Friday, 21 December 2012

Great Mell Fell

It has to be said that Great Mell Fell is probably one of the less loved fells. It sits right on the edge of Lakeland and will be a known sight to most of you coming into the Lakes - when you come in from the east past Penrith, it is the first prominence that you see past the Pennines. Of course by this point the eyes are more likely to be drawn to Blencathra and the promise of bigger and wilder walks beyond, but still Great Mell Fell sits there beckoning.

Its position means it is an ideal stop off for a quick walk on the way home. A quick walk it indeed is as you can be up and back down having paused to take in the views within a couple of hours no problem. I can think of a number of reasons why people don't rate this as a classic fell, after all, it's not massively challenging, with no scrambles to trouble you. It also stands on its own with no ridge route to adjacent fells, and it's summit is not the most spectacular one I have visited.

But it does have a lot to offer of its own right. Perhaps the above facts mean that it is a less popular fell, so when the crowds head to the Catbells, Skiddaws and Castle Crags of this part of the world, this is probably the place to head for a quieter walk.

The scenery is quite different to most of Lakeland too, offering woods and moorland walking as you make your way up the fell. Best of all are the views that Great Mell Fell offer. From its isolated position you get a fantastic view of Blencathra, neighbouring Little Mell Fell and over towards the Dodds as well as the Far Eastern Fells beyond Ullswater and beyond. So for a little fell this really does have a lot to offer.

Our walk took us up and down along the same path, starting from the track at Brownrigg Farm. We headed up on the woodland path that eventually takes you around the periphery of the fell, before heading upwards over a stile. Here the walk takes you along a gnarled and windswept scenery and you are left wondering how and why some of the trees here are still standing, bent double as they are.

The path is simple enough to follow and without many natural obstacles all you need to do is head upwards. The ascent reminded me of my visit to Binsey, climbing steadily up a wide grassy plain. As always - the higher up, the greater the views and the big reward here was hitting the brow of the fell and seeing the vista open up towards Blencathra.

After a short pause to take in the summit views we took the same route back down to the car, glad to have discovered this quiet and pleasant part of Lakeland.

Sunday, 9 December 2012


Once again recovery from my breakage places the bigger and more challenging fells out of bounds. It also really puts into perspective just how some things that we tend to take for granted are impossible for millions of others.

Latrigg is interesting for me in this case as it is "wheelchair accessible", with a new path running from the car park at the end of Gale Road to the fell top. I would suggest that even with the new footpath, as with all fells this is no stroll in the park and of course basic precautions and safety measures need to be followed.

Latrigg nestled in front of Skiddaw in the distance

Rather than taking the same path up and down from Keswick we approached the fell from the east, having previously visited Castlerigg Stone Circle. The crossing of the A66 is made safe by an underpass and this takes you to the excellent path that follows the former rail lines from Keswick to Scales, more or less following the path of the river Greta.

After following the railpath back towards Keswick a short while, we turned up the narrow valley that separates Latrigg and Lonscale Fell from the slopes of Blencathra. This is a steep picturesque little farm road that rises above Glenderaterra Beck until it reaches Lonscale Farm.

Pretty soon we headed off the road and onto the open fell. We had big open views of the Skiddaw range right before us and looking over towards the North Western Fells which revealed themselves a little more with every step and altitude gained. Once we reached the crest the ascent, Keswick was revealed in all its glory beneath us in spectacular fashion. From there is was a simple case of finding a comfortable bit of ground to sit on and enjoy the view whilst eating our pasties. Yet another perfect picnic spot!

Pasties and drinks consumed and full of fresh air, we continued along the path that curves around the summit of Latrigg. This is indeed a well managed path that eventually takes you back to the car park. We turned off the path and onto the Cumbria Way. This took us back down the wooded lower slopes giving us very picturesque views across the Vale of Keswick through the trees.

Eventually we crossed the A66 on the bridge at the interestingly named Spoony Green Lane which brought us back into Keswick and a welcome cup of tea and piece of cake in the Lakeland Pedlar.