Wild Boar Fell trip

Sand Tarn

Route taken:

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.

Carlisle to Settle railway 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?

Water disappearing

Frog's spawn

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.

Summit trig of Wild Boar Fell

I just had to make my way a few hundred metres below to reach Sand Tarn.

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.

My Vaude Power Lizard

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.

Sunrise from Sand Tarn

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.

The Nab

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

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.

Some streams had completely dried up

Pleasant walk along the River Eden.

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.

Freight train running along the Carlisle to Settle line

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

James Boulter

Martin Rye


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32 Responses to Wild Boar Fell trip

  1. GeoffC says:

    An excellent pitch there in a beautiful walking area, and usually very few people. Nice sunset too. We never camped on the Wild Boar Fell side yet, it has always been on the adjacent ridges of either High Seat or Baugh Fell on our trips.
    Early midges and dry streams, not good news for backpackers!.

  2. What a fantastic looking couple of days you had there. Every time I see a photo of that Sand Tarn, it just seems to beckon! A perfect looking spot for a night out!

  3. Great post, Mark – thanks for sharing it with us!

    We were out on Buckden Pike today – we chose it expecting it to be dry underfoot for once, and so it was. It’s going to take a serious amount of rain to get things back to normal.

  4. Martin Rye says:

    Good spot for the night Mark. Glad you had a good one. Many a fine fell to wander over there. Nice touch with the vides by the way.

    • Martin, it was your trip with James and Terry that inspired me so thanks for that. Trying to do more with videos – nothing like Terry’s but just to added something extra, that is difficult to type up in a post, if you get my drift.

  5. backpackingbongos says:

    Looks like you had perfect wild camping weather Mark. Sand Tarn is a cracking place to camp, the views to the west as the sun sets is lovely. I hope the midges are not out tomorrow as wild camping with my Trailstar!

  6. -maria- says:

    That was a lovely spot you chose for camping, Mark. I liked the videos – you often get a better understanding of a place when you see it on video (instead of just still pictures).

  7. Brilliant!! 🙂 Really really enjoyed this blogpost mate. Well done. Enjoyed the pics and the videos too. Keep em coming.

    Pleased you’ve discovered Sand Tarn for yourself. It’s a special place indeed. I think my first camp there was on my C2C a couple of years back. Been heading back ever since. The whole area is a walkers joy in truth offering top drawer views for miles around (at least when the weather is nice).

    Bet ya still buzzing from this trip 😉

    I’m toying with the idea of doing a long multi day hike in Cumbria come May. Only 5/6 days. And I may accommodate a night at Wild Boar Fell now lol Get off train at Kirkby Stephen etc.

  8. Robin says:

    Nice trip. It’s a long time since I’ve been to the Dales and that area in particular.

  9. Mark, this is my first time visiting your site and I was very impressed. I enjoyed your photos and your blogging style is similar to mine. I’m still learning though. Thanks again, I’ll keep checking back.

  10. surfnslide says:

    Great trip out Mark with a stunning wild camp and sunset, some of those photos are amazing. Must have been a joy to sit by the tarn with a view of the sunset and a brew. Magical.

    Liked the videos as well. I’ve tried a couple of the self-interview type but I always feel a liitle self concsious and they never work well enough to publish!

  11. Jo Hughes says:

    Lovely to read your blog of Wild Boar Fell, climbed it on saturday afternoon,(my first time) weather calm and bright and a real joy, was my daughters birthday, a real family trip. All staying close by and we should have taken a picnic and enjoyed it for longer,had to get back down and
    cook a nice roast beef dinner!! Will treasure the memories and so pleased to see that someone else enjoyed it too.


  12. beatingthebounds says:

    It’s an under appreciated hill is that, but you’ve certainly done your bit to redress the balance!

  13. Mark, drop me an email via my blog mate. Got an invite for you to an event in June 🙂

  14. lordyosch says:

    Enjoyed reading that, thanks for sharing. I’m heading up there tomorrow with my 6yo soon on his first pepper backpacking trip. Weather looks favourable, can’t wait!

  15. lordyosch says:

    grr. Typo! Proper, not pepper!

  16. lordyosch says:

    You were right, my son LOVED sand tarn! I couldn’t get him out of the sand. A great place to backpack, the isolation superb.

  17. Glad you both enjoyed it. One of the best places to wild camp anywhere.

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