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The Wythop hills - and the easiest day out for a while.

The Wythop hills - and the easiest day out for a while.

Postby trailmasher » Tue Dec 01, 2015 8:25 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Ling Fell, Sale Fell

Date walked: 25/11/2015

Time taken: 2.36

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 550m

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Wythop Birkett's.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

It's Wednesday, supposedly the best day of the week according to the MWIS and the Lake District Weatherline and I haven't been able to get out for just over a week, whilst E has not been out for nearly 5 weeks now so time she felt some pain. Seeing as how it's dry but cloudy but with rain forecast for around 2pm we decided to give it a go on something not too far away and not too brutal for my darling wife, and she has new boots so could be an interesting day out.

After setting off we travelled down the A66 as far as the end of Bassenthwaite from where
we turned off for Wythop Mill and The Pheasant Inn which is reached before the small hamlet that is parked up by the beck of its name, Wythop Beck. There is space for parking in an old quarry at the north end of Brumston Bridge (NY185293) but if that is occupied then it is possible to park at the side of the road in a few places.

It's quite mild as we got booted up - 8°c - and still cloudy but bright as we set off to walk down the road for a very short distance and then turning left to pass over Brumston Bridge which crosses Wythop Beck and climb the short but sharp gradient up the tarmac and then turning right along the tarmsc road that passes under Burthwaite. After a good few metres of road walking we came across a metal gate on our left…
3 - The access gate to the Corpse Road on Ling Fell.JPG
The access gate to the Old Corpse Road on Ling fell.

through which we accessed onto the lower slopes of Ling Fell and proceeded to follow the Old Corpse Road which is now in the form of a green lane running through dead bracken on either side as it heads west straight as a die along the base of the fell whilst rising very gently passing tumbledown stone grouse butts along the way.
6 - A view over Wythop Mill.JPG
A view over Wythop Mill.

59 - An old grouse butt.JPG
An old Grouse Butt.

There are a number of obvious paths heading off straight up the fell side which are quite steep and not the way we want to go as today is going to be a steady one. After a while the wide track swings around to the northwest and drops down to a wall and gate where we left the Corpse Road and immediately turned east and started to climb up the still wide and grassy track/path to meet another wide green track with more old grouse butts adorning the side of the track. From this junction we now followed the track south and still climbing soon reached the summit at 373 metres in height on which is situated a stone built OS column with its feet in water. This is the biggest hill that we will be on today but the views are not bad for a little fell as this. Despite the low cloud we can see over to Skiddaw, Dodd, Longside Edge, Ullock Pike,etc to the east, Binsey to just right of north, and south we can see Lord's Seat, Broom Fell, Graystones, and just a side view of Barf. West is flat country as we looked over Embleton towards Stanger and Cockermouth.
14 - Ling Fell OS column with Sale Fell behind.JPG
Ling Fell OS column with Sate Fell behind.

The stiff, cold breeze is moving us on so we started our descent by dropping off down the east side on a good, wide, and grassy path which was reduced to a typical narrow one as we got lower down. It was at this point that E decided it was time for a break as we surveyed the ground in front of us. The original plan was to cut off a large corner on our way down the fell side as there are no paths shown on the map but as it was fairly deep in dead and wet bracken with signs of gorse lower down we changed our minds after looking across to our next objective which was Burthwaite Heights at a mere 318 metres in height.
17 - The green hill of Burthwaite Heights with Longside Edge in cloud.JPG
The green hill of Burthwaite Heights with Longside Edge in cloud.

18 - Sale Fell and Rivings from Ling Fells east side.JPG
Sale Fell and Rivings from Ling Fells east side.

What we saw encouraged us to remain on the path as contrary to the map details there is a decent path running alongside a fence passing around the base of Ling Fell to reach a gate in another fence which runs at right angles to the first one and keeps company with a path that crosses the wettish area of brown grass and rushes covered ground.
21 - Elizabeth dodging the worst bits of bog.JPG
Elizabeth dodging the worst bits of bog.

This last path continues through the rough and upon reaching the base of the large green, grassy hump of Burthwaite Heights proceeds to follow a wide line through a patch of gorse as it angles its way up to the not very exciting top which is covered in grass and mole hills but nothing else.
24 - Burthwaite Heights.JPG
Burthwaite Heights.

Nothing to even mark the highest point, but by leaping from molehill to molehill we ensured that we had touched the top one way or another. The views from here are really no different than the ones described on Ling Fell. The wind is no better either. From here we can also see the rest of the hills that we have planned to climb, namely Lothwaite, Rivings, and Sale Fell, all of which are strung out in a line to our north.
26 - Ling Fell from Burthwaite Heights.JPG
Ling Fell from Burthwaite Heights.

