PONSONBY FELL, STONE PIKE & SWAINSON KNOTT

 


Summary

Date - 5th August 2009 Distance - 7.75 miles
Ascent -
1217ft
Map - OL6 Start point -Forestry Commission car park, Blengdale (NY 085 053)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Ponsonby Fell 1020 311 NY 0819 0703
Stone Pike 1056 322 NY 0781 0783
Swainson Knott 1118 341 NY 0795 0835

 

Foreword

During 2021 we were continuing the project to rewrite and enhance our original stories of 2008-12. This adventure was rejected for a story in 2009. However despite Dad not taking very many pictures, partly due to the relatively uninteresting terrain, we have decided nevertheless to write an account. This is possible due largely to Dad writing a precis of every walk when he records them on the spreadsheet.

 

Preface

Shaun and Grizzly came into the room, with the tea and biscuits, to find Little Eric and Tetley, huddled over the laptop.

"What are you on with?", asked Grizzly.

"Looking at the pictures Dad took on the walk to Blea Moor, with Uncle Bob", replied Little Eric. "There will be enough for the story and with the added interest, of seeing the steam train coming out of the tunnel."

Tetley had got the mugs as said, "I'll lend a paw to pour the tea, pal."

"Thank", replied Shaun.

So with steaming mugs in paw and plenty of biscuits we were content. Grizzly reached to get another, but paused, saying, "where's Allen. The arch tea belly never misses."

"Not sure", replied Shaun, "but last I saw he was talking to Dad."

"Allen can smell tea a mile off", laughed Tetley. "He'll be here soon, I am sure."

As if to prove Tetley right, just moments later, Allen dashed into the room. "I have news of our next walk. You will like where we are going, Shaun and Tetley."

Shaun had poured his tea, so there was a little wait while he drank some of it and helped himself to a biscuit. "Chunky Kit Kats. Lovely." Then not wanting to keep us in suspense any longer, he said, "a walk has been arranged with Uncle Eric for Wednesday. We are going to climb the the last of those most distant Wainwright Outlyers, Ponsonby Fell. Also nearby are two remote Birketts and Uncle Eric has agreed to climb those too."

"That's great", cheered Shaun. "Dad, Tetley and my penultimate named Outlying summit. Just Stainton Pike left."

"Super", agreed Tetley. "Good too that we all will tick it off, and those two Birketts."

"Roll on Wednesday", called out Little Eric.

 

The Walk

The drive was probably one of the longest to the start of a walk, so an early start was necessary. Using the A590 to Greenodd we then took the familiar road bypassing Broughton and down to cross Duddon Bridge. To cut off a corner, the next section was over Corney Fell, to then rejoin the A595 and continue to Gosforth.

"We turn off right through the village, taking the road to Wellington", instructed Shaun. "Then at a sharp left corner, keep ahead on the surfaced road parallel with the River Bleng, to the spacious Forestry Commission car park."

Dad and Uncle Eric got ready, meanwhile we settled in Dad's rucksack.

Issuing instructions, Shaun said, "continue along the road to cross Bleng Bridge."

Little Eric asked, "straight ahead?"

"No pal, go left on the track through the woods."

"It is beautiful through here", commented Allen. "So quiet and peaceful."

"Far from the madding crowd", added Tetley.

Finally the track dropped left to a junction. "Go left to the footbridge over the River Bleng", advised Shaun.

Studying the map, Grizzly said, "we could have kept ahead at Bleng Bridge, as Little Eric suggested, as that was the track we joined at the junction. However the path we took, had the additional pleasure of being close by the river."

Over the bridge the paved track wound its way up the hill.

At a junction, Shaun instructed, "now go left along the the forest road."

Finally we emerged from the forest to walk on towards Scalderskew, a very remote farm, but with incredible views.

After a pause Tetley set the scene, "the River Bleng runs in that gully rising up on the left, the fellside being Brown Band. Behind that is Haycock with the Little Gowder Crag on its ridge left. The long ridge in the centre is the Wasdale Red Pike. Unmistakable is distant Great Gable with on the right Seatallan."

"Majestic", breathed Allen. "We climbed all those with Uncle Bob."

The path crossed Scalderskew Beck, Shaun saying, "go through that signposted gate, then climb south-west."

Over boggy ground we soon attained the summit of Ponsonby Fell. Seeing the cairn, Allen called out, "come on pals, let's gather on it."

"At last this is ticked off", cheered Tetley. "Just Stainton Pike left to complete all the named fells in the Outlying book, Shaun and Dad."

"I can tell you about the name", said Grizzly. "It means, 'the fell near Puncun's settlement' from and Old French personal name recorded in England from the 12th century."

The views are good all around, but Dad refrained from taking the view west as it is dominated by Sellafield.

At this point, we once again thank Uncle Eric for agreeing to visit the additional Birkett summits.

"Which way now?", asked Allen.

"Head north down to the col, and cross the overgrown track to a gate. Once through it's over the stile on the right and then walk up by the fence to Stone Pike", advised Shaun.

This last section was boggy and crossed rough tussocky grass. A large old sheepfold now somewhat ruinous encircles the summit, and Uncle Eric went to study it.

In the foreground of the picture is the small cairn marking the summit. And yes, we hopped out to sit on it.

Settled again, Shaun said, "Swainson Knott summit is north. We should cross the fence then just continue gently up."

After a few minutes, Allen said, seeing the small cairn, "here we are."

Uncle Eric was looking at the map, and said, "how about we try heading down to the forest to get onto the road inside, and then walk to the return path past Scalderskew."

We did, but unfortunately the trees had overgrown where path was supposed to be and also a wall blocked access.

"Never mind", said Shaun. "The best thing to do now is contour round Swainson Knott and cross the fence, then climb to Stone Pike, where we can retrace down to the stile and gate onto the bridleway."

"Wow", pointed Tetley. "Just look at that superb view to the Wastwater Screes."

At the bridleway we turned left passing Scalderskew, and then crossing Scalderskew Beck, where to the right was the signed gate we had used earlier to ascend to Ponsonby Fell.

It was now just a matter of retracing our outward route, during which Little Eric called out, "aww just look at that cute Herdwick lamb with its mother."

"A lovely walk, and such amazing views", said Tetley.

"Yes" agreed Allen. "We will have to hold them in our minds as I doubt we will ever come here again."

Driving home we once again used Corney Fell, from which there were superb views.

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