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Fellbarrow and Low Fell

Fellbarrow and Low Fell

Postby nigheandonn » Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:43 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Fellbarrow, Low Fell

Date walked: 03/06/2017

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This was one of the planned trips which were really affected by the closure of Cockermouth hostel, which was the obvious starting point. So instead I had my first experience of the renovated Keswick (which I really don't think has been improved - it's been turned into one of those very commercial places with no common room, and all the river views have been shut off and made private), and a very early bus took me down for breakfast in a Cockermouth cafe and a wander about until it was time for Wordsworth House to open, since I was doing my touristy bit.

As well as going down by the river, which was very nice, I enjoyed prowling round the market square, which was a bit like a treasure hunt - a map at the corner showed the various pieces of artwork there, and then I set off to find them - ones set into the pavement were fairly easy, but ones on bollards and drain covers were a bit more of a challenge until I learnt to look everywhere!

Cockermouth market square

Wordsworth House

Touristing done, I went to buy food and then finally set off for the hills. The plan was a roughly straight line south, over Fellbarrow and Low Fell, and then on over Hen Comb to come down into Floutern Pass and head between the two lakes to Buttermere.

It was a very warm day, and I stopped to buy a Callippo at the garage at the roundabout, before some confusion caused by the fact that apparently the only way to get onto the Waterloo farm track on foot is to go *through* the Premier Inn. That done, the way led on past the farm and across the flat fields to the junction at Randle Cross, with the hills starting off quite a long way ahead.

Over the fields

A country road this time, leading past oddly named farms until a very summery lane led up to the old Mosser road - not a good place for walking with bare arms, as the nettles were easily up to waist height!

A summer lane

It looked like there were two possible places to get onto the hill - one where the access land came down and almost touched the road, and one further along where a track led across the hillside to the ruined farm at Hatteringill.

There was no way in at the first place, but not much further on I came to a gate and an obvious green grassy track winding its way up through gorse.

The wrong track

Although it was a perfectly good path and nice to walk on, I soon figured out that I wasn't quite where I had expected to be - I was on the wrong side of Whin Fell, only one field over from the ruin at Crosshill.

The tiny watershed between Whin Fell and Hatteringill Head gave me a sudden dramatic view of the high hills, now much closer.

A view of hills

The path wandered off and I carried on, climbing up to roughly contour Hatteringill Head at a point where I could get a view of the ruins of Hatteringill and the very different track that I should have been on - as well as a very nice view of Lorton Vale.


I was obviously in the wrong place, because in the maze of fences nearer the top of the hill the gate or stile I needed was always off somewhere else, on the other side of a different fence, and I just had to do the best I could at finding places where the fences were crossable.

One last adventurous climb of a slightly dismantled gate, though, brought me to the stile which led to the main path and the top of the hill, speckled with white which made it look a bit like a romantic meadow, although it was really only bog cotton!

White hillsides

The summit itself was a broad flat place with a trig point and a cairn, and a view mostly of the plains, while the hills did their best to hide.

Fellbarrow summit and the hills


From here the way on led along by the fence, passing several more, including one which had wandered off and left its gate behind - as Wainwright notes, these hills are divided up in a way which upland grazing usually isn't at all.

A gate to nowhere

The path cuts a corner and swings round towards the summit ridge of Low Fell, with the views of the hills improving as you go.

A view ahead

There's a last climb up onto the little ridge, with the summit towards the far end.

Low Fell summit

The second summit at the end of the ridge is obviously lower, but has the better cairn as well as possibly the better view.

The end of the ridge

The way down by the fence was definitely direct, but steep and a bit precarious, with slightly loose earth on the top section - exactly the kind of ground I don't like, and I went down step by step with one hand on the fence.

A steep way down

I'd been confused at the top by two creatures further down the hillside which appeared to be sheep-sized but cow-coloured - further down they turned out to be very small horses, something I don't think I've ever met on a Lake District hill before!

Unexpected horses

The slope flattened off for a while into grass and bracken, and then became steeper again but less loose - walkable with care. However I foolishly kept my hand on the fence, and when I inevitably slipped, cut and bruised it on the wire - otherwise I was completely unhurt, having landed on soft grass!

Towards the bottom I could see what I had had such a problem trying to find the way up, as it wasn't obvious at all - much earlier than I expected I met a clear path running across the hillside - going in the wrong direction, but obviously the only way through the bracken. And it did lead me down through a patch of trees and slanting back down the other way to meet the good path through the woods, but not at all where I would have looked.

Sitting outside the pub at Kirkstile with a cup of tea I took stock - it was well after 5pm and while there was a lot of light left, I had a sore bruised hand, I was still a bit shaken by the fall, and my shoes had been doing their best to eat holes in the back of both ankles - and although I could perfectly well have gone on over Hen Comb, it seemed more sensible to leave it for what would otherwise be a very short day the next day, with no real village to spend time pottering around in.

So instead I worked out a way round the head of Crummock Water, down to Park Bridge and to the peel and pump house, and then round the foot of the lake to follow the forestry path on the other side until it joined the road. Crossing the outflow I looked at the map again and realised that this was the Cocker, and that I'd walked past the place where it joins the Derwent in the morning, meaning I'd walked from one end of a river to the other in a day, even if I hadn't been very close to its route!

The other end of the River Cocker

It was a peaceful evening, with a lovely view from the road back down the lake to where I'd come from, and I decided I'd made the right decision - I got into Buttermere about 7.30 and sat outside the Bridge to eat dinner, and thought about the high hills.

Peaceful evening on Crummock Water

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Re: Fellbarrow and Low Fell

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:48 pm

I'd never have thought of this one, but it's clearly got some great viewing points - some excellent pics of the higher hills there.

I think with those views to reflect on, I might have completed the day at an establishment of historical, architectural and cultural distinction... :D
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Re: Fellbarrow and Low Fell

Postby nigheandonn » Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:34 pm

They're nice little hills, and with enough low ground around to get good views.

The first time I went to Buttermere it was pitch dark - I'd walked down from Honister to the hostel in the dusk - and I was baffled by the village - I had to see it in daylight the next day before I could figure out where all the buildings were! So the first time I could only find the Bridge, and this time it was too nice an evening to sit inside :)
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Posts: 1144
Munros:19   Corbetts:9
Grahams:7   Donalds:24
Sub 2000:45   Hewitts:134
Wainwrights:213   Islands:31
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Location: Edinburgh

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