Walking the Birketts, Great Mell Fell

23rd November 2019

This mornings second walk takes in Great Mell Fell from the familiar parking places opposite Brownrigg Farm. We arrived just before 11:00am finding a couple of spaces had already been taken up so we nudged in on the verge and began to kit up.

After giving our waterproofs a good shake we left our packs in the cars agreeing to eat lunch once back adding it should only take us a couple of hours which would see us through to around 13:00pm. The rain was still light but persistant and we could tell it was in for the day but again that didn't matter.

We followed the usual track leading from Brownrigg Farm towards the wooden sty which we crossed before beginning the initial steep ascent summit bound. Birkett added a slight twist with this route which included the descent via the west flank of the fell which overlooks the old rifle range, it's a route I hadn't used before and I was quite looking forward to taking in the unfamiliar views, Birkett added that the descent was steep but blimey in places it felt sheer vertical! Here's how we got on.

The Complete Lakeland Fells
By Bill Birkett

-Great Mell Fell

Although a great many people look out on the pronounced dome of Great Mell Fell as they pass on the A66, few set foot upon it.


Ascent: 920 Feet - 280 Metres
Birketts: Great Mell Fell
Weather: Light Rain With Variable Winds, Some Windchill Were Exposed. Highs of 8°C Lows of 8°C
Parking: Parking Spaces, Brownrigg Farm
Area - Group: Eastern - C/MEL
Miles: 2.75
Walking With: David Hall
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken: 2 Hours
Route: Brownrigg Farm - Great Mell Fell - Old Rifle Range - Brownrigg Farm

Parking Details and Map Parking Spaces, Brownrigg Farm
Nearest Post Code: CA11 0SB
Grid Reference: NY 407 324
Notes: Up to five parking spaces are available close to Brownrigg Farm which is conveniently placed between Great Mell Fell and Little Mell Fell. The parking spaces can be found on the right if travelling from the direction of the A66 just prior to reaching Brownrigg Farm. Parking is free.


Map and Photo Gallery


Ascending alongside the fence towards the wooden sty up ahead 11.00am 8°C
Where we were treated (more so David) to big blobs of rain falling from the tree branches made worse when they go down your back.

Wind swept tree found close to the path.
Such the exposure of the fell the trees 'learn' to grow alongside mother nature.

Brooding skies over Lakeland.
The rain continued and with height gained we noticed a notable drop in temperature at which point we were pleased we'd remembered to bring gloves which we had cleverly tucked into our hoods.

Passing through the Scots Pines.
Which also grow taking in account of the hills exposure to the wind.

Blencathra, Bannerdale Crags, Bowscale Fell, Souther Fell and Carrock Fell from Great Mell Fell summit.
In increasing winds we arrived at the summit and stuck our walking poles into the ground, stopped and admired our bleak views, it was too cold to hang around for too long so with hands re-looped into our walking poles we started our descent by the west flank.

Looking down on the Old Rifle Range below.
Which was in use from 1880's through to the 1950's The land is now private but I have read you can find spent 303 rifle rounds just lying around.

Did I mention how steep it was.
Crikey we'd better watch every step and make them count, I wouldn't like to put a foot wrong here or we'll be taking the quick way down!


Heading back to Brownrigg Farm.
Birkett gives the option once the path is reached to head right or left, both paths circle the fell side so we opted naturally to take the left, and more scenic path.

Clough Head and Wolf Crags (above the Old Corpse Road) from Mell Fell Wood.

We didn't expect to find three young girls on horse back out for a morning ride which was nice to see on an otherwise bleak Lakeland morning.

Bleak is beautiful.

We followed the path which now traced along the south flanks of the fell and passed what remains of Racy Cottage in a nearby field while taking in the views south towards Place Fell, Glenridding Dodd Sheffield Pike and Birks some of whose summits were below cloud. It was a wet but speedy march back to Brownrigg Farm where upon our return more walkers had turned up who were getting ready to take on Great Mell Fell in the rain while I put some warmth back in by sipping on piping hot Vimto from my flask.



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