Thursday, 27 March 2014

Grange Fell, Central Fells

Looks like we had a lot of luck this Winter. We did this walk on the 31st December and the day started off quite horribly - heavy rain meant we didn't delay on our drive from Ambleside to Keswick for fear that the roads would flood - some side roads were already closed. We had then resigned ourselves to a day of looking around the shops and spending time in Booths and the Lakeland Pedlar, so all would not have been lost, but by around 1pm a hint of blue appeared in the sky and gradually the rain eased off.

We dashed back to the b&b and grabbed our waterproofs and boots and decided to head into the hills. With only a couple of hours' daylight left we decided to have a look around Grange Fell. After a drive along the Borrowdale road we parked up close to the Bowder Stone and set off. The actual Bowder Stone we have saved for another day. We were lucky to have made it along the road as shortly afterwards the Borrowdale road was closed for repairs.

We followed the route in the AW book, circumnavigating the base of Great End crag and into an enchanted woodland. I don;t tend to think of the Lakes in terms of ancient woodland but here and there you enter pockets of trees and it becomes very other-worldly - this walk is no exception as you climb the steep steps through the woods. Easy going up but a bit treacherous coming down!

Every now and again we stopped to catch our breath as the climb was very steep, and to turn around and enjoy the vista over Derwentwater that was opening up behind us.

Eventually the path levelled off, and we were on the rather lovely higher ground of Grange Fell. It is hard to spot a definitive summit and indeed there are a couple to choose from, strewn across the rocky studded ground.

Despite Wainwright's words imploring us to head up King's How to take in the views, time was not on our side and so we headed across the soggy ground to the Brund Fell summit and delightfully named Joppelty Howe.

From here we had some great views beyond Borrowdale right into the heart of the Lake District fells and across the Honister Pass towards the North Western and Western Fells.

On a longer day we might have continued along the path that to Joppelty Howe, back down and around the base of the fell taking in the Bowder Stone, but with not much daylight left it felt sensible to return via the same route, even though it meant coming down that very slippery rocky staircase. Rather oddly the only people we encountered on this walk was a family group, headed up the fell, and very late in the day. There's no way they would have finished their walk in daylight!

We got back to the car as dusk was falling, ready to head back to the bright lights of a New Year's Eve celebration in Keswick. Grange Fell was a real pleasure to discover and definitely a fell we shall be revisiting.

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