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Fell Side (Caldbeck), Deer Hills, High Pike, Sandbed Mine, Nether Row, Potts Gill, Cumbria.
[11.8 km]  Wed 08 Jul 2020

OS Grid ref: NY 30429 37373
Lat/Long: 54.726510, -03.081749
The weather forecast was for cloud and rain later but it turned out to be a pleasant drive north along the M6. I drove via Hesket Newmarket and Caldbeck to Fellside Farm. It is at the northern end of the Cumbrian fells and there is a small parking area by a farm track. There was nobody else around when I arrived.

North view from Deer Hills
The sun was out and I didn't need my jacket as I set off south along the mines access track. I wasn't on it long as I was heading directly up the fells to Deerr Hills. I joined an indistinct grassy miners track that took me to the deep gorge of Ingray Gill.
At the eastern end I joined a more substantial green track which took me south and gently up up towards Dear Hills. The plural name is odd because it is one hill on its own as a spur from High Pike. It was nice to have a distant view of the fells to the west. On Deer Hill summit nothing marks the highest point but there is a large boulder a short way to the southeast. Directly ahead is the large mass of High Pike and I followed the green track to the main track on the west side of Caldbeck Fells which is also the Cumbria way trail.
Deer Hills boulder to High Pike.

 Looking down Hay Gill.

 High Pike cairn, trig post & seat.
At the track I continued straight across on a wide grassy path heading south east directly up the fell. I kept a look out for or possible campsite pitch for some time in the future but there was no level ground anywhere.
Below the summit I saw a figure approaching. It was a lady on her way down the mountain. We said a brief hello as we passed and shortly after I was at the stone shelter just below the summit of High Pike. I didn't stop but continued to the actual summit and the Ordnance Survey trig post which also has a direction information plate.

High Pike information plate.

 High Pike information plate.

Slightly to the south is a bench seat made of slate with text carved in back rest. It says:
“He is a portion of the loveliness Which once he made more lovely.”
It is a quote from Percy Shelley’s (1792–1822) ‘Adonais’.

High Pike seat.
I continued south to descend and towards Hare Stones but before reaching the area joined the main track and turned sharply left to descend down to the mine area. It is a substantial track and is stoned and descends to the northeast. It was a pleasant walk past Red Covercloth where I stopped briefly to investigate a large mine opening which was surrounded by substantial post and wire fence. I didn't climb over but threw some stones down the chasm which I could hear bouncing down quite a long way.
Mine workings.

 View across to Carrock Fell.

I continued on the main track and then turned off east down an indistinct grassy path to the deep gorge above the Sandbed Mine area. It was quite interesting wandering down through the old spoil heaps which have lain redundant for over 120 years. I joined another track for a short distance then investigated another fenced off area. This wasn't a deep shaft but a pool of crystal clear water about 2m deep and must have an inlet from the mine workings as the outlet was running at quite a pace.

Clear mine drainage.
There had been a

Mine drainage pool above.

Mine drainage pool below.
Following down the track I headed across open grassy fellside towards Hudscales Farm. I was now off the fell and crossing relatively flat land. I followed a faint path to the north west but missed a gate opening and had to return turn to join it and cross some fields to Nether Row. This is the end of an access road and a collection of buildings and a farm. This is also where the mountaineer Chris Bonington has a house. I joined the farm access track towards Potts Gill. It followed an interesting route down to Blea Wath stream then up to the farm buildings.
Potts Gill.
The path diverted to the left and into a field to follow round the south side of the buildings. For a while it was horribly wet through rushes so I climbed higher to get away from the bad ground. I came to the buildings at Little Fellside to join theri concrete access road. I left the track to follow a green path towards Fellside Farm whereI saw two mountain bikers.
They got off to negotiate a short climb up from a stream and it turned out one was a local friend Jeff who recognised me immediately. He was riding with his friend Chris and they were heading in the general direction of Potts Gill. When I told them of the horribly wet ground they decided to divert to another route. It wasn't far back to Fellside Farm so we walked together to my car in the parking area. It was now full of other vehicles. Jeff and Chris got on their bikes and descended to continue their ride. I set off home.
Chris and Geff.
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