Date - 5th July 2009 Distance - 6.5 miles
Map - OL4
Start point - Lamplugh, opposite the church (NY 089209)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Oswen Fell 1342 409 NY 1006 2095
Burnbank Fell 1558 475 NY 1099 2095
Loweswater End on Carling Knott 1703 519 NY 1209 2060
Carling Knott 1785 544 NY 1171 2031
Blake Fell 1878 573 NY 1104 1968
Sharp Knott 1581 482 NY 1069 2009
High Hows (Lamplugh) 1027 313 NY 0963 2020



Tea had arrived, so we were all content with steaming mugs in paw, and a good selection of biscuits to choose from

"The weather looks good for Sunday, so lets hope Dad’s taking us walking", said Grizzly.

Draining his mug for the third time, Allen asked, "shall I go and find out?"

"Please", said Tetley. "I'll fill your mug up again, for when you get back, tea belly. I swear you have hollow legs", he laughed.

So off he went, and then came bounding into the room. "Yes" he cried. "A walk is on. Dad is taking us to do the rest of the fells above Loweswater. It will mean we have completed all the Birketts and Wainwrights in that area."

"Great" cheered Grizzly.

Shaun said, "it’s a long drive, so we had better have an early night as we will be starting off early in the morning."

"Better to make the picnic tonight and put the sandwiches etc., in the fridge, to save time", suggested Little Eric.

"Good idea, pal", replied Tetley.

"Here's to a great day bagging lots of summits", cheered Allen. Then raising his mug, "and to the best Dad in the world."


The Walk

We got ready, when we heard Dad getting his gear in the car and then rushed out and settled on the front passenger seat. Having been to this area in May to climb the other fells, the route was familiar.

We were starting at Lamplugh today, so seeing the sign Allen called out, "this is where we turn left down the narrow road, Dad."

In the village there was ample space opposite the church for Dad to park.

It was raining however, so we were rather downhearted, but Dad said, "it will soon pass over lads."

He was right and very soon there were blue skies, the rest of the day being dry with quite a lot of sunshine.

"It would be nice to take some pictures of the village, to start our story off", suggested Tetley."

"Lamplugh is a celtic name, originally Llanplwyf and refers to the church place for people round about", said Grizzly. "That is the church of St Michael. A church or chapel has existed on this site since c1150, with two previous reconstructions recorded in 1658 and 1771. The current building was designed by the eminent Victorian architect, William Butterfield. It was built in 1870 in the Perpendicular style, retaining the remodelled chancel and vestry and some medieval features. We can see the three finely carved gargoyles defiantly projecting from the east wall. The exterior bell cote contains two bells, one of which, is a well preserved 15th century bell with an inscription that it was made for Thomas Lamplugh, and the other dated to 1870."

"Thank you pal, excellent research", said Little Eric. "Do you know anything about that interesting archway. I'm intrigued."

"Yes pal. This is the entrance to Lamplugh Hall, now a farmhouse built in 1812, from the remains of a 15th century tower house. The first lord of the manor to take the name was Sir Robert de Lamplugh in the middle of the 12th century who had the church moved to its present location. He was followed by a long succession of Lamplughs many who were knighted for valour in the field of battle. Several of the family, were Sheriffs of Cumberland. On the arch is inscribed the arms of John Lamplugh 1595. The heraldic colours, were a yellow background, with a black fleury cross."

So enriched with all this knowledge, Shaun called out, "hadn't we better get going Dad", as he looked to some of the distant summits we had to reach today.

"OK", replied Dad, putting the camera away and collecting his stick and map.

A few yards along a sign by a gate pointed along a track. "That's our outward path", confirmed Shaun.

"That's Oswen Fell to the left, our first objective", said Tetley, "Distantly to the right is Sharp Knott, over topped by Blake Fell. Those are for later in the day.

At the end of the field we reached a double gate, where the waymark pointed right. Shaun said, "we take the track going left."

Shortly seeing a cattle feeder with a colourfully worded message, Little Eric said worriedly, "it says no walkers. Are we on the right route."

Allen replied, "yes we are but this is private land and there is no actual right of way, hence the notice put there by the landowner. When he originally published book 7 Western Fells, Wainwright included this as a route to Burnbank Fell, which I suspect many walkers have taken over the years, to the annoyance of the owner. When the guide was updated by Chris Jesty and the second edition published the page detailing this route was omitted, in acknowledgment that it crosses private land. However I suspect the situation has been further exacerbated due to Bill Birkett's book as this is really the only way to access Oswen Fell."

"Oh dear", said Little Eric. "Will we be alright."

"As long as we do not meet the landowner", laughed Dad.

"According to Birkett, we continue to the next gate at the edge of forestry", advised Shaun. "There we cross a stile and climb left through the trees."

"The trees have been felled", commented Tetley, as we arrived at the gate."

As a result this made for rather rough going but Dad made short work of it and soon we reached the fence that Dad climbed, saying, "we are ok now as this is open access land."

Striding out we made the steady ascent that soon bought us to the summit cairn of Oswen Fell, seen here with the backdrop of Sharp Knott overtopped by Blake Fell.

"One down", cheered Grizzly. "Come on pals, picture time."

The next top Burnbank Fell was clearly seen ahead. A path led easily down to a dip from which there followed a steepish ascent to the summit, at the corner of the fence.

We needed no encouragement to leap out and settle on the cairn to mark the achievement. "Great", cheered Little Eric, "that's another Wainwright I have ticked off."

We met a young man here, and Dad chatted to him.

He said, "I am doing the Wainwrights and this is my 200th."

"Congratulations", we all replied. "We wish you well on the 14 left to complete the challenge."

Looking at the above picture, we walked right alongside the fence. "That's Blake Fell ahead", said Allen, "and a simple climb to the summit."

