1.EYCOTT HILL & LITTLE EYCOTT HILL
2. GREAT MELL FELL

 


Summary

Date - 9th August 2009 Distance - 1. - 3.5 miles, 2. - 3 miles
Ascent -
1075 ft
Map - OL5 Start point - 1. Verge on Mungrisedale road (NY 368 295)
2. Under the fell on Matterdale End road (NY 407 246)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Eycott Hill 1132 345 NY 3864 2946
Little Eycott Hill 1099 335 NY 3848 3015
Great Mell Fell 1762 537 NY 3968 2536

 

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, as there were not very many photographs. However in 2021, we nevertheless resolved to write an account. It is very unlikely we will return to the Eycott Hills, but this story, however short, will revive memories of the day.

 

Preface

It was Friday, and all was quiet and peaceful as we enjoyed mugs of tea and biscuits.

That was until the whirlwind that was Allen came hurtling into the room. "I have news of our next walk on Sunday."

"First get your breath back", said Tetley, passing him a mug of tea.

"Thanks pal, I'm gasping for a cuppa", he replied as he helped himself to a biscuit.

"So...", said Little Eric.

"Oh right. Dad has resolved to take us to those Birketts east of the Mungrisedale road."

"The Eycott Hills", said Shaun.

"That's correct. The walk is not very long, so Dad has decided to do a Wainwright, as well. One that Little Eric and I have still to climb."

"Which?", asked Grizzly.

"Great Mell Fell. Another step towards my completing the challenge."

"Here's to Sunday", cheered Tetley. "We are so very fortunate to go on the adventures."

 

The Walk

PART 1 - EYCOTT HILL & LITTLE EYCOTT HILL

Making sure to have got the picnic packed and that we were ready for the off, we got up early.

"The forecast is a bit iffy", said Allen. "We'll just have to keep our paws crossed."

The drive was so very familiar. North on the M6 to junction 40 at Penrith, then taking the A66 west. Soon the fells were coming into view Tetley saying, "there is rain falling on Blencathra, Bannerdale Crags, Bowscale Fell etc."

"But not over where we are to be walking", pointed Grizzly.

Taking the road towards Mungrisedale, Shaun said, "we need to park on the verge by a stile and 'Public Footpath' signpost, about a mile and a quarter from the junction with the A66."

Keeping our eyes peeled, and watching the odometer, it was Allen who called out, "this must be it."

"Good thing no one else is doing the walk, as there is very little room", commented Little Eric.

"I reckon these hill are little climbed, and only by determined Birkett baggers like us", replied Tetley.

A group of Jersey cows in an adjacent pen watched Dad as he got ready, and as we settled into the rucksack.

Shaun instructed, "climb the stile and along the field to another gate and stile, then follow the wall and come to Barrow Beck that we cross via a slab bridge."

"Ooh that's worth a picture Dad", said Little Eric.

"Now go left along the riverbank to that gate in the wall, and continue along the bank", advised Shaun.

This brought us to a track just below the ruinous barn of Westing. "We cross the track by the end of that bridge", said Shaun.

This brought us to a small gate into a field. "Keep on by the bank of Barrow Beck", was Shaun's next instruction.

A side stream was crossed at a ruined bridge and on to the top of the field where beyond the ruined wall we were on open fell.

"That must be Eycott Hill ahead", pointed Tetley.

Setting our sights on the highest point in view, Dad began the climb coming to Naddles Beck

"Hmm", said Tetley. "I wonder how deep that is."

Prodding with his stick, Dad replied, "there's solid ground under just a few inches of water", so Dad was quickly across.

Continuing over rough and boggy ground we got to the spine of a long rocky ridge. Beyond we crossed the boggy canyon and reached a plateau beneath some craggy outcrops.

"It is now directly up that steeper ground above, to the summit", pointed Shaun.

There Grizzly said, "picture time pals."

Looking over his shoulder Allen said, "that is Great Mell Fell. Looking forward to ticking it off later."

Pointing north, Grizzly said, "that must be Little Eycott Hill."

"Yes", agreed Shaun looking up from the Birkett guide. "He says to head north passing a little walled bield that is ruinous, and then descend to a dip and cross the stream."

Allen read out, "Birkett says that above there are three little tops, of which the one in the middle is the summit."

"The description is not very clear from what we can see", said Grizzly scratching his head.

"Well", said Dad, "I am just going to the highest point we can see which we will take to be the summit of Little Eycott Hill."

"No cairn again", commented Tetley. "Will you get the flag out to add some colour to the picture, please."

"You know", pointed Grizzly. "That outcrop over there might have been what Birkett meant as the summit."

"Ok lads. Get settled and we will walk to it, just in case."

There checking the GPS, Shaun said, "it is actually lower in altitude."

On the way we passed these pretty wildflowers.

Shaun said, "Back the way we came basically."

Dad descended then over the rough and boggy ground to cross the lower part of the ridge ahead and so down to Naddles Beck, making for the same crossing point that we knew was safe, and then retrace the outwards route to the car.

"Glad those are done and dusted", said Allen. "I do not suppose we will come here again."


 

PART 2 - GREAT MELL FELL

Returning to the A66, we turned left to quite soon go right on the road signed to Matterdale, and come to the track marking the start of climb to Great Mell Fell.

Shaun instructed, "along the lane we ignore the first gate and stile, and continue to a second gate and stile. Climb the stile and follow the path."

Birkett refers to the path being vague after the section by the fence, but in the years since he wrote his book, the path is now clear and well defined all the way to the summit cairn, seen here with the stunning view towards Ullswater.

"That's Place Fell on the left", said Tetley. Then going right the foremost fells are Glenridding Dodd and Sheffield Pike, with Raise further right. Looking through the gap are the fells above Hartsop, the highest rounded one being Red Screes."

Grizzly said, "the name probably comes for the Cumbric *mel meaning 'bare hill'."

At the summit Dad chatted to a couple from Stockport, who it turned out go to the Royal Exchange Theatre on Wednesday afternoon like Dad and Uncle Brian. Who knows he might bump into them sometime.

Dad said, "would you like me to take your picture by the cairn."

"Yes please", the gentleman replied.

He then kindly took Dad's. It is nice for him to make an appearance once in a while.

He then explained about us and mentioned our website. They thought is was a lovely thing that Dad took us on all these adventures.

The lady said, "it's nice fell to climb, but I am surprised you have now done it twice.

Dad explained, "that is so Allen and Little Eric can tick it off."

After they had gone, we jumped out for our picture. "Great" cheered Allen, "that's another Wainwright ticked off. And for you Little Eric."

As can be seen Shaun was king of the castle.

So making the steep descent, we got off the path a bit coming too near the fence by the old rifle range. Grizzly said, "the land was acquired by the National Trust in 1906. From the 1890s to the 1950s the rifle range was in operation, so access to the fell was restricted, although this is did not discourage Wainwright. Now of course all areas are open for people to explore."

From here we walked right, the path being a bit intermittent and so hard going at times through the long grass and bog. Basically it followed the fence and brought us to the first gate we had passed on the ascent. Down the track we soon arrived at the car.

"Thank you Dad", said Allen. "You are so so good to us all."

"Refreshment time now?", asked Tetley.

"Aye lad, I am going to Greystone House at Stainton.

Here Dad had tea and two pieces of yummy cake. Well he deserved it. He also bought some gammon ham and tea in the shop.

"Thanks for another lovely day", cheered Grizzly, as we headed south on the M6.

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