Muncaster Fell – 8th September 2001

A walk up Muncaster Fell

This was to be a relatively relaxing day's walk, based on a a walk in "Walks from Ratty" by Alfred Wainwright. Ratty is the nickname for the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. We started the day by parking in the car park at Muncaster Castle, (which is itself a nice day out). From the car park we walked along Fell Lane, past Muncaster Tarn, and onto Muncaster Fell. The path marked on the map passes 40 metres below the summit, but we felt it was compulsory to visit it! This detour involved walking through bracken, and past a rotting sheep. From the summit, there was a good view all round – up Eskdale, out to sea, and over Sellafield (which also makes for an interesting day out).

From the summit of Muncaster Fell. Scafell is in the background. Landscape format.

From the summit of Muncaster Fell. Scafell is in the background. Portrait format.

Panorama from the summit of Muncaster Fell

From the summit we returned to the path, which is well defined, along to Ross's Camp. This is actually a stone table, which was apparently set up by the Victorians. The date on it would certainly bear this out!

Looking east from Ross's camp on Muncaster Fell

We continued along the (boggy and peaty) path to Rabbit How. the plan at this point had been to walk down to Muncaster Head, and along the path below Muncaster Fell, but this seemed a little boring, and we had plenty of time, so we carried on to Eskdale green station. We looked at the timetable for the train, and saw that we had just missed one, and there was a fair wait until the next one. For some reason we decided to walk along the road to Irton Road station, but this did mean we got to go past a Post Office which handily sold ice creams! We ate our lunch and decided what to do while we waited for the train. Having read about Dalegarth Force in several books, we decided we'd have enough time for a visit, so we took the train to Dalegarth Station. The path though the woods is unmissable, but it is narrow and slippy in places.

Bridge on the ascent to Dalegarth Force.

Dalegarth Force

On the way back to the station, I thought it would be better to go back a different way, over the stepping stones marked on the map. When we arrived at them however, the water was about 6 inches over the top of them, so we had to double back, and follow our original route to the station. This gave us enough time for a drink and a snack, before the last train of the day departed to take us to Muncaster Mill. On this particular journey, we were in an open carriage at the front of the train, which meant that we got some sun, but we also got some wind and soot!

A quicker way back to Muncaster Mill!

From Muncaster Mill the path rose and passed over the end of Muncaster Fell, leading us back to the car.


Scafell – 4th September 2001

A walk up Scafell

We (my girlfriend and I) started walking from the car park at Brotherikeld at 8:00am. Anyone who knows me understands how unusual it is for me to be up that early! The weather was not too good, overcast, with the cloud fairly low. We decided to press on nontheless. From Brotherikeld we walked along the East coast of the River Esk, through fields and below Heron Crag,until we arrived at Lingcove Bridge. By this time it had started raining lightly, enough to justify waterproof trousers. At Lingcove Bridge we crossed Lingcove Beck, and continued upstream and uphill towards Scar Lathing, following the bank of the Esk. The plan had been to cross the Esk here, ascend Little Narrowcove, then Scafell Pike, then cross to Scafell, then down over Slight Side to Cat Crag. However, by this point we were faced with very soggy, boggy ground in Great Moss, rain, crossing the Esk, the unknown of the route between Scafell Pike and Scafell, and worst of all, low cloud. The cloud was around the 500 metre mark, which meant that we could see the bottom of the Scafells, but they simply dissappeared into the cloud. The feeling of isolation in Great Moss was quite exciting, it felt miles from anywhere. We decided at this point that rather than risk life and limb for a view of the cloud, we would call it a day at this point. We crossed the river below Cam Spout Crag, passed Sampson's Stones, and headed along the path towards Scale Gill.

Great Moss, with Scafell and Scafell Pike on the left, in the cloud.

The path was indistinct in places, but it did make a relatively relaxing stroll. The descent into Scale Gill meant our feet were lulled into a sense of being near the end. We stopped for a minute to look at the falls from Scale Bridge, and continued through the fields to Taw House. From there, a footbridge crosses the Esk to take you back to Brotherikeld, and the last 50 metres along the road were steep uphill and felt like agony! We had walked over 10km, for several hours, and hadn't seen another person all day.