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Baugh Fell & a bunch of Northern Pennines

Baugh Fell & a bunch of Northern Pennines

Postby stig_nest » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:11 am

Hewitts included on this walk: Baugh Fell (Tarn Rigg Hill), Black Fell, Grey Nag, Melmerby Fell, Thack Moor

Date walked: 25/07/2015

Time taken: 14.15

Distance: 55 km

Ascent: 1400m

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Another free weekend with half decent weather and the promise of mile upon mile of wilderness - bliss!
I drove up to Uldale from Shropshire on the Friday night. This hopefully then would put me in a position to get a few more miles under my belt. I had a plan, I always do but in the end I actually exceeded my own target. crossing off another 5 hewitts in the process.

Having overnighted in my wee little tent alongside the lane into Uldale, just north of Baugh Fell I woke to a beautiful morning, some low clouds draped over the Howgills but lots of blue sky.

So for my first foray I set off in search of waterfalls and a sneaky back way up the sprawling mass that is Baugh Fell.

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The route started off very pleasantly, following the River Rawthey upstream. Lots of little waterfalls and sculpted limestone made for an interesting albeit damp in places route. The big waterfall up here is known as Uldale force and as such it is nigh on impossible to get a decent view of it without first growing gills. As I wasn't prepared to undertake such a modification so early in the day I pushed on and when the valley seemed it was becoming more hard work than fun I did that thing I always seem to do - I had a change of plan.
Now being a veteran of many a wild walk in deepest darkest Wales I ought to know by now that the best routes are often those which you've planned meticulously. For some reason though I thought I may as well cut the corner off here and took to the open hillside. The scarcity of sheep should have been a clue but no, on I pushed, wading through rushes and mosses, long grass and tussocks.

Around half an hour after I would have arrived on the top of the plateau I eventually emerged full of the usual regret and cursing my own cleverness, will I never learn!

The next section took me up to the trig point which sits atop the Western summit. The views out West were of course stunning. The whole of Lakeland stretched out before me. Looking South familiar friends were there too. But it was the magnificent Howgills to the North which really caught the eye.
I left the rucksack at the trig, there was not a soul about, and headed out to the higher Eastern summit.
There's a few squelchy bits along the way but being early in the day I still felt spritely enough to leap most of them and arriving at the top I scanned around for the tell tale marker of the summit cairn.
erm....there doesn't appear to be one. How odd.
Even on Scoat Fell in the lakes where a wall crosses the top there's a cairn (on top of the wall). So why nothing here?
I Trotted back to the trig and then set off for the tarn somewhere over yonder.
It's there on the map but it's still something of a surprise when you see West Baugh Fell Tarn. It is bigger than you might imagine and quite how it came to be up here and still is leaves you with quite a puzzle. A lovely spot though and had I not been on a bit of a mission today I may have even been tempted to go for a paddle.
I returned to the car pathless but direct. 10 miles 4 1/2 hours.

Now the fun really began. Having arranged to meet the Missus in Penrith for lunch I had plenty of rest time before heading off into the wilds again. Lunch taken and I had just the short hop up to the pretty village of Croglin to start my main course.
I had looked at these Northern fells on the map for some time. Having noted the estate track which wound its way deep into the heart of these tops my plan eventually took shape. I could head up over Croglin Fell, popping out to the trig on Blotting Raise as I went (I'm a bit of a trig collector too) then follow the estate track as far as it went before crossing open moorland to Tom Smiths Stone. From there an out and back to Grey Nag followed by a traverse of Black Fell and out over Thack Moor. Piece of cake.

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As it turned out, there were several pieces of cake. Some of them were lovely. some of them left a decidedly unpleasant aftertaste!

There's Plenty of parking in Croglin village. So having kitted up with my overnight pack I head off up the very sturdy track into the middle of nowhere. Progress was as expected quick and easy and the views soon opened out.

Before long I was heading away from the Blotting Raise trig and after a chat with a friendly estate worker I left the human race for the next 18 hours.
It always thrills me that you can go so long (and even longer) without so much as seeing another soul. Our everyday lives have us surrounded by other people. I think that's why I love the wild places so much. It's the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle don't you think?

The track ended abruptly above the curiously named Lawyers Cross. I didn't stop to get a good look but from my untrained eye it just looked like a big sheep pen. Anyone able to tell me differently?
From here on it was back to the normal heather, peat, grass and water in ever interchanging combinations and percentages. Though to be fair this section out to Toms stone wasn't as bad as Other places I have been. Certainly look before you leap though.

