Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Cold Fell

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 15 January 2013
Walkers - Steve Smith, Gina Smith
Accommodation - Premier Inn - Carlisle Central
Start Point - Forest Head (GR NY58272 57523)
Start Time - 09:47
Finish Point - Forest Head (GR NY58272 57523)
Finish Time - 15:02
Duration - 5hrs 15mins
Average pace - 1.30mph
Distance Walked - 6.82miles
Height Ascended - 450.24metres

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (253)
Cold Fell (242)
Hewitts (178)
Cold Fell (172)
Marilyns (176)
Cold Fell (56)


Area in red near forest Head shows route followed at beginning of walk wandering around to avoid quarry.

Walk Summary
Cold Fell was the first Nuttall for me since May 2012 and The Cheviot, following my minor SAH back in August 2012. Because of this I was accompanied by my wife, as I still have not had my pass signed to go walking on my own. Who says every cloud does not have a silver lining.

Its isolated location relative to other Nuttalls has resulted in it falling off several previous trips due to either time or energy constraints, so this time we would be stopping off at Carlisle on our way up to Scotland. This allowed only one day for walking and so I was really hoping for the weather to be kind, especially as Gina is only really a fair weather walker as well as a reluctant winter walker.

We arrived at Forest Head for the start of the walk and even though I expected the weather to clear I could see how nervous Gina (“We must be mad going out in these conditions in January”) was about the murky cold and damp conditions and set out to avoid an early scramble through the disused quarry nearby. This was my first mistake because the path to Howgill disappeared and ground around the quarry was very uneven, resulting in us looping back through the quarry anyway. Even so Gina was still uncomfortable which put extra pressure on me to find the path to Howgill which once found, resulted in us following it to the right rather than to the left as planned. As it turned out it was and is the best route to follow because the path continued to where we would turn right and follow a fence all the way to the top. Going the other way would have meant leaving the path about 1km south of the summit and having to ascend through very uneven open moor land before reaching a fence in the area of the cairn and trig point.

I think anxiety for her was further increased with the snow deepening as we gained height, but it was not a problem and as promised the cloud cleared revealing clear blue skies and beautiful views of snow covered high ground and spring like green fields lower down towards the north. We even had a lovely lunch with a hint of warm sun on our faces.

However in the space of 20 minutes the cloud dropped resulting in us having to find our way down on a northerly bearing until we reached the track marked on the map. By the time we reached the track the cloud had cleared again leaving a very pleasant walk to Howgill and back to the car.

Walk Description

0.) Wander around aimlessly to the north of the quarry before turning back and heading south until you find the footpath at the bottom of Brown Fell
1.) The first step is of course optional but having found the path turn right and follow it around Brown Fell until you reach a gate across what has now become a track
2.) Go through the gate and turn right up the steep slope.  
3.) Although there is not a path marked on the map there is a track visible from where other walkers have used this route to the summit before.
4.) After about 1km the fence kinks further to the south but stay close to the fence as you scramble easily up a very small crag
5.) After another ½Km the fence kinks sharply to the left and after a further short ascent you will see the distinctive beehive cairn near the trig point.
6.) From the trig point go over the stile to the west of the fence junction and head straight downhill through open ground avoiding small hidden gullies feeding into Howgill Beck, until you reach a track approx. 1km away.
7.) At the track turn left and follow it to Bruthwaite viewpoint
8.) Proceed down and round with Howgill Beck below to the left.
9.) At Howgill return to Forest Head through the quarry
10.) In our case (in an effort to avoid the quarry again) we followed the private road to Tortie then turned west past the lime kiln and then on to Forest Head, but once again I suspect this wwas the wrong option.

More Photographs
Cold Fell summit area. Distinctive cairn & trig point
Click on photograph to view slide-show

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