MELLOR KNOLL, TOTRIDGE FELL & HAREDEN VALLEY

 


Summary

Date - 13th September 2015 Distance - 5.75 miles
Ascent -
1580ft
Map - OL41 Start point - Small parking area above Langden Brook (SD 64728 50518)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Mellor Knoll 1128 344 SD 6475 4952
Totridge Fell 1628 496 SD 6347 4873

 

Preface

Allen and Southey were huddled over the laptop. "What are you looking at?", queried Tetley, as he strolled into the room.

"The pictures Dad took on that interesting walk yesterday with Uncle Eric from Carnforth", replied Allen.

"Some good ones as usual, and enough to make a story". went on Southey.

"Hmm", agreed Tetley, looking over their shoulders. "We learnt quite a lot about the industrial past of Carnforth, connected with the iron works."

As he said this, Shaun Grizzly and Little Eric arrived.

"Ooh tea", cried Allen.

"Cakes", called out Southey, as they went off to get the mugs and plates.

"You two", laughed Grizzly. "Cake stuffer and tea belly, just like Dad."

Before Tetley could ask, Little Eric said, "Grizzly has made fruit scones and there is butter and raspberry jam. I have done mincemeat slice, as we have not had that for a while."

"Scrumptious", said Southey, who having passed the plates round, helped himself.

"Thanks for helping fill the mugs", said Shaun.

"You're welcome pal", replied Tetley.

"The cakes are delicious pals", said Southey. "Thanks as always for making them."

"I wonder if we will get to walk this weekend?", mused Little Eric.

Scooping up the iPad, Allen quickly navigated to the diary saying, "it will have to be Sunday, as Dad is at the Lifeboat shop on Saturday. Then after a few more taps, "the weather is set fair, it will be down to Dad to decide."

"Well whatever, we need to come up with a plan", stated Grizzly.

"It's got to be Totridge, don't you think?", suggested Shaun. "We have done all the summits near Dunsop Bridge to the east of the main road, so now we can look west, across the Langden Brook."

"I agree", responded Tetley, over murmurs of assent from the rest of us.

"The walk will also take in Mellor Knoll", said Allen, "and the start will be where we parked on the last walk to Middle Knoll."

The map was got out and we soon worked out a route, that was highlighted. "The tough parts will be the steep ascent of Totridge and the descent over the trackless ground on the far side to the track through the Hareden Valley", commented Tetley.

"Well Dad has coped with lots of that in the Lake District, so we should be fine", replied Grizzly.

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

"Oh I hope Dad will agree", said Little Eric, worriedly. "He has had a busy time lately and I would not blame him if he wanted a rest."

There was an anxious wait, before Allen returned. "Dad was on the phone", he said in explanation. "The walks on. Dad agrees it is time to get these two summits ticked off once and for all."

"Hooray", cheered Shaun.

 

The Walk

We woke up to a quite perfect day that was to be dry throughout with sunny periods and light winds.

"I guess it will be shorts today?", said Tetley.

"Yes lad", Dad replied.

The route had become very familiar, via Quernmore, and up past Jubilee Tower, to eventually come to the narrow road through the Trough where the hillsides close in on either side, and so to the parking area that we had used twice before above Langden Brook.

As Dad got ready, our eyes at last were focused across the beck to Mellor Knoll rising before us and over topped behind by Totridge. "Ooh", cried Southey, "I can't wait to get to the summits."

"I'm nearly ready so get settled in the rucksack , so we can get going", instructed Dad.

So off we went Dad striding along the road in the direction we had come. Shaun said, "we take the access road to Hareden Farm via the bridge over the brook."

At the farm, Shaun then said, "the track continues up the valley, which will be our return route. To get to Mellor Knoll however, we go left, either through that gate or over the ladderstile, by the signpost.

There was no real path as we climbed initially so Dad just kept in the general direction. Sheep were grazing and mischievously, Southey whispered, "they are posing for a picture Dad."

"Oh nooo.." huffed Allen, "no sheep picture free story again."

And then to further add to Allen's chagrin, just a minute later Dad snapped this further shot.

"Oh, I give up!", he said despairingly

By a plantation the route was through a gate, beyond which a track emerged for a little way. There were cows ahead so Dad said, "to keep away from them let's cross right and walk by that wall."

As we climbed on Mellor Knoll now dominated the view.

A gate and ladderstile can be seen ahead the path continuing across the slopes of the hill. "It will be a case of finding a convenient line of ascent to the summit, once past the gate", advised Shaun.

It was not long after the gate that Grizzly called out, "that looks to be a path up the hill."

The ascent was easy and in less than ten minutes, the cairn marking the summit was reached.

"Come on", shouted Southey, "it's picture time"

So we quickly scrambled out, Shaun perching on the top stone.

Then we looked around, at the extensive views.

Tetley pointed saying, "that's Staple Oak Fell with Whins Brow behind that we climbed three weeks ago."

"Lovely with the purple of the heather", replied Shaun, who then drew our attention south. "there's the road leading to the Trough itself and the fell in the centre is Blaze Moss, on the list to to bag."

Being practical, Little Eric said, "yes wonderful, but really we need to focus our attention west to Totridge."

"Hmm", mused Southey, "that looks steep."

"Yes lad, but it makes the fell worthy of the Lake District", responded Dad.

So to be clear said Shaun, "we have to descend to the wall on the far right, and then climb by it on the its far side until it turns away left, where we will keep on up the zig-zag path to the level ground and on to the summit."

"Yes lad", that's it in a nutshell", agreed Dad.

"Right come on pals, let's get settled in the rucksack", encouraged Little Eric.

