This board helps you to share your walking route experiences in England and Wales... or overseas.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Mickle Fell

Mickle Fell

Postby Broggy1 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:34 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Mickle Fell

Date walked: 20/04/2014

Time taken: 2.45

Distance: 11.7 km

Ascent: 435m

2 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).

Having access to a caravan in the Eden Valley had led me to get to know some of the North Pennine tops very well and Mickle Fell had always intrigued me due to it's lack of access.

After discovering that I required a permit to climb it and looking on this website, I emailed the lady at WARCOP about the possibility of climbing Mickle Fell on one of the non shooting weekends listed on their website. She was extremely helpful and within a few days I had my permit for climbing the hill on Easter Sunday.

Her contact email is sally.barnes@landmarc.mod.uk if anybody wishes to follow the same process.

I was also intrigued about nearby Little Fell and the idea did cross my head to wander across along the ridge from Mickle Fell. However, before committing trespass (and risking getting shot!) I tried my luck with the North Pennines AONB and they also got back to me promptly inviting me to go along on the Guided Walk up Little Fell on the 4th October.

With such prompt and excellent service it seemed a shame to trespass so this walk was confined just to Mickle Fell with Little Fell waiting for October. Job done!

Although it wouldn't have been my chosen route up Mickle Fell (too high of a start and over boggy wilderness) I took what I was given and drove to the Cattle Grid on the Brough-Middleton road to start the walk along the boundary fence between Cumbria and Teesdale.

My permit to climb Mickle Fell

Starting Point on the County Border.JPG
The starting point on the County Border

Rules for access on Mickle Fell.JPG
Rules for access on Mickle Fell

The route ahead seemed easy enough....just a case of following the boundary fence all the way to Hanging Seal and then on to Mickle Fell.

However, this proved to be a tougher walk than expected and much harder than the distances and ascent listed suggest mostly due to several detours to avoid wet areas and many unrecorded ups and downs through various peat hags.

Follow the fence.JPG
Just a case of following the fence (although the path would get much worse)

Mickle Fell....miles away.JPG
Over the first rise and Mickle Fell comes in to view....miles away

Helpful bridges over streams.JPG
Helpful bridges over streams along the way

Bink Moss.JPG
Bink Moss I think?

Typical scenery.JPG
More typical scenery en route to Mickle Fell

After a particularly wet area of ground you eventually reach Hanging Seal and the going gets slightly easier with the final steep pull up Mickle Fell calling you on.

Mickle Fell from Hanging Seal.JPG
Mickle Fell from Hanging Seal

Final climb.JPG
The final climb ahead!

It's quite a steep pull up the final bit of the hill but I found that I went faster during this bit with the summit of the fell now in sight. Upon reaching the plateau there is an easy wander across the top to the big cairn with extensive views in all directions...albeit a little hazy today!

What strikes you most about Mickle Fell from here is a) how remote it is - miles away from the nearest road in all directions and b) how large it actually is - the Trig Point is on the other side of the boot like summit and a long way away and out of bounds!

Mickle Fell summit.JPG
Approaching the summit cairn

The other bit of Mickle Fell.JPG
Looking over to the other (lower) bit of Mickle Fell where the Trig Point is

It is now just a case of retracing steps back to the road and as always the walking seemed easier on the return route as the car got closer with every step.

Back in Cumbria.JPG
Back in Cumbria and back to the car

So an interesting trip to a forbidden fell. Certainly not for everybody this kind of walking but pleasant enough with a pretty grand summit at the end of the walk. Getting a permit is easy so nobody should be put off by that!
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 831
Munros:85   Corbetts:15
Grahams:3   Donalds:10
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:272
Wainwrights:214   Islands:1
Joined: Jul 22, 2013

Re: Mickle Fell

Postby poppiesrara » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:16 pm

Interesting (and pretty useful) stuff - thanks Broggy!

This was number 1 on my list of reasons why I'd never climb all the Hewitts (or the Marilyns, or the County Tops, for that matter!) - it just looked like far too much trouble for too little reward. Hard to arrange (I wondered how people who fought through the red tape to get a permit felt if their allotted day turned out to be in a raging thunderstorm?), a rough and boggy 'badlands' walk, and actually downright dangerous (not sure how likely it actually is to get blown up by a live shell under the bog so,ewhere, but still...). You make it look and sound pretty tolerable though, maybe one day now...
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 1271
Joined: Aug 11, 2010
Location: Leicestershire

Re: Mickle Fell

Postby Broggy1 » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:35 am

Yeah it's certainly doable and I've been up worse hills Poppies (Grey Nag across the ridge from Black Fell springs to mind straight away).

I suppose you don't have to go if you have a permit so you could potentially wait for the next non firing weekend (I think there are 12) and see what the weather is like then - I also believe you can get a permit ANY Sunday from 1pm but don't quote me on that!

In terms of ammo - I saw very little apart from an odd shotgun shell. I believe Little Fell is different though hence the guided walk.

Looking at your Hewitt bagging so far I wouldn't be put off by this one. I'd wager you'd done far tougher walks in Wales (still can't get there as much as I would like!!).
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 831
Munros:85   Corbetts:15
Grahams:3   Donalds:10
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:272
Wainwrights:214   Islands:1
Joined: Jul 22, 2013

Re: Mickle Fell

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:45 pm

Some great info regarding climbing this fell. Certainly on my list one day.
User avatar
Posts: 3187
Munros:25   Corbetts:10
Grahams:10   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:166
Wainwrights:214   Islands:8
Joined: Jan 28, 2009
Location: County Durham

Re: Mickle Fell

Postby ChrisW » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:53 am

Great info and a fine report of a rarely seen venue, shame about the hag hopping which is never great fun but you've been there now Broggy.....October will bring another rarity too :D
User avatar
Posts: 4940
Munros:18   Corbetts:5
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Jan 25, 2011
Location: Cochrane- Alberta - Canada

Re: Mickle Fell

Postby Clach Liath » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:33 am

My avatar is a picture of me and my dog at the summit cairn of Mickle Fell :)

I approached this hill from from Cow Green Reservoir to the north east on what you can see was a brilliant winter's day. And we flew over the bogs on largely firm snow. Even the nascent River Tees which has to be crossed by this route was straightforward with most of the water frozen and the level low.

Whilst I had checked that the weekend I did the climb was not a firing weekend I did not appreciate at the time that I needed a permit - oops - but I also met someone that day who did not have a permit. Little Fell is quite different in terms of safety as it is fair and square within the firing range whereas (I have been told) the northern slopes of Mickle Fell (and the summit plateau itself) carry far less risk because any ammunition that ends up there has overshot its target. In other words there should be less there.

But clearly the right thing to do is to obtain a permit.
User avatar
Clach Liath
Posts: 509
Munros:44   Corbetts:71
Grahams:23   Donalds:34
Sub 2000:88   Hewitts:158
Joined: Sep 2, 2011
Location: Yorkshire
Walk wish-list

2 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).

Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?

Return to Walk reports - Outside Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: past my sell by date and 7 guests