Hallin Fell and Beda Fell via Boredale

8th November 2015

The stars were out and the moon was clearly visible when I left Wigan this morning around 6.00am This was of course leading me into some false sense of security as I knew by the time I would arrive in Lakeland I would roughly have a one hour weather window before the predicted heavens would open up on me.

Todays walk comes from a list that I put together a few weeks ago which comprises of around half a dozen shortish walks which are suited to the shorter days and of course, the unpredictable Autumn weather that is sweeping across the country at the moment. After a fair week in Lakeland where we saw clear skies and continuous cloud inversions which of course had to come to an end; usually by the time the weekend arrives the format of rain sweeps back plunging the fells into darkness and moody light.

It's fair to say I quite enjoy walking in low cloud and the atmospherics it can bring, but low cloud and rain is a different matter, not many walkers I know like the combination where only the determined tend to get out, me I'm quite a determined sort of bloke, I also get bored easily and the thought of sitting watching reality TV or Saturday game shows kinda gave me the green light to get off my backside and enjoy my fell walking whilst at the same time giving my waterproofs a damn good testing.

I simply can't remember the last time I took a soaking like I did today.

Wainwright Guide BookTwo
The Far Eastern Fells

-Beda Fell

Beda Fells central position in the delectable Martindale district may have been expected to endow it with special qualities as a viewpoint, nut this is not so; its upper slopes hide the beauties of the enclosing valleys nor are the groupings if the visible fells satisfactory. St Sunday Crag, however, is a notable object.


Ascent: 2,021 Feet - 616 Meters
Wainwrights: 2, Hallin Fell - Beda Fell
Weather: Overcast With Prolonged Heavy Showers, Strong Gales Across The Summits. Highs of 10 °C Lows of 8°C Feels Like -4°C
Parking: Parking Spaces, Martindale New Church
Area: Far Eastern
Miles: 7.7
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken: 3 Hours 40 Minutes
Route: Martindale New Church - Hallin Fell - Hause Farm - Howgrain Beck (Bridge) - Boredale - Boredale Hause - Bedafell Knott - Beda Fell - Beda Head - Christy Bridge - Martindale Old Church - Martindale New Church

Map and Photo Gallery


Beda Fell and Winter Crag from Hallin Fell 08:00 10°C

There was barely a leaf on the trees along the eastern shoreline of Ullswater and those that were are clinging onto the branches for dear life due to the heavy rain and strong winds that Lakeland had been experiencing the previous twenty four hours. Rain water from the adjoining fells swamped the narrow lanes as I made my way through Howtown towards Martindale where on arrival parking was made easy due to me being the only one there, I kinda got the feeling I wouldn't be seeing many people today on the fells due to the horrendous forecast which is why I timed my arrival before the rain was due.

As soon as I opened my car door the wind nearly blew it off its hinges, with this I go around to the passenger side of the car which shielded me from the elements, at least during kit up anyway. I was soon ready to set foot onto fell side feeling suitably comfortable that I had prepared for all that Lakeland was going to throw at me. I set out up the steep slopes of Hallin Fell to collect my first summit of the day although I did have to question did I need to carry my pack up there too as I would soon be back at the car, here the lazy side of my brain kicked in telling me that I would only have to down pack, find my keys, unlock the....well you get the drift.

Ullswater, Bonscale Pike and Arthurs Pike from Hallin Fell.
I decided to try the alterative path that flanks right instead of headed straight for the summit, this route as you can see offers great views over Ullswater towards Dunmallard Hill seen here at the north eastern tip of Ullswater. Despite the winds my ascent was quite mild as I lowered both zips on my base layer and jacket to let some fresh air in.

Hallin Fell Obelisk.

Having really enjoyed my short ascent I soon found myself at the summit which again offered grand and dare I say distant views for miles around with the exception of the High Street Fells which had a roll of cloud across their summits. At the summit Obelisk I spend time trying to read the old carvings that had been chipped, and chiselled into the stone, some of which dated back to the seventeen hundreds, some much more recent which was saddening given this wonderful stone tower can be seen from miles around.

The wind at this point gave me a true taster of what to expect for the rest of the day causing me to zip up my jacket leaving a gap short enough for me to breath through my hands at this point I could just about stand the chill but I knew at some point gloves would soon have to be added.

Beda Fell, Boredale and Place Fell from Hallin Fell.
I had a wander about the summit top before leaving, here I pause to look into the valley of Boredale where I'm heading next, Place Fell can be seen cloud topped over on the right with a cloud free Beda Fell on the left, initially Place Fell, even from the summit of Hallin Fell would be my next objective but given that Beda Fell looks much more inviting, at least for now, I guess it would be a no brainer in which summit I would collect next.

Zooming in on Rampsgill Head, The Nab and Rest Dodd.

Beda Fell, Winter Crag and The Nab.
Despite there not being much effort needed in order to gain Hallin Fell coming back down was a different matter due to how slippery the previous nights rainfall had made my descent, it's fair to say I lost a little time although my view of Beda Fell more than made up for this.

