Fountains Fell and its near neighbour Darnbrook Fell are two of the Dales 30 mountains which are accessed from the road linking Malham and Littondale. It is an easy climb, a rough crossing and an awkward descent.
It seemed obvious to me to link these two Dales 30 hills in a single walk and looking at the map I preferred heading up the Pennine Way from the South. Sadly I miscalculated 2 things. A schoolboy error meant that I headed out in low misty cloud so ended up with a poor set of photographs. Secondly the crossing between the two fells was particularly rough and on the route I took, trackless. Fortunately I have returned since and the photography has improved but the crossing is still rough.
Having said that Fountain’s Fell is an interesting place, made mysterious in the mist, with tall boy cairns, mine shafts and hidden shelters peppering the large summit area. With the Pennine Way passing close to the summit it is also quick and easy to get to but moving off the Way and in to the access land is more challenging. However it is not necessary to cross the great walls of the area, a gate takes you through the first, a part fence at the col between the fells through the second and then it is best to stick close to the east/south of the wall before picking up the new wired fence that passes close to the summit of Darnbrook.
Fountains Fell and Darnbrook Fell are two of the Dales 30 Mountains
Keep to the high ridge when departing Darnbrook Fell (follow a wall and then a fence) for the best of the walking and views. Drop directly towards Darnbrook House/Farm. The final few metres along the track to the farm is private so smile nicely at anyone you see!
On the crossing between the two summits stick to the wall. There is a faint track which improves when climbing Darnbrook. On a meeting with a wall turn right to the summit. The trig is difficult to get and may not even be the highest point.
When we were there today all the verges at the Start Point where I have previously parked were marked with wooden painted signs saying “no parking”. The signs looked like they were put up by a farmer, so might have had no force or validity at all. But we felt awkward about taking the risk and so parked about 1.5 miles south, in the disused quarry parking marked on the OS map. That made for a longer walk, which we mainly did on the Pennine Way.
But this is a very good walk, and the views from the top of Fountains Fell are breathtaking; top of the world and splendid isolation.
Just had a gorgeous day doing this walk with wonderful view. However came across difficulties by having to trespass to get passed Darnbrook House to access the road through fastened up gates.
Enjoyable walk done from road near to Pennine Way Route to Tennant Gill Farm.
Route straightforward to the cairns on Fountains Fell, there used to be five but now down to four and three of them are in a precarious state.looking back on the way up you can see Malham Tarn.on the top great views of Penyghent, Ingleboro the track up has been repaired and was dry all the way.
From the top to Darnbrook Fell was relatively straightforward but don’t expect any footpaths to follow, use the walls as guides and “Tramp ” thru’ a mixture of heather and moss/grass/peat outcrops to reach the Trig Point, raised above all surrounding peat hags.
The route from the Trig to Darnbrook House Farm is best done by staying on the high ground and heading more East than you anticipate, the terrain is mixed moorland, wet and boggy in places. Eventually you will see the stone walls and road to give you a good idea where to head for, the scars to the West of the farm and tree plantation to the East are good markers.
One disappointing detail of the walk was the number of dead sheep left in various state of decay including pregnant ewes.
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