ASHSTEAD FELL, MABBIN CRAG & CASTLE FELL
from HUCK'S BRIDGE

 


Summary

Date - 15th April 2010 Distance - 5.75 miles
Ascent -
1800 ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Layby near Huck's Bridge (NY 552 038)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Ashstead Fell 1539 469 NY 5596 0280
Mabbin Crag 1581 482 NY 5652 0221
Castle Fell 1568 478 NY 4695 0210

 

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 2010. Reviewing this in 2021, we have decided to write an account, to revive memories of the day. This is largely due to Dad writing a precis of every walk when he records them on the spreadsheet.

 

Preface

Shaun had brought the tea.

"Lovely", cheered Allen, leaping up to to get the mugs. "I'm gasping....

"...for a cuppa", ended Tetley letting out a bellow of laughter. "You are are real tea belly just like Dad, pal."

Little Eric got the biscuit tin and with steaming mugs in paw, we tucked in.

"What a super day on Sunday, bagging all those Howgill tops", said Allen. "I have just two to go to catch up now."

"There is still the matter of the Whinfell Ridge, that only Shaun and Tetley have climbed", said Little Eric.

At that point Grizzly arrived. "I heard what you said, Little Eric. I have been talking with Dad and he told me that a walk has been arranged with Uncle Eric for Thursday. It will be to do some of the summits on that ridge."

"Shaun and I did the whole ridge returning through the Borrowdale valley. That was in February 2003", said Tetley.

"So Dad told me. However Dad and Uncle Eric think it will be too much to do them all in one day now, so it has been decided to split it into two walks. This one will be to Ashstead Fell, Mabbin Crag and Castle Fell, starting from near Hucks Bridge on the A6."

"That's fine", cheered Allen. "We have to remember that Uncle Eric is older than Dad and be considerate as to what he feels he can do on a given day."

"Can't wait to explore this area", called out Little Eric. "Roll on Thursday."

 

The Walk

We made sure to be up early. "I'll lend a paw making the picnic", said Little Eric to Grizzly.

"Thanks pal."

This done, Grizzly said, "Allen, let's get it stowed in your rucksack."

"Ok, coming."

We heard the boot slam shut as Dad completed loading his gear, so calling our goodbyes to Uncle Brian and our other Hug pals, dashed out to the car.

Shaun said, "we are driving to Uncle Eric's, where we will decamp to his car for the journey to the start."

This was north from Kendal on the A6 to a layby close to Huck's Bridge, above which towered our first objective Ashstead Fell.

The day was dry and sunny, but it clouded over later, and there was still a cold wind.

We snuggled in the rucksack, while Dad and Uncle Eric got ready.

Shaun said, "we walk back to the corner, and go through the gate."

Grizzly said, "at the corner was where The Leyland Clock once stood. It was a familiar and friendly sight to travellers along the A6 over Shap Fell for almost 50 years. When the M6 opened in October 1970 much to the traffic disappeared from the A6. In 1973 it was moved to the Kendal Brewery Arts Centre. At the present time it is undergoing restoration."

Through the gate we took the narrow path leading right that climbed steeply to the ridge. Uncle Eric be seen here striding out.

The reason that Uncle Eric had got ahead, was that Tetley had stopped our progress, saying, "that's a lovely view looking to Borrowdale Head with High House Bank to the right."

Allen added, "High House Bank is on The Crookdale Horseshoe that we did in March 2005, as part of the Outlying Fells challenge."

"We will have to do it again", piped up Little Eric, "if I am to complete that challenge."

At the ridge we continued left towards the summit. "We're here", called out Grizzly, seeing the tall square cairn.

Shaun said, "this is actually the lower summit, and more a view point, down to the A6 and Borrowdale Head with the Crookdale Fells right. The actual summit is further along the path."

So having taken in the views we walked on for just over 10 minutes until the path bisected a flat area with two small outcrops.

Tetley said, "these are the 'second and third' summits referred to by Wainwright in his book. They are of the same height, but the Ordnance Survey map marks the northerly one with the spot height."

"Yippee", cheered Allen. "That's one down. Come on pals time for our picture."

"Thank you for your patience Uncle Eric, while we have our picture taken", said Little Eric.

"That's all right lads. It's nice to have a breather."

Onwards the path led on down and then up a separate top. "Is this Mabbin Crag?", asked Allen.

"No pal", replied Shaun. "This is not considered to be a summit as the map does not credit it with a name or a height."

Uncle Eric said, "that small rocky face below will be a good place to sit and have our lunch."

"Good idea", said Tetley. "There will be no doubt that Allen is hungry."

"I am", he replied.

A perfect place to stop with the fine view of the Lakeland Fells. We could see the Coniston range, Great Gable and those above Long Longsleddale, amongst others.

Setting off again, there was a steep rocky descent for a short period towards a col.

"What a superb view east of the Borrowdale valley and the Howgill Fells beyond", said Grizzly.

"Breathtaking", cried Allen. "What a wonderful life I have doing all these walks and seeing such beautiful scenery."

We crossed the wall at the col, from where we made the steady ascent between forestry, stopping for a breather and looking back.

"Ashstead Fell is to the left and in the centre the unnamed summit where we had lunch", said Shaun.

Clear of the forest the path swung right and about 10 minutes later we reached the summit of Mabbin Crag.

"Two down", called out Grizzly.

We quickly scrambled out and gathered on the stylish cairn of large stones, as Dad lined up the shot.

This done we headed down soon passing this stone building. "An old shepherd's bothy I assume", said Tetley.

Continuing we pushed through the trees and crossed over boggy ground, to climb the stile in a fence, and then a ladderstile over a wall.

The path led up by the wall, Shaun saying, "if we were to keep on this it would take us to Whinfell Beacon."

Tetley said, "we're not going that far today, instead we now need to cut left to our final objective today, the rounded hump of Castle Fell."

The ascent was quickly accomplished, and we leapt out for our summit picture. "There have been big cairns today", remarked Little Eric.

Super", cheered Allen. "That's part of the catch-up done for Grizzly, Little Eric and I, of this ridge."

Now we were faced with the steep and rough descent to the floor of Borrowdale valley.

"We first cross the rough ground back to the wall below Mabbin Crag", said Shaun.

"The next section looks to be very steep for a while", commented Allen, looking at the map.

It was, as we dropped down first with the wall to our left, then crossing to continue by it on the right. Then, crossing the wall again, we headed down to pass through a gateless gap in the fence, and so to the valley floor.

"We have to go left now eventually nearly to the footbridge", advised Shaun.

This involved walking over rough ground to an old sheepfold, and on to the next wall, where the after a final descent, we came beside the beck, and to a gate on to the reinforced track on the left of the beck.

"I'm glad to be down", said Uncle Eric, "and on a decent track."

"Quite", agreed Dad. "The hard part is well and truly over."

As we strolled along the track, Grizzly said, "look how the rock had been worn smooth by the water."

Allen pointed, "those rounded boulders with the pinkish tinge are Shap Granite."

The track, fairly level, led us back to the start.

Not far from the end, Dad could not resist taking this of a cute lamb. "Aww", said Little Eric.

"Thank you for repeating the summits, Dad and Uncle Eric", said Allen.

"An interesting day, lads", replied Uncle Eric. "Seven years since we were last here, so it was nice to refresh the route. To be honest I did not remember much of it."

"No, neither did I", said Dad.

Uncle Eric drove home, where we went in with Dad, while he had a a few cups of tea and biscuits at the Empsom Tearooms!

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