Martindale New Church.
I was soon back at the parking spaces where I had left my car half an hour or so ago, although now there is a couple kitting up, they appear to be quite young and I wondered did they know how the forecast was going to change over the next hour or so, I'm thinking so. The woman looks over and waves and I give a left handed wave back whilst clasping my walking pole, I wondered on their route.

Heading towards Hause Farm with views of Beda Fell and Winter Crag.
Even though Place Fell summit still being covered in cloud I still hadn't made my mind which summit to collect next, the one thing for sure was it was going to be gained by the Boredale Valley.

Coogarth Holiday Cottage from Howgrain Beck.
After passing Hause Farm and the delightfully named Coogarth Cottage I crossed Howgrain Beck passing a signpost marked Winter Crag over on my left, here I would continue steadily into the Boredale Valley via the narrow tarmac lane.

I couldn't hear the car that had approached me from behind over the sound of the howling wind, it was only after the driver, a young lass as she sounded her horn politely almost causing me to jump out of my skin as I let the car pass, the driver laughed and then smiled as she took in the tight right hand hair pin bend towards Sandwick, it surely was one of those moments that left me feeling, and most possibly looking a little embarassed.

Passing Garth Head Farm.
Soon the lane passes one of Lakelands most original looking Farm Houses at Garth Head, here the stone buildings have literally stood the test of time and wouldn't look out of place from any scenery spanning back a hundred years and beyond, with the exception of the energy saving light bulb in the coach lamp that is.

After leaving Garth Head behind I take on the lonely valley of Boredale flanked by ancient ruined stone buildings and the more recently placed Deer Fences that continue along the valley on both sides. Winter Crag and Beda Fell are never far from view unlike my probable summit of Place Fell which is still flanked by low cloud, my intention was to make my mind up at the head of the valley, but deep down that decision had already been made back on Hallin Fell.

Boredale Farm Buildings.
The stone wall that had accompanied me through the valley stopped at what looks to be a newly placed wooden gate, beyond the farm buildings the track beneath my feet turns from pleasant tarmac to stone underfoot which steadily, then steeply climbs towards Boredale Hause. It was here at exactly 09:28am did the rain begin to fall, not as you would imagine in short wisp or spurts, it simply fell wave after wave.

Pausing with my back turned against the heavy rain to look back on Boredale.

I had knuckled down feeling quite content that I had prepared well even wearing full waterproof gear including bothering to add the waterproof cover for my rucksack, it was only my hands that were exposed to the elements and soon became painfully cold causing me to struggle my gloves over them, after which, I was as content as a pig in you know what.

The feeling of which did not last. The rain came in curtains as if it was being thrown at me time after time, during those moments that I paused to stop, or just take a breather from the head on winds I could see the rain crossing the valley in waves, despite how uncomfortable the combination of a head on wind and rain in my face watching that rain cross the valley was somewhat mesmerising in a kind of weird way.

I press on.

At the head of the valley a trough forms and narrows before Boredale Hause is reached, the trough offered a respite from the wind and rain as I pick my way over steep stoney ground which seemed to be washing away beneath my feet, had I known what was ahead, I might have stuck in that trough for a little while longer...

Place Fell over Boredale Hause.

Having topped out on Boredale Hause I left the comforts of the trough behind where after a glance back I realised that I was being followed by a solo walker with a dog, this made me pause a while longer while I determined was this an actual walker or a fell runner by how quickly he or she was gaining ground on me.

Crossing the head of Boredale was staggeringly difficult as my hood, no matter how tight I had it fastened down buffered like a machine gun down both ear drums, I had been wearing a baseball cap that had been protecting my eyes (besides my peak) from the relentless rain which was now trying to lift off my head at every point, walking in a straight line was made more difficult by the severe cross winds making the crossing feel much more like a fight all the while witnessing a torrential Freeze Beck blow upwards by the prevailing winds.

I glance back once more to see the solo walker who in fact didn't follow me up through the trough, instead opting to cross the head of the valley by keeping just low of its slopes, a wise move which looked difficult due to the steep ground he or she would soon find themselves on, all the while the dog looked like he or she was having the time of its life.

Boredale from Beda Knotts.

I had gained Beda Knotts by path and at times pathless if only to tuck myself into the fell in order to get a respite from the driving rain, this worked well and provided me with some downtime as again I watch the rain lash down on Boredale from the comforts as what can only be referred to as 'my fox hole'

The walker who had been tailing me had by now topped out on Boredale Hause and I expected to see them soon behind me once again, but this never happened, at the time I couldn't concentrate on giving his or her route much thought, it's only now when I think back that they must have been traveling towards Angletarn Pikes.

Views through the heavy rain towards Boredale Hause.
I had walked into a headlong wind and rain during my ascent on Boredale Hause and now I had the comforts of it being behind me, I had previously told myself not to take my camera out and point it into the rain, but here, and seeing that the lens was wet anyway I couldn't resist.

