Sunday :25th March 2012 Moorcock Inn- B6259- footbridge over Railway-Ford at Flust Gill-Swarth Fell Pike-Swarth Fell-Wild Boar Fell – Sand Tarn (9.5km- 6 miles)
Monday: 26th march 2012 Sand Tarn-The Nab-Low Dolphinsty-Little Fell-Footbridge over Railway-High Cocklake-Pendragon Castle-Shoregill-Thrang Bridge-Pennine Bridleway-Hell Gill Bridge-Blades- Moorcock Inn (21 kms – 13 miles) Total for two days 30.5 kms (19 miles)
The decision to take a day off was not difficult, the weather forecast was superb and by going on Sunday afternoon and walking Monday, meant I would be free from crowds and take advantage of extra light in the evening of the first day of British Summer Time. I had emailed the Moorcock Inn to see if I could park overnight and they were happy as long as I had a drink or meal before or after the walk – hardly a hard-ship. I had chosen this trip after reading a good account from James Boulter, Martin Rye and Terrybnd’s trip last year. See links to their blog trips at the end of report.
I arrived around 3 in the afternoon after an easy drive in beautiful sunshine. I had a swift drink I shouldered my backpack and walked a short distance along the B6259, before crossing my favorite stretch of railway – the Carlisle to Settle line.
Over the bridge, I turned steeply up hill towards Swarth Fell. The weather was warm and there was no breeze, making it feel even warmer.
Straight away I noticed the large number of midges about so early in the year. I wonder if this coupled with the lack of wind would cause me problems later on.
After a long hot steady climb I arrived at the top of Swarth Fell. Whilst there was water about and I had no problem filling up my Travel Tap bottle, I was quite surprised by how much the little tarns and water holes had shrank. Now I live in the Lincolnshire Wolds, one of the driest parts of the UK. We only had 9mm of rain for the whole of February, but I noted that it was much drier than I expected up on the fells. Will this be a problem in collecting water later on in the year?
I made my way along the broad flat col between Swarth and Wild Boar Fells, meeting my one and only fellow walker during the trip.
A great view of the surrounding landscape from the summit of Wild Boar Fell. I was up here once before in deep snow and dense fog, so I was not able to get an understanding of it relationship with the surrounding area.
I just had to make my way a few hundred metres below to reach Sand Tarn.
Sand Tarn is a real gem and good place for the night. A bit of a breeze to keep off the midges and a fantastic sunset.
I set up camp it was warm enough to brew up and cook an evening meal outside.
Fantastic sunset before early to bed.
After a great night’s sleep ( that’s a great mat the Exped Synmat 7 UL), I awoke just before dawn and was treated to a lovely sunrise. I was hoping for a cloud inversion, but I could only see one in the distance. I had breakfast, packed up and I was away by 7.30 am.
I climbed back towards the summit, the temperature overnight had been down to 6 degrees C , but there was a frost up on top. I strode along the ridge and arrived at the rocky outcrop called The Nab. The sun was already strong and again with no breeze it was going to be another warm day. I stopped to put on some sun-screen and make my way steeply down hill to Low Dolphinsty.
From here there was a short climb to the Summit of Little Fell, before I made my way down to a bridge over the railway and onto a short road section at Cocklakes, where I stopped to take some photos of the ruined Pendragon Castle
Pendragon Castle is reputed to have been founded by Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur. Details can be found here – Pendragon Castle
Whilst I love the mountains, it is also nice to walk in the valleys between them, although navigating the footpaths and finding the gates and stiles in farmers fields can be a challenge and today was no exception. However it was a very pleasant walk through the woods and little fields making up the Mallestang valley, with all sights, sounds and smells of early spring.
On reaching Thrang, my OS map suggested a pub, with it being so warm I thought a would drop in for a drink. No such luck, the pub had been turned into a house and so my thirst was not yet to be slaked 😦
I crossed the road and on to the Pennine bridleway where I steadily climbed up the hillside until it reached Howe Top where I stopped for lunch at a large outdoor sculpture.
The following two short videos record my thoughts on the trip and show a bit of the surrounding landscape.
After lunch, I continued on the bridleway over Hell Gill Bridge dropping down to the Blades and through the little Farm campsite following the track back to the Moorcock Inn for a well deserved drink. It had been a superb little trip with perfect weather and excellent wild camp spot. I need more trips like this.
More Wild Boar Fell Trips