Place Fell & Beda Fell

Date: 21 June 2019                         Weather: 19’C, sunny with light cloud

Height gain: 2,382ft                      Distance: 8.1 miles

Time taken: 5 hours 45 mins     Wainwright count:  85 & 86 of 214

Route:  From Martindale Church over Place Fell down to Boredale Hause and follow the horseshoe round to Beda Fell and back down to Martindale.


We last did these two in May 2011 in gale force winds – we went up to Boredale Hause from Patterdale then around to Beda Fell with the wind blowing us sideways all the way then back to the Hause and up the 900ft to Place Fell, battered by the wind all the way and sheltering from passing rainstorms where we could as we saw them sweeping in from across the valley.  I can’t believe we actually did the climb up Place Fell on that day with six tough miles already in our legs, but I remember surprising myself by deciding to go for it.

Today couldn’t be more different – it was a perfect fellwalking day – not too hot, lots of sunshine but not too sunny and happily not windy either.  Given that we’d done the walk up to the Hause from Patterdale two or three times in the last year S suggested we do today’s walk from Martindale Church this time around, up Place Fell first then round the horseshoe to Beda Fell and back down.

We decided to drive up through the Lakes so we could get our favourite pasties from Ambleside en-route then carry on to Patterdale and all the way around Ullswater to Martindale.  It was very slow going – in fact took us an hour and 45 minutes and is longer in miles than up the M6 and via Pooley Bridge – we won’t make that mistake again.

We finally reach the Church with its large car park at the base of Hallin Fell.  Lots of people here on this lovely day but plenty of spaces still left.  We boot up and head down the road and to a footpath past Hause Farm and further down into Bridge End – 200ft of descent before we finally reach the hillside and the start of the ascent.  On the way across we get a great view of the horseshoe we’re going to walk – Place Fell on the far right, Beda Fell on the left:

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The path weaves up and round the front of the hillside before heading off left and up towards Place Fell.  It’s a straightforward and pleasant walk, with lovely views appearing behind us:

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There’s a largeish party up ahead who move away from us as they walk, but then stop for long rests so overall we keep pace with them about a quarter of a mile behind.  S comments that two of the party look like they are holding hands – very romantic we think in a fifty-something group.

We carry on up and around the hillside with Glenridding and Sheffield Pike (right) and Birkhouse Moor (left) coming into view down the valley on our right:

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We follow the path below a number of craggy tops before finally the last ascent up to Place Fell comes into view.  We finally catch up with the party ahead of us as they refuel with water and snacks on an outcrop of rocks.  We say hello and say we’re sure they’ll overtake us again when they get going.  The loudest member of the party cracks a joke about hoping to avoid a heart attack and we see that rather than two of them holding hands, one member of the party is blind and there is a guide rope between him and the louder man.

They set off shortly after we pass them and the ground becomes a little craggier at this point.  The louder man is keeping up a constant commentary to his blind companion about where to put his feet and what terrain he’s going to encounter.  Fellwalking scares the pants off me a lot of the time, especially downhill, so I have huge admiration for this man who can’t even see where he’s putting his feet.  I also admire his companion – it must take so much energy to keep up the detailed commentary for his friend.

The wind is picking up as we approach the summit (Place Fell must be a wind trap) and we decide to stop for lunch in sheltered crags about 200ft from the top – this also gives the party a chance to pull away from us and enjoy their own lunch in peace.  The pasties are, as always, very good and we power up the last climb to the summit:

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The views are excellent, here looking across to Brothers Water and Hartsop Dodd surrounded by many other Dodds and the familiar point of Kidsty Pike in the distance to the right:

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The view across to Glenridding is still great, with Helvellyn and Catstye Cam now visible beyond Sheffield Pike:

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After photos and a quick consult of AW to double check which mountains are which we start to make our way down the very direct engineered path down the 900ft to Boredale Hause.  The party we met earlier are now only just ahead of us, having stopped for their lunch just beyond the top.  However, I spot a path that avoids going over Round How and when we appear on the other side of it we’ve overtaken the party by quite some way and we stay ahead of them as we make the swift if somewhat uncomfortable on the knees steep descent to the Hause.

We take a break here with a few swigs of water – we’ve caught up with a younger couple and we wonder which way they will be going.  They head off on the Beda Fell route and we soon follow.  It’s about 400ft of ascent to Beda Fell and S is flagging (as he tends to after lunch, whereas I do a bit better in the afternoons).  We make it relatively swiftly up 300ft and it feels like we should be close to the top – but no, this is Bedafell Knott and we have to go down 150ft and slog another mile along the ridge and back up before finally Beda Fell is in sight.  The views around us as we trudge along are good, though, here looking back with Angletarn Pikes on the right and Rest Dodd on the left:

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The couple who were ahead of us are nowhere to be seen – they disappeared from view as they reached the crest of Bedafell Knott and we haven’t seen them since – wonder where they were heading?

We have to make an emergency stop for afternoon tea to try and restore flagging energy levels.  With cake duly consumed we set off again and after what feels like forever going up a bit and down a bit on undulating ground we finally reach the top of Beda Fell:

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It has great views down to Ullswater and our destination, Martindale, is lurking somewhere there just right of centre below Hallin Fell:

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A noisy party arrive at the top just as we do – where did they come from and why do they have to get here now??  We quickly take our photos and don’t hang around, heading off down the nose of Beda Fell on an easy grassy path.

After a few hundred feet of descent the path turns into more of an abseil as it gets steeper and steeper, but still on grass so not too scary.  S spots the small path off to the right through think ferns which takes us steeply down to the road – looking back up from the road here:

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The last mile or so is along the quiet road and up 100ft or so until we’re back at the car.  We take the more sensible route home via Pooley Bridge and the M6 and do it half the time of the journey here.

This was a fantastic walk – really enjoyed climbing Place Fell from Martindale and a much more sensible route to do both of these compared to the route from Patterdale – more than makes up for the extra driving.