This is a personal blog mainly to do with hillwalking things but with other stuff as well.....maybe the odd rant..
Saturday, 6 November 2010
Fiend’s Fell and Hartside Tramway
Continuing the dark theme of recent posts, I thought that a quick visit to Fiend’s Fell would be just the thing. Actually, I was more interested in the line of an old tramway which runs for a couple of miles roughly along the 550 metre contour, starting behind the cafe at the top of Hartside Pass. And so I collected Brian from Nenthead and that’s where we went. Fiend’s Fell, by the way, used to be the name applied to the whole of Cross Fell because it was thought to be the seat of a demon or fiend, possibly because it is the source of the Helm Wind, a fierce and local breeze which rips undies off drying lines in the villages at the foot of the hill. The demons were quietened by the erection of a cross (apparently – but where is it?) – hence Cross fell. Undies remain at risk in places like Langwathby, though. The tramway is pretty easy to follow but is very wet, squishy and sloppy for much of the way. This meant wet feet early on. We stopped at the ruins of a sheepfold and abandoned the mire for an easier and drier climb up onto the ridge that runs off Cross Fell back towards the cafe. Most of the way, this is a delight to walk on and views over the Eden valley, the lake District and the Solway Firth justify the bit of effort involved. As it’s November (many people will probably have noticed this…), there’s not much daylight and it started to wane noticeably as we hit the ridge at about 3:00 p.m. The light was changing all the time and was both interesting and beautiful at the same time. The ridge is mainly pretty easy to walk on, apart from some short tussocky, peat-haggy bits. There are deep holes, though. These provide a challenge to those with short legs. Luckily, as I plunged through the turf, I was prevented from hurtling down the deep pothole by my expensively acquired beer-belly. I always knew that this was a sound investment. Let this be a lesson to all. We ended the ridge back at the cafe by watching a helicopter take off. An Alston hostelry provided celebratory drinks. This walk is just over 4 miles and 450 feet of uphill and reaches 2150 feet above sea level for not much effort but wet feet. I quick walker could do it quickly. Others will take the opportunity to sit around and take in the view in a more civilised and relaxed manner. The cafe will provide refreshments if required.
I am a retired NHS Personnel person. All I do nowadays is walk about.
I used to have my pet dog Bruno with me (in the front page pic). he was Superdawg but he died. Now I have Lucky the pup. He's a bit like Bruno, only smaller and more suspicious.