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Fell Side, Birk Hill, Hare Stones Umber Mine, High Pike, Deer Hills, Cumbria.
8.3 km] Fri 21 Jun 2024

Lat/Long: 54.726425, -3.080352
OS Grid ref: NY 30430 37373

A sunny drive to fell Side but before long the sky began to cloud over. I was the first car at the small parking area above the farm and set off south along the track above Dale Beck that heads towards the Roughton Gill Mines. O reached the site of the old Smelt Mill and looked down on the ruins as I passed. Crossing Hay Gill stream by the footbridge i soon joined the zig zag path heading up the fell. The first part was deep in ferns and thankfully they were dry.
Access track.

Smelt mill ruins.


Crop patterns.
Further up and above the ferns the line of the track was a deep rut and not good for walking so I had to walk on the higher ridge. At the head of Birk Gill I had to leave the path and head SE across the aptly named Birk Moss. The ground was very rough an wet in places as I headed towards the Hare Stones Mines. I reached the spoil heaps and climbed one to reach the filled in mine entrance.
Mine entrance.
The collapsed mine entrance and spoil heaps look like any other mine but the map calls it a China Clay Mine. The records call it the Hare Stones Umber Mine and originally iron and manganese oxide were mined here to use as a colouring pigment. In 1883 it was used for mining China Clay or Kaolin, an ingredient in the manufacture of china and porcelain. About 1885 the Cleator Iron Ore Company acquired the mine, and extracted more Umber until 1894-5 when the mine closed.

Looking towards Hgh Pike.

High Pike.
I continued climbing up the fell to the rocky outcrops called the Hare Stones and over the summit reached the main path to High Pike. The path to the summit is indistinct & wet at first but eases higher up. I reached the memorial stone bench, summit cairn and information view plate. I didnít stop long as a couple of walkers were approaching. I followed the descent path to the north and across to Deer Hills where the summit is marked by nothing, not even a single stone cairn. The descent continued easily through old mine a quarry workings back down to the start of the walk.

High Pike view plate.
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