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" Great Mell Fell with John G. "

Date & start time:      15th May 2022.   10 am start.       ( Grid Ref NY 407 247).

Location of Start :     By the non-existent 'fork in the road', Brownrigg Farm, Penruddock, Cumbria. Uk.*

Places visited :          Brownrigg Farm, Great Mell Fell, Routing Gill Beck, White Horse Inn.

Walk details :              2.5 miles, 925 ft of ascent, 2 hours 40 mins, including a slow descent.

Highest point :           Great Mell Fell, 1,760ft - 537m.

Walked with :              John Grayson and my dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                     Sunshine and summer clouds, windy on the top.

                                                    *  See link to "previous time here" at end of page.

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


Regular Loweswatercam viewer, John Grayson from Essex, had contacted me some time ago as he was going to be on holiday in the Lakes. 

He fancied a walk near Keswick to start the week, before moving down to Langdale to stay with regular fell walking friends in the hotel there. 

A walk with myself and a  meal at the White Horse Inn afterwards would enhance the first part of his visit very nicely.

We met at the junction close to Brownrigg Farm, on the road that runs north-south between Great Mell and Little Mell Fell.

The old fork has gone, cleared away by a litter picker and the junction has gained a 'free range egg' dispenser and honesty box for the money.

John and I would start our walk along the track to the left.

The first gate has a good path on the other side, but we'll continue on to the second.

As it happened, this would be our return route a little while later.

My companion today, John who thought to start his holiday with an easier fell walk.

Great Mell is less than a thousand feet of climbing and has a gradual, rounded outline with no crags to worry about.

Behind John and across the way, showing a bright array of yellow gorse, is its partner Little Mell Fell.

Looking to the right, more southerly in direction,

are the darker heather colours adorning the upper slopes of Gowbarrow Fell.

The second gate on the lane, that would otherwise take us round the flanks of the fell and end up at the Riding Centre at Rooking House Farm.

We'll take the lead from the signs and climb the stile, the gate being rather securely chained up.

The path starts gently enough, but having got us warmed up from the lane walk, it made us work harder now

as it took a sharp right and headed steeply up the fell.

Great Mell has a wood on the north eastern slopes but more individual trees on this side.

This one had a rather nice free-formed shape, as it was not affected buy any close neighbours that would compete with it for space.

Some however were not so lucky and as we climbed up the fell the effect of strong winds became more apparent.

These three adjacent trees were in various states of collapse.

Higher again and the effect of the prevailing winds becomes more pronounced.

What remains of both these trees were just the branches that had grown sideways, bent double by the wind.

The slope eases and above the trees we have an extensive view east towards Penrith and the distant Pennine Hills.

I was lulled into a false sense of  'having completed the steepest part of the walk'.

Over a slight brow and another climb awaits.   I had forgotten that the path still had to pass through another arm of the woodland.

Our view of the actual summit of the fell was still hidden from view.

The well trodden path splits occasionally but all of the options take you through the trees.

Storm damage, seemingly from many years back.

The larch and Scots Pine all show signs of a having had a hard life.

This Scots Pine has been bleached silver by years of sunshine.
The vegetation alongside the path has subtly changed now.

Ahh . . . the rounded outline beyond the trees hints at the true summit is just a short distance ahead.

The summit 'tumulus' marked on the map is now little more than a flat stoney area,

but some of the stones have been utilised to make a respectable little cairn.

Ahead of us as we reach the top was the familiar outline of Blencathra and the Back O'Skiddaw Fells.

Fancy a big look around from this lovely vantage point ?

Click here or on the photo above for a 360 degree annotated panorama.

The lady you may have seen in the panorama offered to take our picture on the top, as we did for her and her boys,

so here's John and I on the summit of Great Mell Fell.

We'd seen a lower path on the map, the one at the bottom of the woodland that came out at the gate.

Finding a slight path east from the summit we headed out for the woods, full of confidence.

Walking down through the heather and bilberries, with the lake at Cocklakes Farm down below.

This is the only vantage point to see the lake as it is hidden from the A66 road if you're travelling into the Lakes from Penrith.

Sadly the path petered out which left us navigating the tussock grass.

The woodland below was confused by storm damage and so we chose a clearer, more diagonal descent.

John had a slight problem, complicated by the fact that he had left his trekking poles in the car . . . but we managed in the end.

On the lower slopes there were occasionally some lovely patches of purple flowers in the grass.

This was the perennial herb, Self heal with its cluster of purple flowers held aloft on a short stem.

Our route through the less dense woods brought us across to Routing Gill Beck, which acted as a guide to reach the footpath we needed.

In the valley between us and Low Mell Fell there were several new wildlife and bio-diversity ponds

like the ones that the Rivers Trust have made over in our part of Cumbria.

The welcome sight of the cars after a slightly awkward descent.

Unlike Little Mell Fell, there's no real circular path around the fell unless you are prepared for some hard work !

Safely down, we adjourned to The White Horse for lunch.
John had one more surprise for me . . .

He had drawn a picture of my cottage in black and white, based on a Google Street View image.

He's been to the cottage before but didn't have a suitable picture of his own presumably.

This was a lovely gift after an interesting walk up Great Mell Fell . . . thank you John.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . . wall space at home for a lovely surprise present.

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Previous walk - 10th May 2022 - Rannerdale Bluebells 2022

A previous time up here - 19th July 2008 Great Mell Fell with Jo

Next walk - 18th May 2022 - We Wander to Wonder in Borrowdale