Lakeland’s Eastern Frontiers

9th October 2011

I don’t quite know why I have left Little Mell Fell & Great Mell Fell for so long, did I think that these two Lakeland frontiers any less a fell than lets say Blencathra or Skiddaw? let me think about that one… well, maybe if I’m truthful I did, I often wondered why Wainwright would claim these two hill tops as his own, they are; less appealing than lets say Latrigg or Binsey?  but something made Wainwright adopt these two outpost as his own & I’m here today as a newcomer  to claim both summits.

It is said that the views on a clear day of both Little, & Great Mell fell’s are truly amazing, with views all over the Northern & Eastern fells aspire from both summits, but not today, today was about getting wet, windswept & being reminded that not after every walk you’re going to see the end of a Rainbow.

The morning didn’t start well at all, lack of sleep saw me sleep through my usual 6:00am alarm, turning over & listening to the howling wind & driving rain hitting the windows outside wasn’t a problem for forty more winks. I nod off unconsciously thinking I may not bother today, then in my unconsciousness I’m thinking Paul, you fell walk because you love it, dont succumb to the blog &  good photography shots, your techno world is taking over here! You walk because you love it. By now its 8:00am, & its still blowing a gale outside but at least its light, I have a power think… should I or shouldn’t I ? after all Paul you have taken this weekend off to walk, not to walk round the house in my Homer Simpson slippers sipping mug after mug of Nescafe.

Get up & get out there Paul.

# Apologies in advance: The weather today created all but decent shots, with the camera taking the full frontal of the incoming rain, it was difficult not to get the lens wet, thus, a lot of today’s shots are with a smear of water over the lens.


Wainwright Guidebook
The Eastern Fells

Great Mell fell rises sharply from a wide expanse of desolate marshland to the north and west, territory not at all typical of Lakeland, the fell itself being much more fertile and colourful than its surroundings. Its rich red soil carries a wealth of timber, the eastern slopes especially being beautifully wooded. Bleached skeletons of trees near the top of the fell indicate that at one time it was more fully clothed; many of those that yet survive are battered by the prevailing wind into grotesque shapes.


Ascent: 1,950 Feet, 595 Meters
Wainwrights: 2, Little Mell Fell & Great Mell Fell
Weather: Overcast With Heavy Showers, Gust On Tops, Highs Of 15° Lows Of 12°
Parking: Car Parking Spaces, Brown Rigg Farm
Area: Eastern
Miles: 6.5
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken:  
Route: Brown Rigg Farm Lowthwaite The Hause Little Mell Fell Greenrow Great Barn Brown Rigg Farm Great Mell Fell

Map and Photo Gallery



The misted up changing room.

I had my plan in my head from the drive in, the driving wind & rain was torrential, it was here, after I parked up in this quite lay-by that I change out of everything I am wearing-bar my mid-layer & socks while sat in the drivers seat, first I adjust the seat as far back as it will go, I then run to the boot for my pack taking big drops down the back of my neck from the tree above, I run back to the car & throw my pack on the passenger seat, Phase one complete.

I place all equipment on the dashboard, car Sat-Nav, G.P.S, mobile phone, map & my wallet, I kick of my North Face mid’s & then undo my Montane walking trousers & strip to the boxers, then I take my ever so trusty Crag Hopper waterproof trousers from my pack, I spot a man with a dog walk past the car, I think ‘I know what he’s thinking, car all misted up together with a slight rocking motion’ I dont care, this is my changing room, I slip them on & tuck my mid-layer in & draw the pull string as tight as my belly would allow, Phase two complete.

I am now all but ready for an assault on the down-pour that now makes my car sound like an old tin bucket with big blots of water from the tree above hitting the roof, although I am dry & in the comfort of my newly designed changing room there’s something about the sound of big drips of water hitting the car roof that I adhere too, I tie my boots & carefully make sure my walking trouser bottoms go over the top of both boots & finally, I take out my Berghaus rain cover & slip it over my pack.

I am finally ready for the drowning I am about to receive.


From the lay-by I take a right & head down the leafy lanes towards my first destination ‘Lowthwaite’ , doing this I pass Brown Rigg Farm, its part old & part new & a good visual point to take in as a public foot path runs right through the farm & surrounding paddocks, a path I will use as I head for Great Mell Fell later on in the walk.


Little Mell Fell.

My route would take me towards the farm building you see in the right of the picture as I head for Lowthwaite.


Looking west towards Great Mell Fell & for now, at only 537 Meters its summit is cloud free.

