A walk up Blake Fell, looking down over Cogra Moss reservoir is one of my favourite hikes, primarily because it is on my doorstep. I’m fortunate enough to have the sea, the lakes and the mountains all within a ten minute drive of my home.
Cogra Moss is a shallow reservoir to the east of the village of Lamplugh on the western edge of the English Lake District. It was created by the damming of Rakegill Beck in about 1880, though its function as a water supply ceased in 1975. The reservoir, which is surrounded by forestry plantations on three sides, is popular with walkers and anglers.
Blake Fell is a hill in the Western part of the English Lake District. It is the highest point of the Loweswater Fells, an area of low grassy hills with steep sides overlooking the lake of Loweswater. The fell also overlooks the village of Loweswater, from which it can be climbed. An alternative route is from the Cogra Moss reservoir on its western slopes. Because the Loweswater Fells are a separate geographical unit, Blake Fell is a Marilyn. It is located in the Parish of Lamplugh.
The Western Fells occupy a triangular sector of the Lake District, bordered by the River Cocker to the north east and Wasdale to the south east. Westwards the hills diminish toward the coastal plain of Cumberland. At the central hub of the high country are Great Gable and its satellites, while two principal ridges fan out on either flank of Ennerdale, the western fells in effect being a great horseshoe around this long wild valley. Blake Fell and the other Loweswater Fells form the extremity of the northern arm.
The Loweswater Fells have been compared to the digits of a hand, radiating out south westward from the “palm” centred on Loweswater village. From the west these are Burnbank Fell, Blake Fell, Gavel Fell, Hen Comb and Mellbreak, the “thumb”.
Blake Fell is the highest hill in this group, the summit area being a long ridge running southwest along the “finger”. This begins above the shore of Loweswater, rising steeply through the mixed forestry of Holme Wood to the craggy height of Loweswater End. Atop the rise is Carling Knott (1,784 ft), the north eastern summit. The ridge then dips slightly, the landscape changing from rock outcrop to grass, before the final ascent to Blake Fell. A transverse ridge now connects northwards to Burnbank Fell, in truth an outlier of Blake Fell, but given separate status by Alfred Wainwright in his influential Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells. Southward is the narrow grassy col of Fothergill Head, providing a much more tenuous link to Gavel Fell. The western slopes are heavily wooded with conifers and contoured by forest roads.
In addition to Carling Knott, Blake Fell has a number of other subsidiary tops. Descending south west from the summit are High Pen (1,558 ft), Low Pen (1,427 ft), Godworth (1,197 ft) and Kelton Fell (1,020 ft). Beyond lie the Croasdale road and the West Cumberland plain. Standing aloof from these tops, but still within Blake Fell’s orbit, is Knock Murton (1,467 ft). This is a steep sided fell, forested on the western flank and with sufficient prominence that it is only barely excluded from the list of Marilyns in its own right. Blake Fell also extends a western ridge over the prominent top of Sharp Knott (1,581 ft) and the wooded High Howes (1,027 ft), falling gently to the village of Lamplugh. These tops are recognised in some guidebooks.
Drainage from the western slopes flows via Sharp Knott Gill and Fother Gill to Cogra Moss. This is a reservoir sitting in the deep valley between Blake Fell and Knock Murton, a reed rimmed waterbody held back by a substantial dam at the western end. Also known as Arlecdon Reservoir, it has a depth of around 30 feet. The waters from this flank of the fell join the River Marron and ultimately the Derwent. The eastern face of Blake Fell flows either to Loweswater or to its outfall, ensuring that all of the drainage eventually runs to the River Derwent.