15th April 2007

Heat and haze from Mellbreak to Gavel Fell


Walk Overview
Time 09.10 to 14.50
Duration 5 hr 40 min
Distance 8.4 mile
Ascent 3000 ft
Walking with Jennifer
Loweswater - Kirkgate Farm - Mellbreak - Mosedale - Hen Comb - Whiteoak Moss - Gavel Fell - High Nook Tarn - Maggie's Bridge - Loweswater
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking spaces, Loweswater

With room for only half a dozen cars or so the chances are that you'll find this parking area full. There is another car park found a little way past The Kirkstile Inn, but this one is even smaller. Should you be lucky enough to get parked however, you'll find this a truly beautiful area of the Lake District. Crummock Water and Loweswater are both within easy reach and of course there's Mellbreak, towering above this end of Lorton Vale.


Route Map

Heading along the short road at the start of the walk towards Loweswater church on a morning where the hedgerows bursting into leaf, the types of flowers in the grass verge and the lambs in the fields would all indicate a find Spring day. The heat and the haze on the other hand were both suggesting that it wasn't Spring at all, but rather a typical hazy day in the middle of June.

After passing next to the church and then walking through Kirkgate Farm yard, we followed a route to the bottom of Mellbreak (left) along this lovely farm track. And although it was very hot and humid it was a real pleasure to be out and about today; a day not to be rushed though, but rather a day to conserve your energy for the up hill bits.

A rather hazy view from the bottom of Mellbreak towards Darling Fell (left) and Low Fell (right).

Mellbreak or at least this end of the fell, is one of those routes you look up to from valley level and almost straight away think to yourself "how on earth am I going to get up there" and as a result you never bother or you put it off for years. As is quite often the case you get to the summit on the first ascent and the thinking then changes to "why haven't I done that before". I'm sure I must have been to the summit of Mellbreak half a dozen times or more, by various different routes before I eventually talked myself into trying it from this side quite a few years ago. This view down to Loweswater and the surrounding area speaks for itself, but this is undoubtedly the finest route up this relatively small fell.

The view back along Mellbreak.

Our next fell today was Hen Comb, seen here from the off path route we took from the summit into Mosedale.

And the view down to the Loweswater end of Mosedale. The large fell on the left of the picture is Carling Knott.

The Mosedale Holly Tree.

I think I'm correct in saying that this is the only (individual) tree in the Lake District which is actually named on the OS map.

Heading across to Mosedale Beck along a route which during wetter periods I wouldn't even consider. Today however, the normal squelching you get in these places had been replaced my a definite crispness underfoot.

It was an easy affair crossing the beck today; one simple step across using a dry stone, instead of the usual hesitation which is then followed by an unsightly flailing of arms, legs and walking poles.

The final steep section on Hen Comb is hard going at the best of times, but the heat upgraded this section from being a "the steep bit near the top" to a puffing and panting, out of breath, hard slog.

Following a well deserved rest on Hen Comb summit we headed back down hill to cross Whiteoak Moss. Yet another route we only took today because it was so dry. Normally we'd take a wider line using the higher ground and ending up on Floutern Cop (left).

And looking back across to Hen Comb.

Gavel Fell summit with the top of Blake Fell behind. The fence running off to the right was the one we followed down to the track near High Nook Tarn.

Heading to the gate at the end of the fence, where we turned left to walk the short distance to High Nook Tarn. The rocky area on the fell opposite is Little Dodd; found at the Loweswater end of the Hen Comb ridge. The high point on the skyline is the (lower) top on Mellbreak.

First of all we had to get past the Guardian of the High Nook track.

High Nook Tarn.

Low Fell seen as we walked away from the tarn and headed to High Nook Farm.

Primroses on the side of the road near Maggie's Bridge.

It didn't seem quite as hazy as it had been earlier on. When we drove down this road first thing this morning Whieside and Grasmoor were both just a blur, hidden in among the thick haze.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks