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" Muncaster Fell with Neil "
Date & start time: Saturday 22nd March 2014, 11 am start.
Location of Start : Muncaster Mill Station, Ravenglass, Cumbria, Uk ( SD 095 976 )
Places visited : Muncaster Mill, the Tarn, Hooker Crags, Ross's Camp, Irton Road Station.
Walk details : 5 mls (8 with the train ride), 1250 ft of ascent, 3 hours 45 min walk.
Highest point : Hooker Crags, Muncaster fell, 750 ft - 231m.
Walked with : Neil, Ann and our dog, Harry.
Weather : Variable, a cool breeze, warm in the sun with just one quick shower.
I sometimes start these walk reports with a view of Great Gable from our cottage.
I tried as usual but the picture below was the result today !
So this poor weather in the Central fells encouraged us west to look for something a little lower yet still interesting.
The forecast was for low cloud (true) wintery showers (true)
and an occasional sunny spell in a day of changeable weather (true again).
Overnight snow had settled on Hen Comb but there's that ominous grey cloud behind.
- - - o o o - - -
Neil has joined us today for a walk . . . he didn't fancy the potentially poor conditions and had never traversed Muncaster Fell
so we loaded people, gear and dog into one car and headed round toward Ravenglass.
Starting point Muncaster Mill
but we'll not take the train . . . we'll defer that pleasure till our return trip from the other end of the fell.
The weather here on the west Cumbrian coast is much better.
The sunshine is making the daffodils stand out against the more wintry background.
A gentle breeze here in the woodland made the flowers sway if not actually dance.
From the station car park we would head directly uphill on the woodland track towards Muncaster Castle.
There has been a considerable effort made to cut back these non-native trees as they overpower the local flora and woodland.
The area is much clearer but some stands of uncleared trees survive and are in bloom with light pink flowers.
Walking the forest track in the Muncaster Woods.
A short driveway from the wonderfully named Branken Wall Farm across to the main road.
No tarmac for us today however as the unmade "Fell Lane" leads up the hill directly from the road junction.
Yoadcastle seen through a gateway part way up the lane.
From the top of the rise we get a view down to the coast.
The estuary combines the three rivers of the Esk, Mite and Irt before they flow into the Irish Sea.
Ann and Neil at the log piles at Muncaster Tarn.
By the look of the green growth on the logs, they are same ones that we saw here several years back . . . does no-one want to use them ?
Last time we were here, Harry had a swim in the lake and got rather tied up in the water lilies.
No such problem today . . . the winter temperatures are not encouraging anything like the same amount of growth.
As we walked past the lake a large buzzard flew out of the tree and crossed the lake.
Hold your cursor over the picture to see a closer view . . . apologies for the poor image due to the low light.
After leaving the woods the distant summit comes into view
and we take the slightly damp path heading up the open fell.
Looking back at our climb so far.
The Muncaster Tarn can be seen in the woodland below.
A fine granite trig point at the top
but with the exposed summit came a keen wind . . . along with a brief rain shower.
. . . hence the well wrapped-up Neil.
There's a fine view today despite the low cloud on the fells.
As we walk on across the undulating countryside the sun came out again.
This was the view down to Crag Farm and across to Santon Bridge.
The River Mite climbs towards cloud covered Scafell via the remote Miterdale Valley.
At the head of the valley is Burnmoor Tarn but the large lake drains south to Eskdale and not out via this valley.
Bowfell and Crinkle Crags are in cloud but the road over Hardknott Pass can just be made out.
With clearer weather we would have been able to see Hardknott Roman Fort on the fellside below the pass.
A short time later the clouds are starting to lift.
The craggy outline of Green Crag re-emerges from the gloom and we start to see some snow on the high fells.
It was approaching lunchtime as we reached Ross's Camp . . . how convenient !
This apparently ancient stone tumulus is not quite as old as it looks.
It was thought to be erected by Muncaster Castle staff to act as a lunchtime table for shooting parties.
Today it will be our lunch table.
The skies behind the stone seem to have a split personality.
To the left a rain shower . . . to the right sunshine and blue skies.
The table at Ross's Camp also works as a chair too !
Ann and Neil look out on the sunshine that bathes the slopes of Whin Rigg and the Wasdale Screes.
All smiles . . . but don't look behind Ann !
Fortunately the rain stayed away and the sunshine continued to improve as we headed further along the fell.
The path became a little lost in the marshy ground !
Looking back from the last of the high ground.
We had traversed directly down from the high ground at Ross's Camp . . . the main path it seems took a more right hand route than ours.
The cloud cover is lifting to reveal a dusting of snow on the summit of Harter Fell.
As we head down the end of Muncaster Fell we can see the houses of Eskdale Green ahead.
The brown vegetation has a touch of spring-yellow on the bushes.
Bright flowers on the gorse plant but it is lacking the warm coconut smell of summer.
A repaired surface on the bridleway stops short of the gate by 10 feet.
Typical . . . you just can't find a large bag of chippings when you need one.
Forest How offers "Quality accommodation with outstanding views"
The garden is good too . . . as we walk the bridleway through the grounds.
Ann stops to say hello.
Today's walk ends for us at Irton Road Station.
The down-train from Dalegarth is due in about quarter of an hour and it will take us back the easy way to Muncaster Mill.
Time to chill out in the waiting room.
Plenty of time to read the information board . . . hope you have time to read it too (that will save me a lot of typing).
The Iron Way.
Time to get out of the way as the 15.08 approaches.
Our train was pulled by diesel today but the up-train is steam hauled in the classic style.
Neil watches as "The River Mite" passes through the station.
Click to start the two minute video . . . and then sit back and enjoy the ride home.
( Click on the YouTube full-screen icon to see a larger version of the video )
Back on solid ground at Muncaster Mill.
There's a whole thirty yards to walk to the car.
- - - o o o - - -
As we were so close we decided to drive the last mile down to Ravenglass to visit the village, perchance a cup of tea and scones,
and to follow the signs to find the remains of the Roman Bath House at Ravenglass Roman Fort.
Where the narrow gauge meets the main line.
There's lots of winter maintenance going on in the yard this year.
- - - o o o - - -
We parked in the main car park and crossed the bridge . . . heading for . . .
Little remains for the public to see of the fort itself
but the red arrow at the bottom corner points to an interesting relic of Roman times.
" You are here " after a third of a mile walk along the road.
The remains of the bath house of Ravenglass Roman fort, established in AD 130,
are among the tallest Roman structures surviving in northern Britain. The walls stand almost 4 metres (13 feet) high.
Neil, standing a mere six feet or so, adds scale to the buildings.
Roman stone, arched doorways and niches for statues can be seen but little else is on show.
The extensive foundations, explored in the last century, have been re-covered with grass and are now lost to view.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, or my Nikon P520 digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a narrow gauge railway . . . letting the train take the strain.
Previous walk - 15th March 2014 - A Tickhill Weekend
A previous time up here - 12th April 2008 Muncaster Fell with a train ride return
Next walk - 23rd March 2014 - Surprise View Geocache