the high and dry spots we eventually found a long grough with a dry and grassy bottom that took us all or most of the way to higher ground and a very faint trod that was going in roughly our direction to which we gratefully accepted the use of,
It probably took us around 30 minutes to cross and reach higher ground with a good view of Carrock Fell over to the northeast.
A straight forward walk to the southeast either following the trod or leaving it as it ran out and slowly gaining height we soon attained the ridge just west of Coomb Height where there is a good and initially wide track upon which we made good going making up for lost time crossing Miller Moss.
Approaching Coomb Height summit
Coomb Height is the last of the 'noted ' summits, a place where we have both been in the past so nothing new for Chris to tick off.
Once on the summit of Coomb Height the views are glorious, albeit a bit restricted today by the low cloud in the distance that was still making the mountains of Skiddaw and Blencathra looking hazy and half covered in low cloud but nevertheless it was good to be in the open once again and looking down on the green pastures of Mosedale and beyond.
Carrock Fell left and Bowscale Fell right from Coomb Height top
The top of Knott from Coomb Height
Great Calva with the Skiddaw Range behind from Coomb Height
We now have a long and steady walk back to the car, all downhill to Mosedale and then a long walk back on blacktop to the car with the road walking a necessary evil but could have been made less of a mission if I had remembered the small car park that is owned by the nearby Quaker House at the start of the metalled lane that leads up to the old Carrock Mine. This car park has a honesty box and how I ever came to forget it I'll never know as I've used it on a few occasions in the past whilst walking these hills. It is in a near perfect position to cut the road walking into two halves with the first half from leaving the car park a good leg stretcher before and instead of taking the direct climb up below Scurth.
Now, the walk down the ridge from Coomb Height is good and problem free apart from the path vanishing into the heather now and again only to reappear after just a few metres with the views along Mosedale far below opening up nicely as height is lost. Bowscale Fell being prominent on the right and Carrock Fell to the left.
There is no danger of getting lost on this ridge, even in fog, just keep on going straight down, but don't take a quarter turn or things may turn out not so well so near to the end.
Carrock Fell and Round Knott
This ridge is bounded on either side by Grainsgill Beck to the left that was the site of much mining activity many years ago and the River Caldew to the right that the Cumbria Way follows all the way back to Skiddaw House that most isolated of hostels.
As the ridge is descended signs of the old mine workings are to be found even at this height as running right across the fellside at around the 550 metre contour there is a man made ditch that terminates on its south end but appears to run right down the north side and part way up Brandy Gill below the slopes of Red Gate where the old track from Carrock Beck ends part way down the fellside before it connects up with the old Carrock Mine, but maybe it did at one time and has now been taken back by Mother Nature. If the OS Map is looked at closely the ditch - or trough - will be seen to be inhabited by a number of mine shafts on its north side therefore making a way down that side a very dangerous proposition indeed. It is here that we decided to have break number two once again sheltered from the cool wind.
Carrock Mine workings across the ridge
The hand dug trough and view south towards Blencathra et al
As I mentioned earlier this is a long ridge with Mosedale growing in size slowly before our eyes as we made it down this heather covered ridge with some areas of the heather having been cut back to encourage the new growth that the grouse feed on but down there far below us can be seen the growing area of the bracken reaching up to the limits of its altitude endurance, the point where weather or ground conditions will no longer sustain life or growing conditions for this most rampant of invasive fell drowning plants.
Looking to the south across the masses of autumn leaved bilberry there is a great view along the silver strip of water that is the River Caldew snaking its way along the valley bottom towards Skiddaw House with the Cumbria Way following it faithfully before turning northwest at Skiddaw House to pass below the slopes of Great Calva as it makes its way to Bassenthwaite.
The Cumbria Way follows the course of the River Caldew
And more or less from the same place there is a grand view along the same river as it makes its way along the bottom of Mosedale.
Mosedale and the River Caldew
We left the last of the heather and bilberry behind to now walk through the collapsing dead bracken as I related to Chris how, many years ago I had walked up this ridge whilst on my way to Knott when the bracken was tall, green and wet, not a pleasant experience. The path ends at the bridge that carries the Cumbria Way across Grainsgill Beck and we now had quite a long trudge on tarmac all the way back to the car but at least it is a scenic journey as we walked along Mosedale and followed the River Caldew for part of the way.
The sun was warm in the valley and there were now signs of life in the way of a few grazing sheep, the only sounds came from the water as it rushed over the boulders of its bed, that was apart from Chris constantly bitching and whining about how he hates walking on blacktop, well don't we all but sometimes it's a requirement to get a walk done. Then he started on screes, Sonny had pink feet with walking on the hot tarmac, he was sweating, tired, hells bells I'll be glad when he's got a pint glass up to his mouth, might stop him from whining for a while. I tried to concentrate on the beautiful surroundings and pretending that I couldn't hear him and as I looked along the Caldew I could see the tops of two of England's favourites.
River Caldew with Skiddaw and Little Man skyline
Just before we reached the Roundhouse a quick look back had me looking at Coomb Height and Knott.
A view back to Coomb Height
I followed the mumbling and grumbling and dragging of boots along the tarmac and at this pace thought that we would never make it to Mosedale in daylight never mind the car but the village soon appeared with the Quaker House getting a new coat of white paint on its exterior walls replacing what had been weathered off and covering up what still hung on. To increase Chris's discomfiture and depress his walk on tarmac even more I pointed out the small car park opposite the junction right in front of us. As this is a family oriented website his reply has been censured.
All that was required now was the walk back along the quiet country lane that this morning had been busy with the traffic of the local fox trailing fraternity and covered trailers full of Beagles as they eagerly awaited their release onto the fells. We met a couple of chaps walking back to their car who had been spotters for the event saying that a good day had been had and asking if we had too. Twenty minutes later we were back at the car, the whining and whinging stopped and after another good day in the hills and a short drive we settled down in a place of fine ales and a log fire. What a great way to end a mostly foggy day in the Northern Fells.
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