Great Mell Fell

Date: 5 August 2019                  Weather: 16’C, overcast, showers, breeezy

Height gain: 919ft                     Distance: 2.2 miles

Time taken: 1 hour 30 mins   Wainwright count: 92 of 214

Route:  From start of bridleway near Brownrigg Farm, following the bridleway for half a mile then up and into the brief patch of trees to the top and back the same way.

We’d intended to do Little and Great Mell Fell one after the other back in February but the cold, wet and wind meant we only scooted up Little Mell Fell and headed back home.  Today was damp and breezy but much cooler than recent weeks and we fancied a short hill walk to combine with a shopping trip to Keswick.

We parked up without problems, one small car was already tucked into the bridleway and we decided it was better to be up here and completely off the small road to Matterdale End.  We headed up the bridleway and past the first very vertical looking path signposted to Great Mell Fell through the trees.  Another half mile brought us to a right hand turn to a path along the bottom of the hill before turning right again and straight up on a grassy path.

There’s a small patch of trees, some with branches down from the recent winds, just below the summit which we have no memory of from our first ascent (in June 2007).  There are no difficulties on the path apart from gradient and we huff and puff our way to the top in 50 minutes.


We always dismiss Great Mell Fell as a pudding basin that has to be ticked off the list, but it’s actually quite high (1,760ft) and given that we’ve seen it from many of our recent climbs up bigger mountains in the area I shouldn’t have been so surprised at how good the views are all around us.

Wainwright thinks the view west to Blencathra is the highlight.  Although impressive, I’m not sure I fully agree but maybe the cloud isn’t helping today:


We can make out may hills we’ve climbed or been close to recently, which makes sense as we spotted the pudding off so many of them.  We study this view trying to work out which one is Hellvelyn:


S tries to tell me that Gowbarrow Fell is the lumpy ridge to the left of the middle ground to the east.  It felt like a more substantial mountain than it looks here when we climbed it in January.  I can definitely see the familiar shapes of Place Fell and the edge of Red Screes behind it:


It’s cool and breezy so we don’t sit down (it’s also just grass up here so no rocks to perch on).  The first person we’ve seen arrives at the summit in shorts and t-shirt with his collie dog – he looks underdressed as he spends a few minutes taking in the scenery and his dog keeps trying to encourage him back down the path.  When he sets off he starts running so the attire now makes more sense.

We head back down the way we came and meet a young family heading up.  We exchange quick hellos – they’re not after a lengthy chat.  The views on the way down are good, but Gowbarrow Fell still looks too little:


The descent is quick and straightforward, if a bit steep, and we’re back to the car half an hour after leaving the top.

It’s a much more substantial hill than I give it credit for and the views were excellent, even on an overcast day like today.

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