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Fell Side, Roughton Gill old mines, Iron Crag, Balliway Rigg, Great Sca Fell, Charleton Wath, Cumbria.
[13.2 km]  Thu 09 May 2019

Lat/Long: 54.726534, -03.081768
OS Grid ref: NY 30428 37376
A week of mixed wet and windy Weather made it difficult to choose the best day. It was too wet on Wednesday so I aimed for Thursday today. The weather forecasts varied and I headed north along a gloomy motorway where I left at jnc 41 then on to Caldbeck and Fell Side Farm where I parked my car. It is very handy as there is a good lay-by by the farm track off the road.

Heading up Roughton Gill
It was raining slightly when I arrived and I was the only car there. With full waterproofs on I set off in chilly weather heading south on the old miners track up Dale Beck heading towards the old Roughton Gill mines area. It is a fascinating area because much of the old remains of the earlier lead mine workings can be seen all along the valley.
Smelt Mill ruins
The fell tops up ahead where lost in cloud and I was half planning to cut my walk short if they continued that way. Reaching Roughton Gill at the south end of the valley I had to hop across the rocks over the river then up to the building where mine drain water is issuing from the hillside.
Footbridge near Smelt Mill

Mine drain water

Possible intake building
Although there is nothing to indicate it on the building I am sure this is used as a water intake point utilising the mine drainage.
The whole aarea is spoil heaps from the lead and copper mines that worked from the late 1700s to going bankrupt in 1878.
I climbed steeply up to the left and higher up came to some more old mine workings where I stopped for an early lunch.

Looking down to Roughtongill
I continued up the very steep ridge I reach Iron Crag where I had been a couple of years ago in the snow. Unfortunately the snow was in bad condition making going very difficult. I dropped down to the gill where there were more mine working remnants then steeply up the far side to Ballyway Ridge. As I headed up the featureless fell I walked across to an old slpoil heap which is marked on the map as an old mine shaft. The earlier low clouds had now gone and although it was still 100% cloud cover I could see most of the surrounding fells.
Great Sca Fell cairn
I then continued up to Great Scafell. It was an easy walk across to Little Scafell where I started my long descent by turning left and down towards Broad Moss. I had inadvertently followed the larger path out towards Brae Fell but this wasn't the way Iíd planned. I modified my route and continued down to the head of Charlton Gill where a substantial old track follows down above the ghyll side. I'd originally planned to go over Longlands Fell but the discent is not as easy to follow. I decided to take the lower route down Charlton Gill where I eventually reconnected with the Longlands fell descent.
Branthwaite Bridge
Once on the main Longlands track I crossed Charlton Wath Ford by stepping across the shallow river and a further km on came to the road at Green Head. I followed the road for a couple of kilometres back to my car at Fell Side but partway stopped to photograph the old Caldbeck School Board School which is now a private dwelling. I am always amazed at this and similar small school houses thinking how the children would have several miles to walk to school in such a rural area. I hadnít been back at the car long when the rain started again.
The School is now Authwaite House

Caldbeck School Board School 1875