walkhighlands

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.

Grey Nag/A Wander In The North Pennines

Grey Nag/A Wander In The North Pennines


Postby Christo1979 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:23 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Grey Nag

Date walked: 17/11/2018

Time taken: 5.5

Distance: 15.9 km

Ascent: 708m

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



I'd been meaning to walk some hills around Alston for a while, and so with a free day at our disposal, my friend JR and I took a leisurely drive over from Newcastle and thought we'd tackle Grey Nag - and perhaps Black Hill. On the road over the moor, we found ourselves in thick fog and we laughed at the inevitable prospect of yet ANOTHER day of zero visibility walking :lol: How wrong we were, though - as soon as we left Alston and joined the Pennine Way, we enjoyed a clear, fairly warm, clag-free day! We followed The Pennine Way/the intriguingly-named 'Isaac's Tea Trail' as far as the site of Epiacum Roman Fort, then went off-piste and headed straight-up the steep-sided Little Heaplaw, from where we could make-out our approximate route to Grey Nag.

ImageFootbridge On The Pennine Way by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageEpiacum Roman Fort by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageCurricks on Little Heaplaw by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Though a fairly long and gentle ascent, the absence of a path and the prevalence of bogs made for tough walking, and the going was slower than we expected. Stopping now and again to enjoy the views back over Whitley Common, we enjoyed the fact we hadn't seen a soul since leaving Alston. This doesn't seem to be a popular hill, and it was another day where we had the mountains to ourselves! Brilliant area for birdwatchers, though - I lost count of how many interesting-looking birds we saw - just a shame we didn't have a clue what they were :lol:

ImageLooking Back Towards Alston by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageLooking Back Across Whitley Common by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageThe Summit Of Grey Nag by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

After what seemed like an age, we reached the sprawling summit of Grey Nag, my 16th Hewitt. Because we'd made a late and leisurely start, the sun was already getting lower in the sky, and we decided to leave Black Hill for another day. Off we trudged down from Grey Nag, traversing the moorland to Gilderdale Burn.

ImageAdmiring The Rugged North Pennines by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageSunset Over Gilderdale Burn by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

We followed the precarious and boggy track along the burn, seemingly used only by cattle and sheep, and eventually came back to the footbridge on The Pennine Way. It was a welcome sight, as the steep-sided burn may have been pretty, but it was a difficult walk in places, especially with the fading light! Once back on the pennine Way, we retraced our steps to Alston and made it just in time for the sun disappearing completely - no head torches used today :lol:

As was the case with my walk on Cold Fell some 20 miles north, I get the impression some of these hills aren't all that popular, and they certainly offer challenges even in fine weather. But the trudging is all worthwhile - the North Pennines are quite stunning in their rugged beauty, and I'm looking forward to heading back for more Northern Hewits soon :)
Last edited by Christo1979 on Tue Jan 01, 2019 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 301
Munros:15   Corbetts:40
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:101   Hewitts:173
Wainwrights:194   Islands:25
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

Re: Grey Nag/A Wander In The North Pennines

Postby trailmasher » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:16 pm

Nice report and pics of a fine day in the Pennines :clap: I would agree that the Pennines have their own quiet, wild and sometimes barren beauty 8) E and I worked our way up the Black Hill 'ridge' from the fort and returned via Tom Smith's Stone and followed Gilderdale Burn back down to return to the car that was parked on the small lay-by car park on the bridge at Castle Nook.
User avatar
trailmasher
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 1244
Munros:11   
Hewitts:179
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: Grey Nag/A Wander In The North Pennines

Postby Christo1979 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:02 pm

trailmasher wrote:Nice report and pics of a fine day in the Pennines :clap: I would agree that the Pennines have their own quiet, wild and sometimes barren beauty 8) E and I worked our way up the Black Hill 'ridge' from the fort and returned via Tom Smith's Stone and followed Gilderdale Burn back down to return to the car that was parked on the small lay-by car park on the bridge at Castle Nook.



Thanks :) can you recommend any of the other Hewitts in the area? Some seem almost unbearably boggy, but I was fancying heading over to Cross Fell next time 😊
Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 301
Munros:15   Corbetts:40
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:101   Hewitts:173
Wainwrights:194   Islands:25
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

Re: Grey Nag/A Wander In The North Pennines

Postby Broggy1 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:09 am

Nice report and definitely one of the tougher Pennines (although I think you've done it right by doing GN on it's own as the stretch between Black Fell and GN is the worst ever).

There's a lot of good N Pennine walks but a lot of them will involve a boggy stretch or two.

Cross Fell from Kirkland is always a good one and then over the Dunn Fells - mostly good tracks.

Melmerby Fell from Melmerby is decent.

Murton Fell can be combined with High Cup Nick to make a really good day if you include Murton Pike as well.

Any day that involves Dufton Pike is good. Best hill in the North Pennines even if not a Hewitt.

The ones behind Cross Fell are wilder still and best saved for frosty days in winter or drought days in summer. Can be really boggy but the feeling of remoteness is unique to most other hills in England
User avatar
Broggy1
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 866
Munros:86   Corbetts:15
Grahams:4   Donalds:11
Sub 2000:4   Hewitts:271
Wainwrights:214   Islands:1
Joined: Jul 22, 2013

Re: Grey Nag/A Wander In The North Pennines

Postby trailmasher » Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:03 pm

Thanks :) can you recommend any of the other Hewitts in the area? Some seem almost unbearably boggy, but I was fancying heading over to Cross Fell next time 😊


Thanks for the reply and advice :D and a good book to buy would be The Mountains of England and Wales Volume 2: England that will give you all the English Hewitt's and ways to access them though there are other ways than are described in the book. I bought mine second hand off Amazon and well worth the money. If you want to check on some of my ways of getting to them and conditions when I did them just read my posts maybe.
Here are a few more hills to add to Broggy1's list of which he gave you an excellent choice. I live directly below Cross Fell that has a crown of snow on as I type this out.

