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Loweswater, Burnbank Fell, Blake Fell, Gavel Fell, Whiteoak Beck, Cumbria.
[11.8 km]  Thu 05 Apr 2018

Lat/Long: 54.577133, -03.340500
OS Grid ref:
NY 13449 21040
With high pressure arriving there was a good weather forecast for the day. The temperature was around zero as I drove along the M6 and the Cumbrian fells were all white with thin snow. Driving over Whinlatter Pass there was snow and ice on the road. I then drove to the small car park at the east end of Loweswater where there was one car and a walker getting ready to set off.

Driving over Whinlatter Pass

Loweswater
I set off along the track to Watergate Farm and reached the gate entering Holme Wood. I was here 3 years ago and also in sunny weather. There was a nice view of Loweswater by a wall so I took a photo as I did 3 years ago. My original plan was to walk through the woods by the south west shore of Lowewater to Hudson Place. As I entered the wood I noticed a path climbing steeply up to the left and as I hadnít walked it before I decided to amend my route and follow it up. I checked my map and saw that it would eventually connect with my original planned route on the climb of Burnbank Fell.
Below Burnbank Fell
The climb was steady and as I got higher there was more snow about. Through a gate I left the woods and was on a track following the east side of Burnbank Fell. It is a spectacular route because on the views and I soon came to a bench by the track which is positioned to get the best view across Loweswater and on to Whiteside and Grasmoor.
Loweswater, Whiteside and Grasmoor

The track continued to a gate where I joined my original route. There was a thin coating of soft snow and it was very slippery underfoot so I put on my ice studs. I had my ice axe on my pack but didnít need it. It was steady climb in fine weather to the flat stretch on the approach to Burnbank Fell then wet snow up the final climb to the fence at the summit. There is no cairn to mark it. I followed the fence south towards Blake Fell and in the distance could see a lone figure standing on the summit.

Bench with a view
It felt cold in the wind and I wanted to find somewhere sheltered to eat my sandwiches but I couldnít see any shelter. I noticed a rocky outcrop on the east side of Blake Fell and headed for it. There was a nice flat spot to sit on and enough sun was out to make it a pleasant lunch spot. Some clouds were rolling in and by the time I set off for the summit of Blake Fell I was in cloud. The person Iíd seen earlier had gone and I could see his boot prints climbing to the summit from the south then returning the same way.
Lunchtime view

Frosty summit of Blake Fell

Old gate post as a boundary marker
The summit shelter was coated in ice but as I started my descent the view cleared and I could see the far fells ahead. It was a difficult descent to Fothergill Head below as the ground was extremely wet with patches of thin soggy snow. Even with my ice studs on it was very slippery. I continued across and up to Gavel Fell. The fence continued south but I climbed over to cross open and very wet ground towards the descent to Whiteoak Beck. The descent became steeper but the sun had cleared most of the snow and it wasnít too bad underfoot.

The old Wythop School seems to be a community centre
The map showed a track heading north and I could see it below. I had to cross some very wet ground to get there. Once on the track it was a delight to walk along. It soon became drier and firm underfoot. The track turned left overlooking a small unnamed tarn below. The Open Street Map site now calls it a Corpse Road but none of my Ordnance Survey maps call it that.

High Nook Farm washing
The track contained down to High Nook Farm where there was a picturesque washing line of drying clothes. There were now a lot of people and children walking up the track, presumably because this is now the school holidays. The access bridge to the farm had been washed away last year and a new metal bridge was fitted adjacent. The plan is to re-build the original bridge. What look like a contractorís compound was adjacent. It was a short walk back to the car park which was now full. A donation box was in the corner so I put £2 in.
Replacing the bridge at High Nook Farm