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.

A walk to the Pennine's highest.

A walk to the Pennine's highest.


Postby trailmasher » Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:38 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Cross Fell

Date walked: 07/08/2020

Time taken: 4.42

Distance: 17.29 km

Ascent: 788m

4 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).


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



It’s getting too busy in the Lake District now that the holiday season has fired up, people busy in the popular spots and traffic busy around Penrith with the M6, the A66 and two not fit for purpose roundabouts all competing to see which one can cause the most disruption of a steady flow of traffic in all directions. Throw farmers slow moving traffic carting anything from fertiliser to newly harvested crops and seemingly un-synchronised traffic lights into the equation and we have mayhem. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the unclear lane markings that are an obvious point of confusion for visitors to the area. For this very reason alone we have decided to walk in the LD only once a week for the next few weeks with subsequent outings roaming around the quieter hills of the Pennines, Howgills, and the hills at the back of Shap where people and traffic hopefully won’t be a problem.

So this walk took us to the top of Cross Fell, the highest point of the Pennines, a fell that I see every day from my house and one that I have been to on several occasions over the past few years. It was time for another visit.

We arrived at the village of Blencarn - our choice of a start for this walk as it is not too far to travel along the quiet country lanes – at around 9am and drove slowly along the long ‘main’ street looking for somewhere to park sensibly. Blencarn is split by the street and very wide grass verges on either side of it, more like two long village greens split only by the short access tracks leading to some of the houses. Every time that I go to Blencarn I always like to ask a resident if it’s alright to park, and where, with the usual answer of “there by the wooden bench seat under the tree” at NY63744 31302, which is handy enough for changing the boots.

The village is made up of dwellings of various shapes, sizes, and designs that were probably dictated by changing times and trends over the last few hundred years or so, like the relatively new ones built around 10 years ago on a patch of ground that used to be home to some large and falling apart black painted corrugated iron sheds whilst further along the street there is an old thatched roof cottage of indeterminate age.

ImageThatched cottage at Blencarn

Looking southwest along the street towards the way into the village.

ImageBlencarn

The walk starts by walking southeast up the village towards the open fells to pass through a gate and onto a long track that would keep us busy for the next few kilometres, or miles, and eventually take us on a climb to the summit of some 8.85 kilometres – 5.5 miles in old money – a steady enough climb but nevertheless, quite a long one.

ImageCross Fell under cloud

It was a mostly cloudy day over us but with plenty of sun and blue skies elsewhere and it was disappointing to see Cross Fell covered in a blanket of low cloud. The forecast hadn’t been too bad for today with a promise of clear skies towards noon when we planned to be on the summit and although the clouds did clear for a while it didn’t quite turn out as forecast.

The track runs away to the northeast through a long and narrow finger of rough ground where the gorse grows in abundance although over the past few years it has started to die off in quite large patches. We passed over Blencarn Beck that was very low today but we have seen it after rain and it is then a problem to get around it whilst trying to maintain dry feet. A little further on and there is a similar, although not as bad a problem as Blencarn Beck can be, but nevertheless it has to negotiated if wanting to continue with the walk.

After leaving Blencarn by crossing the rough ground of The Rigg, Stubmire Moor and Cringle Moor we had a good view of Wythwaite, an isolated farm that was tumbledown just a few years ago but has been renovated and is now a fine building set in some beautiful countryside. And also note that the cloud is beginning to lift off the top of Cross Fell.

ImageCross Fell with Wythwaite Top and Grumply Hill to the right

As mentioned earlier, the wide track eases its way up the fellside as it passes through the rough pasture ground with green pastures on either side of it where fell ponies, sheep, and free range cattle are able to enjoy both the rough and the more appetising grass of their choice. Soon after passing Wythwaite we passed through the gate onto the open fells from where the green lane can be seen meandering up the lower slopes of Grumply Hill – what a great name – and entered the realms of bracken for a short while -

ImageApproaching Grumply Hill

to pass between it and Wythwaite Top that has recently had many new trees planted on it along with a new stock fence for protection of same.

ImageTree planting on the side of Wythwaite Top

ImageThe path runs between Wythwaite Top and Grumply Hill

I noted that there is now a quad bike track all the way to the top of Grumply Hill where at one time there wasn’t and we did consider using it but it would have meant pathless walking over rough ground from the summit and we didn’t feel like doing that today. Leaving Wythwaite Top behind we now had a clear view of Wildboar Scar and the point where the track changes direction to north for a short and steeper climb up to Sturba Nook from where the ground eases off considerably but also gets wetter underfoot.

ImageOn the way to Wildboar Scar

As we reached the point of turning north a look back gave us a view back across the sun spattered Eden Valley and a dark cloud covered skyline of the Lake District fells.

