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" Spiralling up Knock Murton "


Date & start time: Saturday 6th December 2014,11.30 am start.

Location of Start : The public car park at Felldyke, Lamplugh, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 084 199)

Places visited : Cogra Moss Reservoir, Low Pen plantation and Knock Murton  summit.

Walk details :   3.5 mls, 950 feet of ascent, 2 hour 10 mins.

Highest point : Knock Murton summit, 1450 ft - 447 m.

Walked with : Jo, Ann and our dogs, Amber, Harry and Dylan. (Jose stayed at home)

Weather : Overcast and damp but only one patch of rain towards the end.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. License number PU 100034184.


After a beautiful few days, including that spectacular sunny Tuesday on Grike this week,

the weather took a dive for the worse just as Jo arrived for a weekend in the Lakes. 

Consequentially we decided to find a walk somewhere away from the low cloud that covered the high fells.

Ann and Jo near the start of the forest section today.

We chose a round walk which climbed up Knock Murton.

The route would take us up to the reservoir and  then on around the back of the fell.

Hence the title . . . spiralling up Knock Murton . . . don't get dizzy will you !

Leaving the view back across the Solway Plain, we put best foot forward and headed off towards the lake.

Knock Murton at this point had a slight cloud covering . . . maybe even this fell would be devoid of views today.

Let's start with nice views of the reservoir.

An odd twig of larch hangs down into the picture as we look across to the cloud covered outline of Blake Fell.

Strong winds in recent months have knocked two firs over like nine-pins.

The overflow from the reservoir has formed a broad plunge pool at the base of the concrete ramp and maybe washed away their roots.

Harry creeps into the corner of this wider panorama of the lake and the islands within it.

Most of the ugly walkways set by the Angling Club have been removed in recent years.

The lake is much cleaner now (devoid of ironwork) but a few remain so as to give fishermen access to the islands.

Ahead is the minor summit of Low Pen.

All the trees below the horizontal forest road have also been removed in recent years.

We leave the lakeside path and take a diagonal, rising path which will take us up to the clearing at the hause above Harry's head.

Knock Murton is just too steep to enjoy a reasonable ascent from this side.

The rough-cleared forest section would make it very difficult, even if we wanted to.

One or two trees have escaped the forester's chainsaw.

At least they will give the birds, in particular the birds of prey, somewhere to sit and survey the landscape around them.

At the top we plunge into the forestry on a track that starts to descend to the other side towards the Felldyke to Croasdale road.

The red colour of the track is due to the presence of iron ore in the rock that makes up this side of the fell.

Rather than follow the track down to gate at the edge of the trees (and consequently lose quite a bit of height)

we take to the woods, following a clearing directly up the hill side.

The 1:25k map shows several clearings and we found one, an old mine spoil heap I would imagine,

now covered by decades of re-growth, mainly sphagnum moss and heather.

Above our clearing are signs of more excavations and addits that formed part of the old iron mines.

A gentler climb on this side, and as we ascended so the panorama below us improves.

Fortunately the weather is staying reasonably fine.  We have views across the valley and full waterproofs still reside within our packs.

- - - - o o o - - -


The skill of the early iron workers is clear

here on the higher part of the fell.


With careful work they have chipped away at the iron ore

to remove the waste rock and expose just the metal

so as to create an iron fence.


This would have been held vertically at one time

to control the movement of sheep

and stop them prospecting for ore on their own behalf.



You get distracted and one of our two sheep (Dylan in this case) goes on ahead, making a successful bid to be first to the summit.

Knock Murton top has a conglomeration of stonework on the top including two deep shelters

which have protected us several times from the strong sea breezes that can blow across the western side of Cumbria.

Dylan trying to look grown up and mature as he takes up an artistic pose on the cairn, on the true summit of the fell.

Blake fell behind is out of the cloud now . . . and for that matter so is Knock Murton where we are standing.

Harry stops on a another rock just below the summit and surveys the route down.

We'll have a softer descent following the green grass rather than the brown heather.

We'll head for the left hand edge of the cleared forestry section below.

There we found an old stile to cross.

We temporarily moved the plywood to allow the dogs through the gap but replaced it afterwards to keep the sheep out.

Not shown on my 1:25k or 1:50k maps but there were the clear markers for a footpath around the outside of the old forest.

Down turn right and follow the fence line . . . unfortunately the weather had the same idea

and it was time to put on the waterproofs for a few minutes as the rain blew in on the strong breeze.

I think this is where we came in . . . the Felldyke track to the reservoir . . . and the gate we used earlier.

Even the cloud has returned to the summit just as it had been a few hours earlier on our outward walk.

Time to drive home and indulge in a nice pot of afternoon tea . . . and think of a nice meal for this evening.

Is there any cake on offer by the way ?

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with my Nikon P520 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a better weather forecast for Jo's next visit.

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Previous walk - 2nd December 2014 - Over to Grike for a Sunset

A previous time up here - 11th January 2011 Knock Murton - winter sunshine

Next walk - 12th December 2014 - Pre Christmas Visits