Shaun, Tetley, Allen, Grizzly, and Dad too of course, complete the named Wainwright Outlying Fells



Date - 10th December 2009 Distance - 7.5 miles
Ascent - 1350ft
Map - OL6 Start point - Gateway foot Corney Fell road (SD 115945)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Stainton Pike 1632 498 SD 1526 9426
The Knott 1086 383 SD 1431 9517



Allen, Grizzly and Tetley were sitting chatting, while munching away on a bar of Kendal Mint Cake, they were sharing.

"It's a nice tradition of Uncle Eric's and Dad to eat a square of Kendal Mint Cake, to mark the achievement of climbing each Wainwright fell", remarked Grizzly.

"That's right", Tetley replied, "but there has not been much scope for hill climbing with all the rain and wind over the past few weeks."

"Looks like it is going to be dry tomorrow, and Dad and Uncle Eric have it down as a walk day, so hopefully we may get up on the hills", chimed in Allen.

"Spot on", said Shaun, who had trotted in with Little Eric on his back, as Allen was speaking. "We had better have an early night too, as it is a long drive to the start", he continued.

"Where are we going", asked Tetley, with anticipation.

"To climb Stainton Pike", he replied.

"Magic!, shouted Allen doing somersaults round the room. "This means we will complete the challenge of climbing all the Wainwright Outlying Fells."

"I wasn't sure we would get there this year, bearing in mind the distance and the short days", said Grizzly.

"I'm just so happy for you all", said Little Eric, who having joined much later would alone not complete them.


The Walk

Before we commence our account of the day we should mention that Dad attempted to climb Stainton Pike in January 2009, but due to the weather conditions in the early part of the day he was only able to climb The Knott. It was this circumstance however, that set up Stainton Pike to be ours and Dad's last Outlying Fell.

An early start was the order of the day, so that we could get to Uncle Eric's by 08.30. Here we decamped to Uncle Eric's car, as he had kindly agreed to drive. The route was a familiar one. First along the A590 Barrow road, passing beneath the huge mass of Whitbarrow Scar.

"That was one of the catch-ups, I had to do, to be able to complete today", piped up Allen.

"Seventeen in all between you and I", replied Grizzly. "Dad is really so good to us."

At Greenodd, we left this road and took the A595, eventually by-passing the pretty village of Broughton in Furness. The scene of a few tea stops for Dad in the past, at the Square Cafe. Dropping down we arrived at Duddon Bridge. We crossed this, then soon, where the road turns sharp left, kept ahead up the Corney Fell Road. This is a narrow road with passing places that winds its way up, reaching about 1250ft at its summit. Dad had parked here in October 2007, when he took us to climb Kinmont Buck Barrow, Whitfell and other tops. In fact we did seven in all that day. Some were Outlyers, so contributed to our being in this position today. The cloud was down here, but we recalled that it had been clear on that October day. Continuing, the road descended eventually rejoining the A595. Just before at Millgate, we parked off the road by a convenient gateway.

We were eager to be off so jumped into Dad's rucksack, and settled ourselves.

"You've got our picnic?", asked Tetley.

"Of course. It's safely tucked in my rucksack", replied Allen.

"Let's hope we don't need your rope, today, to scale the cairn, like we did on Harrop Pike", remarked Shaun.

After all this banter, Uncle Eric and Dad were now ready. We set off up the road we had just driven down. It was steep for a little way, but then the gradient eased. Soon we reached the track to the left signed Bigert Mire 3 miles.

This was our route. Here Uncle Eric strides out along it. You can see that the cloud was down, obscuring our objective ahead to the left, but we are pleased to say that it soon lifted, leaving sunny periods and clear views. It was a pleasure too, that there was no wind whatsoever, even on the summits.

The track is called Fell Lane and leads to Grange Farm. We walked the straight stretch, but where it bends sharply left to the farm, our route (and the bridleway) continued through the gate ahead. Here the terrain changed dramatically to a very wet and muddy path, that was rather indistinct in places. Much of the walk was now over wet ground exacerbated by the recent heavy rains. As we walked on, the clouds lifted, and the main focus of our walk, Stainton Pike, was clearly seen ahead, its summit cairn visible too.

Being rather indistinct, the meandering path was at times hard to follow, so Dad was quite relieved when we reached the prehistoric circular enclosure raised on a slight bank. Distantly ahead we could see the ravine that hides Rowantree Gill Waterfall. Wainwright extols its virtue, and says a visit is the highlight of the ascent. It was a steep climb, but worth the effort as we viewed the impressive double drop waterfall. It poses perfectly for the camera.

We had also gained height on our ascent of Stainton Pike. Climbing on above the falls, we eventually found a place to cross the swollen gill. Then climbing the adjacent fence, made the rough traverse over undulating ground to the top of Stainton Pike. Here is the impressive cairn viewed for just below.

Dad had arrived before Uncle Eric, so we all waited patiently for him to catch up, so that we could all reach the cairn together. And that was it, all the 103 Wainwright Outlying Fells climbed!

"Yippee", shouted Allen,

"Hooray", the rest of us cried out in unison.

Uncle Eric congratulated us, shaking Dad's hand and our paws.

We had scrambled on to the cairn, and Uncle Eric kindly took our picture with Dad for the record,

and Dad took a close-up just of us.

The view from here has a wide prospect of higher fells, Great Gable etc, but they were really too far away for a picture. However below was The Knott, our next objective. We could see clearly the lying water in the boggy area, where Dad had attempted to cross from The Knott, in January, and we realised why it had been aborted. Dad thought that it is unlikely to ever be dry.

As there was no wind we were able to sit by the cairn, enjoying the views, while we all had our picnic. Amazing for December, when this had been impossible on many days in the summer.

The extremely boggy area had to be avoided at all cost, so we crossed right to the fence and made our steep descent alongside, climbing over at a convenient point. Where the fence turned left, we then kept on roughly ahead under the slopes of Yoadcastle. After a while a narrow trod materialised, which we followed. At a point roughly due east of The Knott, a trod branched off left that led straight to the summit. Time was getting on and some mist had come down too, so we did not linger any longer than it took for Dad to take our picture.

Dad pointed out to Uncle Eric the gate we were aiming for across the ground forming the lower slopes of the fell. So, off we went descending steeply at first, then on through the gorse. Here Uncle Eric makes his descent.

This then left about 400 yards over trackless rough tussocky grass and bog. A very wet crossing, so Dad and Uncle Eric had to paddle through as best they could. They were glad to get to the gate.

Beyond the gate, a further short section over rough grass brought us to the muddy track that led beside Stainton Beck, seen here hurrying over a tree that has grown out over the water.

The track led through the yard of Stainton Farm, and then we walked on along the winding access track to Broad Oak and the main road.

Suddenly Shaun called out, "Uncle Eric, Dad, just look at the fells bathed in the setting sun. It will make a nice picture."

Dad immediately got his camera out and snapped it. Just as well, as only minutes later the effect was gone, as the sun sank lower.

The Knott is in the centre foreground, with White Pike behind to its left and Yoadcastle to the right.

At the main road it was just a short walk uphill to the car.

Just great to be on the fells again, and a very satisfied feeling to have completed the challenge of the Outlying Fells. They range in height from the very modest 172ft of Humphrey Head to 2037ft of Walna Scar. Not pushovers by any means as many involve crossing rough and at times trackless terrain to reach their summits. This is particularly so for those from Birker Fell Road, Corney Fell Road and the Shap Fells west of the A6 road.


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