Date - 4th October 2015 Distance - 4.5 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL41
Start point - Roadside parking opposite Well Brook Farm (SD 58339 58518)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Hawthornthwaite Fell Top 1572 479 SD 5806 5150



It was Friday and all was well, with cakes and steaming mugs in paw.

"The peach and apricot slice is delicious, Grizzly", said Tetley.

"As is the flapjack, Little Eric", went on Southey, taking another piece from the tin.

"Dad and Uncle Brian return home from Armathwaite Hall today. I am sure that they and Fletcher Polly and pals will have had a good time as always", Allen remarked.

"Of that there is no doubt", agreed Shaun. "It will be two weeks since we walked, so let's hope that Dad feels refreshed to take us out this weekend", he went on.

"The last one quite and epic, taking in Ward's Stone, Wolfhole Crag and Brennand Great Hill. It effectively clears the way to complete the Bowland challenge", said Tetley.

"And it meant that Allen, Grizzly, Southey and I, finally caught up with you and Shaun", said Little Eric.

"So, what are the weather prospects?", asked Southey.

Grabbing the iPad, Allen quickly navigated to the Met Office page for Slaidburn. "Both days are OK but I guess that Dad will prefer to go on Sunday, to give him a day to get sorted after the holiday."

"Right then, we need a plan", said Grizzly.

"It has got to be Hawthornthwaite Fell, don't you think", replied Shaun.

"Hmm, but that is in the middle of a long ridge, with lots of peat hags and bog", replied Little Eric.

"I know, but I have been looking at the map, and there is a way that we can just do that summit. It will be a there and back walk, but seems the most logical way", said Shaun. "Get the map and I will show you."

Tetley went off and soon OL41 was spread out. Shaun pointed out the summit then said, "if we start from Well Brook, we can take this grouse track that ascends Thorn Hill and Stables Breast by the grouse butts. Then we will have to strike on across the fell to the summit."

"Looks good to me, if rather steep", said Tetley. "All we have to see is if Dad agrees."

Later in the evening Allen went to tell Dad our suggestion. He came back with a smile on his face. "Dad agrees the route, and it will be Sunday when we go."

"Great", cheered Little Eric and Southey.


The Walk

Not being a long walk, nor very far to the start, we did not have to be up at the crack of dawn, instead setting off around 10:30. The day was mostly cloudy but very still and quite mild after a chilly start.

As we drove over the tops past Jubilee Tower, Grizzly called out, "there's Ward's Stone where we were two weeks ago. A clear view too, not lost in the mist as we were that day."

Soon the high ridge of Hawthornthwaite Fell came into view and we could see plumes of smoke rising from different parts. "What's going on?", queried Little Eric.

"Controlled burning of the heather", replied Tetley. "It is common at this time of year once the flowering is over."

"Where are we going to park?", said Southey.

"The start is on the road that we walked down on the adventure round the Abbeystead area, back in April. If I remember correctly there is a small parking area opposite Well Brook Farm", replied Dad.

It was not long before Dad was turning right off the main Trough road and Allen called out, "you were right Dad, there's the parking area.".

While Dad got his boots on, we quickly settled in his rucksack. This shouldered he said, "right off we go. It's good to be out walking again."

"Absolutely", agreed Shaun.

Left along the road, bridges took us over the Marshaw Wyre and Bull Beck, bringing us shortly a surfaced track on the left. Our objective rises behind where clearly can be seen the plumes of smoke from the controlled heather burning.

"That's our route", instructed Shaun

"But the gate is marked private", responded Little Eric.

"I reckon that is a hark back to the days before the CRoW act", replied Dad. "After the next gate it is all open access now."

So Dad strode off, gaining the access land just a few minutes later. The track swung right in a wide circle crossing a line of grouse butts, and passing a cluster of land rovers parked by the track...

...their owners spread about the fell with their rubber bladed beaters to control the burning.

Walking on we passed one gentleman, near the track who Dad got into conversation with. Well he would, of course.

"What exactly is the purpose of the burning?", Dad asked.

"To burn off the taller areas of heather", he replied. "Then the shorter areas grow on and the burnt areas regenerate. It creates what I term as a patchwork effect, or mosaic as is the current buzz word."

This made Dad smile and laugh.

"I am from Penrith, and the reference to Havenet Fell had me confused, until it was explained this is the local name for Hawthornthwaite Fell."

"We are destined for the summit and there is some steep ascent to gain the ridge", Dad said.

"Aye, they refer to the track as Heartbreak Hill", was his reply.

So saying goodbye we strolled on, the gradient soon steepening and then becoming exceedingly steep as it continued to zig-zag up the fell.

"The gentleman was certainly right about the name", said Southey with sympathy in his voice.

"Aye lad", puffed Dad, stopping to catch his breath.

Passing more grouse butts the last one was reached marking the end of the surfaced track.

We looked round, Shaun pointing left and saying. "there is a cart track that continues upwards."

For a short way the gradient was still steep, but then it levelled off and meandered on, leading to a gate in a fence.

Beyond through a landscape of peat hags, and indistinct at times, this led another fence.

"We should follow the fence right", said Shaun.

Little Eric was looking at the map, and said, "as we know the trig point is not at the highest point, the actual summit being on the far side of the fence."

Allen had is eye on the GPS and added, "it looks like it is that rise ahead on the left."

Reaching this the GPS reading confirmed Allen's assertion. Dad was soon over the fence and then it was just a few yards up the rise to the summit marked by two stones.

"Yippee", cried Grizzly. "That's another ticked off."

"Come on pals", called out Southey, "picture time."

The top of the fell is wide and flat with no real interesting features. However we had read that the trig point, which is at a height just one metre lower, was fallen on its side, so we had to go and see this.

"It is further on", said Shaun.

Keeping by the fence Dad strode on to a kissing gate we could see in it ahead. Reaching this Dad said, "where's the trig point."

"Just back there on the other side of the fence", pointed out Tetley.

"So it is", replied Dad. "I was distracted getting past that rather boggy area, and did not notice".

It lies forlornly on its side. The amount of foundation is twice the height of the column, so the erosion here has been extreme.

"Please take our picture Dad, as it will be quite unique sitting on the side rather than the top", said Allen.

"In all our walks", said Shaun, "we have never seen the like."

Settled again, Dad headed back by the fence. "I hope we can find the path OK", said Southey worriedly, "It was very indistinct on the last section to this fence.

"Don't worry pal", replied Tetley. "I made a mental note of the landscape and there is a gap with two humps that marks the route to the gate."

Soon we were at the gate, and then down again to the surfaced track and looking down to the valley. "Look", said Tetley. "The sunlight is catching highlighting the house at Marshaw Farm."

Faced with the extremely steep descent of the track. Allen commented, "there seem to be narrow paths through the heather, which will cut off the loops."

"Aye lad, they will save us a bit of time too", agreed Dad.

The heather burning was still under way, and Dad snapped this shot of one of the men silhouetted against the sky, as he made his way to another area.

Back at the car, Grizzly echoed all our thoughts saying, "thanks Dad as always for taking us."

"You're welcome lads. It's good to have got that one finally out of the way."


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