Retracing the ascent we were soon at the track and heading to the gate we had come through.

"To save a bit of distance we might as well descend the rough ground to that gate below", suggested Tetley.

"Yes, good idea", agreed Dad.

Southey was looking at the map and said, "are you sure that the ascent is on the far side of the wall, as it is a but hard to see on the map."

"Yes pal, I'm sure", replied Shaun, it being born out by the waymarked post once through the gate.

So best foot forward Dad tramped the rough ground that soon became steep as the ascent began to bite. Now a fence to the right we reached a cross fence with a stile.

Allen remarked, "that is nice view looking back to Mellor Knoll."

"So it is", replied Dad. "Give me a breather too while I take a picture."

Now again with a wall to our left, Dad climbed on until this turned away, to then keep ahead on the still steep narrow path.

"That group of ewe and lambs is begging to be photographed", prompted Southey in a mischievous voice.

"No they are not", replied Allen firmly, but nevertheless with resignation in his voice as Dad hauled the camera out of the bag.

Soon the path now zig-zagged across the face of the fell the gradient easing as level ground with peat hags was reached. A path led across, this towards the trig point at the summit.

You will note that a plaque is attached and here is a close-up.

Bill Smith was a fell runner and author on the sport, his achievements in breaking records for the number of peaks scaled within 24 hours, contributions to fell-running events and the documenting its history, earned him the accolade of "legend" upon his accidental death in 2011.
On 10 September 2011, he travelled from Ormskirk to Preston by rail, but never made the return trip. On 25 September, race onlookers and participants became concerned when he did not appear at the rendezvous point for the Thieveley Pike race near Burnley, where he was expected to serve as a marshal.
His body was discovered by a walker in a remote location outside the range of mobile phone signals and from which, it took several hours of hiking to raise the alarm. The remains were recovered by the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team in a five-hour extraction that required a helicopter. His identity was confirmed by the return ticket in Smith's pocket. He had fallen on Saddle Fell and become submerged in a peat bog.
This information is from the Wikipedia page, click the link to find out much more about his career. Bill Smith

"It's calm enough to sit on top for our picture", cheered Southey as we scrambled out of Dad's rucksack.

"Time for a sandwich, don't you think Dad", said Allen, rubbing his tummy.

"Good idea", he agreed.

As we sat munching away we took in the extensive views all round, to fells we had already climbed, and over to Hareden Fell purple with the heather.

Just as we were getting ready to leave a gentleman arrived, so Dad had a chat. He was from Derbyshire and like us Bowland was a new area of exploration. Dad mentioned Matt O'Brien's website for suggestions of routes and he said he would look it up.

"OK", said Southey, "where now."

Shaun pointed saying, "we have to head north-west, and make a trackless descent, the aim being to get to that distant track in the Hareden Valley."

As Dad strode off, Little Eric said, "how beautiful the landscape looks under its purple cloak of heather."

"Heavenly", agreed Tetley.

Dad picked his way carefully over the heather, grass and bracken, and climbing two fences, to come beside Hareden Brook.

"Hmm", said Grizzly. "This looks as though it might be a bit tricky."

Dad looked about in either direction, then pointing said, "that looks to be a likely crossing. Just a case of being careful not to slip on wet rocks and keep my balance. My stick would have been handy here, but instead it's in the boot of the car."

Well as we knew Dad is sure-footed and the crossing was made without incident, this shot being taken after we were safely over.

To reach the surfaced track Dad was now faced with a near vertical scramble up the bank and over another fence.

This done Allen said, "great, now it is just plain sailing along the track."

"What is that old building that seemingly has no access?", asked Southey.

"It was once a shooting lodge, used for grouse shoots, according to the map", replied Shaun.

Dad put best foot forward and strode the track through the lonely Hareden Valley. This led to the gate on the left, then looped back and descended and then continued below the slopes of Hareden Nab to the left.

Eventually we reached this house and water intake. An United Utilities information board told us that it was built in 1871 to take water from the Hareden Brook for the people of Lancashire. In all there are now six intakes in this part of the Forest of Bowland giving 110 million litres of drinking water every day.

Soon we reached Hareden Farm, and the stile we had taken at the start of the walk towards Mellor Knoll. The farmer was by the buildings and Dad chatted, telling him how much we are enjoying exploring Bowland. Amongst other things he told us that when the Hodder Show is held at Dunsop Bridge, the fell race is over Mellor Knoll and Totridge. He also told about Bill Smith's death, and how lonely and dangerous it can be out on these fells. It made us glad that our Dad is so experienced, and that he and us treat the fells with the respect they deserve.

"Time for some refreshment, Dad?", asked Tetley.

"Aye lad, I'm going to the tea van at the entrance to the Langden Valley."

Here he had a delicious bacon and sausage bap and a welcome mug of tea. It is very popular with car drivers and many of the motorcyclists riding through the Trough. Being sociable Dad chatted with the owners about walking. They told his some tales of people getting completely lost and ending up miles from their cars and having to run them back. One was 12 miles to Chipping, and another was even more complicated as the owner could not remember exactly where they had left their car. It just goes to show how necessary it is to be properly equipped with a map compass and GPS, the latter not being on a mobile phone, as that is useless if there is no signal, which has often been the case in our experience.

They get the Mountain Rescue guys coming for food etc., and so they collect for them. Dad's change went in the tin. On a visit to a team in the Lakes, they were told a story of a man asking for a helicopter to bring a cup of hot chocolate to his wife who was fatigued!!! You can guess the response he got.

As Dad drove us home, Allen said, "thanks Dad as always for another super day."

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