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Four short fell walks on another damp day out.

Four short fell walks on another damp day out.


Postby trailmasher » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:36 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Great Mell Fell, Hallin Fell, Little Mell Fell, Steel Knotts

Date walked: 10/01/2017

Time taken: 4

Distance: 13.45 km

Ascent: 958m

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Great Mell Fell


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


It's Tuesday morning, and once again as has often been the case this last few weeks the clouds were low, there was a keen breeze, and a light rain was falling as I, once again accompanied by Chris and Daniel set off to climb four of the smaller fells that neither of them had been on before. The original plan was to get up Skiddaw by way of Longside Edge and the path up to the south cairn, but with the weather as it was and forecast to deteriorate as the day progressed I felt it prudent to give that a miss today and concentrate on these lesser fells that would increase their tally of Wainwright's by 4 and give us a decent amount of walking and height gain whilst staying out of the worst of the cloud hidden tops and strong winds.

Our new plan of attack was to do the two Mell Fells first, followed by Hallin Fell then Steel Knotts, or Pikeawassa, as it is otherwise known and named on the OS Map.

We arrived at our first parking place by way of the minor road leading off the A66 and opposite the B5288 that took us south to a tree lined lane - NY407246 - on the right and just before Brownrigg Farm that is a few metres further along the road on the left.

The bare leaved trees afforded us some little shelter as we decided to leave our bags in the car as we booted up and donned waterproofs before setting off along the stony lane to pass the first gate and stile that would be our exit point from the fell. After a good few metres of gentle climb we left the lane at the second gate and stile to then follow a wet and muddy path that follows both the fence and base of the fell along its lowest tree line from where, as a look back is taken, a decent view of Little Mell Fell with its forest of gorse reaching halfway up its western slopes can be seen.
5 - Looking back with Little Mell Fell in the background.JPG
Looking back with Little Mell Fell in the background.

The path soon leaves the fence side at the second gate and stile, turns roughly north and climbs steadily upwards as a smooth, wide, wet, 'green lane' as it follows the line of the trees before breaking away to the northwest after leaving the trees behind. As it was quite hazy with the mist like and light rain the views were not the best, and even though we were still at quite a low altitude the outlook to the west is usually good enough to grab a few half decent pictures but today, sadly not. Onwards we climbed the easy gradient to once again enter the edge of the trees at about the 460 metre contour only to leave it after just a few metres. On the way up there are some wonderfully wind shaped trees advertising just how wild the weather can get on this fell, one of the lower of the Eastern Fells Wainwright's.
6 - Which way does the wind blow.JPG
Which way does the wind blow?

Soon after leaving the trees we arrived at the summit cairn, a small pile of stones and a dead tree branch.
11 - Great Mell Fell summit cairn.JPG
Great Mell Fell summit cairn.

The view south towards Gowbarrow…
8 - Gobarrow Fell from Great Mell Fell.JPG
Gowbarrow Fell from Great Mell Fell.

wasn't too bad with that particular fell easily seen but to the north was a different matter and with the clouds hanging low we couldn't see Blencathra in the west at all despite it being a lot closer to us than Gowbarrow was. A look east fared us no better with just a hint of Clough Head and Great Dodd a little further to the southwest was all there was to satisfy us after our climb up to the summit.

Looking back towards Little Mell Fell we were pleased to see that - for now anyway - it was clear of the low cloud that seems to be moving up and down, in and out with great unpredictability and as it was to be our next hill to climb we hoped that it would remain so.
14 - Little Mell Fell.JPG
Little Mell Fell.

As it was quite miserable, light rain, poor views, cold wind blowing we didn't linger and began to make our way off the top by following a narrow path that ran away to just north of east. The path makes its way through rough grass and at about the 520 metre contour it splits with the left hand one moving more to the north and as there are no paths indicated on Great Mell Fell apart from the one running around the base of it we elected to take the right hand path that would keep us on the same line. We had no doubt that the other one would have also taken us to the base path but as the weather wasn't up to much we decided to take the quicker option and continue on as we were.

