Return to Whittle Wanderer

Threlkeld, Blencathra, Mungrisdale Common, Cloven Stone, Glenderaterra, Cumbria.
[15.0 km]  Wed 15 Aug 2018

Lat/Long: 54.620985, -03.056994
OS Grid ref:
NY 31847 25607
I drove north along the M6 through mist and rain then off at Penrith. Then west to Threlkeld where I parked in the small Car Park just above the village. My planned route is over Blencathra and also to check the Cloven Stone boulders on Mungrisdale Common. I'd originally planned to do the walk clockwise, checking the stone first then Blencathra and descending to the south. However I realised that the steep Blencathra descent is much better done uphill and safer.

Heading up into the mist and rain

Looking east and about to lose the view
I amended my plan and headed off to do the route anticlockwise. From the car park the path leads up by Kilnhow Beck through dense woodland and emerges onto another path along the south side of Blencathra. It was slight drizzle when I left and the mist was very low. I turn left at the gate and stepped across the river to follow the path by the wall. As I started the steep climb up there was a wooden post across the path I’d intended to use, but a better path continued up to the right. It soon re-joined my planned route and I climbed steadily up through the mist with no views. I reached the steep section on Blease Fell where a succession of zigzags headed steeply up the fell side.

Only sheep for company

One of the summit cairns with its own moat
The gradient eased on the approach to Know Crags. The path continues easily generally in a north east direction. With nothing to see in the mist, except sheep, I continued and was glad of my change of direction as I had a very strong wind on my back. That meant the rain wasn't blasting into my face. When I reached the rocky area at Hallscfell top I stopped briefly to look at the Ordnance Survey trig point which is a circular concrete disc. As I left I headed across open ground to check the location of a patch of grass I’d camp on back in 2011.
The distinctive Ordnance Survey trig point
With thick mist continuing I walked over to Atkinson Pike where I descended steeply to the right to find some shelter from the wind and eats my lunchtime sandwiches. Back on the trail I continued north then a shark descent to the left and then across open moor of Mungrisdale Common.
Memorial on Blencathra
I was surprised to see my planned route was following a faint path which made the going much easier. I reached an old sheepfold which was originally a stone rectangle but most of the walls had collapsed completely. I continued in a westerly direction to a small cairn which marked a junction of minor paths.
Collapsed sheepfold
I I took the left fork following another minor path which reached an old cairn which is shown in one of A. Wainwright’s books. Continuing down in roughly the same direction I continued my easy descent across the common to reach the Cloven Stone.
Old stone cairn

The Cloven Stone this morning (Wed 15th Aug 2018)

The Cloven Stone from A Wainwright's guide book 'The Northern Fells' published 1962
As its name indicates it is roughly the shape of a cloven hoof. Wainwright's book does not recommend walking here as he considers the Common too boring. However, I disagree and even in the mist and poor weather the walking is excellent and would be much better with a decent view. The Cloven Stone is a fascinating feature and I was surprised to find that I had a mobile phone and data signal.  I continued down and soon dipped below the mist and could see Yout Hostel Skiddaw House across the valley. At the valley bottom is a stone marker post which is called The Stake on the map. The ground was extremely boggy and I had to be careful crossing it to reach the stile.
Cairn on Artle Crag

I followed up by the wall to the main track where a party of 4 cyclists were coming up from the left. I turned left and started down towards the Glenderaterra Beck. Once over the footbridge I was on the main track along the west side of Blencathra. I followed its undulating route down to the higher car park where I soon reached the road near the Blencathra Centre. I was surprised to see some new building work going on over the wall to the right. It was an easy walk down the road back to the car park. The overcast misty weather continued with drizzle.
New building