A walk in the Northern Fells offers a real feel of Scottish remoteness, rolling fells and steep valleys characterise the area. Good to pick off some 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 loves walking on High Pike and beyond and takes as much satisfaction and pleasure out of a 4 hour tramp in this remote (relatively in his case!) 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 easy (as long as the main ridges are broadly kept to, otherwise it can be very wet) and enjoyed the logistical challenge of stringing the fells together. My favourite walk here is a circular over High Pike and the Knott before it makes a leisurely and thoroughly enjoyable descent over Brae Fell to Fellside. The views are particularly to the north and west over the Solway Furth and the Scottish hills of Galloway but it is always 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 te 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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