We soon entered the trees once again and remained on the path as it wound its way between the trees sometimes very faint indeed and at others quite obvious. At the places where it was difficult to see we simply stopped and surveyed the ground until as faint as it was it eventually became visible again. The only thing to look out for with going this way down was the slippery dead wood hidden beneath the grass and leaves but nonetheless we soon arrived at the base path that more or less follows the fence all the way back to the first gate and stile leading to the lane where we had parked the car.

Now this path was probably the worst of the day. The others that we followed were wet after all the rain that had fallen over the last two days but this path around the circumference was just a sodden mass of mud, leaves, and grass. I have walked on this path in the past in much better conditions than it was today and I suppose that when it was used regularly as the track that it once was it would have been well maintained but just now it seems to be a gathering place for the water running down the fellside. We soon arrived at Routing Gill Beck which had a fair amount of water in it for a little one and from there on it was just a trudge through sludge until we reached the firmer ground of the track just a few metres from the exit gate and stile.

Despite the weather it has been a good little walk, albeit on wet paths and we had to take what views were offered us once at the summit. I have been up here on a freezing but clear day with the sun shining and snow on the ground with Blencathra in all its magnificence in view to the west, what a difference to today. Once back at the car sustenance was taken before moving on to our new parking spot near High Birchclose that is on the road to Thackthwaite.

Little Mell Fell


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


Leaving the lane below Great Mell Fell we drove back up the road - north - back the way we had come for a short distance and turned at the first junction on the right to drive a short way to find a small parking space at the side of the road between High Birch Close and Nab End/Nab End Barn. There is room for one car on the grass verge at NY414251. Now we could have left the car parked on the lane below GMF but as it was raining and it would have put 2.5 kilometres of road walking on our total we elected to drive to our new start point. There is a path that runs through the fields from Brownrigg Farm but it quite circuitous and very boggy even on a good day so today wouldn't have been the ideal day to attempt it anyway.

Once again we left the bags in the car as we started this walk by following the metalled road uphill to then turn right at the first junction that is the road to Lowthwaite. Just a short distance along this road there is a gate on the left which must be climbed due to it being fastened with a lock and chain. The path - more a green lane than a path - gently rising as it first of all heads north and then does a sharp turn to the south is lined by masses of very prickly gorse bushes, some of which are carrying their bright yellow winter flowers that add a little sparkle to an otherwise dull day.
5 - Flowering Gorse shrubs.JPG
Flowering gorse shrubs.

The lane is long and well graded and on its early stretches there are piles of dead gorse wood that both look as though they are awaiting collection but also that they have been there for a long time. At one point the gorse overhangs the track and one can either take a path to the left to get around it, or, if feeling in a masochistic mood can push a way through to come out the other end looking as though you have just had a round or two with a wild fell boggart. The views were still not good although it was possible to pick out Clough Head and Great Dodd through the light cloud cover.
6 - Looking west towards the mist covered Clough Head and Great Dodd.JPG
Looking west towards the mist covered Clough Head and Great Dodd.

As Great Mell Fell was not too far away a shot of its tree covered eastern slopes presented a half decent picture, just about.
7 - Great Mell Fell.JPG
Great Mell Fell.

After a good stretch of easy walking and climbing an imperceptible 100 metres the lane ends and a path begins. The path leads on towards a gate in a fence straight opposite but we needed to start climbing which we did by negotiating the easiest way up by following the fell slopes first of all east up to about 450 metres then making a turn southeast along easy slopes to arrive at a quite high post and wire fence topped off with barbed wire. From this point the top of Little Mell Fell could almost be seen as we crossed the next expanse of grass by way of a narrow path that led us directly to an open gate and the path that went straight up the fellside to the summit trig column.
8 - Little Mell Fell summit ahead.JPG
Little Mell Fell summit ahead.

The path that we picked up was the one that comes off the Thackthwaite Road and follows Thackthwaite Gill up through the woods and along the dead straight fence line all the way to the summit and this was to be our way back off the fell but as so often happens, plans change.

