Fellbarrow & Low Fell

Date: 4 May 2019                          Weather: 8’C, overcast, some wind

Height gain: 1,539ft                     Distance: 5.5 miles

Time taken: 3 hours 25 mins     Wainwright count: 78 & 79 of 214

Route:  From lay-by just before reaching Thackthwaite, walking through the hamlet and turning right through Thackthwaite Farm up narrow path then onto open hillside and up to Fellbarrow, along to Low Fell and back via Sourfoot Fell .


The weather was a lot cooler than it has been recently and given that it’s a bank holiday Saturday we decide to head for a more remote and quieter part of the national park.

We park up in a layby just before reaching Thackthwaite where there is just room for one car.  Boots on we walk along the quiet road and into the hamlet.  We turn right through Thackthwaite Farm which has clear signposts for the footpath to Low Fell.  There’s an initial narrow pathway with woodland to one side and a fence to the other before we reach a gate and once through it we’re into open fields with the Low Fell ridge in front of us.

The wind picks up once we’re out of shelter and it feels really quite cold.  We stop for a few minutes to put on our new lightweight waterproof jackets recently bought for our summer walking.  We can see Hen Comb to our left and notice that it does actually have a little dusting of snow on the top:

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The path is obvious and wide and grassy as it winds its way up Fellbarrow.  A family is in front of us and they take the steeper more direct path for the last 300ft while we track to the left which is what S’s gadget says we should do.  We zig-zag through thicker pathless grass on the hillside before reaching a crest and making our way back to the clear path that the family are still on ahead of us.

It seems harder work than it should do but finally we reach the top of Fellbarrow and admire the views across the Solway Firth to the Scottish Hills in the distance:

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The family, who we now see is a Mum and three older teenage children (two of whom are perhaps a couple?), have sat themselves right on the summit trig point to have some lunch.  They apologise for being in the way as we try and take summit shots, but don’t move, so no trig point photo today.

We decide not to hang around but leave them to their lunch and set off on the distinct path towards Low Fell:

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The views around us are good and get even better as we walk south and Loweswater and its picturesque fells come into view.   We reach Watching Crag and, given the freshening wind, decide to stop here in relative shelter for some lunch.

As we sit the clouds clear a bit more and the sun starts to peep out, warming us a little.  We soon set off again on the undulating path and quickly reach the last short but steep ascent to the top of Low Fell:

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The views across to Loweswater with Mellbreak and Hen Comb on its right are lovely from here:

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We spend an enjoyable twenty minutes or so soaking up the views and taking lots of photos, which of course all look exactly like each other when we get home.  We eventually tear ourselves away and start the walk back.

The views over to the steep slopes of Whiteside are striking from this direction:

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We skirt underneath Fellbarrow to the right of our route here and find wide grassy and easy paths back to our original track for the return trip through fields and farm and the straightforward half mile or so on the road back to the car.

It was surprisingly cold today and our new lightweight waterproofs were only just up to the job but we achieved our aim of a quiet walk with beautiful views for relatively little uphill effort.

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