It’s at this point I show no regrets about walking in such conditions, I’m actually starting to really enjoy myself, this is of course a short lived moment as the narrow tree lined lanes shelter me from the wind & rain, ahead I spot two intrepid walkers ascending Little Mell Fell from The Hause just ahead, I spot one of the walkers holding on to his or her hood as the rain sweeps in from the west, wont be long I say to myself.


Here I take a left & head into Lowthwaite, I partially see nothing in Lowthwaite except a few old farm buildings, I expected a little more I thought.


The sleepy yet scattered lanes of Lowthwaite.


After leaving Lowthwaite behind I use this Public Footpath sign posted ‘The Hause’ The Hause is the name given to the small fell you see to the right of the picture, given the fact it is also situated at the top of a steep hill.


The Hause.


Taking on Little Mell’s Fell steep path with a step at a time, momentarily the rain had eased a little but there was no getting away from the wind, it was here I lifted my hood up and drew all possible strings leaving me with a water & wind tight cosy head.


Views over towards Ullswater while they lasted.


Little Mell Fell summit Trig Point.

You could be forgiven the fact that here is a peaceful scene at a lovely summit spot, but for the second time in a few days I am struggling to hold onto the camera as I took this photo, oh well, time to head into the wind & rain as I pick my spot to descend to Brown Rigg Farm.


Heading away in a westerly direction taking on the full gust & the rain.


Looking back at Little Mell Fell & Greenrow Great Barn Farm (L) this I used as a marker to head down from the fell side, the public footpath cuts across the field in the picture.


With spirits quite high despite the wind & rain I cross this dyke & over the wooden footbridge crossing Cooper Beck.


And Brown Rigg Farm bound, the footpath here follows the fence you see here (R) to (L) and up through the farm.

It was here within the property of Brown Rigg Farm I hear an almighty Bark, the kind of bark you hear first, then instantly think ‘I hope that dog is on a rope’ I dare turn round yet as I do it is there over my left shoulder, a bloody great Rottweiler came pouncing over, front paws up in the air, I do not know if this dog is friendly or protecting its property, I do as with all dogs, I let it sniff my hand first & let him know I’m friendly, my heart flutters with fright because he backs up & thrusts his back up with his front paws down, he’s protecting his property, I try to walk on as he barks more & more rapidly, if I get to the gate will he go back?

I am good with dogs, owning them all my child & adult life I know their temperaments, this dog is angry & protective, I stand still with my hand stretched out a little, come on mate I am friendly, this dog carries on barking at me, within what felt like a lifetime & probably only lasted a matter of seconds, I turn around & spot the owner, a woman calling the dog back, I dont get the dogs name but it’s obedient to its owner & leaves me a quivering wreck for a few seconds, I compose myself & leave the farm, firmly marking an ‘X’ in my head never to use Brown Rigg Farm again as means of gaining or an exit route from Little Mell Fell.


I’ve just passed my car parked up in its lay-by, still solitary, still being hit with the big splashes of water from the tree above, On any other day my car & that lay-by would of ended my walk right there, given the conditions I have today, put I press on, I’m wet on the outside & a comfortably dry on the inside, I have just passed a wooden gate & a sign, posted ‘Mell Fell’, this however is not my gate.


This one is my gate & sty.

Found about 200 Meters further on up the track, I leave the shelter of the wooded path, ready to take on what ever the west has to throw at me.


I slip & slide on a narrow muddy path before I reach this abrupt right turn, that will lead me all the way to the summit, but there’s a few interesting things along the way that brighten my ascent a little.



I have read about the trees along this route before & they really are a spectacle even on a day like today, as commonly known, the wind blows across Lakeland from west to east, all the trees along the route point in eastwards direction, given the fact that Great Mell Fell & Little Mell Fell are, as I would call them ‘Frontiers of Lakeland’ exposed is a word I would use as there is nothing around to shelter the trees for miles, this is the reason they all grow leaning towards the west.



Great Mell Fell summit cairn.

Sadly, with no views in every direction I again am taking a hit just like the trees from the high gust coming in from the west, I  battle with the camera to take pose & to say, no hard feelings today fells, today, but now, all I want to do is get back to the car & drink a nice warm cup of coffee from my flask.


Its amazing once gaining a summit can do to ones morale in conditions such as I had today, I gripped my fist on the last leg of this walk, I trenched through mud & tufts of bog, I cup my hands together & blow to keep them warm but as this small frontier summit was gained I’ like every other summit leave with a feeling of accomplishment & butterflies in my stomach & almost skip like back to the car where I drink not one but four cups of steaming hot coffee while I listen to the bomb like drops hitting the car roof from the tree above.

It would be easy to say I should have never done this walk, so why do I not regret it?


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