30 - Lothwaite-Rivings-Sale Fell from Burthwaite Heights.JPG
Lothwaite-Rivings-Sale fell from Burthwaite Heights.

Our next port of call is to be Lothwaite a small fell at just 345 metres in height and off to the northeast of where we are now. As there is no path leading off in our direction we walked down the grass to meet a wall which we followed down until meeting a metal gate near to where the wall meets up with Low Burthwaite Wood. From the gate we followed yet another grass covered track across and down the hillside to arrive at Old Scales which we skirted around to the left to avoid walking through the farm and invoking the wrath of the owner.
32 - The view over Old Scales.JPG
The view over Old Scales.

There are no footpath signs to guide us although we have so far managed - apart from the top of Burthwaite Heights - to keep to obvious on the ground paths, green lanes, and tracks, and as this is the only point of any human habitation on the entire walk we felt it prudent to leave the farm by walking a short distance across the field to our left and following the fence for a good few metres until an old wooden gate was reached which was climbed to gain access to the tarmac road beyond.

We walked along the road for some 360 metres until we arrived at a fingerpost on our left which pointed the way across three wet fields and terminating at a deer fence and gate which advised us of an alternative route due to tree felling in Chapel Wood. As we had already seen piles of stacked logs, could neither hear nor see signs of any tree felling, I decided that our original route through the trees should remain so. On passing through the gate we followed the forestry road - if that's what it is as it is natural woodland, not commercial pine forest - left for a short distance before it swung around northeast to follow a good, dry track along the bottom edge of the trees rising ever so gently along the contour of the fell.

There was evidence of tree felling in the higher reaches of the wood and looked like they were trees that had reached the end of their life, probably unsafe and prone to falling on to this obviously well used track. Apart from the usual sounds of a wood we heard nothing to suggest that tree felling was still an on-going activity. The walk along this track was very pleasant and gave shelter from the cold wind that has followed us for quite a while. There was just one place along the track that still had logs awaiting collection, if they ever are collected.
36 - Felled trees alongside the path.JPG
Felled trees alongside the path.

39 - A view of the Whinlatter Fells from Chapel Wood.JPG
A view of the Whinlatter Fells from Chapel Wood.

As we got to the end of the woodland trail we left the woods behind by exiting via another gate in the deer fence and once through that we are once again in open ground with fields still down below on our right but a fairly steep grass and bracken covered bank on our left.

As we proceeded along the still very good track Ullock Pike, Longside Edge, and Dodd are now much more in evidence with a head of cloud sitting on the former two mentioned.
42 - Longside Edge and Dodd.JPG
Longside Edge and Dodd.

We can also just about see the south end of Bassenthwaite which will become more obvious the higher we climb towards Lothwaite.

Just before we reached a stretch of gorse bushes on our right the sun made an appearance and cast a welcome band of sunlight across the Longside Edge ridge making this excellent view towards Skiddaw even more so. Due to the low cloud cover only the lower western slopes of Skiddaw are visible but that dimple of a hill Binsey, is stood out there to the north in all its glory.

The time has come to change direction as we approached another gate leading into a pine forest. On seeing the gate we turned northwest to take a good path uphill for a short distance before then turning southwest, again for only a short distance before reaching the summit of grass with an outcrop of grey rock replacing the usual cairn of stones. The sky over to the east has opened up and is showing a bit more blue sky and sun whereas the skies in all other directions remain full of rain laden clouds.
46 - Across Bassenthwaite to the Skiddaw range of fells from Lothwaite.JPG
Across Bassenthwaite to the Skiddaw Range of fells from Lothwaite.

Fortunately the rain is still holding off but the wind gets no better. After the regulation photo shoot we decided to find a more sheltered spot to finish off our food and drink. So we set off on the - once again - wide grassy track to find that in a small hollow just off the summit there was a bench seat where it was still too windy but just a few metres further on was a rocky knoll which just gave us enough shelter to refuel in comparative comfort. A lone walker passed us at this point carrying nothing but his coat so we presumed that he was a local just out for a stroll.
49 - Our picnic spot and the way to Rivings and Sale Fell.JPG
Our picnic spot and the way to Rivings and Sale Fell.

50 - Rivings and Sale Fell.JPG
Rivings and Sale Fell.

