Walking the Birketts, Longlands Fell to Little Sca Fell and Brae Fell

22nd December 2018

The trio are back together on a walk that had been put off for some time possibly as far back as September. It's a walk that deserves a good forecast more so as it's been at least two years since any of us had walked these fells and we felt we couldn't put the walk off any longer despite yet another weak forecast we decided to go ahead.

This walk is one of three Birkett walks that we will be walking today also taking in Aughertree Fell and Binsey both, just short drives away from Longlands. Geographically the best way to link all three walks is by walking the Longlands Fells first followed by Aughertree Fell then Binsey which is easily gained after a short drive through the village of Uldale.

As the weekend got closer the forecast worsened but we all stuck to our guns without so much of a mention of cancelling the walk and you know what, in some cases this works because today we were restricted to just a fifty yard visibility while being battered by wind and rain from all directions, it was just what I needed after being cooped up in work and the traffic this last fortnight, I think this wasn't just me, we all needed it.
The Complete Lakeland Fells
By Bill Birkett


Setting aside the outlying fell of Binsey and Aughertree Fell, Longlands Fell is the most northerly in Lakeland.


Ascent: 1,675 Feet - 510 Metres
Birketts: 4, Longlands Fell - Lowthwaite Fell - Little Sca Fell - Brae Fell
Weather: Rain, Low Cloud and Drizzle Throughout. Gust Over The Summits Highs of 7°C Lows of 6°C
Parking: Roadside Parking, Longlands
Area - Group: Northern - N/NOS
Miles: 4.5
Walking With: David Hall & Rod Hepplewhite
Ordnance Survey: OL4
Time Taken: 2 Hours 50 Minutes
Route: Longlands - Longlands Fell - Lowthwaite Fell - Broad Moss - Little Sca Fell - Brae Fell - Charleton Wath (Ford) - Longlands

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code: CA7 1HN
Grid Refernce: NY 265 935
Notes: A popular spot close to Longlands Beck which leaves excellent access onto Longlands Fell and the Uldale Fells via the Cumbrian Way. Due to its popularity it is advised to arrive early if you want to secure a parking place as the spaces can fill up quickly. Parking is free.


Map and Photo Gallery


Longlands Cottages with Aughertree Fell in the distance 08:40am 6°C

It had bucketed down the whole drive north easing slightly as I joined the A66 from the M6. I wasn't expecting much in the way of views but even so there's always that glimmer of hope the clouds may part revealing blue skies but sadly as a cloud topped Great Mell Fell came into view it was confirmed there wasn't going to be any miracles today. It was still dark as I drove by Blencathra although through my rear view mirror cracks of light penetrated through a gulf of grey cloud indicating the sun was indeed rising on an otherwise bleak December morning. I was still twenty minutes away from Longlands at this point but within that time the sun had risen not revealing much in the way of light. Due to getting stuck behind a delivery truck I arrived slightly late finding David and Rod already there, due to the limited spaces at Longlands I reversed my car into a lay by at the bottom of the hill just twenty yards or so from where David and Rod had parked.

I always like that '20 minute' buffer before a walk but due to being late this had all but gone, nevertheless I am first joined by Rod who after shaking my hand with one hand delivers me a mince pie with the other "Happy Christmas Paul! We've had ours" oh cheers Rod! By now it starts to drizzle again while I kit up in full waterproofs and I'm joined by David and we greet as always with a handshake "got the new boots on Paul" David smiles, I look down at a spanking new pair of Meindl's which unlike my Scarpa's are still causing me no end of trouble, one figures after Christmas I won't be treating myself to a new waterproof jacket but a new pair of trusted Meindl Bhutan's instead, I simply cannot put up with the discomfort my Scarpa's are causing me.

Kitted up I lock the car and walk over to Rod and David whilst scoffing down my mince pie, I'm still hoping that the low cloud may lift but after crossing Longlands Beck we opened the gate onto the Cumbrian Way where instead of a view of Longlands Fell we are met by a blanket of low cloud which completely obscured the hill side.

Ascending Longlands Fell via Thwaite (north west spur)
Birketts ascent on Longlands Fells is direct via Thwaite which is steeper than Longlands north ridge but does gain the summit much quicker. No sooner than we knew it we were ascending in cloud keeping occupied by catching up on two weeks worth of gossip.

Longlands Fell summit cairn.
Drizzle turned to rain and the wind gained in strength bringing with it a cool windchill, up until now myself and David had been walking without gloves but that soon changed soon after leaving the summit.

The grass col between Longlands Fell and Lowthwaite Fell.
With Longlands Fell behind us we descended onto the grass col which separates Longlands Fell and Lowethwaite Fell, here a prominent path forks left towards the head of Charleton Gill but instead we continue straight ahead and start the short ascent on Lowthwaite Fell.

Lowthwaite Fell summit cairn.
The elements certainly weren't on our side with continued downpours and increasing winds, this kinda hampered conversation which we could only do once stopped or huddled together.

On route to Little Sca Fell,
We descended Lowthwaite Fell and dropped onto Broad Moss and over to our right, through breaks in the cloud the hillside fell steeply below, on a clear day Meal Fell would clearly be seen from Broad Moss but not today. We were met by two paths and take the right path towards Little Sca Fell, heading left here would gain the ridge between Little Sca Fell and Brae Fell.

Little Sca Fell summit and shelter.
Somehow we managed to keep conversation up while the wind was behind us but by the time we reached Little Sca Fell summit the wind was so strong it had torn the rain cover from my pack leaving it flapping around like a sail! Bilmey it's cold too hence why we didn't hang around too long before retracing our steps then picked up the grass ridge northbound towards Brae Fell.

Heading towards Brae Fell in the clag.
It was noted that it felt more like dusk on the fell such the nil of the light and not mid morning.

Brae Fell summit cairn.
The summit cairn emerged through the cloud from around 30 metres distance all the while the elements continued to batter us, Rod noted that todays forecast had predicted that at just 300m a -7°C windchill could be felt, that, we could confirm!

Descending towards Charleton Wath (Ford)
From the summit of Brae Fell we descended north but drifted too westerly confirming our position as the east flank of Longlands fell appeared through the cloud, bugger. It was no huge error we just needed to be further right which would avoid Charleton Gill altogether. We corrected the mistake and soon Charleton Wath appeared on route of the Cumbrian Way.

Aughertree Fell from the Cumbrian Way.

Arriving back at Longlands.

Having left Charleton Wath behind we continued along the Cumbrian Way and are passed by a friendly group of Mountain Bikers who then disappeared towards the direction of Longlands. With treatment continuing on David's foot he wisely opts out of Aughertree Fell and Binsey not wanting to risk aggravating his injury, we spoke of todays highlights and all spoke positively about walking the Lakeland fells on the bleakest of days.

Next up, it's Aughertree Fell.


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