There once was a time when climbing Mickle Fell was a simple matter of turning up on a non-firing day and walking there and back again. This was just after a much more complex situation where you had to apply for various permits – the important one being the one from Warcop which ensured that you went on the right day and didn’t explode or anything.
Nowadays, another situation applies.
This morning I turned up at the Co Durham/Cumbria boundary where a folded red flag doesn’t fly and met Alistair Pooler, TGO challenger and bagger of Nuttals – the Nuttal in question today being Mickle Fell
Now to climb Mickle fell, what you have to do is complete a form applying for a permit. The range officer will sort out all the other permits and , if you’re nice , you’ll be able to climb Mickle Fell by one of two routes and only by those routes.
There’s a Northern route which goes from Cow Green and a Southern Route which goes from the Durham/Cumbria border. Return is via the same route, although, I expect its OK to leave the area via the other route to wot you came up on.. er..if you catch my drift. Wandering off to visit a trig point or catch a ten pound note what’s just blown away is NOT ALLOWED. This is probably more to do with Elf and safety and/or the protection of certain ground –nesting birds encouraged for the fun of certain chinless over-remunerated fools who like to kill things for fun (By ground nesting birds, I refer specifically to certain chicken- sized red ones that shout for you to “go back” from whence you came and not any other ground –nesting birds such as curlews, skylarks, lapwings or mud parrots.)
Anyway, Alistair sorted all of this out, so I didn’t need to bother….
So we followed the fence up.
And we followed the fence down again.
It being a non-firing day, lots of other people headed up there too and, I expect, many jealously eyed the specially lovely wild and open moors on either side of the authorised route and fantasised about long days of beautiful emptiness accompanied only by birdsong, the sound of the wuthering breeze and the wondering about whether or not you left your headlights on….
It was about seven and a half miles altogether and there’s a bit of a path all the way and the streams have footbridges, so it’s all nice and safe and easy. Apart from the prospect of being shelled if we’re late back, obviously. – But you’re supposed to ring the guardhouse when you set off and when you return. this is a little difficult due to there being no signal at the start, but Alistair rang them as soon as a signal popped up on his phone.
It was a good day. Nice and warm and with reasonable views and afterwards, whilst I went shopping for my Wales hols next week, Alistair went off to bag the very lovely Bink Moss by the arduous North Arete and the notorious Hanging Couloir Des Grenouilles with it’s dangling and rattling 19th century Austrian corpses yet still not recovered. I made sure his pitons weren’t cracked before he set off.
Here’s a map.
Don’t try any other routes cos you’ll get into bother.
In the meantime, I’m off to Wales for a week, so there’ll be silence from the blog.
The class monitor (sneak) will report any noise, disruption, bad language, theft or the expression of any unauthorised views or thoughts to me when I get back. So watch out.
Click Link to Donate – Incidentally, I’ve just registered for the 2014 Great North-East Skinny Dip at Druridge Bay at the autumn equinox and I will keep my pants ON for a price. Otherwise, it’s all coming off and being dipped in the balmy North Sea,( at which point it will all probably disappear again. )Help buy me a hot water bottle and a thermal thong. Please help…. arrgh…. why did I do it again after last year?