This morning, I had a lovely 7 mile walk up Blake Fell in West Cumbria, which commenced from the Lamplugh side of the fell. It was hard going at times, with legs burning and my heart pumping away like a knackered old steam engine, but I did eventually get to the summit. Phew!
During the ascent of the fell, I met a cheery fella called John Black who had earlier taken off from me like a whippet in a race. Wow – he could walk. John urged me to join Whitehaven Ramblers, of which he is a current vice president. I am actually considering, but not sure if I could commit due to working shifts. Perhaps it’s something for me to do in my retirement years – the countdown for retirement has begun, with 9 years left on the clock.
Blake Fell is the highest point of the Loweswater Fells, an area of low grassy hills with steep sides overlooking the lake of Loweswater on one side, with the Cogra Moss reservoir on the other. Blake Fell is designated as a Marilyn.
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 in this group, the summit area being a long ridge running southwest along the “finger”.
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. There are fantastic views of Cogra Moss reservoir from most locations.
Knock Murton and Kelton Fell bear the scars of mining activity, having been the site of extensive haematite workings. Between 1853 and their closure in 1914 these mines produced anything up to 60,000 tons of ore per year. A railway, the Rowrah and Kelton Fell Line, was built up the valley between the two hills, the line of which can still be traced. A further working, the Croasdale Iron Mine, operated to the south of Kelton Fell.
The summit of Blake Fell is a grassy dome decorated with a large cairn, the meeting point of paths from the various ridges. Westwards there is no higher ground to interrupt the sea view. To the east is a fine array of hills stretching from Binsey in the north to Grike in the south. The North Western Fells across Crummock Water are particularly fine, although much better seen from Loweswater End.
From Loweswater village a direct line can be taken up Carling Knott, or a more southerly approach made via High Nook Beck. From the west, Lamplugh or Felldyke provide good access, lying at either end of a network of footpaths. These connect to the track alongside Cogra Moss which can be used to gain the high ground via Low Pen. Knock Murton can also be ascended from the head of the reservoir.