Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Loweswater Fells

“The lesser heights and foothills of Lakeland, especially those on the fringe, are too much neglected in favour of the greater mountains, yet many of these unsought and unfashionable little hills are completely charming.”

I have walked over and stood on many of these “lesser heights and foothills” in the past few years and Alfred Wainwright’s introduction to Low Fell describes them perfectly.  The terrain is generally quite benign but the views, stood apart from the clustered higher fells, are often superb.

Easy lanes led to the slopes of Darling Fell followed by the crossing of Crabtree Beck to the Wainwright summit of Low Fell.  The cairned viewpoint a short way to the south leads the eye past water and mere to the heart of the high western fells.

Buttermere valley from Low Fell

Low Fell is one of those fells of which Wainwright’s summit differs from the true highpoint.  He obviously picks a point that he thinks has more merit due to view or terrain, and I wonder how many walkers miss their tick because of an alternate summit.  Mellbreak and Whiteside are two more examples.

This ridge’s second Wainwright of Fellbarrow is easily reached by strolling over the Birkett tops of Sourfoot Fell and Smithy Fell.  The descent off Mosser Fell needs care to avoid a mauling by the gorse and lower down has some boggier ground to negotiate.

Knock Murton is another fell, neither a Wainwright nor an Outlying Fell, which offers an easy walk with superb views as a reward.  Such was the clarity of the air, details could be picked out on Criffel over the Solway and individual tops on the Isle of Man’s North Barrule ridge could be picked out.

Isle of Man from Knock Murton