Binsey to Brae Fell

View of Binsey from the ascent of Little Cockup by Andy Wallace Andy FellwalkerThe problem is to include Binsey in a day long walk, even though it is the shortest day of the year, when the weather forecast isn't very promising. After days of looking at maps I am still not quite sure how the route is going to work out. Oh well, let's go anyway and see where I end up.

I parked the car opposite the phone box in Bewaldeth, a small hamlet just off the main A591 road in the shadow of Binsey assuming that a fell as small as Binsey is able to cast a shadow. Walk back on to the main road and follow it northwards for about a third of a mile and turn right go through the gate and walk along a green track.

West Crags with a curious enclosure on Binsey by Andy Wallace Andy FellwalkerBy the time you reach a wall the track has become much smaller and after going through the gate the path is obvious as flattened grass slanting leftwards up the slope until you reach an old gravel pit. The path is then less obvious as you bear right still going uphill, but more steeply, until you reach the curious stone enclosure at the foot of West Crag. The light covering of snow hid any obvious paths so it was a matter of finding a way through boulders and heather until finding a flat ridge.

The view northwards from Binsey, Criffel and other snow covered Scottish hills by Andy Wallace Andy FellwalkerThe way to the summit was obvious and the summit had more than its share of stones for a small fell. A triangulation column, what looked almost like a nest of stone shelters as well as a summit cairn and most surprisingly a party of about twenty other walkers. It would be easy to dismiss small hills as not worth the effort but they all have their own character and their own unique view of the world. Binsey has excellent views of Skiddaw highlighted today by its covering of snow and of Criffel across the Solway Forth and further inland other Scottish hills with an obvious covering of snow.

I then had to go back down to the car at Bewaldeth, the party of walkers had disappeared as quickly as they appeared. Now where to go, I eventually decided to leave the car at a parking space at Over Water although whilst driving there I inadvertently passed through the villages of Uldale and Ireby. Walk along the road in a south easterly direction and turn right at the road junction, after a mile or so you pass the attractive Orthwaite Hall and shortly afterwards follow a signposted bridleway on the left.

View of Burn Tod and Little Calva from Little Cockup by Andy Wallace Andy FellwalkerThere is a faint path going upwards to the left but it soon flattens out and follows the wall to the left. At this point I headed uphill over grass that was not too steep, as I gained height so snow began to cover the grass and there was a couple of inches of powdery snow by the time I got to the summit of Little Cockup. Walking over towards Great Cockup through the snow covered heather, the snow disturbed by my left foot was being blown into my right boot, I must remember to start carrying gaiters when there is snow about.

View of Skiddaw from Great Cockup by Andy Wallace Andy FellwalkerFrom the summit of Great Cockup continue walking in the direction of Meal Fell there is a small depression before another slight rise to a subsidiary summit. By now there was snow all around and the wind was chilling. Carry on walking over the rise and the path is obvious lower down the hill, you soon find a groove going down to the right that leads to the path.

Easy walking down grass but slightly more difficult in the snow until you reach the edge of the crags overlooking the pass of Trusmadoor. The path follows the edge of the cliff downwards to the pass, shaped just how you would want a pass to look like.

Trusmadoor below Great Cockup seen from the ascent of Meal Fell by Andy Wallace Andy FellwalkerThe path up Meal Fell is obvious enough, my illusion of isolation dashed by the recently made footprints in the snow. As I climbed Meal Fell the mist cleared from Skiddaw and there were good views all around over Great Cockup and up Frozenfell Gill. The clarity of the views was accompanied by a cold wind, by the time I reached the summit of Meal Fell my Seal Skins (gloves) were not keeping my hands warm any more so my ski gloves had their first outing of the winter.

Meal Fell summit seen from a subsidiary summit by Andy Wallace Andy FellwalkerThe snow was ankle deep by then and I used my ice axe to help me as I stepped through the snow on the long climb up to the summit of Great Sca Fell. This was the point at which I should have looked at the map, I thought I was on Little Sca Fell and set off for what I thought was Great Sca Fell. It was only on the return journey that I realised that I had been on Great Sca Fell summit and I had walked over to the summit of Knott and back.

View from the ascent of Knott by Andy Wallace Andy FellwalkerWhen I got to the distinctive summit of Little Sca Fell I should have checked the map again, I made the walk over to Brae Fell instead of going to Longlands Fell as I had intended. After the long walk down from the last summit of the day, unnecessarily crossing a beck and back again, and ripping my waterproof pants crossing a fence topped with barbed wire, I eventually got back to the road.

I had got to the road at Branthwaite Farm, about two and a half miles away from Longlands which was where I wanted to be. Oh well, had to follow the road to Green Head and then bear left to follow the track back to Longlands and then the final mile back to the car park. It had actually worked out well, it was just about dark as I got to the car having walked almost 13 miles and driven half a dozen in seven and a half hours.

Andy Wallace 21st December 2003

© 2003 - 2017 By Andy Wallace. Reproduction of this work in whole or in part, including images, and reproduction in electronic media, without documented permission from the author is prohibited.

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