Carling Knott (544m) and Holme Wood
It was a beautiful sunny autumn day, which explained why it was difficult to find a parking space. The usual parking area for this walk, at Maggie’s Bridge, was full, so Mark parked the car in the National Trust car park at Lanthwaite Wood. This was further away but not significantly. The weather was amazing for mid October: no wind, a warm sun but with a hint of chill in the air. Initially we walked along the road, which wasn’t too pleasant, to Maggie’s Bridge, and then took a track that led to Loweswater. There was a beautiful view across the lake to Low Fell and the russet and brown hillside was reflected in the mirror-like waters of the lake. Carling Knott, a subsidiary top of Blake Fell rose above Holme Wood, and we took a path that climbed the hillside through the wood. The first part of the wood was an attractive mossy beech wood, before changing to a more boring conifer plantation. Once out of the trees we traversed towards Holme Beck and then climbed up to Carling Knott, the extra height giving great views to Grasmoor, Grisedale Pike and Skiddaw. From Carling Knott the view was amazing towards the Lakeland Peaks in one direction and across the Solway Firth to Criffel and Cairnsmore of Fleet in south west Scotland.
Red Pike, High Stile and Pillar
Grasmoor, Wandope and Whiteless Pike
It was a short, straightforward walk to Blake Fell, which we reached after about 2 hours of walking. The view to the coastal fringe was quite boring but the view in the other direction was amazing: Grasmoor dominated, and we could also see Mellbreak, Grisedale Pike, the High Stile ridge, the Pillar group, Great Borne, Robinson, Dale Head, and nearby Murton Fell rising steeply above Cogra Moss. We had lunch on the top of Blake Fell in the sunshine and we were surprised to see a couple of butterflies flutter by. There were also quite a lot of people around and many were fell runners practising for a race the following day.
Murton Fell from Blake Fell
From Blake Fell we descended to the boggy col at Fothergill Head before ascending to Gavel Fell. We didn’t stay long on Gavel Fell as it was 3.40 pm and we still had a long way to go. To get to Hen Comb we had to avoid the boggy ground of Whiteoak Moss, so we traversed around underneath Floutern Cop and kept as high as possible. Once clear of Whiteoak Moss we ascended Hen Comb via a series of clear paths, reaching the summit at 4.40 pm. The view wasn’t as good as that from Blake Fell, although we did enjoy the view to Buttermere and Fleetwith Pike in one direction and to Low Fell in another. After a 20 minute break we descended, quite steeply at first, on a long ridge to Little Dodd. We then took a path towards Mosedale Beck but it petered out before reaching the beck, forcing us to make a short bracken bash. The view up Mosedale to Red Pike was lovely in the late afternoon sunshine. We crossed the beck and came to a broad track on the other side, which went underneath the steep slopes of Mellbreak and came to the road at the Kirkstile Inn. We couldn’t resist a drink in this historic pub, which rounded off the day nicely, before the short walk underneath the stars to the car.
Blake Fell from the ascent of Gavel Fell
Low Fell from Hen Comb