"Yes pal", replied Shaun. "If only that was what we have to do now. But, for us first we have to bag the two Birkett tops on Carling Knott."

"So what do we have to do to get there?", asked Little Eric.

Looking ahead on the descent, Shaun told him, "we climb that stile in the fence, and then immediately climb the fence on the right."

Distantly we could see the cairn. "That's the summit of Loweswater End on Carling Knott", pointed Tetley.

The ground was rough and rather boggy crossing Holme Beck in the process. This was the most arduous section of the walk. However Dad is well used to this type of terrain, and quite soon we were making the final ascent to the cairn. "Only Birkett baggers come this way", said Allen.

"That's a superb view of Loweswater with the Fellbarrow Group behind", called out Grizzly.

Scrambling out, we sat on the cairn so Dad could take our picture.

Then we marvelled at the views around.

"There's Crummock Water, backed by the towering Grasmoor with Wandope and Whiteless Pike to the right", said Allen.

The slope in the right foreground is the end of Mellbreak, here in all its glory.

Tetley said, "if we look carefully on the right, we can just spot a round dark blob. That is the Mosedale Holly Tree. The only tree in the valley, and actual mentioned on the Ordnance Survey map!"

Finally we could see these fells known as the Fellbarrow Group.

"Those fells are special, as that is where we met Uncle Bob on 4th September 2005", commented Tetley. "How blessed we were that day. He has become a good friend and we have done so many walks with him since, especially the exploration of Yorkshire."

"Time to be off again", said Dad.

We jumped into the rucksack and settled ourselves down. Shaun instructed, "we follow that clear path to Carling Knott."

This led across grassy terrain and after an initial descent, climbed quite gently to the large cairn/shelter at the summit of Carling Knott.

"Come on Dad, take our picture", cried Allen, as we scrambled on to the cairn.

Grizzly told us, the name means, 'old woman's craggy height'. Carling is probably from the Old Norse kerling meaning 'old woman, crone'."

Ahead and above was Blake Fell and we could see that there were quite a few people up there. "Must be because it is the highest of this group of fells, and one of the Wainwright summits too, whereas Carling Knott is just a Birkett top", mused Allen.

Consequently Carling Knott is less frequented, so we were surprised to meet another couple as we left the summit. They too were surprised to see us.

The narrow path over the craggy south eastern edge of the shoulder descended to a hollow. From here a steep rise faced us as Dad climbed steadily to the fence.

"Blake Fell summit is on the far side of the fence, so we should cross the stile", advised Shaun.

"What a stupendous view", pointed Little Eric.

"Oh yes", agreed Tetley. "Grasmoor, Wandope and Whiteless Pike. Crummock Water and Mellbreak in the foreground."

Turning up left, we soon arrived at the cairn on the summit of Blake Fell. At 1878ft our highest point of the day. Grizzly said, "the name probably means 'the pale hill'. 'Pale' seems the most likely meaning of 'Blake' here, since the screes on the west side give the fell a somewhat pale appearance; 'bleak' is another possibility. This is according to Diana Whaley's book on Lake District Place Names."

"Look over there", called out Little Eric. "That’s Knock Murton above Cogra Moss. We climbed that last time we were in this area."

"That’s right", sighed Dad. "Unrelentingly steep from bottom to top. I really do not know how I got to the summit, on such a hot day."

"Only dogged determination got you there, but at least it is done", replied Tetley.

Clearly from here we could see the hump of Sharp Knott. "That's our next summit", said Shaun. "It is backed by Oswen Fell, our first summit this morning."

"The name means 'the narrow steep hill', which seems apt viewed from here", informed Grizzly.

"We should proceed down the shoulder, and find a path bearing off left to Sharp Knott", instructed Shaun. "A short steep ascent above the col leads to the top."

Adorned with a large cairn, we scampered up to have our picture taken. Shaun said, "you can ride on my back Little Eric."

"Thanks pal."

Now, if you have read our story of the Nine Standards walk, you might recall that Dad lost his stick on Brownber Head. He brought the replacement with him today. Well, that is, up to this point, because as far as he can remember he left it, yet again, at this summit. It was about 2 miles to the car, and amazingly Dad did not miss it until he got there!

"What are you like?", said Tetley exasperatedly."

When he rang Uncle Brian to say he was safely down, he also mentioned losing his stick.

"Not again", replied Uncle Brian, "you should tie it to yourself, preferably tightly around your neck!"

Having got settled in the rucksack once more, Shaun said, "we return to the col and then make a steep descent to come to the head of Wisenholme Beck, where it enters the forestry"

There the narrow path became a wide forest track. We walked this to a junction, where Shaun instructed, "turn right."

The track bent left and then left again, where Shaun said, "now take that narrow path by the trees to a fence."

Once there had been a stile but this has fallen into disrepair so Dad just climbed the fence.

"Now cross that fence to the left", said Shaun.

This took us into and open field with long grass through which on a steady ascent soon brought us to the single stone marking the top of High Hows. "Our last summit of the day bagged", cheered Little Eric.

Looking back we could see Sharp Knott backed by Blake Fell.

The descent took us over fields, eventually reaching a track. "Go right", said Shaun.

The track crossed a small stream to a stile at the point where we had taken the track left to Oswen Fell. Here it was left through the gates to retrace the track to the village.

"That has made a considerable dent in our outstanding Birkett Fells", cheered Tetley.

"Thank you Dad for a thrilling day out", added Allen.

"Time for refreshments, Dad", said Grizzly. "You really deserve it."

"Yes lad, we are early enough down for me to get to Greystone House at Stainton.

Tea and cakes were the order of the day, and then duly refreshed we continued the journey home.


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