Not that far from the boundary stone lies the crumpled wreckage of a De Havilland Sea Venom aircraft. What was once a beautiful graceful shape in the sky now nothing more than a tangled mess of plates and rivets.
The boundary stone eventually came into view and as time was starting to get on now I had a choice to make. Where to stick the tent.
I was getting a bit weary by now but having carried the pack all this way I decided to ditch it to make the out and back to Grey Nag a bit more comfortable. This proved to be a good move because whilst I was tired by the time I arrived at the owd horse I still had plenty in the tank.

Arriving back at Mr Smiths stone I had a bite to eat sat on the stile, surveying the onward route to Black Fell.
I'm no stranger to peat bogs. I've covered most of what Wales has to offer around the Arenig, Aran, Berwyn and Elan Valley areas. What followed may well be up there with the worst those areas had previously thrown at me. Again perhaps it was because I was tired but I feel comfortable stating that the section between Toms and the the trig on the summit of Black Fell is the worst in the whole of the North Pennines. Deep groughs, rough heather, knee deep peat. It's got it all.
I'd be lying if I said I may go back one day.

I was ready now to put the tent up but again, considered that it would be all downhill to the col with Watch Hill and given that the evening light was so good to look at I pushed on a wee bit further.
I set up camp just shy of the col, having found a nice flat spot on short grass near to the wall. It was great to get the boots off having walked close to 35k today. I thought back to that hideous section over Black Fell and felt pleased that I had got it out of the way.

The following morning was not so bright but was still clear and fresh. Cloud sat over the Lakeland hills and the big peaks of the Cross Fell group. The forecast gave rain for today so I was keen to get back to the car before the worst of it blew in. I was packed and off by five to nine.
The mornings walk out took me up and over Watch Hill to the recently promoted Thack Moor. You wonder how worthwhile a new hill might be when you see it added on to your list. Let me say this, Thack Moor is a well worthy addition. It's somewhat out on a limb from the other nearby hills and as such it benefits from having a superb panorama. the hilltop is short grass and dare I say it, I wished I had pushed on for another 40 minutes the night before to have overnighted up here.

The descent should have been straightforward enough. there is plenty of scope for getting back to Croglin across fields and green lanes but for some reason I decided to head into the Hamlet of Scarrowmanwick instead. Meaning an extra kilometer or so being added on. No matter though an interesting walk on very quiet hills. Just a shame about the Black Fell section.

So, Late morning and it's still not raining. Three options. Head for nearby Melmerby Fell from the top of the pass. Head into the Lakes to tick off my last Cumbrian top Black Sails or go home.
I elected for options 1 and 3!, The walk over to Mel Fell from the Hartside cafe didn't involve an awful lot of ascent and looked to be about 4-5k there.
Most of the route is very straightforward, theres a few bits where the obvious path hides in the bog but generally it was a very dry walk. The clouds were rolling in by now though and it looked like it was chucking it down over Keswick way so I didn't hang about much on the summit.

I got back before the rain came in and rewarded myself with a cuppa.
Incidentally, If anyone is planning on doing Melmerby Fell from the cafe the key to it is finding the start of the path. once through the second gate if you look over to your left there is a small hillock (no more than 5-10m high) the path runs along the front of this. you could also aim for the slender currick which is prominent ahead. The path skirts around it.
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Re: Baugh Fell & a bunch of Northern Pennines

Postby Broggy1 » Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:05 pm

Some memories of last year for me.

I also found the ridge between Black Fell and Tom Smith's Stone the worst area I crossed in the North Pennines indeed in any of the Hewits (although maybe not a couple of areas of the Forest of Bowland). I don't think doing it in March helped particularly.

Similarly I found Thack Moor to be one of the better hills in the area as well.

Good stuff.
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Re: Baugh Fell & a bunch of Northern Pennines

Postby ChrisW » Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:34 am

Great stuff again Stig, I couldn't agree more about being out there on your own away from it all. I'm a lone wolf myself and avoid the more popular areas/times as much as possible, I absolutely love that feeling of isolation and quiet unmatched anywhere else.

Around half an hour after I would have arrived on the top of the plateau I eventually emerged full of the usual regret and cursing my own cleverness, will I never learn!

This cracked me up, sounds a lot like one of my short cuts :lol: :lol:

Really enjoyed this and the associated photos :clap:
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