From Renwick - Thack Moor over Watch Hill and on to Black Fell easy going that way
Flinty Fell from either Nenthead car park or short way from the road between Nenthead and Garrigill.
Knock Fell/Knock Old Man from Dufton
Backstone Edge from Kirkland
Long Man Hill - Bullman Hills from Garrigill
Cold Fell an excellent hill from the nature reserve just beyond Clesketts near Brampton.
Bink Moss - estate road for 75% of the way up from the road
Fendrith Hill - Chapelfell Top - Westernhope Moor all attainable from Swinhope Head cattle grid parking area on the metalled road between Newbiggin and Westgate

There are many more handy ones but as Broggy mentioned some better when ground is frozen or after a drought.

Hope this helps and good luck.
User avatar
trailmasher
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 1244
Munros:11   
Hewitts:179
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: Grey Nag/A Wander In The North Pennines

Postby arjh » Sat Nov 24, 2018 9:31 pm

Nice report and pics.

For me Mickle Fell is the best peak in the North Pennines, certainly for wildness. An epic day involving lots of tussock bashing and bogs can be had by making a loop of Murton Pike, Murton Fell, High Cup, Meldon Hill, Mickle Fell and Little Fell. This is a long and often pathless undertaking but very rewarding in the right conditions. Make sure you check the Warcop Range firing times before heading for Mickle Fell.
User avatar
arjh
Wanderer
 
Posts: 129
Munros:93   Corbetts:23
Grahams:10   Donalds:5
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:291
Wainwrights:166   Islands:6
Joined: Sep 5, 2015
Location: Sussex

Re: Grey Nag/A Wander In The North Pennines

Postby Christo1979 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:29 pm

Broggy1 wrote:Nice report and definitely one of the tougher Pennines (although I think you've done it right by doing GN on it's own as the stretch between Black Fell and GN is the worst ever).

There's a lot of good N Pennine walks but a lot of them will involve a boggy stretch or two.

Cross Fell from Kirkland is always a good one and then over the Dunn Fells - mostly good tracks.

Melmerby Fell from Melmerby is decent.

Murton Fell can be combined with High Cup Nick to make a really good day if you include Murton Pike as well.

Any day that involves Dufton Pike is good. Best hill in the North Pennines even if not a Hewitt.

The ones behind Cross Fell are wilder still and best saved for frosty days in winter or drought days in summer. Can be really boggy but the feeling of remoteness is unique to most other hills in England



Thanks a lot for your comment and your tips, when I got into walking I automatically veered towards Scotland, but these English hills closer to home are really attractive :)
Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 301
Munros:15   Corbetts:40
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:101   Hewitts:173
Wainwrights:194   Islands:25
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

Re: Grey Nag/A Wander In The North Pennines

Postby Christo1979 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:32 pm

trailmasher wrote:
Thanks :) can you recommend any of the other Hewitts in the area? Some seem almost unbearably boggy, but I was fancying heading over to Cross Fell next time 😊


Thanks for the reply and advice :D and a good book to buy would be The Mountains of England and Wales Volume 2: England that will give you all the English Hewitt's and ways to access them though there are other ways than are described in the book. I bought mine second hand off Amazon and well worth the money. If you want to check on some of my ways of getting to them and conditions when I did them just read my posts maybe.
Here are a few more hills to add to Broggy1's list of which he gave you an excellent choice. I live directly below Cross Fell that has a crown of snow on as I type this out.

From Renwick - Thack Moor over Watch Hill and on to Black Fell easy going that way
Flinty Fell from either Nenthead car park or short way from the road between Nenthead and Garrigill.
Knock Fell/Knock Old Man from Dufton
Backstone Edge from Kirkland
Long Man Hill - Bullman Hills from Garrigill
Cold Fell an excellent hill from the nature reserve just beyond Clesketts near Brampton.
Bink Moss - estate road for 75% of the way up from the road
Fendrith Hill - Chapelfell Top - Westernhope Moor all attainable from Swinhope Head cattle grid parking area on the metalled road between Newbiggin and Westgate

There are many more handy ones but as Broggy mentioned some better when ground is frozen or after a drought.

Hope this helps and good luck.


Your comments and advice are very much appreciated :) I have ordered the book you mentioned, and look forward to being thoroughly confused about Nuttalls and Hewitts, but thoroughly inspired, too. I've been reading some of your brilliant walk reports, and it dawns on me that there is probably a lifetime of hillwalking to be had within just a few hours of my home :) I appreciate the detailed tips above!
Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 301
Munros:15   Corbetts:40
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:101   Hewitts:173
Wainwrights:194   Islands:25
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

Re: Grey Nag/A Wander In The North Pennines

Postby Christo1979 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:34 pm

arjh wrote:Nice report and pics.

For me Mickle Fell is the best peak in the North Pennines, certainly for wildness. An epic day involving lots of tussock bashing and bogs can be had by making a loop of Murton Pike, Murton Fell, High Cup, Meldon Hill, Mickle Fell and Little Fell. This is a long and often pathless undertaking but very rewarding in the right conditions. Make sure you check the Warcop Range firing times before heading for Mickle Fell.


Thank you :) Mickle Fell is a hill that has cropped up in many a recent comment/thread/conversation so I definitely need to give it a go. Thanks for the tip re the firing times :shock:
Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 301
Munros:15   Corbetts:40
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:101   Hewitts:173
Wainwrights:194   Islands:25
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

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


Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Outside Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests