30th April 2016

4 fells in the far west - Caw Fell to Grike

Time 8:20am to 3:30pm
Duration 7 hr 10 min
Distance 13.5 mile
Ascent 3100 ft - but don't quote me on that
Walking with Paul Sharkey
Cold Fell Road - Monks Bridge - Tongue How - Intake Works - Caw Fell - below Iron Crag - Whoap - Lank Rigg - Whoap - Black Pots - Crag Fell - Grike - Blakeley Moss - Cold Fell Road
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre -
Parking spaces, Cold Fell, junction for Wilton and Hale
This is another out of the way spot, in this case found on the far western edge of the Lake District. Some of the most secluded and peaceful walking in the Lake District can be had from this spot. The most well known fell in this area is Lank Rigg, although those of an adventurous disposition could make their way up to the Caw Fell ridge.
Route Map


Funny where you can end up isn't it, and up until 8 o'clock last night I wasn't expecting to walk here today. It was weeks ago that we'd planned to walk from the top of Honister Pass to Great Borne on the Bank Holiday Monday, but, the forecast was quite clear that it was going to be a wash out. So, we agreed to do the same walk today (Saturday), then winter decided to return and during a phone call we changed our plans again by swapping that route for this one.
So, rather than offering you a first picture looking down to Honister Mines from the side of Fleetwith Pike, you have this one instead. Here you see the track that runs from the Cold Fell road down to the River Calder. It then rising again and takes you onto the gentle grassy side of Lank Rigg. If you crave seclusion this, more than most places is where you're likely to find what you're looking for. This, as I described it at the time, is the western Lake District equivalent of the Shap Fell - - - on a smaller scale.

A slight de-tour was taken so we could visit Monks Bridge. It may not be the prettiest bridge in he Lake District but it's certainly one of the most well hidden.

Tall, coarse grasses cover the fellside as we walk up from the river Calder to the higher ground on Tongue How. Despite being fairly close to those farms and a road which can be very busy at certain times of day, already you get the feeling that you're entering a secluded corner of Lakeland.

On Tongue How we walk past the ancient settlement.

A little further on and the Sellafield site comes into view. The blurry bit behind is a shower of rain which is heading our way.

Once around the southern end of Lank Rigg the view opens up to show the lovely, quiet valley between Lank Rigg and Caw Fell. If you want to walk somewhere in the Lake District on a bank holiday weekend where you're not likely to meet anyone, then this is the place for you. But don't tell everyone.

Looking back through the valley.

I'm not sure what the reason was, but I believe this was something to do with the water board / North West Water / United Utilities or whatever they call themselves. Whatever it was used for it's not the kind of thing you'd expect to find in such an out of the way place.

It's almost 4 mile from the car to this point but it's only now that we cross the beck and set foot on the first fell of the day. Here we look back through Worm Gill Valley again.


We cross Bleaberry Gill which was easier said than done across stones as slippery as these.

We were both surprised at how slow our progress was up here. It's off path, quite stony and although the snow might not look like much, the areas we walked through were mostly about ankle deep. That's Lank Rigg over there enjoying a bit of brightness.

It was somewhere around this point that near disaster struck. I slipped on a rock at the same time as I put a walking pole onto the ground in front of me. I fell forward, the pole jammed between two rocks and bent forward with me. When my hand slipped off the top of the pole it sprang back and hit me smack on the nose, , , , , aaaagggghhhh. I was now kneeling on the ground with my arm between two rocks and all I could see were stars in front of my eyes.
Paul turned round and seeing where my arm was, thought I'd broken it. He asked what happened and all I could say was "this is really painful, I'll tell you in a minute". I handed him my glasses and after a few moments with my head in my arm I said "what happened was actually quite funny, but that hurt, and I mean really hurt.
An inch each side and could have ended up with broken glass I my eye or at best I'd have ended up with a black eye. As it turned out, there was just a bit of blood and a grazed arm. I was still in short sleeves at this point so I'm not sure if I wasn't thinking straight or what, but the only thing I on my mind was to put a jacket and gloves on. On the positive side of things, Paul said at least we now know exactly how bendy these walking poles are.

Seat Allan seen from Caw Fell.

Snowing at the top of Caw Fell.


Sunshine lights up the fells on the opposite side of Ennerdale as we slowly make our way through the wet, slippery snow.

Behind us the sky was putting on a dramatic display for us.

Moving away from the wall that runs over the top of Iron Crag we head across open fellside in the direction of Whoap. Normally this would have been a quick and easy walk but wet slippery snow added time and effort onto the route.

Caw Fell seen from the fellside on Iron Crag.

After a walking through a bit of a soggy area we arrive at the top of Whoap and eye up the route to Lank Rigg. It was shortly after leaving here that we saw the first person we'd passed all day.

Lank Rigg summit. The ridge on Caw Fell is on the right of (behind) the cairn.

Looking ahead to Crag Fell.

Here's the fantastic view from the top of Crag Fell but, on the last day of April wasn't expecting to see a snowman up here.

A close up of Pillar, Steeple and Scoat Fell.

The final 'up' of the day was the walk onto Grike. For a moment we pause to look back to Crag Fell.

Grike summit cairn in front of the Cumbrian coast, the Solway Firth and Scotland.


Well, perhaps it's a couple of hours too late but it was now turning into a lovely afternoon. Mustn't complain though, apart from a couple of spots of rain and a brief snow shower we'd remained dry; which is always a good reason to celebrate.

Walking around the side of Blakeley Rise we reflect on the day behind us. The walk through a wonderfully secluded area got the day off to a fantastic start, then came the smack in the face I could have done without. Dramatic skies kept us looking behind us as we left Caw Fell before taking on the tiring walk through snow which shouldn't really be here at the end of April. On Lank Rigg we'd sat with our feet in a snow drift as we ate lunch with a view back across to Caw Fell and now, we end the day walking slowly back to the car in hot sunshine.
It may not have been the walk from Honister Pass that we'd both looked forward to but as far as "B" walks go this one will take some topping.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks