Crosby Garrett Fell

Walk date – 5th May 2020

Distance – 6 miles

Weather – some sunny spells, lots of cloud, chilly wind

An odd sort of day as regards the weather, not completely overcast but enough cloud to dull the sunlight, just enough gaps in it to allow the occasional sunny spell, and the return of the very chilly wind keeping the temperature down. Nevertheless it was a pleasant enough day so once again we headed off for an afternoon stroll, this time over Crosby Garrett Fell. Some of today’s photos will be familiar to anyone who viewed our walk to Little Asby Scar and Potts Valley on 7th April as today’s fell is the one on the opposite side of Potts valley.


Moorland road above Brownber – Great Ewe Fell – Little Ewe Fell – Nettle Hill – Windy Bank – Hazzler Brow Scar – Moorland road above Brownber

Looking across to the Howgills from the start of the walk at this signpost beside the moorland road from Brownber. Fleeces and jackets are zipped up, my eyes are already watering thanks to the keen wind and I’ve only been out of the car a couple of minutes so it doesn’t bode well.

The reservoir which is indicated on our route map is situated just a few feet from the path. Its very small and blends well into its surroundings, pity the rest of the ‘furniture’ couldn’t have been less intrusive too. Sympathetic landscaping is laudable, why then install unsympathetic secondary features which draw the eye to them, it defeats the original purpose. OK, I’ll put my megaphone and soapbox away and get on with the walk.

Beyond the sheep the view of Great Ewe Fell from the footpath. A zoom in will reveal the presence of a cairn atop the lower rise on the right hand side although it isn’t marking the summit of the fell.

This shot might need another zoom in too as its difficult to make out what we’re looking at. This is Ewefell Mire at the base of Great Ewe Fell and the name says it all. A large boggy depression, where some puddles are still evident after all these weeks without rain, which is well fenced off to stop the sheep wandering into it.

We carry on over the deeply rutted path reminiscing about the last time we walked this route heading for Smardale on 20th August 2017. A little further on from the gate we left the main path and headed up towards Great Ewe Fell. There’s no established path but we followed a few sheep trods here and there across the rough grassland which made things a little easier on the feet.

Looking towards Bents Farm, in the middle distance, with Mallerstang Edge on the skyline as we walk up Great Ewe Fell. The main path we’ve just left runs alongside the wall below.

Wild Boar Fell on the skyline …..

….. and the Howgills just a little further to my right.

This is the previously mentioned cairn on the slight rise below Great Ewe Fell with a smidge of a view of the High Street fells just above it.

Looking the other way now toward Mallerstang Edge and it becomes obvious that the cairn has suffered a collapse, although from what we could see it seems to have been a fairly substantial and well built cairn to start with. The wild weather hurtling across these very open spaces will have had a lot to do with it. From Great Ewe Fell we trek across the open moorland, which is criss-crossed by dozens of sheep trods, and make our way over to …..

….. this cairn on the top of Little Ewe Fell with a view towards Nettle Hill, the summit of Crosby Garrett Fell. Closer inspection revealed that this is not entirely the original cairn, the moss covered stones of that were largely hidden beneath this outer layer of moss free rocks and limestone slabs. It looked as though these later rocks had been added either to protect the original cairn or to make it easier to see from a distance.

From the same cairn but now looking along Potts Valley towards the northern Pennines.  Directly behind the cairn is the limestone face of Hazzler Brow Scar which we’re planning to walk over on our return leg.

There’s no escaping Wild Boar Fell when you walk around this area, less cloud and more sun would have helped to show it off rather better than this though.

Looking towards our next objective, Nettle Hill, which is the last green bump on the left of the shot. If you zoom in you’ll probably be able to make out the dark green path heading towards it. The same dark green path runs between here and the humps and bumps across the middle foreground and that’s what we’re aiming for when we leave here.

A look back at Great Ewe Fell, on the left, and Little Ewe Fell as we take our leave and head over towards Nettle Hill.

