Date - 8th August 2010 Distance - 6 miles
Ascent -
2225 ft
Map - OL5 Start point - Sandwick (NY 423 196)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Low Birk Fell 1224 373 NY 4106 1904
Bleaberry Knott on Birk Fell 1680 512 NY 4027 1826
The Knight 1778 542 NY 4042 1763
Place Fell 2154 657 NY 4056 1695
High Dodd 1644 501 NY 4158 1829
Sleet Fell 1240 378 NY 4219 1875



Tetley and Allen were reading , when Shaun with Little Eric riding on his back and Grizzly trotted into the room.

Looking up, Allen said, "oh good tea!", as he went to get the mugs.

"I know ", laughed Tetley, "you are gasping for a cuppa."

The mugs were soon charged and in paw, then we dug into the biscuit tin that Grizzly had opened.

"What is the weather forecast for Sunday?", asked Tetley.

I'll just boot the laptop, and then we can look it up", replied Grizzly.

After a few minutes, he then tapped away navigating to the Met Office Lake District forecast. "Looks to be OK pals."

"That's great. Dad said he would take us to Place Fell. That is the highest point and the Wainwright, but there are five associated summits that are on the Birkett list."

"Apart from you Little Eric, we have all done the Wainwright, and two of the Birketts back in 2006", stated Shaun. "That leaves three to bag. The last will be extra significant as it will be our 500th Birkett, leaving just 40 to complete the challenge."

"When Dad bought the book at Uncle Brian's suggestion, it was not his or our intention to climb them all", replied Grizzly. "Yet here are the successful completion getting within our grasp."

"Just shows what a wonderful Dad we have to persevere and cover all those miles and thousands upon thousands of feet of climb", enthused Tetley.

"I'll still be two short of the 500 mark", said Allen.

"We know pal, but you will catch those up on the walk to your final Wainwright. It won't be long before we are doing that walk with Uncle Eric", replied Grizzly.

"I will tick off all six summits", cheered Little Eric. Then raising his mug, "here's to the best Dad in the world."


The Walk

The day before Dad said, "the Place Fell walk starts at Sandwick where Birkett says there is limited parking. Like on the last walk I want to be there by 09:00. So, we need to set off around 07:30."

"That's fine Dad, we will make sure we are up early", replied Tetley.

Grizzly said, "in that case we had better make the picnic tonight and put it in the fridge."

Dad was true to his word and we were indeed on the road soon after 07:30. The familiar route north on the M6 to Penrith, then west onto the A66.

"How exactly do we get to the start?", asked Little Eric.

"Turn off at Rheged and through Pooley Bridge, then along the east side of Ullswater", replied Tetley.

"So we are going to Martindale again then", said Little Eric.

"Correct pal. Then from the church we follow the road towards Boredale, and then turn right to Sandwick."

None of us, including Dad had ever there before. The road from Martindale Church is very very narrow with in places walls on either side, and ends by houses and a farm.

"Phew", said Little Eric as Dad pulled into the parking opposite the house, "glad we did not meet anything coming the opposite way."

"Reminds me of the road in Longsleddale", commented Allen. "Remember that day when Dad kept having to back up to let the tractors through."

Dad was soon ready and we quickly got settled in the rucksack.

Pointing to the signpost, Shaun said, "that good track is our initial route. It is part of the popular tourist route. Walkers get the boat to Howtown, then walk the path round under Hallin Fell to here and as the as the sign indicates, follow the track under the slopes of Place Fell back to Patterdale."

Just one other car was there when we set off, but it is clear to see how little actual parking there is on the grass. "You were right to get here early", said Little Eric. "It will soon fill up."

Dad strode on for about half a mile to cross the footbridge over Scalehow Beck. Here Shaun instructed, "keep on the track to its highest point, where above the corner in the wall, we take the path rising up the open fellside."

Being the time of year the bracken was at its height and shoulder high. "Reminds me of Newton Fell", remarked Tetley.

"Phew, this is hard going", said Dad.

So we were relieved when this gave way to grass and a reasonable path, only to be back in the bracken again.

"At least we can see our first summit, Low Birk Fell", called out Allen.

Finally clear of the bracken we ascended directly up the nose to the large summit cairn.

"Wow", cried Grizzly, "The view of Ullswater is stupendous!"

"There's one of the steamers making its stately way to Howtown", pointed Shaun.

"Probably carrying some people who intend to walk back to Patterdale", commented Allen.

"So that is another Birkett we have all bagged. So come on pals time for our picture", called out Tetley.

As we got settled ready to set off again. Allen said, "at least the path looks clearer ahead."

It wound through the bracken and rocky bumps to then cross a hollow, where it drifted left over Kilbert How. "We take that rising path going diagonally across the steep flanks", said Shaun. "But only for some 20 metres, then we have to climb directly up the steep hillside to the cairned bilberry-clad top above Smeathwaite.

"Seems the cairn has disappeared since the book was published", commented Little Eric as he looked about.

What we did do, was look in wonder again at the superb view of Ullswater. "Absolutely breathtaking", cried Grizzly.

