Wainwright Outliers – back of beyond.

Flat Fell and Dent.

I’m sure the residents of Cleator Moor don’t consider themselves ‘back of beyond’ but that was my impression when I passed through this morning. It had taken me nearly 2 hours to drive to this side of The Lakes, the streets looked empty and forlorn, festooned with TV satellite dishes. This is probably a popular local walk, however everyone now seems to park at the top of Nannycatch Road as I did to walk  a shortened version of AW’s route.

Cleator Moor with Dent above.

Cleator Moor with Dent above.

Flat Fell was flat.  But had the benefit of a sudden revelation of the Loweswater, Ennerdale and Scafell ranges, poor conditions for photos.

When I was back down into the hidden if not exactly remote, Nannycatch Valley signs for the Coast to Coast route appeared and took me up the steep side of Dent. Can’t remember climbing up here fully laden on the penultimate day of our east-west crossing in 1979, must have been a struggle. My diary tells me that we wild camped in the woods above Cleator Moor before finishing the next morning. Also it states that the average charge for a farm campsite was 30p.  I took a direct moss cushioned hillside to my car and drove to Coldfell Gate. On the way, at Egremont,  passing Florence Mine the last working deep iron ore mine in Europe until closed in 2007 and now an arts centre. The miners were known as The Red Men from the haematite dust.

Nannycatch valley.

Nannycatch valley.

From Dent looking over Flat Fell to Ennerdale.

From Dent looking over Flat Fell to Ennerdale.

The mossy way.

The mossy way.

Florence Mine.

Florence Mine.

Cold Fell.

Cold Fell was cold and had no merit whatsoever. What was I doing here Mr A W ?

Cold Fell summit?

Cold Fell summit?

Back at the car the weather was changing, cloud and dampness, and I was loosing my resolve. It was only the thought of the petrol costs to get here that had me drive through lanes to my next objective. My radio told me England we’re collapsing in the world T20 final against the W. Indies, Leicester were winning again in the Premiership, and European agricultural pollution was affecting the SE. [May not be that easy to exit from Europe after all]

Ponsonby Fell.

For convenience I chose a way up from Stakes Bridge in the Calder Valley. This is sheep country and the farmers were out on lambing duties. Enclosed fields reminiscent of the Dales took me to the open fellside leading to the plain top. Scafell crag appeared briefly. The weather had improved, could the rise in temperature have anything to do with nearby Sellafield?  From up here you see the full size of the complex.

Heading off the hill I was impressed with the enclosing walls made of sandstone with a capping turf full of ferns and moss.

In a field was a Larsen magpie trap, these are legal in appropriate circumstances, complete with a live magpie as bait. The logic is simple – another bird is attracted and trapped – shoot the first and start again. A friend of mine employed one in his garden and quickly caught a bird. He didn’t have the heart to kill it so drove it ten miles away and released it, I wonder who was back first.

Ponsonby Fell.

Ponsonby Fell.

DSC00643

Distant Wasdale from Ponsonby Fell.

Distant Wasdale from Ponsonby Fell.

I was back at the car as the rain started, mission accomplished.

AW states “there are no fells not worth climbing, but Ponsonby  Fell is very nearly in this category…” Actually I quite enjoyed my circuit and found much of interest. Methink he doth protest too much and should have directed his comments to Cold Fell.

Ever present Sellafield.

Ever present Sellafield.

 

 

 

16 thoughts on “Wainwright Outliers – back of beyond.

  1. conradwalks.blogspot.com

    Another energetic round. Well done. I have got Cold Fell ticked off but can’t remember snything about it. I will need to check whrn I get back. I have done a Marilyn Cold Fell to the east of Penrith (another ” back of beyond” job).

    Reply
  2. antondotreks

    I must have driven past you on my rescue drive from Wasdale Head to Honister. Mike Harding once called the road to Egremont the longest cul-de-Sac in the country!

    Reply
  3. McEff

    It was Mike Harding who uttered that famous truism: Cleator Moor is three miles long and one house deep, and it took four years to burn down when the chip shop exploded.
    I’ve been down Florence Mine twice. Shame it finally closed. The end of an industry that stretched from Whitehaven to the tip of the Furness Peninsula. But there you go.
    Cheers, Alen

    Reply
    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      Alen. Glad you are keeping up. Didn’t use that Mike Harding quote in my post, thought possibly too offensive in these ‘politically correct’ days. [Didn’t know about the chip shop] But I don’t seem to have any followers in Cleator Moor – yet.
      Why were you down that mine? Work or journalism?

      Reply
      1. McEff

        The first time was with a group of mining enthusiasts. I used to do a lot of caving and exploring of old mines, and we managed to get a trip down Florence via the main shaft and a tour of the workings. The second time was with a load of kids from Roose Primary School in Barrow. I accompanied them to write a feature for the North-West Evening Mail. By this time (1994-ish) the main shaft wasn’t used any more and entry was via a new inclined drift from the pit yard. It was a fascinating place.
        I wouldn’t worry about Mike Harding. On the same LP he describes Barrow as a town at the end of a 98-mile cul-de-sac. A slight exaggeration, but still funny after all these years.

        Reply
        1. bowlandclimber Post author

          Would love to get involved with all that ‘mining thing’ but don’t seem to have the time. Used to go caving but now I prefer to stay in the sunlight, if there is any, hence my frequent trips abroad in the winter.
          Have you still held on to those Mike Harding LPs?

          Reply
          1. McEff

            I was wondering that myself. I only had one of his LPs and it should be in a box with the rest of them, as yet unpacked. That’s another job I’ve got to do – make somewhere to stash them all.

            Reply

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