ImageThe view beyond Wythwaite Top and Grumply Hill

Looking to the south gave us an entirely different view towards Knock, Dufton and a far away Murton Pike.

ImageA view south towards both Knock and Dufton Pikes

A few minutes later and we were climbing the track below Wildboar Scar and after getting perhaps halfway along it we stopped for a drink and the views.

ImageClimbing the track below Wildboar Scar

Ten minutes later and we were leaving the more solid ground of the track for the rising, softer and wetter path that would take us all the way to the well stone slabbed route of the Pennine Way.

ImagePassing over the 605 point at Sturba Nook

At this point the domed top of Cross Fell came into view, as did Little Dun Fell and the ‘golf balls’ on Great Dun Fell. Large areas of blue/grey scree also appear on the left but whether it is from eroded crags or discarded quarry/mining spoil is hard to determine.

This path, after reaching the PW then continues on right the way over and above the head of the River Tees to swing around to the north and rejoins the PW at Cash Well Spring an area of past mining activity therefore posing the question of whether the two areas of mining/quarrying was part of the same company and used for the transport of men and materials between the two?

ImageA view across the Eden Valley from Sturba Nook

We passed through some rock strewn areas with the odd cairn and shelter here and there.

ImageThe path winds up the fellside

At one point along the path there is a large stone marking the path and at one time there used to be two of these, one either side of the path, like gate posts, but now only one remains. As to where the second one has got to is a mystery. The path is so wet that in places it completely disappears but if a northeast course is kept to it does re-appear. I also suspect that this was originally a proper cart track as at one point there is a stone wall built across the wide trough of a feeder watercourse of Crowdundle Beck to support what is now a path and there are also disused mine levels below the south side of Cross Fell.

ImagePath marker and Great Dun Fell

At the 695 metre contour Cross Fell is now in full view and note the clear top and blue sky.

ImageThe grey southern face of Cross Fell

We reached the Pennine Way to find it under cloud which doesn’t bode too well for good views from the summit Cross Fell that only moments ago were clear of clag.

ImageClag covered Pennine Way

Where the four paths meet at the PW there is an indicator slab pointing to all four directions of travel. From this point there’s not much to see only the ground just in front of us so it was just a case of tramping along through the clag.

ImagePennine Way crossroads way marker

After the soft walk on our way across the fellside it was a pleasure to get ones boots on the solid stone slabs of the PW but the pleasure was short lived for a while as once we had left the slabs the ground was rough and very wet and claggy with clay and peat. As the first of the two fog bound curricks appeared the ground firmed up and we were now on rock and stone scattered grass that continues all the way to the summit.

ImageThe first currick

A short walk and we came across the second one with E disappearing into the cloud.

ImageThe second currick and Elizabeth

After reaching the PW there is still around 300 metres of climb and just over 500 metres of travel to attain the summit that seemed higher and longer in this cloud cover. The summit sports a white trig column and a very large cross shelter that was a temporary home to four other walkers swathed in full winter gear when we arrived there. We were a bit surprised to see them all dolled up with gloves and all as we didn’t think it was at all cold but then again everyone is different. We were warm from our steady walk up from Blencarn and it was admittedly damp and cool but certainly not cold as they left to leave us with a warm stone seat to sit on.

ImageLunch on Cross Fell summit

ImageCross Fell summit

The shelter was rebuilt by a local dry stone waller and four apprentices just a few years ago and not many weeks ago there was a report of someone, or persons, knocking stones from the top of the wall for the use of sitting on. For what reason we would ask as there are seats built in on all sides of the shelter.

After having refuelled all we had to do was follow the PW down the wet and boggy north face to near Yad Stone where we then turned to the west following a good path/track to the old quarry workings on High Cap. If the weather had been anything like we would have had good views across Eden to the Lake District fells.

ImageLow cloud over the Eden Valley taken from Iron Well - Spring

ImageEden Valley view 10 minutes later

We soon arrived at the old quarry workings on the north side of High Cap.

ImageSome of the old quarry workings

From this point on there is a good track all the way back to Kirkland from where we would then take to the tarmac for the short road walk back to Blencarn.

We stopped for a final break at the old workings just to clear out the bags of the remaining food and drink whilst looking down into Ardale Beck and to where it makes its way up to Black Doors where it changes identity to Gregory Sike before reaching Ardale Head where there are more disused workings.

ImageBlack Doors and Ardale Beck

ImageA view along Ardale Beck

Hidden from view and running down Lad Slack behind Man at Edge there is a built up section of the Maiden Way that was the Roman Road linking up the fort at Kirkby Thore to Whitley Castle the Roman Fort that is just north of Alston. I have followed the course of the road and can only marvel at the surveying, planning, and construction of this old highway across the moors and fells that are still serviceable after more than 2,000 years of use.