Beda Fell summit is just ahead.

At times the rain would subside leaving just the wind to contend with by which time I had become accustomed too, it seemed odd that today I had set out to collect two summits all the while knowing what was in store for me, I wouldn't say that this is going to become 'the norm' for any future walks but once I had adjusted my surroundings I really started to enjoy myself, the wind being on my back might have had an influence on said matters though.

Having negotiated the notorious bogs found along the ridge I soon found myself at the familiar sight of the deep red wild grasses that grow close to the summit, be careful though, you'll be sure to lose a boot should you attempt to cross here.

Descending Beda Fell with views of Winter Crag.
I dropped from the summit helped along by the strengthening winds and spotted Beda Fells subsidiary summit in the distance which the ridge path lends its way over, instead however I pay a short excursion towards the stone shelter found close by, here the shelter is only large enough to accommodate a solo walker and with its roof missing I fear on a day like today it wouldn't be doing much in the way of sheltering, no matter how tempting I press on in descent.

Hallin Fell and Howgrain Beck.

The rain had started to fall in curtains once more helped along by the backing of a strengthening wind, after carefully picking my way from the summit I arrive at the col between the Beda Head and Winter Crag, here options open up between a direct descent or a flank of the crag, I choose the latter and am thankful that during that time I managed to stay on my feet whilst descending the steep swollen ground.

I scour the bracken looking for the path that will descend me towards the valley floor which thankfully I soon find, here the path is as expected and is swollen with flowing water in places, if I am careful I will escape a slip or a fall, but only if I'm careful.

It was inevitable that such a thing was going to happen, it was only a case of when. Having controlled previous slides I may have become a tad cocky in descent thinking maybe that I have the skill of a youth on my side, being forty one still does that to you.

Sliding then slipping beneath a sea of soaking bracken is a sure reminder that youth, is slowly slipping away and my only redeem was that no one saw the whole incident which caused me to bend all the fingers back on my left hand, so much so holding my walking pole afterwards became a painful matter indeed.

I picked myself up and used my already soaked through gloves to wipe the mud from the elbow of my new Rab Latock jacket, despite the pain coming from my left hand, it was the jacket I was more bothered about.

Refuge inside Martindale Old Church.

The rain was still lashing down as I took one look back into Rampsgill from Christy Bridge, there was no use recording my memory as there was nothing to see but driving rain heading towards me once again. The shelter of Martindale Old Church greets me as I de-layer in the entrance placing my walking poles and pack on the concrete seating provided, my gloves are removed and are rung out, surprisingly however my jacket is now clean again which I'm putting down to the washing machine type rain which seemed to just be getting heavier and heavier.

I have a wander about one of Lakelands oldest Chapels leaving wet footprints over the stone floor in my wake, I can still hear the wind howling outside and through a gap in a broken window the wind blows in the rain.

After what only seemed like moments I retrace my steps back to the entrance, there is definitely an eerie feeling about spending time in an ancient Chapel while the wind howls above the rafters and the rain batters at the windows, i'll take my chances outside.

The Birkett Tomb.

The Church yard contains the Tomb of Richard Birkett who was thought to be Martindales first Priest who served the Parish of Martindale for 67 years until his death on Christmas Day 1699

Above the Birkett Tomb grows an ancient Yew Tree which is thought to have provided the men of Martindale with Bows and arms, the Yew Tree is thought to date back an incredible 1300 years.

Martindale Old Church.

Having spent a little drying off time at Martindale Old Church and exploring its history I re-shouldred and left the Church yard closing the gate behind me, having rung my gloves of water and mud I had placed them back in my pack, when in actual fact what I should of done was leave them on and wait until I was back at the car before taking them off as now both my hands looked like they had spent too much time in the bath, my left hand still hurt from the fall and both stung from the freezing rain, billowing warm air into cupped fist was the best I could manage.

I tramp back to the Hause quickly going over in my head the procedure for taking off wet kit in driving wind and rain, I again take shelter on the passenger side of the car whilst leaving the boot wide open although now, unlike earlier the rain just about soaked the contents of my boot within minutes as rational thinking goes out the window.

My wet pack still has its rain cover attached but it doesn't matter, the more time I spend faffing about the more soaked the inside of my car is getting, thankfully I manage to take out my lunch and a flask of soup that I had stored in the boot ready for my return, there simply isn't time to take of my waterproof trousers outside of the car, with this having already secured a seat cover over the drivers seat I plonk my wet body down and slam the drivers door shut, everywhere I looked was soaked from the gear stick, seats, dashboard and even the passenger window, nothing escaped a soaking during the few seconds I left the drivers door open.

The engine is started as I whack the heater to full speed which slowly starts to demist the windows, I can only assume I smell of damp dog as the heat kicks in from the cars heater as I reach over and pour myself a cup of soup from my flask before making a start on lunch, the time was 11:58am as I spare a thought for the hundreds right now taking on the elements at the summit of Great Gable for Remembrance Sunday.


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