14th August 2010
Well, most of them. I have never previously started a walk from Loweswater village and never visited the fells and summits shown in this report. Day 2 of my camping trip and my "Western Fells" to-do list stood at 16 and something needed to be done. It was a walk in unfamiliar territory....
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk
The header photo shows Mellbreak bathed in sunlight. This was an encouraging sight as all I'd seen from Borrowdale to Keswick and over Whinlatter was low cloud and a dull atmosphere. Mellbreak features in this report, but I didn't climb it this time as I figured that to add it to the other four featured would be too many ups and downs; Mellbreak is the one "Loweswater Fell" that sits most comfortably on its own.
Mellbreak and Hen Comb
Hen Comb, just topped with cloud and situated behind Mellbreak, is the first target and I really hope the weather improves. For me, there would be no fellwalking without the views. For Hen Comb, it is written "Not an exciting walk, but pleasant enough on a sunny day for anybody who doesn't want to get excited."
I had debated doing the walk in the other direction as I don't mind ending a walk with wet feet, but object to a soaking at the first opportunity. Local advice was to give it a go. No problem as the water level is not too high.
The weather is worsening, the bits of blue have gone and low cloud is moving in.
What a shame, I'm here for the fine views and it's just started raining. Loweswater can just be seen. I gain an afinity for fells based on experience and so Hen Comb will need another visit one day to see if it has more to offer. I didn't want to get excited and so I am not too disappointed.
I sat on a hill called Floutern Cop and waited for 30 minutes for the weather to either improve or I would be off for a walk by Crummock Water. The clouds lifted and the day started to brighten, so it was off towards Gavel Fell.
From Floutern Cop to Gavel Fell, it's just a matter of following one fence, then another. The OS map shows a sheepfold next to this fence; there's nothing of the sort, nor appears to have ever been one. This sort of stuff is misleading.
Gavel Fell will offer me just a fleeting moment of acquaintance on my way across the fells.
Gavel Fell Summit
More fence following and I nearly met another walker for the first time today...
He came down from Blake Fell and turned left, just as I approached to cross the stile and turn left. Just 30 seconds away from a greeting, not to worry. Its "Mr.Pockets's" loss.
Knock Murton (hill) and Cogra Moss (water)
Me on top of Blake Fell
Lunch time at the highest point of the walk 1878ft asl. I was nearly finished when two young ladies appeared from the South and clearly wanted somewhere to sit. Being the gent wot I am, I offered them the shelter and moved on, not before learning that one of the ladies has done the 214 and finished on the same unlikely fell that I reckon I might end up on. Mind you, they're all unlikely on day one, aren't they?
The view I was denied on Hen Comb, which itself is now free of cloud.
Whiteside and Grasmoor
On my way to Burnbank Fell, I was distracted by the bump that is Sharp Knott and went over to have a look.
Knock Murton from Sharp Knott
For the record, there is a good wind shelter on Sharp Knott, with its back to the West.
Burnbank Fell Summit
Loweswater and Crummock Water
Burnbank Fell's top may be less than inspirational, but the views from the fell on a clear day like this are exceptional.
Now look at the weather! The clearing air has come from the North and is fresh and clean. On my way down, I could make out a lady with two children, what a fine afternoon to bring the youngsters out on to these slopes.
There is a form for the weary to take a rest and enjoy the view. I had just sat down when the lady and her grandchildren appeared, the little girl asking her nan: "Where shall we sit?" Oh dear, up I get and invite the three to sit down, this had clearly been their objective. I'm one of those who stands up on buses to allow the old and infirm to sit down. Hang On! They don't pay and I do, we'll see about that next time.
I continued along the grassy track and into Holme Wood, detouring to have a look at Holme Force.
Holme Force - The Spout
Holme Force - The Spout - from above
The top of Holme Wood
I followed the ghyll right back to the top and rejoined the grassy track, this time avoiding the detour and heading for Loweswater.
Grasmoor and Mellbreak
St. Bartholomew's, Loweswater
Here endeth the walk, more or less. All new territory, very fine views once the cloud had lifted and dispersed. Prior to the walk, I had the pleasure of a cup of tea and a slice of toast with Loweswater residents, Roger and Ann Hiley of Loweswatercam fame.
After the walk, I met Maggie Allan of less fame, but a fellow member of the Online Fellwalking Club. She had also walked in the area and was parked next to my car at "the phonebox".
Walkers: Just Me
Time taken: 6hr 13 mins over a distance of approx. 10.5 miles. Bear in mind, I had a nap on Floutern Cop waiting for the weather and the scramble up Holme Force is not easy and rather slow going.
Route: Loweswater Village Telephone Box, Stepping Stones, Hen Comb, Floutern Cop, Fence, Gavel Fell, Fence, Blake Fell, Fence, Burnbank Fell, Holme Wood and Force, Loweswater and back to the village.
Weather and conditions: Starting dull, getting worse, then clearing to give a bright sunny afternoon.
Greetings Count: Two ladies on Blake Fell, a few more folk including the children and grandparent on the way off Burnbank Fell. On the whole, the fells were very quiet.
Richard's Refreshment Review: A fine cuppa and toast at Oak Cottage, opening times vary, don't arrive too early. After the walk I had fish and chips in Keswick and then saw a couple who should know better when I've got a camera in my hand:
His 'n Hers
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2010 ©