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Saturday, 6 November 2010

Fiend’s Fell and Hartside Tramway

hiding from the rent man
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.
clouds over the solway
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.
along the ridge to fiends fell
navigating out of a hole
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.
lake district  fiends fell summit
We ended the ridge back at the cafe by watching a helicopter take off. An Alston hostelry provided celebratory drinks.
challenge anneker
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.
hartside tramway


J_on_tour@jayzspaze said...

Looks like a great idea for a short walk with a tea shop stop at the end, that sounds like I could enthuse my walking group to do that one, oh yeah I forgot, it's wet... maybe not then.. another one to do on my own !!
It seems a bit dangerous with those holes though...and I don't mean falling down them but watching what comes out of them !!

Mike Knipe said...

J - Its probably wetter than usual at the moment because it's been chucking it down for several days.
Could be good when frozen (just 3 degrees up there today, so it won't be long!)
The cafe is a bonus and very popular with bikers, hikers and other hairy types.

IckleBigSis said...

Dad you've shrunk again! Just missing the gnome hat. lol

Mike Knipe said...

I told you I was a bit short just now.....

Skidad said...

Playing Asparagus in "Cats" and am glad to learn more about the Fiend of the Fell, Gus' "grandest creation."

Thank you very much!

PS - Just back from my fifth trip over. Trekked Dartmoor on one trip. Hope to return yet again.