The clouds had lifted slightly but the views were still nothing to shout about, but that is the punishment one has to endure for getting out on days such as this. It was still damp, more of a misty rain than rain itself and the breeze had got no warmer, although it's not cold whilst moving, just that cold feeling when you have got really warm with the exertions of putting one foot in front of the other and then stopping for a few minutes. A quick photo shoot from the summit with just a hint of Ullswater to the southeast…
9 - Little Mell Fell trig column.JPG
Little Mell Fell trig column.

and then we were ready for the off once again but instead of taking the sensible way off we decided to investigate a path that leaves the top in a northerly direction. A narrow path through the grass took us down the very easy slopes for a good way before it did a disappearing act whereupon we stopped to search for the best way down to the tarmac road to the north of us.

Down on our right - east - we saw a track that runs north to south between the Thackthwaite and Bennethead roads, this was to be our way off the fell. Before we could do this we had to turn to the northeast and negotiate a wire fence that put us into a small coppice of trees where the ground was very uneven and covered in long grass and rushes. We took the shortest route out of it and continued down the rough fellside to arrive at a gate that would allow us to get onto the lane from where we simply followed it north to the Thackthwaite road from where we then turned left and made our way back to the car.

The way off LMF was a bit unorthodox but one has to try out these 'never been on before' paths as it only helps to increase ones knowledge of the particular hill that you're walking on at the time. Personally I enjoy trying out old tracks and paths as they sometimes lead to unexpected and seldom seen views and things of interest.

Hallin Fell and Steel Knotts


Hallin Fell to Steel Knotts.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Sat in the car after returning from Little Mell Fell we enjoyed a quick break before making a move to our next destination, the car parking area at the foot of Hallin Fell and facing St. Peter's Church. On our arrival there we had the car park to ourselves for a short while until one more car turned up. It was a big change from New Years Day when both the car parks of the church and Hallin Fell plus all other odd bits of half decent ground were covered in cars, it was bedlam.

Anyway, once more booted up and without bags we set off to take the wide, grassy, and initially steep path that climbs up the eastern side of the fell. The paths on Hallin Fell really cannot be missed no matter from which direction you choose to go up or down it, they are all wide, smooth, and green and are a pleasure to walk on.
1 - A typical Hallin Fell path.JPG
A typical Hallin Fell path.

The rain had stopped for a while although it was still pretty murky with the damp misty atmosphere that was determined to stop our chances of a few decent pictures. But as we climbed so did the cloud and looking back over Martindale and Boredale the views were not too bad. A good view of our next hill could be seen behind St. Peter's Church and although we couldn't see the actual summit from halfway up Hallin we did have a good look at our way up that was by the way of Cotehow just behind Birkie Knott. Just off to one side of those was The Nab and Beda Fell both of which we were on a couple of weeks ago.
2 - A view south to Cotehow-Birkie Knott-The Nab and Beda Fell.JPG
A view south to Cotehow - Birkie Knott - The Nab and Beda Fell.

After the first initial steep but short section of path was got up the ground eased off considerably which made it a lot easier going as the ground on the steep part of the path was very slippery. The path begins to move slightly over to the west and actually going past the summit which can't be seen yet before turning back to the southwest over fairly level ground before a quick burst up a short bank to behold the tall square obelisk that crowns the summit.
4 - Hallin Fell summit.JPG
Hallin Fell summit.

The obelisk is a very fine affair, tall and square, and is a lesson on how to put a great pile of random and misshapen stones together to form a structure such as this. Another example of the builder's skills is the way that he has formed a stable and even base on top of the sloping and misshapen rocky top of the fell.
6 - Looking north along Ullswater.JPG
Looking north along Ullswater.

On a good day the views are amazing, today far short of that but still not bad with Ullswater reaching into the distance both ways, the hills around Martindale and Boredale got better with the cloud lifting slightly…
3 - Martindale-Beda Fell and Place Fell.JPG
Martindale-Beda Fell and Place Fell.

but it was far too misty to see any further than the immediate fells and the rain had begun to fall again making it nigh impossible to take a picture looking to the west. To leave the top we just followed the wide grassy track southwest for a short distance before following the obvious green lane back down to the car park and the way to our next and last fell for the day.
The way forward for Steel Knotts was by passing through the church car park and climbing the short rise and then back down again to cross The Coombs and the wide track that leads to Howtown, Mellguards, and back into Fusedale if one wants to go that way to Wether Hill, etc. There is a narrow and steep path that climbs up the front of Birkie Knot and today because of the rain it was quite slippery but we made it without incident only stopping a couple of times to take in a view of what we could.
3 - Ullswater and Howtown from Birkie Knott.JPG
Ullswater and Howtown from Birkie Knott.

