~Western Excursion Part Three~
4th March 2011
It had always been the plan to wind down on day three with a trip to Loweswater. Rather disappointingly, the sky was full of grey. Grey at low levels and grey further up. Well, you can't win 'em all, so they say.
The Hiley Hounds
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....
The Strands Brewery
My day started with a look at the brewery at The Strands Inn. All the brewing equipment is in a very small space and there are works in progress to extend the area. The micro-brewery can brew around 400 gallons of beer a week and usually all of it is sold in the pub.
A Telephone Kiosk
Roadside parking at Waterend, near Loweswater. Harry and Bethan feature in the header photo as they provided the most colour seen all day. The other walkers were not heading for Fellbarrow, which is a pity, we could have all got lost in the murk together.
The Track to Mosser Fell
Looking back down the track that leads up to Mosser Lane (?). I walked along Mosser Lane, past Whittern Gill and then took a right turn on to a farm track, where I was greeted by a fine puddle.
Not too far along here is a left turn to point me in the direction of Mosser Fell.
I followed this fence to a sheep pen against the next fence. Very awkward crossing the next fence, I can't recommend this route to folk who don't like boggy ground and difficult fence climbs.
This fence leads up Mosser Fell. At the top of the fence I needed to use my compass to be sure of the right direction to walk in for the summit of Fellbarrow.
No need to refer to Wainwright's Book to identify the fells on view in the distance. Soon after this two more walkers appeared from the south, the first people I've seen on a mountain top in the last three days.
Ascent of Low Fell
Looking back at the gate at the foot of the steep final ascent of Low Fell after my unexciting ridge walk from Fellbarrow.
Low Fell Summit
This walk is overcrowded today. A lady with her son and daughter, walking some favourite routes in the memory of her late husband, a keen fellwalker. The lady kindly took a photo of me on top of this mountain, this would not have been possible with the self-timer due to the lack of suitable flat surfaces.
Me on top of Low Fell
Apparently, if you wander over to the edge there is a magnificent view. Wainwright said: "the view is of classical beauty, an inspired and inspiring vision of loveliness that has escaped the publicity of picture postcards and poets sonnets, a scene of Lakes and moutains arranged to perfection." Not today.
The fence line offers a route to the neighbouring Darling Fell.
Darling Fell Summit
Low Fell as seen from Darling Fell. I took a route down the east side of Darling Fell, heading towards Askill Knott.
The path does not reach Askill Knott and loops down to Mosser Lane, which I follow in the same upward direction as earlier to meet the farm track back down to the car.
Track down to Loweswater
If you refer back up the page, you may notice that the shades of grey have varied, the outlook is slowly improving.
I met up with Roger and Ann Hiley at Oak Cottage, Loweswater. Roger would be my tour guide for an ascent of Mellbreak, we decided to delay our start until mid-afternoon to give us the best chance of avoiding low cloud on the summit.
It's 15:00hrs and we start our ascent of Mellbreak from Loweswater. Slightly different greys on this side of the valley.
This ascent of Mellbreak is steep and direct, Roger's been here before and knows the way.
To the right of Loweswater (lake) is Darling Fell and Low Fell. I think it's Broadmoor Hill over there on the right with Dodd Wood on the slopes. Those with excellent eyesight will notice that the Hileys have hung their washing out, depsite my advice to the contrary, which was based on my feeling of the Relative Humidity and lack of wind speed.
A peep around the corner reveals the beauty of Crummcok Water and Buttermere. Sometimes.
Harry (l) and Roger
We are at the North Top of Mellbreak. Studying Wainwright, as I do, suggests that the North Top is his summit, it's the one he drew under the title "The Summit". However he admits that the South Top is higher by a few feet, so there is no option but to head south.
Me on top of Mellbreak
Mellbreak stood alone as the only "Western Fell" I hadn't climbed for about 5 hours since I left Low Fell summit. Six more walks of this nature and it's job done. Like a child who waits all year for Christmas Day and just doesn't want it to end!
The bump in the distance is Haycock, I was there the day before, it seems a long time ago now.
Hen Comb and Mosedale
We descend down the eastern flank of Mellbreak and you may just about be able to see The Mosedale Holly Tree.
Jo and Ann
The ladies have walked up Mosedale to greet us. This is on full zoom and a bit wobbly.
Darling Fell and Low Fell
It's dog wash time. Hen Comb in the distance.
Whiteside (l) and Grasmoor
The Phone Box
The final photo of the Western Excursion. Over three days, I visited the remaining eight Western Fells that I had not been to before and in the process walked about 35 miles and 10,200ft of ascent. It was, like, fantastic, you know, like, well good!
Walkers: Just Me for walk one and Roger Hiley joined me on walk two. Jo Hall and Ann Hiley joined in late on. Have a look at the linked Loweswatercam website where Roger and Ann report on their walks.
Time taken: Low Fell and Fellbarrow: 2hrs 30mins over a distance of 5 miles; Mellbreak 2hrs 40mins - 4.5 miles.
Route: The Fellbarrow route is not easy to describe, try David Hall's route ID=816. Mellbreak was direct as per AW Western Fells page 5.
Weather and conditions: Grey, getting less grey later on.
Greetings Count: Two on Fellbarrow, three on Low Fell, no unfamiliar faces on Mellbreak
Richard's Refreshment Review: Well, soup at the Hileys, can't be bad! After the walk, Ann made a pot of tea, Pumpkin Pie appeared on the table, Roger and Jo brought the washing in and I set off home at 18:10hrs.
Accommodation Review: The Strands Inn, Nether Wasdale. It has lots of rooms, ask for one that isn't above the bar if you like or need early nights. Fantastic breakfast, good evening meals - but the menu is a bit meaty. If you prefer lighter meals or veggie stuff, you may need to ask the chef, there was always at least one vegetarian option on the menu. Good beer and they are having a beer festival in May, see their website for this and other details. There are no shops near Nether Wasdale, nearest would be Gosforth, so plan ahead for your walks, the pub does offer to make up packed lunches.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2011 ©