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" A quick Mellbreak before We Go "
Date & start time: 4th April 2021. 10.30 am start.
Location of Start : By the red phone box, Loweswater, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 143 211 )
Places visited : Kirkgate Farm, Mellbreak North and South tops, Ling Crag and home.
Walk details : 5.5 mls, 1700 ft of ascent, 3 hours 40 mins.
Highest point : Mellbreak, 1666 ft - 512m.
Walked with : Jenna, Matt, Abi and the dogs, Dylan and Dougal.
Cameo appearance by Jonathon and Alison and family.
Weather : Sunshine and blue skies, with a cool breeze.
© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.
In this fine Easter weather Jenna, Matt and Abi expressed a desire to climb one more fell before they left for home.
They weren't quite up for "Mellbreak before Breakfast" but they felt it should be possible to climb it "before a late-lunch".
Our quick trip today could be extended depending on how everyone feels whilst on the walk.
They forecasted snow on the weather report last night, but we didn't really believe them.
Still, when we awoke this Easter Monday morning there it was on the ground . . . well just a dusting of it.
By the time breakfast was over the sun was out and the only trace of the snow in the garden
was the last of the dampness colouring the slate chippings.
- - - o o o - - -
A newly refurbished "Negative Signpost" at the Kirkstile Inn road junction.
The briefest of increases to our walking number as our neighbours, Jonathon, Alison and family are walking the same way at the same time.
They are just planning a low level walk whereas we are aiming for the top.
Looking across the valley to the slightly white shades of Sand Hill in the distance.
The farmer here has just been out and provided some extra feed for his sheep.
These cold, dry conditions are playing havoc, as the grass is not growing very fast. Another local farmer said it was like playing checkers.
He's moving his sheep from one field to another searching out any blades of fresh grass for the sheep to eat.
Some ewes had escaped into the lane and were searching for something to eat.
Rather than shy away, they seemed to follow our two fluffy sheep-like retrievers up the lane, almost as if they were saying . . .
" If those sheep are going that way they must know something, so we'll follow "
We part company, leaving the sheep in the lane and Jonathon and Co to walk up the valley
as we head up the firebreak then out onto the snow covered fell beyond.
The snow was limited to the small patch in the shelter of the trees
and as we climbed above, it the view back to the pub and on down the valley became more extensive.
Onto the climb itself.
The easier route zig-zags up the fell and avoids the worst of the loose scree . . . Abi stands at a turn in the path.
Onward and upward
and we can see all the way across the Solway to the Scottish hills beyond today.
Dylan leads the way.
The climb up Mellbreak's northern face is a lovely one.
The path is easier than it looks though the use of an odd handhold never goes amiss on occasions.
The view both north, across towards Grasmoor and up the Buttermere Valley are superb on a day like today.
We must be getting up into the 'jet stream' as it suddenly turns quite cold as the wind catches us on the exposed edge.
Jackets are suddenly the order of the day.
Abi summits out on the northern top of Mellbreak.
A clear view of Criffel and the Scottish hills from the cairn.
" It's so nice up here and we've got time, so how about going to the other top" . . . they say.
Looking at this photo later I thought the picture was double exposed, but there are two people and two hats as proven by the shadows.
Abi searches out "Tom's Pool" where her brother had a accidental habit of going for a dip . . . several times.
[ Nothing like grandfather perpetuating sibling rivalry between Abi and her brother ! ]
Fortunately the only thing in the water today was frogs spawn.
Near the summit I wander off-piste to get a clearer view across to the snow-topped peaks.
In the distance is the summit of Helvellyn with triangular Catstycam to its left.
I get a clear view down to the head of Crummock Water and on towards Buttermere.
The small indentation or dip in the ground here became relevant shortly after.
The others visit the top and then they wander over to the edge too.
It would be nice to visit High and Low Ling Crags today, the low crags being the land jutting out into the blue waters of the lake.
The thought was therefore to drop down and return by the lakeside, extending the walk once again to avoid doubling back on our outward route.
For a real change we walked back a hundred yard or so
to where I had seen a gully conveniently pointing at Ling Crag and dropping not too steeply down the side of the fell.
It turned out to be a reasonable, diagonal descent and no steeper than our walk off Blencathra the day before.
The occasional small crag and waterfall in the valley were easily and safely avoided.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line . . . and we were soon standing on High Ling Crag.
The view down to Low Ling Crag and the dog-like shape of the outer rocks.
If you can't visualise what I'm talking about, check out this photo of three retriever heads !
Jenna tests the wind . . . I hope she's not thinking of jumping like that base-jumper did a few days ago on High Stile.
That rucksack doesn't hold a parachute.
. . . but she did enjoy her "Kate Winslet - Titanic" moment.
Both she and Dougal enjoy the feeling of the wind in their faces.
We pass on the lower crag and aim directly for the lakeshore path the other walkers are already using.
Dougal chasing a stick . . . Matt has his eye on it. Dougal anticipates the direction but will wait for the splash !
[ If you can't see, it look for a brown log directly above Dougal and just above the opposite shoreline.]
The old Hawthorn tree as we walk back on the lakeshore path.
It is still windy, as evidenced by the occasional white horse (waves) on the lake.
We take the low path and stay by the lake shore.
A slight lack of sun as a cloud briefly shields the sky over the bay known as "Sandy Yat".
Okay, 'Yat' is the gate half way across the beach, but I beg to differ that this is sand we're walking on . . . it is more like pebbles.
Heading home leaving the lake, Mellbreak and the High Stile Ridge behind us.
Out of interest, the left hand edge of Mellbreak's outline was more or less our descent route, give or take the hidden gully.
Heading on towards the Pump House, the sun returns and with it the warmth.
We divert to to the rock in the Stone Field.
Abi sits and takes in the view just as prehistoric man (or woman) would have done.
We know that because more learned men than I say these are "cup Marks" in the rock.
They are circular indentations carved or worn in the rock by stone held in a human hand. There are about a hundred of varying depth on the rock.
More ornate marks found elsewhere are often surrounded by a circular ring shape and are known as "cup and ring" marks.
Can't stay all day as we need to make lunch before Matt, Jenn and Abi have to leave.
It's been a great walk with a real bonus of a new descent route.
It's now just a short walk back via Low Park bridge and across the fields to home.
Back on familiar ground as matt checks out the results of yesterday's efforts.
That reminds me . . . the Postman Pat sculpture need a touch of new paint and a little of that fungus removing while the weather is fine.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures generally taken with my smaller PanasonicTZ60 Camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . an hour or two spare with a scraper and paint brush . . . sometime soon !
Previous event - 4th April - Easter Garden Make-Over
A previous time up here - 29th September 2016 - First Walks now we are home (2016)
Next walk - 7th April - Ulverston and Roa Island