4 - St. Peter's Church and Hallin Fell from Birkie Knott.JPG
St. Peter's Church and Hallin Fell from Birkie Knott.

After passing over the top of Birkie Knott the ground eases off quite a bit and there is now quite a long walk along a narrow and meandering path as it easily climbs its way up towards Steel Knotts to the south of us.

The path is easy to follow and we soon arrived at the ridge path that rises up from Steel End. Another couple of ups and downs and we arrived at the summit that has no cairn but hardly needs one as the up thrust of pointed rocks clearly marks the summit of Steel Knotts.
6 - Chris and Daniel at Steel Knotts summit.JPG
Chris and Daniel at Steel Knotts summit.

The view north gave us a view of Ullswater again…
8 - A murky view north from Steel Knotts.JPG
A murky view north from Steel Knotts.

whilst to the east lies Fusedale overlooked by Loadpot and Wether Hills that carry the remnants of the old Roman Road from High Street to Penrith, Carlisle, and beyond. South is The Nab and Rest Dodd and west there lies Beda Fell on the far side of Martindale with Place Fell behind both and also Boredale.

It was cold, windy, and wet on this 432 metre high fell and the light was beginning to fade although it was still only mid afternoon so we decided that it was time to vacate the premises but not by the way we had arrived. We walked south for a few metres and then simply dropped off down the fellside to pick up the lower path that rises up from the old church in Martindale and connects with the ridge path just north of Brownthwaite Crag. Due to the recent wet weather this usually decent path was very boggy with a lot of standing water on it but at least the strong wind was behind us as we made good time down towards the church. Just prior to dropping down to the church we turned off the path as we reached the dry stone walls to follow an unmarked path around the base of the rocky hump of Cotehow from where a last look back showed up the rocky ridge of Beda Fell through rain spattered lens. It was then just a short distance back to the car as we retraced our steps across The Coombs and church car park.
9 - Beda Fell from below Cotehow.JPG
Beda Fell from below Cotehow.

Well, not a spectacular day out with the weather against us once again, although we have walked in a lot worse. The four fells are unremarkable in themselves but on a good day the views from each one are excellent to say the least. There were some slippery conditions on the couple of steep bits but the walking has been good, easy, and mostly over grass. Apart from the couple at the car park and a group of school children from the Howtown Outward Bound Centre we had seen no other walkers all day. Leaving our bags in the car and using that as our canteen facilities allowed us to walk unhindered at a fairly brisk pace, brisk enough to keep us glowing with warmth in spite of the cold wind.

Chris was showing off his new Altberg boots, Daniel had to do a running repair on his with something akin to superglue where a split had appeared in one of his boots - not a day for that happening - and I caught my undercarriage on barbed wire that inflicted a small hole in my over trousers but fortunately that was the only place of injury.
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Re: Four short fell walks on another damp day out.

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:08 am

Love the "we will resist..." tree pic :D
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Re: Four short fell walks on another damp day out.

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:16 am

Cheers trailmasher, nice report even though the weather wasn't the kindest!

This report is very useful to me as due to knee troubles my wife doesn't walk far, but I think could manage any one of these four, and we are regularly in Penrith so they are ideal. I've done a couple of them before - but a very, very long time ago!

Tim
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Re: Four short fell walks on another damp day out.

Postby thefallwalker » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:07 am

Great little day out this one! :)
Yes in themselves these hills are un-spectacular, but put together it created a proper walk and I was pleasantly surprised by how far & high we walked :D
The new boots were brilliant but mucky!! :( as for Daniel I'm sure it was Stacy's finger nail glue! :lol:
An excellent report bud :clap: & looking forward to the next 1 cheers :D
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Re: Four short fell walks on another damp day out.

Postby trailmasher » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:02 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Love the "we will resist..." tree pic :D


Thanks Alteknacker :D and I wouldn't fancy keeping 'em company for a year or two :lol:
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Re: Four short fell walks on another damp day out.

