WESTERN CIRCUIT OF GAVEL FELL

 


Summary

Date - 31st May 2009 Distance - 7.5 miles
Ascent - 2250ft
Map - OL4 Start point - Junction of Croasdale to Lamplugh road with road to Kirkland (NY 087183)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Kelton Fell 1020 311 NY 0940 1813
Godworth 1197 365 NY 1009 1829
Banna Fell 1496 456 NY 1162 1739
Floutern Cop 1480 451 NY 1223 1737
Gavel Fell 1726 526 NY 1169 1838
High Nook on Gavel Fell 1601 488 NY 1203 1891
High Pen 1558 475 NY 1099 1890
Low Pen 1427 435 NY 1044 1894
Knock Murton 1467 477 NY 0946 1907

 

Preface

"The weather is forecast to be brilliant tomorrow with cloudless skies and hot sun", said Shaun.

"Yes, replied Allen breathlessly. "Dad has just told me that we are going to do the first of those walks to tick off the Birkett tops in the Western Fells".

"Magic", cried Tetley, "I can't wait".

 

The Walk

We were up and off about 07:15, as it was a long drive almost to Ennerdale. The start point was by the road junction, Dad parking on the side verge nearby. The track led off behind the football score signpost.

Through the gate, the clear track led by hawthorn bushes glorious in blossom. At the end we passed through another gate, and here Dad walked right along a track, before climbing right to the summit of Kelton Fell at a cross of walls. Here the wide view of the landscape opened up across to the coast, and beyond through the haze we could quite clearly see the Isle of Man. Aunt Tish and Uncle Eddie were in our thoughts, as they come from the Isle of Man.

Descended to the track, and then ahead over boggy ground to come to the path climbing up again.

"Wow", called out Tetley. "Just look over there. What a fantastic view of Ennerdale Water. That is Crag Fell behind and the crag below is Anglers Crag. Do you remember that we walked along there and to that summit with Uncle Bob."

"Yes", we all agreed.

After taking this picture Dad walked on up, and very soon we were arrived at the cairn marking the top of Godworth.

Beyond we climbed on up, then descended into the ravine of Croasdale Beck. Hidden in a small side ravine is the waterfall of Comb Gill. We thought this was very pretty, and reckoned that very few people who visit the Lake District ever see this.

A number of streams feed into this ravine, and Dad got a little disorientated, so choosing the wrong one to climb up by. In effect we did the other two sides of a square, requiring a bit more ascent, to achieve the flat topped summit of Banna Fell. No cairn to mark the position, so Dad used the grid reference he had downloaded to his GPS. The whale back of Skiddaw Slate forming Floutern Cop, our next objective was clearly outlined ahead. Over the fence, a short descent to cross boggy ground, was followed by a short climb to its thinly grassed summit. Below pretty Floutern Tarn is dominated by Great Bourne.

Descended basically north to walk over Whiteoak Moss, and come by the fence. Now ascended by this over White Oak, and then on to the large cairn on top of Gavel Fell. This was to be the highest point we reached today, so feel justified in including our picture, with the dramatic backdrop.

What is rather strange is the the OS map shows the spot height a bit further on, but we all thought that it was higher at the cairn.

"The views are absolutely fantastic all around", exclaimed Little Eric. "Do take a picture Dad".

He did and here are Whiteside, Hopegill Head and Grasmoor, with Mellbreak in front.

According to the book, the next part was over thick heather, which makes for hard walking so Dad was not looking forward to it. Imagine our delight however when he discovered there was a clear path, so we soon reached the cairned top of High Nook on Gavel Fell. Now for a while it was harder going on the trackless and rough terrain to reach the stile in the fence that descends from Gavel Fell. Walked the clear track past the steep descending ridge of Blake Fell and so gain it lower down. Now over the fence onto another clear path, with the tarn of Cogra Moss away below.

The ridge now led first up over High Pen, and then to the lower summit of Low Pen, with its handy cairn for our picture.

Ahead stood our final challenge of the day, Knock Murton, and yes, it is every bit as steep as it looks.

From Low Pen the path descended to the forest road, where we went right. Soon, however, Dad branched left onto a track that descends towards Cogra Moss. To the left thick forest clothes the lower half of Knock Murton, and Dad had to find the narrow track through the trees, and by careful observation he spotted it. The ascent was very very steep indeed and hard going in the oppressive heat. Dad was really in a sweat by the time he reached the stile in the fence. We were now on open fell and there was more air, but the gradient was unrelenting all the way to the summit of Knock Murton. There is a large cairn and more extensive views to Blake Fell, Ennerdale and the coast.

"Phew", said Dad, "I'm glad that's over."

The descent was over mostly rough trackless ground, but finally we were down to the wide track. Then once through the gate we walked on the remains of an old railway track to the road and then just uphill a short distance to the car. The railway once brought ore from the long abandoned iron mines. Apparently in 1888 alone it produced some 46,100 tons.

The latter part of the day had been extremely hot, giving Dad a headache, and we were sorry he had such a long drive home. Nevertheless we had all had a great day and it felt really good having ticked off 8 more tops!!

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