MIDDLE KNOLL & DUNSOP VALLEY

 


Summary

Date - 6th September 2015 Distance - 7 miles
Ascent -
1000ft
Map - OL41 Start point - Small parking area above Langden Brook (SD 64728 50518)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Middle Knoll 1296 395 SD 6541 5432

 

Preface

Tea and cakes had arrived, and Allen was helping Shaun fill the mugs.

Southey asked, "what are the cakes, Grizzly."

It has been a joint effort between Little Eric and I, making a choice of scones. There is either sultana or cherry & ginger."

"With butter and raspberry jam too of course", went on Little Eric.

"Mmm, lovely", said Tetley, helping himself. Then taking a bite, he said, "they are delicious. Thanks pals."

Inevitably our thoughts turned to walks, Southey saying, "The last two adventures have well and truly got most of the central area of the Bowland Fells to the east done."

"There is just Middle Knoll left", said Tetley. "How about we make that the subject of our next walk?"

Shaun had picked up the iPad, and checking the diary said, "Dad is not at the Lifeboat shop this coming weekend. so there are two possible days we could do that." Then after few taps on the screen, he stated, "Sunday looks to be the best day."

"Right", said Allen, draining his mug, "I'll go and see what Dad thinks."

"We'll refill your mug", called out Tetley, as Allen ran out of the room.

"Thanks pal", he called.

It was not many minutes before Allen returned, "Dad is happy with our idea. So, roll on Sunday", he cried.

"Yippee", shouted Little Eric.

 

The Walk

On a glorious morning with virtually cloudless skies, and in the heart of the Forest of Bowland, we parked once again above Langden Brook, that was deep blue under the sky.

Settled in Dad's rucksack that Dad then shouldered, Shaun said, "we walk the short way along the road towards Dunsop Bridge and go through the signposted gate on the left."

We should explain that our summit objective, Middle Knoll, is situated at the top of the Dunsop Valley. We had walked this just two weeks ago to complete the circle on our expedition to summit Staple Oak Fell and Whins Brow, so this part of the route today was familiar.

From the gate two pastures were crossed via a stile to reach the valley road by Closes Barn, to turn left and walk the beautiful way up the Dunsop Valley. The road is quiet, as it is private, and only traffic to the houses and farms as well as United Utilities for the water installations, is allowed. Only one car passed us.

"Oh this is just lovely", said Grizzly. "Such a joy on this beautiful morning."

"Although it is now officially autumn, we are ironically getting belatedly a touch of summer", responded Shaun.

"The trees are still green, but that one is just beginning to show signs of autumn colours", pointed out Southey.

The lush green and wooded valley stretched ahead, with for most of the time our objective the large rounded hump of Middle Knoll dominating the view ahead.

After about 2 miles, the valley opened out revealing fully Middle Knoll, behind the waterworks installations.

"Phew", said Little Eric, "whatever way we attempt to climb it looks steep."

"True", agreed Tetley, "it reminds me of Simon's Seat in the Howgills."

"Gosh yes, you are right", replied Dad. "That was indeed one Howgill fell both Uncle Eric and I were glad to get out of the way."

The road now climbed coming to a junction. "Last time we came to this point from the Brennand Valley, but today we go right", instructed Shaun, the sign stating that it ultimately led to Whitendale.

At the first corner there was a mirror to help prevent traffic collisions, and Dad could not help doing a kind of selfie. Like us he is not camera shy!

Quite gently the road ascended across the lower slopes of Middle Knoll. Beside it some sheep were grazing, and Allen said resignedly, "oh well, that's the end of this story being sheep picture free.

When Dad got to typing the story, Tetley said, "He got two good pictures, I can't decide which one should be included"

"Oh what the heck, put both in", responded Allen.

Middle Knoll is divided by a wall, only the NE part being access land. So we walked on until we reached it and then turned up the fell with the wall to our left.

This is another hill that is not very frequented, so Dad was faced with a steep and pathless climb over rough heather, bracken and bilberry. Finally, the gradient levelled as the wall turned right at a corner. Over it and about 75 yards to the left we could see the summit cairn.

"According to Matt O'Brien there is a stile over the wall", said Grizzly.

We looked about and further along to the right, Allen saying, "I don't see one."

"Well, there is no point going off in that direction," said Dad. "I'll just have to utilise my wall climbing skills."

This was surmounted in short order and minutes later we were at the cairn, jumping out and settling for our usual picture.

"Wow", said Southey, "what wonderful views , especially of the swathes of purple heather on the hillsides."

"That is Burn Fell, where we were last week", said Shaun looking up from the map.

"Time for lunch?", suggested Allen.

"Yes lad, reward for reaching the summit eh", agreed Dad.

As we sat eating our sandwiches, while admiring the wonderful views, it was so quiet and peaceful.

"Heaven", breathed Southey.

For once Dad could get a mobile signal, so before setting off again he phoned Uncle Brian to see that he was OK.

"I don't know that you will agree Dad, but perhaps for the descent it will be as well to stay on this side of the wall", suggested Shaun.

Dad looked at the map, and commented. "it is a bit steeper, but that means we will get down quicker, so I agree."

Near the bottom a fence blocked our way, but Grizzly was quick to say, "if we cut across right there is a gate through it."

Then beyond it was then just a short way to the road, turning right to walk to the junction.

Just before we were stopped in our tracks by this wonderful view of the Brennand Valley with its two farms.

Just above the junction, where the couple in the picture are standing is a strategically placed seat, that commands the views in either direction. "Let's sit a few minutes to enjoy the views", suggested Little Eric.

As we sat, Dad commented, "this is very good for the soul."

Will you take our picture sitting on the seat?", asked Tetley.

"Of course."

As can be seen the seat is dedicated to the memory of Jack Walker of Brennand Farm, 1931-2013. How many times must he have seen the wonderful views, and in so many different conditions?

The road in the Dunsop Valley is level and so very popular for walkers and people just out for a stroll. So it was not surprising that we saw a number of people on our return down the valley.

Nearing Closes Barn, Shaun pointed saying, "those hills are Mellor Knoll and Totridge, our next challenge I suppose?"

"Yes lad", responded Dad.

After crossing the fields again, and back on the road, we saw that a small area had been marked for repair. Bearing in mind the state of the surface, the words seemed to be superfluous. "What is needed", said Allen, "is some action to get the job done."

"Quite", agreed Tetley.

Just a few yards then to the parking area and Dad's car.

"Where now?", asked Tetley. "Refreshments?"

Yes lad, but Dunsop Bridge Village Hall is closed, so it just has to be Elaine's. Being such a lovely day the tearooms were mad busy all the tables outside being taken, so everyone who was on, Elaine, Hannah R, Kelly, Laura & Nicola were rushed off their feet. Dad was content to sit inside, to have a pot of tea and delicious piece of cake.

As we drove home, Tetley said, "thanks for a nice walk Dad."

"You're welcome, lads.

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