ImageThe track back to Kirkland

ImageA view back to High Cap

All we had to do now was pass through the small hamlet of Kirkland and walk the 1.6km along the road back to Blencarn. There is a path that circles around the Blencarn Trout Lake but it is hard to find and not really fit for purpose so we were stuck with the road walk unfortunately.

A decent enough walk is to be had to the top of Cross Fell, nothing exciting but a good leg stretcher nevertheless and on a good day excellent views across to the Lake District skyline.
User avatar
trailmasher
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 1248
Munros:11   
Hewitts:179
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: A walk to the Pennine's highest.

Postby Gordie12 » Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:14 pm

Really enjoyed that.

I remember reaching the structure on top of Cross Fell (when doing the PW) and being really impressed. I was the only person there so plenty choice for a seat. Shame some idiot thinks it's a good idea to remove some of the stones.
User avatar
Gordie12
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1926
Munros:112   Corbetts:63
Grahams:18   Donalds:21
Sub 2000:35   Hewitts:24
Wainwrights:24   
Joined: Sep 6, 2012
Location: Nr Forfar

Re: A walk to the Pennine's highest.

Postby trailmasher » Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:33 pm

Gordie12 wrote:Really enjoyed that.

I remember reaching the structure on top of Cross Fell (when doing the PW) and being really impressed. I was the only person there so plenty choice for a seat. Shame some idiot thinks it's a good idea to remove some of the stones.


Thanks for your comments Gordie 12 much appreciated :D We are seeing more and more damage being done in the LD lately and makes you wonder just what makes these pilchards - that's code for pillocks - tick. No respect for the countryside nowadays :-x BTW, hope you had a clear day for the amazing views when up there 8)
User avatar
trailmasher
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 1248
Munros:11   
Hewitts:179
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: A walk to the Pennine's highest.

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:55 am

I've been looking to get back down for a few more Wainwrights but it just seems so busy just now (as are the more popular hills in Scotland). Might wait till October or next spring.

My day at Cross Fell was brilliant and in good weather. Nice walk up from Dufton and then the walk along the tops of Knock Fell and Cross Fell before descending to Greg's Hut but what I remember most was the never ending track out to Garrigill which seemed much further than it actually was and then finishing the day in Alston.

This has me wanting to do the PW again :lol:
User avatar
Gordie12
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1926
Munros:112   Corbetts:63
Grahams:18   Donalds:21
Sub 2000:35   Hewitts:24
Wainwrights:24   
Joined: Sep 6, 2012
Location: Nr Forfar

Re: A walk to the Pennine's highest.

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Aug 23, 2020 2:09 pm

Very interesting - and very timely, as I'm planning a quite trot up there tomorrow on my way up to Scotland.

I wanted to start in Kirkland - do you happen to know whether there's reasonable (= no incommoding the residents unduly) parking there??
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 3165
Munros:173   Corbetts:31
Hewitts:236
Wainwrights:100   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: A walk to the Pennine's highest.

Postby trailmasher » Sun Aug 23, 2020 7:13 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Very interesting - and very timely, as I'm planning a quite trot up there tomorrow on my way up to Scotland.

I wanted to start in Kirkland - do you happen to know whether there's reasonable (= no incommoding the residents unduly) parking there??


Thanks for your comments AK and there are two parking areas in Kirkland. One just before the short row of dwellings and another one just past them with no problems from the residents. I've parked up there on a few occasions and the car parks are of a decent size. Hope this helps and good luck on your venture :)
User avatar
trailmasher
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 1248
Munros:11   
Hewitts:179
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: A walk to the Pennine's highest.

Postby trailmasher » Sun Aug 23, 2020 7:19 pm

Gordie12 wrote:I've been looking to get back down for a few more Wainwrights but it just seems so busy just now (as are the more popular hills in Scotland). Might wait till October or next spring.

My day at Cross Fell was brilliant and in good weather. Nice walk up from Dufton and then the walk along the tops of Knock Fell and Cross Fell before descending to Greg's Hut but what I remember most was the never ending track out to Garrigill which seemed much further than it actually was and then finishing the day in Alston.

This has me wanting to do the PW again :lol:

but what I remember most was the never ending track out to Garrigill which seemed much further than it actually was and then finishing the day in Alston.


I think the word you're looking for Gordie 12 is'interminable' as it's a hell of a walk down and as you rightly say seems much further than it is. :? :?
User avatar
trailmasher
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 1248
Munros:11   
Hewitts:179
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

4 people think this report is great.
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 15 guests