Saturday, 27 September 2014

A Lunchtime Ascent of Cold Fell

Friday 26th September 2014 

A short circular walk up the most northerly 2000ft peak in the Pennines 

Distance: 9km; Ascent: 430m; Dry, sunny and windy; Solo

I had booked the day off work today, with the intention of going out hill-walking so I was quite pleased to discover that the weather wasn't forecast to be too bad :-)  I therefore decided to return to the North Pennines for the day to climb another couple of my outstanding 2000ft peaks in that area.  This entailed a drive north up the M6, stopping at Tebay for coffee and a Cumberland sausage roll, to reach the RSPB's Geltsdale car park at Clesketts, from where I set off walking at around quarter to midday.

The track up through the bracken above Howgill Beck
It was warm and sunny as I headed along the vehicle track towards the hills, and I soon reached Howgill from where the ascent proper began.  A grassy track aided my progress up the bracken covered slopes of the NE side of the Howgill Beck valley, past the RSPB's Bruthwaite viewpoint and on towards the moorland above.

Ruined building above the Howgill Beck valley
The track became fainter and wetter as I ascended further, and soon I reached a broad col to the north of Cold Fell itself.  From here I headed up the slopes to the south, whilst trying to avoid the worst of the peat hags!  At 1pm I reached the the trigpoint on summit of Cold Fell (Nuttall, Marilyn), where it was lovely and sunny but quite cold in the biting wind.

Summit of Cold Fell
I stopped for lunch in the windshelter, whilst admiring the expansive views out over the northern Pennines, Northumberland and southern Scotland.  I could also make out the Lakeland Fells to the SW, but they were quite hazy in the September sunshine.

Currick on Tindale Fell
After ten or fifteen minutes on the summit, I decided that I'd better get a move on as I still had a second walk planned for today, up Thack Moor to the south of here.  To vary my route I decided to head to the prominent tall currick on Tindale Fell that's pretty much due north from Cold Fell.  From here I began to descend steeply northwards, with excellent views down to Tindale Tarn and on over Hadrian's Wall country.

Looking down to Tindale Tarn
Tindale Tarn from the northern slopes of Tindale Fell
After a steep descent, in places through tall grass and bracken, I reached the valley floor at a vehicle track junction near the SW corner of Tindale Tarn.  A short ascent NW along the track lead to Thorn and then back to the car at Clesketts, where I arrived shortly after half past two after a pleasant few hours walking.

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