Saturday, 13 October 2012

Beda Fell & Place Fell

Beda Fell & Place Fell

7.5 miles

This walk started from the base of Hallin Fell, just beyond Howtown in the Lake District National Park. Rain had fallen overnight, but the forecast had suggested that there would be good visibility with perhaps an isolated shower. Buffeting, from the wind on the tops, could be expected. As we walked down the minor road to Winter Crag Farmhouse, the tops of our objectives were clear of cloud.

Beda Fell

Just beyond the farmhouse, we left the road to follow a footpath through bracken up the fellside. For a time we had a wall on our right. It was a short pull up onto the ridge near Winter Crag. We caught our first sighting of Ullswater from here; a favourite viewpoint for someone, as a metal bench had been installed. No time to linger. We turned south to follow a mostly clear path up through a series of rocky outcrops and rough fellside vegetation. The higher we climbed, the more blustery it became. It was worth turning round to look back down the path. Extensive views of Ullswater, punctuated by Hallin Fell, opened up to us. It wasn't long before we reached the first cairn and then the modest summit cairn of Beda Head.

Cairn on approach to Beda Head

On the eastern side of the summit cairn we were able to drop down four or five feet to gain some shelter from the wind which was considerable. Whilst we had our coffee fix, Steel Knotts, Gowk Hill, and beyond that, the massive ridge of High Street lay before us.  

Beda Head Summit cairn

We continued along the ridge, soon losing height. It was a little squelchy and the vegetation along the path was thin at times, so we needed to be careful where we trod.  We could see the hause that we were headed for. Eventually, the ground began to rise (and fall), until we reached a judicially placed cairn. This marked the bridleway between Dale Head and Boredale Hause.

Bridleway cairn

Our route was no wider than a sheep track at times, but the way was clear. We crossed a narrow beck and, before long, the wide open expanse of Boredale Hause opened up to us. Paths seemed to extend out in all directions. Over to our right, we were able to look down Boredale with Hallin Fell at its far end. Further on, to our left, we could see a clear path that formed part of Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk. Our route was clear - a broad, steep path winding its way up north of the hause. 

Place Fell

To save losing height, we left the bridleway and contoured round over rough ground to join the footpath up Place Fell. Fortunately, at some of the steeper parts, conservation work had been undertaken and rocky steps had been installed. As we walked up, we had amazing views of Patterdale with St. Sunday Crag, Birkhouse Moor, and Sheffield Pike dominating behind. The neat, lush green of Patterdale's cricket ground could be seen. (Two years previously we had admired the ground as we'd descended from St. Sunday Crag.)

Path on Place Fell
Turning round towards the south, shafts of sunlight illuminated Hartsop and Brothers Water.
Brothers Water from Place Fell

It wasn't long before we came to a prominant cairn and, for a few hundred metres, the ground flattened out before rising to a craggy top. With quite a lot of water about, we were careful where we trod. Once more, there was considerable buffeting from the wind and a significant wind chill.

Place Fell summit and trig point.
With care, we reached the trig point, but it was too blustery to linger. There were fabulous views all round. We dropped down to the east side of the trig point to find relative shelter from the wind. Lunchstop. A large tarn below us was patterned by gusts of wind blowing the surface water. Directly in front of us was Beda Fell. Lunch was a relatively quick affair as fingers were chilled. A clear, muddy and rocky footpath (very slippery) eventually turned into a green swarth and our progress quickened. This too eventually narrowed to no more than a sheep track in places. From the right, a steep path up from Boredale joined the footpath we were on. Hallin Fell and Ullswater looked glorious in the afternoon sunshine. It was a steep descent to the edge of access land and a minor road which served Sandwick. 

Easier walking
Turning right, we walked for just 100 metres or so before taking a footpath and crossing Sandwick Beck via a bridge at Bridge End Farm. The footpath passed through farmland which skirted the base of Hallin Fell. 
Footbridge at Bridge End Farm

Beda Fell was basking in sunshine. All too soon our walk was complete. Should we nip up Hallin Fell too? It was tempting, but the legs might not have thanked me for it.

It was a fantastic walk with great views. The beauty of the countryside is sometimes hard to convey. Photographs can only be an aide memoir, as our response to our surroundings cannot be captured. I guess the best way to rate a walk is to ask the question," Would we walk it again?"



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