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Garrigill, Rotherhope Fell, Hound Hill, Cumbria.
[ 17.0 km] Wed 14 Nov 2012


NY 7448 4155
I had a dark, dull and overcast drive to Garrigill about 5km SE of Alston. There was nobody about as I parked opposite the Post Office and I was amazed that there was a Post Office. I set off walking along the road towards Blackburn Bridge about 4km away. The road runs parallel and above the River South Tyne, giving good views along the valley. In the distance there were patches of sunshine on the hills but no sign of any near me.

Sunshine on the distant hills, but none here!

Below the buildings of High Redwing was a dark and mossy building which looked like an old abandoned church. The map doesn’t show it as a church. A quick on-line search revealed that there are records relating to the church held at the Record Office in Carlisle under the heading ‘Alston and Garrigill (Redwing) Congregational Church, Cumberland’.
Further along the road I noticed an interesting small stone tower built into a wall. The map shows it as Rotherhope Tower.

Rotherhope Tower

Just before Blackburn Bridge I turned left along the old mine track which is also parallel to Black Burn (river). Before reaching the old mine buildings I turned left up a rough track onto the moor.

Blackburn Bridge

Grouse Beater's cabin

Cabin interior

Higher up there were even more old mine workings and large spoil heaps. My first objective of the day was a ruin shown by some old mine workings near the upper reaches of Rotherhope Cleugh. To get there I had to leave the track and head out across rough and wet moorland. I reached the mine level and ruin and wasn’t disappointed. Its remoteness probably explained why the building was still at almost full height, though the roof had long fallen in.

Rotherhope Cleugh mine building

The mine level entrance was adjacent and in good condition but a metal grill blocked the entrance. After having a good look round I headed up the fell towards Hound Hill. It was still very rough and wet but thankfully on the hill summit I came to a flat and dryer area with a track running across it in the direction of the Ordnance Survey trig point on Rotherhope Fell. That was my next objective and it was nice to be having an easy walk to get there.

Rotherhope Cleugh level

The track took me all the way to the summit but shortly after going through a gate the track headed off in another direction. I crossed Stanners Gill and came to a Grouse Butts maintenance track.

Ordnance Survey trig post

It was nothing more than a rolled out sheet of plastic mesh pinned down onto the fell. It looked odd and was the first time I’d seen a mat like this. However, it worked and made walking very easy. It was also a relief to see that it ran out east all the way to the main track coming over from Cross Fell.

Plastic roll out road

This track is also the Pennine Way and being quite stony in places wasn’t all that easy to walk along, especially on the steep descent down to Garrigill. I hadn’t seen any walkers anywhere on the moor but half way down the descent was a parked vehicle and two wall builders sat inside having sandwiches for their lunch. At the junction with the tarmac road was a church on the right, which was empty and up for sale. Near the village centre I came to St John’s Church which was still functioning and had one of the most innovative notice boards I’ve seen. It was in the shape of the church façade with slatted roof and front door. Back at the car I noticed the Post Office was now open and it also seemed to be a general store as well.

St John's Church. Full marks for the information board.

Garrigill Post Office