We get a sunny spell as we tread the rough and pathless ground. No fellow walkers, no sheep, no bird calls, no sheep, nothing but acres of moorland. Our ‘social distancing’ is measured in miles not feet.

The dark green track we’ve been heading for finally appears. Sometimes you can believe what the OS map is showing! After we pass through the gate we’ll turn up to the right, follow another green track and make our way towards the top of Nettle Hill …..

….. and here we are, at the trig point and cairn which mark the top and with a lot less nettles in it than our last visit in August 2017. Give ’em time, they’ll be back!

The trig point seems to have been erected smack in the middle of the ancient mossy cairn which begs the question, was the cairn hollowed out so the trig point could be installed, or was it a ring cairn to start with which made for an easier installation of the trig point. No way of knowing I suppose. On 18th April 1916 the Re-triangulation of Great Britain programme began which involved the installation of more than 7,000 trig columns across the length and breadth of the land so the column itself can be no more than 104 years old. The cairn itself will probably be much, much older than that I expect.

From Nettle Hill we turned to the west and picked up the dark green path once again. By the way, the fence lines are not marked on the OS map and given that they are electrified, although presently not switched on, and are all in a good state of repair it seems logical to assume that they were installed during the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease. Gates are provided at intervals along their lengths. Here we’ve just passed through the gate in the shot to make our way across the open fell and there is a similar path on the other side of the fence. Doesn’t really matter which side you walk unless you fancy a detour to Willycock Stones. As our route map shows, we had originally planned to divert over to them but before we passed through the gate we took a look at them through the binoculars and decided not to bother. There was nothing in the low clump of mossy limestone rocks that we saw that in any sense matched the prurience of that name. Had there been it might have made an amusing shot but there wasn’t so there isn’t one.

A look back at the long track across the moorland of Crosby Garrett Fell.

Approaching Windy Bank where we don’t pass through the gate, instead we turn off to the left and take the path alongside the wall. The path on the other side of the fence leads down to the village of Crosby Garrett. The gate provides access to the paths on both sides of the fence. The familiar V-shape of High Cup Nick is on the skyline.

We only followed the path beside the wall for a short distance before turning to the left and starting to walk back over to Hazzler Brow Scar.

The views now become much more familiar as its only a month since we were walking across Little Asby Scar on the other side of the valley but we have more elevated views of Armaside Wood and Potts Beck today.

The view ahead as we walk over Hazzler Brow Scar …..

….. and the view back across it.

Below us we view Armaside Wood and the sheepfold beside Potts Beck …..

….. and the limestone walls of Little Asby Scar.

Potts Beck meandering between Little Asby Scar and the enclosed green pastures.

We’re heading over to the higher enclosed pasture and its sheepfold which we could only glimpse from below on our last visit. A farmer has just moved some of his sheep from the lower pastures into this one and with a zoom in it might be possible to see his vehicle returning to the lower pastures to collect a few more.

The track leads us above the pasture so here’s a look back …..

….. and a look along Potts Valley from the same spot.

Another look back along the valley as we make our way across.

We draw level with the old barn where the farmer, and a helper on a quad bike, are busy persuading a few more sheep to go into the trailer. The sheep weren’t too co-operative.

We’re some distance from the barn now but the trailer is still there waiting for the contrary sheep to get into it. We leave them to it and continue on our way.

The little hamlet of Mazon Wath well tucked in below Little Asby Scar.

We’re almost back to the road now and just before we reached it I took this shot of what appears to be an old quarry although it isn’t named as such on the route map, it simply appears as a semi-circle of outcropping. It seemed quite obvious that human hands have been at work here.

When we reach the road its just a fifteen minute stroll, with an impressive view of the Howgills, back to the car parked over on the left in front of the wall. So, that’s our afternoon outing over and done with so we’d best go home, empty our pockets of a bunch of very soggy tissues and then get the kettle on.


….. one of a bunch of jokey pictures sent to me by a friend in the US which might raise a smile here and there …..