Archive for December 4th, 2010

December 4, 2010

The Loweswater fells from Maggie’s bridge

by backpackingbongos

It was dark by the time I got back to the Bongo after the days walk up to Great Borne.  There was a change in the air, the cold crispness of the past couple of days being replaced by a damp drizzle.  The car park was now deserted and I repositioned the van so as not to sleep on too steep a slope.  All in all it was a peaceful place to spend the night, with only a couple of vehicles passing on the way to Watergate farm.

I would have thought that walkers would have a bit of a lie-in on a Sunday morning but the first car pulled into the car park before 8.00am.  I find that our Bongo with its dark tinted rear windows is great for people watching as people cannot tell that there is someone inside.  I watched one couple preparing for a good half hour to summit K2.

6.3 miles with 630 metres ascent

After my voyeuristic noodle breakfast I locked up and headed for the track towards High Nook farm.  Passing through the farmyard the track headed onto the fell side.  For some reason Lakeland farms seem to be amongst the easiest to pass through, well signed with dogs firmly kennelled.  The risks of getting lost amongst buildings, trapped by barbed wire or attacked by dogs are much less than other less frequented parts of the country.

Taking a left hand branch on the track and climbing onto the shoulder of Black crag I got a glimpse of High Nook tarn nestled at the bottom of a bowl in the hills.  There looked like there were a couple of good wild camp spots down there although probably best not recommended due to its close proximity to civilisation.

Leaving the track a feint path took me south up the ridge towards Gavel Fell, the bulk of Carling Knott on the other side of High Nook tarn dominating the view.

The unnamed 488m summit was an excellent viewpoint to the higher fells which were covered at various levels by swirling mist.

This low summit is positioned perfectly as to give a view between Mellbreak and Hen Comb to the far end of Buttermere, with the cone of Fleetwith pike catching the eye.

The damp air was chilly in a strong wind and I sought shelter from a sheepfold below the summit.  I sat and watched the cloud base get progressively lower until it was skimming the top of my next destination, Gavel fell.  I pulled on an extra layer and drunk coffee from my flask, glad to be out of the wind for a while, enjoying the quiet solitude of these small rounded hills.  With the cloud base now firmly sitting on the top of Gavel fell my enthusiasm for the hills abated a bit but I was determined to finish my walk.  I headed off into the mist, the summit cairn hidden in a grey swirling world.  A fence led me off the hill past a long snaking group heading the other way, hello’s exchanged a good 15 times.  The ascent of Blake fell was simply exercise, nothing more really as the world had disappeared.  Another large group was departing the summit, shattering any illusion I had of being in the middle of a vast wilderness.  A slightly higher hill the mist was freezing to the fence posts and summit cairn, a solitary poppy with a rind of ice on this bleak spot being a poignant gesture.

The fence continued to be an infallible guide to the lower summit of Burnbank fell.  There was a moment of foolishness whilst stopping and having a faff with my rucksack.  I realised I was talking to myself when a figure loomed out of the clag, talking to yourself is ok so long as no ones witnesses you doing it!

A feint path led away from the security of the fence until I suddenly came below the cloud base, the scenery looking grey and muted and not at its best.

A bridleway then led me towards the top of Holme wood, a well constructed grassy track it gives great views along the length of Loweswater with very little effort.

A path through Holme wood itself descends easily and quickly to the shore of the lake, these woods would have been even more spectacular a couple of weeks previous.  A quick yomp along the Watergate farm track brought me back to the now very busy car park.

It was not a particularly spectacular day on the fells but a good leg stretcher before the long drive home.  In general the weather had been kind over the three days and I started to regret not backpacking.  However the nights were long and it was good to spend them in comfort in the van.