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Kirkland, Wythwaite, Wildboar Scar, Little Dun Fell, Cumbria.
(3 day back-pack)
Tue 18 - Thu 20 Dec 2012

Tue 18 Dec 2012

Tue 18 Dec 2012

Wed 19 Dec 2012

Thu 20 Dec 2012

Iíd previously noted a possible camp pitch on the west side of Little Dun Fell in the Cumbrian Pennines so decided to give it a try and escape from the Christmas run up for a couple of days. Iím in a bah humbug mood so roughing it on a hillside made sense. I had a clear drive along the M6 motorway and reached the small car park at Kirkland about 10am. It was deserted when I arrived but another car soon arrived and a walker emerged, fitted his gaiters and set off up the fell. I heaved my pack out of the car, strapped my tent to the top and set off down the lane and along the farm access towards Ranbeck Farm.

Looking up to Grumply Hill.
The sunshine would soon vanish.

There was high cloud on the hills but lower down I was in cold sunshine. The house at Wythwaite had a couple of cars parked outside and the ruins of the adjacent original farm buildings were lit by low sunlight. The path that leaves the far goes through a gate where the gate latch is inaccessible to anyone not wearing wellingtons. The mud and water were too deep for walking boots so I had to climb the gate. I wasnít looking forward to the left turn up towards the fell because itís always been terribly wet on previous occasions. Although there had been lots of rain over previous days the walk wasnít as bad as Iíd expected. Once through the final gate, which was accessible and not flooded, I was on an open sunny fell. Ahead I could see the track to the left of Grumply Hill and in the far distance the same path going diagonally up Wildboar Scar and into the cloud.

Gathering clouds over Burney Hill

I was heading for the site of a long abandoned and derelict reservoir high on the west side of Little Dun Fell. I could have followed the path to Crowdundle Head and taken a fairly direct route but Iíd seen an old mine level on the map and decided to investigate that by taking a different route. After a steady plod up Wildboar Scar I reached flatter but much rougher ground. The path runs between boulders and now there were snowfields to make the going much harder. The snow wasnít hard enough to walk over meaning that most steps would break through and Iíd have to laboriously climb out for the next step.

The old mine by Crowdundle Beck

Having a full pack on with supplies for a couple of days didnít help. I left the path at around 650m to follow the contour to the right. This should have taken me directly to the mine but there were many snowfields in the way which needed a lot of detours. When I got to the area I was too high and found myself standing on the top of a cliff with the river far below. I could see the eroded spoil heap from the mine just above the river so managed to find a way round to descend a steep grassy slope. The mine entrance was almost grassed over completely but a huge amount of water was flowing out and forming a series of waterfalls down to the river below.

Crowdundle Beck

This site would definitely justify a return visit in dry weather to see if the water quantity continues. Below the level is a waterfall in the main river and I had to climb upstream to be able to get across. A steep climb up a grassy bank on the far side took me up on to the open fell side. I was in mist so had no distant feature to aim for. The ground was the same mix of boulders and tussocky grass with intermittent snowfields. By heading slightly uphill I was able to reach my destination and recognised the old reservoir embankment when it appeared through the mist. It had now got very windy and I tried to find some shelter but there was none. The only water supply was the reservoir outlet which now meandered trough bog. The pitch I chose for my tent was exposed to the wind but the ground was good to get all the pegs in to make as secure a pitch. After putting the tent up and getting water it was a case of battening down the hatches.

Camp on Little Dun Fell