Date & Time: Tuesday November 6th 2007. 12 noon start.

Location of Start : Wath Bridge, Cleator, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 031 144 )

Places visited (a): Wath Bridge, Flat Fell, Nannycatch Gate, Dent Fell, Black How and back.

Walk details : 5.5 mls, 1500 ft of ascent, 3 hrs 55 mins. Highest point : Dent Fell, 1160 ft ( 352m )

Weather : A fine sunny day to start, but grey skies clouded the end of the day.

Wath Bridge at the start of the walk.

Places visited (b): Cold Fell from Friar's Well cattle grid on the Cold Fell Road.

Walk details : 1.5 mls, 260 ft of ascent, 55 mins. Highest point : Cold Fell, 968 ft ( 293m )

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

 

 

It is always a pleasure to tread pastures new, especially when the destination has been on the 'must do' list for a long time.

A fine sunny day saw us heading west from home to Cleator Moor, turning down towards the delightful Wath Brow bridge which crosses the River Ehen. The walk is listed in Wainwright's Outlying Fells book, however despite being a sunny day, we did not see the "local residents disporting themselves on the banks and in the waters of the River Ehen", not today anyway !

   
A real stone bridge over the river.
An artificial stone chair overlooking the river bank.

From the bridge we set out on a delightful walk, which started with the easy but pleasant ascent of Flat Fell.

Nannycatch Road, before it turns into Nannycatch Lane, looking back at the town of Cleator Moor.

The delightfully named Kinniside Cop seen through an old gateway.

After the tarmac ends we continue a little further, then branch off up Flat Fell.

This is the view back towards Cleator Moor.

Unseen from the main road, there's a large open quarry close to the village of Rowrah.

It's history is probably based on Iron Ore but looks to be extracting stone nowadays.

What I do know is that the disused quarry over on the extreme right is probably the one that holds the Rowrah Go-carting Centre.

Ann at the summit cairn on Flat Fell.

It's not very large, but then you are looking at the high Fells behind anyway aren't you !

From the flat top of Flat Fell the path northward does get slightly steeper

then suddenly we are standing on the brink of a deep, hidden valley.

This is a large deep gash in the hillside with a diminutive Nannycatch Beck making it's way slowly through. This must be an ancient glacial overflow channel, now providing an impressive channel for the more modern stream.

The road across the top of the picture is the Cold Fell road over to Calder Bridge, Gosforth and the coast.

The joys of this walk continued to unfold as we dropped down to Nannycatch Gate below Raven Crag.

Nannycatch Gate.

With strong, low afternoon sunshine the dogs are beautifully spotlighted but the valley behind them is in shadow.

C to C is an indication of the Wainwright "Coast to Coast" route which passes this way.

Rather than climb directly onto Dent Fell, we stayed in the valley a while longer to enjoy the unexpected surroundings.

Autumn Fungus at the foot of a large Ash Tree.

This must be the photo that defines the best part of the day.

The sky above is blue, and this is Raven Crag as we walk along the hidden valley.

   
The C to C path seems well used here . . .
. . . but we leave it in favour of a steep ascent of Dent Fell
   

The valley was so gorgeous in it's Autumn mantle, that we carried on to experience it's sylvan beauty, then took an obvious but steep path to ascend the ridge above which would take us upwards to Dent Fell summit.

 

These diminutive toadstools were just two of many that we passed on the way up to the open fell.

More pleasant walking followed, with lovely views towards the high fells revealing themselves as we climbed.

This is Flat Fell which we had climbed earlier.

Westward we started to get views down the Irish Sea Coast - This is the view across to Sellafield.

   
A tall steep ladder stile to get over the deer fence
Harry insisted on climbing up to me. He had to be helped down !

For those sharp eyed amongst you, there is a great big hole in the fence next to the stile which the dogs (and sheep) could make use of without climbing.

The wire had obviously been cut and removed. There was also a recently cut padlock on the ground - all very strange.

Unfortunately the sun disappeared at this point but the darker, rain bearing clouds headed south, leaving us with the occasional sun
burst like this one over Beckermet. However it was kind enough to allow us a dry ascent from here to the summit.

The stile on the boundary fence of the forest section as we climbed Dent Fell.

From our elevated position, we now had a view of Scafell and Scafell Pikes as a grey silhouette in the distance.

Dent Fell summit.

Click here or on the photo for an wider annotated panorama.

We ate lunch at the larger cairn further along the top of Dent.

I was half expecting a round shelter but this cairn still retains it's rounded pile-of-stones shape. The Ordnance Survey notes this area as Long Barrow and if that is the case, this cairn could well go back thousands of years. This is similar to the one on Grasmoor that the National Park chap talked about recently, only the more exposed location and the higher number of walkers there had modified it to a series of hollow rounded wind shelters.

Leaving the top we head down towards Cleator.

Ann and the dogs wait as all the sheep decide to run across in front of them.

   
Beware - anything may happen
They've been thinning the trees to allow extra growth.
   
   
There's been much heavy machinery through here.
The sign as we make our way down to the road.

Black How Farm, and some old pig sties in what would have been the old farm yard.

   
Out in the fields - there were actually two fine pigs . . .
. . . who took an active interest in our passing.

Today's walk has been notable by being considerably more noisy than usual.

We left Cleator Moor and the sound of traffic, on Flat Fell we were entertained by the RAF, we were over flown by a large number of commercial aircraft, and back here in the valley we were within earshot of the road and the town again. Only in the valley behind Dent did we actually have the peace and quiet that we usually find on the high fells.

   
A fine old Beech Tree alongside the road back to Wath Bridge
Do you get the feeling we were being watched ?

 

As the dogs were a little dirty from their muddy trip down through the forest, we directed them across the shallow River Ehen.

They didn't need much encouragement to get in and enjoy the water.

Thanks to David Hall and Andrew Leaney for enticing us with their photos from this walk last April, and to Ian who suggested it to us long ago !

- - - o o o - - -

Three days earlier we also managed a quick evening walk up Cold Fell, another outlier just along the way.

Parking at Friar's Well cattle grid.

This short 260 ft climb up onto Cold Fell makes a great little dog walk and gives fine views east into the high fells.

This is Haycock in the cloud and Seatallan clear of cloud to the right.

The evening light gives the cloud a slight pink colouring.

Soon we were into a full blown westerly sunset as we reached the top of Cold Fell.

Sunbursts and dark shadowy streaks radiate from behind the cloud.

A wide view of the western seaboard sunset that night.

 

- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon G7 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . the unexpected pleasure of a hidden valley.

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Previous walk - 31st Oct 2007 Mellbreak with Simon and Beth

A previous time near here - 29th April 2007 Lank Rigg and Whoap on John's birthday