Tearing his eyes from this Dad strode along the track leading us unerringly to the cairn on Bleaberry Knott, which marks the summit of Birk Fell.

"Two down", called out Shaun. "Picture time again."

Looking across the lake towards Glenridding, Grizzly said, the clouds are down on the mountains and those above the Hartsop valley."

Looking south across the fell, Tetley said, "we can see The Knight, backed by Place Fell, our next two summits."

Giving instructions Shaun said, "according to Birkett we follow the path round that boggy ground and cross an area of whaleback rocky knolls and grassy boggy hollows to find a path rising from Ullswater."

Descending to skirt the bog, the rocky knolls disappeared, but Dad kept on in the same direction and we came to the path from Ullswater. This was followed up to the col, to then strike left The Knight.

A thin path climbed to the narrow grassy rock edge, and cairn at the summit. It might not look it, but there was some ground behind the cairn!

"What now?", asked Little Eric.

"Back down to the col and then continue the ascent that will take us over a subsidiary ridge, to the summit of Place Fell."

There Little Eric said, "super that is another Wainwright I have ticked off."

The weather had been sunny to start, but now that low cloud had moved across from the Helvellyn Ridge, so the views were completely gone.

However of most importance was to sit on top of the trig point while Dad took our picture.

Two couples arrived and saw us, so Dad had to explain, and told them about our website.

They moved on, and then another couple arrived and seeing us, the lady who we were to find out was Adele Pennington, commented to her husband, "I am glad there are people as mad as me."

She told us, "I have a bear called Ted the Mountaineer, but he has not come with me today. He would have loved to have met STAG."

During the ensuing conversation, it came out that she had climbed Everest and Ted had been there too!! Wow we thought. Of course we will never be doing that, but nevertheless we are proud of our own achievements.

Dad asked, "would you mind taking my picture here with the Lads."

"Certainly", she replied.

While this was going on a family from Leighton Buzzard arrived, who were staying in Watermillock. Their son (Ted) was fascinated by us, and his Dad took his photo with us. He especially liked Little Eric. All in all it was a very lively time on Place Fell and we will remember this for a long time.

So with us finally tucked in the rucksack, and enveloped in mist, Shaun said, "we take that good path over Hart Crag.

This passed a little tarn in a hollow and then continued across the shoulder of Hart Crag, coming out of the low cloud as we descended. The path then led on to the col of Low Moss with High Dodd the next summit before us.

Just beyond the sheepfold the path divided.

"Which way?, said Little Eric.

Shaun replied, "we take the path right rising to the shoulder on the flank of High Dodd.

As Dad strode on, Shaun then said, "where the ascent levels and before descending we should bear left directly to the summit."

As can be seen there were more superb views over Ullswater.

From here we could see out last summit Sleet Fell, with Hallin Fell beyond.

Little Eric said, "do we follow that path going north."

"No lad", replied Dad. "it is best to descend east through the bracken to regain the main path, as I remember there are crags at the north end of High Dodd."

Joining the path again, Shaun said, "there is a divide and we take the path bearing left along the shoulder to the last summit Sleet Fell."

As we proceeded Tetley said, "the listing we have takes the large cairn beyond the ruined wall as the summit, but that is clearly not correct."

Dad was heading to the rise just before, but rereading the route and checking the map, Shaun said, "the summit is further back."

Dad consulted the map and said, "yes lad you are correct, as the spot height is actually nearer that cairn we passed a little way back."

Taking in the terrain and relating it to the map, Tetley said, "there is a loop of contour where those two humps are split by a depression and the spot height is on the one we had come to first in the direction we were walking."

Arriving Allen said, "so this must be the summit. Come on lads picture time."

Shaun, Tetley and Grizzly let out a cheer too. "Yippee", called out Tetley, "that's our 500th Birkett summit. Another milestone reached.

"Also", went on Shaun, "it marks the completion of all the fells in the Eastern Area defined by Bill Birkett."

As we walked on again, Dad said, "just to be on the safe side I will also take your picture at the last rise before the wall."

When we got home, Dad measured the spot height on the map using a ruler, and told us, "we were right in our map interpretation, and that first rise in the loop of the contour was the summit."

From the ruined wall, over which is the large cairn, a good path led down, steeply at times, to join the outward track at Sandwick.

We were the lucky ones being back at the car, as some of the people we had met on the descent still had to go on to Howtown to get the boat to Glenridding.

"Super day", cheered Tetley.

"Yes", agreed Little Eric, "especially as I bagged all the summits."

"Really interesting meeting those people on Place Fell, especially Adele and her husband", said Allen.

We were not so lucky going back along the narrow road to Martindale, meeting a few cars, but we passed each other safely.

"Refreshment time?", said Tetley.

"Yes lad, I plan to go to the Old School House at Tebay."

So Dad took a different route from Pooley Bridge, through Tirrel to the A6 and down this to Shap where he joined the M6 to the next junction.

Steve and Joanne were pleased to see Dad again. He had a delicious roast beef dinner followed by scone with jam a cream. Well he certainly deserved it.

Then suitably fortified Dad us home.

Thank you for another wonderful day!


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