A walk in the Northern Fells offers a genuine feel of Scottish remoteness. This is mainly due to the rolling fells and steep valleys which characterise the area. It is easy to pick off some rarely visited Wainwrights.
Chris Bonnington may have climbed Everest and taken on many of the great peaks in the world but he made his home in Caldbeck under the fells of the far northern Lakes. He still loves walking on High Pike (into his late 80s) and beyond. He takes as much satisfaction and pleasure out of a four hour tramp in this remote but enchanting landscape than some of his more exotic locations (or so he says). I enjoy these fells as well. The rolling landscape offers a feel of space and emptiness that differs to the rest of the Lakes.
I have always found the walking on these fells straightforward. The logistical challenge of stringing the fells together is also enjoyable but do take in to account the wetter valley bottoms. My favourite walk is a circular over High Pike and the Knott. Finish off with a leisurely and thoroughly enjoyable descent over Brae Fell to Fellside. The views are particularly impressive to the north and west over the Solway Furth and the Scottish hills of Galloway. However it is also interesting to see Blencathra and Skiddaw from the ‘wrong’ side.
Read the inscription on the bench on the summit of High Pike. The love of a 16 year old for the Lakeland fells is movingly written and induces an almost melancholy mood which epitomises the pleasures of this area. No wonder it was the first place Bonnington visits after his epic expeditions.
In bad weather it is easy to take the wrong path off the Knott and end up many miles to the west. Make sure you keep the steep land close to your right. The Ford at the end of the walk near Fellside may involve wet feet, particularly after rain.
The Northern fells tend to be flattish topped and easy strolls, with hight start points, but they do throw in the odd steep grassy slope. The views are uniformly brilliant huge skyscapes. Beware old mine holes/adits, unless you’re some sort of mineralogist! Great country this, long striding on top if apt to be a little boggy in the dales – now and again. You’re unlikley to meet many people, which means you won’t meet many cars down below. Take a kite.
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