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Wythop Mill (nr Keswick), Sale Fell, Kelswick, Ling Fell, Cumbria.
[ 19.0 km] Wed 07 Mar 2012

NY 1791 2962
This is my first visit to the Sale Fell area. It is covered in detail by A. Wainwright in his Lakeland Fells – North West Fells guide and seemed to have plenty of different things to see. I started from Wythop Mill and followed the narrow lane towards the Pheasant Inn. The weather was mixed so I set off with waterproofs on and was soon glad I had.

the Lane to the Church

Fortunately the rain didn’t last long. I came to an isolated building on the right which had the sign ‘Wythop Sunday School’ on the door. A note in the nearby Church says it is now in private ownership. It looked quite interesting but the front and side doors were locked. Further along I came to St Margaret’s Church. It is set back from the road and the speeding motorist would miss it. A high retaining wall marks its position and two entrances go up steps to get a full view of the church. Fortunately it was unlocked so I was able to look inside.

the Old Sunday School

St Margaret's

St Margaret's

The Church is dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch and was consecrated by Bishop Waldegrave of Carlisle on 31st July 1866. I continued along the road to the Pheasant Inn where I’d planned to follow a path that leaves the road near the Inn. I overshot it and soon realised my mistake. Once on the path it seemed to go though someone’s garden before heading up through the trees to join the forestry track to the forestry centre. I was heading up to the east side of Sale Fell and was following the tracks to get there. The map shows some paths that take a shorter and more direct route but there was no sign of them on the ground. The tracks turned out to be the best option.

through the forest to Sale Fell

I left the forest at a gate and emerged on to open ground. The views of Wythop valley and across to Broom Fell were very impressive. The green lane was a delight to walk along and I was bit reluctant to leave it to follow a diagonal path up towards Rivings and Sale Fell. As I got higher the wind became stronger and felt quite chilly in the 6degC temperature. The summit area is a collection of humps and hillocks and gives good views if the weather is clear. There are two summits on Sale Fell and I reckoned the westerly one to be the highest, just.

just below Sale Fell summit

My next objective was to check out the ruined chapel shown on the map as ‘Chapel (rems of)’. I followed a path down by the wall to Kelswick Farm. Where the surfaced road ends a green track then goes to the Chapel site. It is nothing more than the original walls up to waste height and a memorial plaque on the wall to say what the ruins were. Within the walls is a stone which is engraved ‘Site of Wythop Old Church’. It looks more like a gravestone than marker although no burials were done here.

site of the Old Chapel

the Old Chapel in 1865

It may have been built in the 14th century but was in existence in the mid 16th century. It was pulled down in 1865 and a new St Margaret's built on the north side of Sale fell. In Aug each year and open air service is held here.

The map shows a path descending through the woods to Wythop Beck but I couldn’t see any sign. So I walked down the field to the beck and across the bridge to Old Scales Farm. I followed the road to Eskin then up to the east side of Ling Fell to follow another green track around the base of the fell. I followed it to the spring called Bladder Keld on the map. Wainwright’s describes it as ‘an insignificant spring’ that ‘rejoices in the name of Bladder Keld – which is more than it deserves.’ I found it to be a spring that issues water and I don’t see how any other description is needed. I set off up the fell following a collapsed wall by the spring. It was steep at first but soon became easier. As the gradient eased I left the wall and headed for the stone trig post where I admired the views.

Ling Fell summit trip post

A few paths radiate from the summit so I chose a descent route which set off west then NW and joined the picturesque green track which the map calls the ‘Corpse Road’. It descended gently to rejoin the road near Eskin.

the Old Corpse Road

I turned sharp left to head back towards Wythop Mill. The Old School stood up to the left and was obviously not a school anymore but I still couldn’t see what it was now. I had a quick look by the Old Saw Mill before returning to the car.

The Globe at Wythop Mill

Wythop Mill Bridge

Wythop Mill Bridge by Wainwright