Postby trailmasher » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:12 pm

HalfManHalfTitanium wrote:Cheers trailmasher, nice report even though the weather wasn't the kindest!

This report is very useful to me as due to knee troubles my wife doesn't walk far, but I think could manage any one of these four, and we are regularly in Penrith so they are ideal. I've done a couple of them before - but a very, very long time ago!

Tim


Thanks for your comments Tim :D and it was a bit of a sad day but hey! ho! at least we were out 8) A shame about the knee problem and hope that your wife improves soon :( We did a bit of meandering off the usual paths but sticking to the 'normal' routes are easy going :) Hope that you manage to get up 'em soon :clap:
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Re: Four short fell walks on another damp day out.

Postby trailmasher » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:13 pm

thefallwalker wrote:Great little day out this one! :)
Yes in themselves these hills are un-spectacular, but put together it created a proper walk and I was pleasantly surprised by how far & high we walked :D
The new boots were brilliant but mucky!! :( as for Daniel I'm sure it was Stacy's finger nail glue! :lol:
An excellent report bud :clap: & looking forward to the next 1 cheers :D


Thanks TFW :D and can only hope that the weather is kinder on the next one :roll:
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Re: Four short fell walks on another damp day out.

Postby martin.h » Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:24 pm

The good thing about days out like this is you can throw the towel in at anytime if the weather misbehaves and still have a sense of achievement.
An enjoyable read trailmasher, I'm planning a similar escapade around Black Fell and Holme Fell in a couple of weeks time, variety is the spice of life, so they say. :D :lol:
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Re: Four short fell walks on another damp day out.

Postby trailmasher » Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:34 pm

martin.h wrote:The good thing about days out like this is you can throw the towel in at anytime if the weather misbehaves and still have a sense of achievement.
An enjoyable read trailmasher, I'm planning a similar escapade around Black Fell and Holme Fell in a couple of weeks time, variety is the spice of life, so they say. :D :lol:


Thanks for your comments and reading MH :D and hope that you get decent weather on your planned escapade :clap: Black Fell and Holme Fell were my two final Wainwright's to complete the lot 8) . Good luck with your walk :)
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Re: Four short fell walks on another damp day out.

Postby mamoset » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:40 pm

I did a similar outing as this last year tm, though I was a bit more fortunate with the weather!!! you didn't encounter the angry white horses on Great Mell Fell did you?? :shock:
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Re: Four short fell walks on another damp day out.

Postby ChrisW » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:05 am

This is a fine collection you've put together TM, I've always admired those hardy folk who can return to their car and drive to another hill and go at it again (I often think I'm going to but the pull of the car seat seems to stop me :lol: ) I certainly would have lacked the spirit to do so in those conditions.

Still, at least you found some good going on Hallin Fell and (despite the weather) managed to get some lovely shots of the day. The wind shaped trees remind me of the Cornish coast :clap: :clap:
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Re: Four short fell walks on another damp day out.

Postby trailmasher » Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:23 pm

mamoset wrote:I did a similar outing as this last year tm, though I was a bit more fortunate with the weather!!! you didn't encounter the angry white horses on Great Mell Fell did you?? :shock:


Didn't see the horses mamoset but maybe they were hidden in the clag being white and all that :lol: I know that there are good views from up there but nowt to see on this visit :(
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Re: Four short fell walks on another damp day out.

Postby trailmasher » Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:30 pm

ChrisW wrote:This is a fine collection you've put together TM, I've always admired those hardy folk who can return to their car and drive to another hill and go at it again (I often think I'm going to but the pull of the car seat seems to stop me :lol: ) I certainly would have lacked the spirit to do so in those conditions.

Still, at least you found some good going on Hallin Fell and (despite the weather) managed to get some lovely shots of the day. The wind shaped trees remind me of the Cornish coast :clap: :clap:


Thanks Chris :D and I know only too well what it's like having to leave a nice warm car to go and fight the elements once, but 4 times :crazy: :crazy: but it turned out to be a good day with the lads getting 4 more Wainwright's 8) despite the poor weather :?
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