Looking north from the summit it can be seen that the Forestry chaps have had a good time felling all of the trees down on the unnamed top which is on the opposite side of the deer fence to where we are now leaving the ground denuded of vegetation as is so often the case where pine trees have been growing. No matter, they're down and the ground should soon be covered in grass and the local flora or the natural woodland trees that the FC are wont to plant now in place of the pine trees.

After our 'picnic' and not wanting to loiter too long due to the forecast of early afternoon rain we continued walking roughly left of west to arrive at the 335 metre high top of Rivings, a Birkett, with a macho cairn of stones to better or rival many of those that I have previously seen in the Lake District. For such a small fell it almost brings to mind the saying "Little man…"
51 - Looking back to Lothwaite from Rivings top.JPG
Looking back to Lothwaite from Rivings.

52 - Ling Fell-Sale Fell-Rivings.JPG
Ling Fell - Sale Fell - Rivings.

53 - Sale Fell from Rivings.JPG
Sale Fell from Rivings.

Ling Fell with its brown brackened sides and green top can be seen looking over the top of the nearly meadow looking form of Burthwaite Heights whilst behind those are the Whinlatter Fells with the likes of Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, and Ladyside Pike in evidence. We left this grass covered top and set off for Sale Fell to descend a mere 15 metres only to climb the 30 metres up to the bare top at only 359 metres in height passing through a wooden gate in a dry stone wall on the way. The clouds are high enough to take in the views which are similar to what we have had all the way to here, it's just a pity we don't have a blue sky to enhance the landscape.
54 - Looking back to Lothwaite from Sale Fell summit.JPG
Looking back to Lothwaite from Sale Fell summit.

55 - Looking back to Rivings from Sale Fell summit.JPG
Looking back to Rivings from Sale Fell summit.

There are many paths on Sale Fell that give a choice of descent but the one that we take continues west dropping down behind Dodd Crag only to turn northwest under the same crag.
57 - Ling Fell and our path off Sale Fell.JPG
Ling Fell and our path off Sale Fell.

The length of the path from the summit to Dodd Crag has a line of regularly spaced tumbledown grouse butts decorating its southern edge so it's good to see that this particular 'shooting pastime' has lost favour on these fells.

As we passed under the crag we once again turned west to step onto the farm track which leads to Kelswick and reach a wooden gate from where the car could be seen just a few metres down the now tarmac road.
60 - Ling Fell with the car park just inside the trees.JPG
Ling Fell with the car park just inside the trees.

This has been a good walk and one of the easiest - if not the easiest - one that I have ever done in the LD. With a height gain of only 550 metres and apart from the couple of paths walking in to Burthwaite Heights from Ling Fell and the short stretch across the three fields, all of the paths, tracks, green lanes, have been excellent, both firm and dry throughout, no hazards and easy to follow. In spite of the strong, cold wind which didn't prevent the body temperature from maintaining a steady degree of warmth, the November clouds, and the threat of rain that didn't happen, this has been a good walk with E getting a light leg stretch on top of two new - for her - Wainwright's.

By way of celebration it was back to Keswick for a posh nosh of fish, chips, and mushy peas in the Keswickian chippie. What, three times in two months, I must harden up a bit with this woman of mine.

To recall the opening comments on E not having been out for around five weeks and that pain was required to help her get hill fit again; well after the walk she was fine, come 8pm a bit stiff. Thursday she said she was alright but I suspect… Friday the pain kicked in proper with sore legs and ankles although the ankle pain may have something to do with the new boots not flexing enough. But, as I pointed out, she has had 'em for a month and could have walked around in them for a while prior to going on a hill. That comment fell like a lead balloon, but I never cease to wonder where I get my sympathetic nature from.
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Re: The Wythop hills - and the easiest day out for a while.

Postby ChrisW » Tue Dec 01, 2015 10:26 pm

A fine tale of a lovely wee wander TM with some really nice shots of the wonderful hills along the way. This is definitely one I would have enjoyed doing with you, though I would have ducked my head when you decided to tell the Mrs that she could have worn her boots around the house a while :shock: Glad she didn't suffer any lasting effects and glad you didn't suffer any from that comment :lol: :lol:

That huge cairn reminded me of the one on Mona Gowan, looks like they are trying to make up for something :wink:
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Re: The Wythop hills - and the easiest day out for a while.

Postby trailmasher » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:58 pm

Glad she didn't suffer any lasting effects and glad you didn't suffer any from that comment :lol: :lol:

The trouble is Chris they sometimes won't listen to sound advice :crazy: and I was on my out the door when I mentioned it :lol: Sometimes the views are better from the lower hills than the big ones :roll: We've not been able to move for constant rain since our last outing :( and thanks for your comments, they're always welcome :D
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