Lonscale Fell via Sale How

Walk date – 3rd April 2023

Distance – 10.3 miles

Weather – dry and very sunny, strong cool breeze


One walk report for the whole of last month tells you all you need to know about the weather in our neck of the woods during March. Now we’re a couple of days into April and a short spell of settled and sunnier weather has turned up so we decided to make the most of it in case everything goes downhill again, hence today’s long walk over to Lonscale Fell. Overall we had a good walk despite the irritating and constant breeze and the increasing and never-ending stream of aircraft depositing their trails of who knows what chemicals into the atmosphere. The breeze wasn’t the blow you over variety just the kind that encourages the eyes to water and the nose to stream endlessly. Ah well, its one of the things that has to be put up with when you’re out on the fells but its damn well irritating to be wiping eyes and blowing noses every five minutes isn’t it? What we shouldn’t be having to put up with are those planes spraying their noxious chemicals everywhere and fouling the beautiful blue sky that we had to start with. By the time we were back at the car the stuff had spread out and formed into an enormous blanket covering most of the sky. We all know why its happening, or should do by now, and its time it was stopped. There is no global warming, there is no climate change, there is no scientific basis at all behind any of this, its one huge scam in order to a) make more money for those who already have more than they could spend in three lifetimes never mind one, and b) install a ‘control’ system over the rest of us, AGAIN! OK, rant over, on with the walk.


Parking area above Blencathra Centre – Glenderaterra Valley – Cumbria Way – Skiddaw House – Sale How – Jenkin Hill – Lonscale Fell – Burnt Horse – Cumbria Way – Glenderaterra Valley – Parking area above Blencathra Centre

A few paces up from the parking area and we’re out onto an open area with a view across St John’s in the Vale towards Bleaberry Fell, on the centre skyline, and the bulbous profile of Walla Crag, just to its right. A light overnight frost hasn’t left much of a mark other than a slight nip in the air which should soon dissipate as the sun gets higher. What a beautiful blue sky start to the day.

Over to the right from the previous shot is Latrigg, occupying the middle ground with many of the north western fells creating a backdrop on the skyline. Long distance views in that direction were on the hazy side today.

We stop admiring the views and begin walking across the track high above the Glenderaterra valley with this view of Lonscale Fell ahead of us. Despite the sunshine jacket hoods go up to keep the chilly breeze at bay.

Further along Great Calva comes into view, we are about to walk in the chilly shade for a while.

Plenty of water still coming down this un-named beck as we splash through the shallow ford across the track. No sunlight to brighten up the scene a little on this side of the valley at the moment. I’ll take a brighter shot on the return leg, it will have some sunshine by then.

We’re almost at the end of the valley now so just before we cross over I took this shot of Lonscale Fell looking very stately in the morning sunlight.

We’ve just passed a couple of ladies who walked past our car as we were parking up. As we climbed up the opposite side of the valley we could see that they were still at the bridge area so perhaps this was as far as they were going today. They could also have crossed over the two bridges in the shot and returned along the path across the lower slopes of Lonscale Fell. They didn’t follow us up the opposite track so we lost sight of them after that. They are the first walkers we’ve come across since starting out and they turned out to be the only ones we met until we were well beyond Sale How.

A different view of Lonscale Fell from the Cumbria Way path on the opposite side of the valley.

Great Calva, covered in tangled brown heather,  from the gate across the Cumbria Way.

Also from the gate, another view of Lonscale Fell plus the beginning of the  path over Burnt Horse, another route, very steep, over to Lonscale Fell. We will be back at this point later on as we will be using the Burnt Horse route for our descent.

A lovely view of Great and Little Calva as we make our way over to Skiddaw House.

Burnt Horse and Lonscale Fell from the Cumbria Way. On the far right of the shot is the faint grey line of a collapsed wall beside which is the very steep Burnt Horse path.

En route for Sale How now with Skiddaw House nestling in the group of trees below us. Carrock Fell is over on the left skyline with Bowscale Fell and Mungrisedale Common over on the right.

From Sale How we have a view of the extensive top of Skiddaw …..

….. and to the left of that are Lesser and Little Man. Sweeping over to the left of those is …..

….. Lonscale Fell while even further around to the left is …..

….. the somewhat gentler and grassier northern side of Blencathra.

The lower slopes of Blencathra mingle with Mungrisedale Common, across the middle foreground, and the bump behind it is Bowscale Fell.

Still on Sale How I pan round to the left for this view of Carrock Fell and then …..

….. a little further left to take a look at Great Calva with a sunlit Knott right behind it.

Passing a very small tarn (puddle?) as we descend Sale How and continue on upwards to join the Skiddaw track. The brown fell on the left is Bakestall more or less at the end of the Skiddaw range.

A look back towards Sale How having just ‘meeted and greeted’ the walker, an oriental lady of middle years, you can see making her way up Sale How. Like us she had to make quite a wide diversion to avoid the soggy patch in the dip between us.

A pause for breath up the initially very steep slope from the soggy dip so another shot of Knott and Great Calva. After the initial steep slope the path tracks over the much less steep ground beyond it.

A look back at the view behind us as we approach the Skiddaw path. About five minutes ago we had a short conversation with a couple coming down the path who were making their way back towards their parking area by Peter House farm. They had just descended Skiddaw and mentioned that it was very cold on the top despite which several people were wearing shorts. Well, that’s what folks do when the sun shines and if they get cold legs as a result that’s what they’ll have to put up with. People tend to forget that it gets colder the higher you go but its up to them what they choose to wear. By the way I chose to wear my lighter weight summer walking trousers today, and never felt cold, while J stuck to his winter weight ones, to each his own as the saying goes.

On the Skiddaw track now and the young lady on the right of the two descending just in front of us was, presumably, one of the ones wearing shorts that the couple had mentioned to us a few minutes earlier. The couple lower down have just started walking up again. They were sitting on the grassy verge when we joined the track so presumably they felt in need of a rest before carrying on up to Skiddaw’s summit. Its a long old haul up to Skiddaw via this route.

We had seen plenty of walkers coming up/going down the Skiddaw track and beyond the gate two more are on their way to join the ones going up. Here we left the track and went off to the left to cross Jenkin Hill on the way over to Lonscale Fell.

A look back to Lesser and Little Man as we make our way across Jenkin Hill. Over on the left the white trails in the sky indicate how busy those planes have been during this morning.

Descending Jenkin Hill now and making our way over to Lonscale Fell with Blencathra keeping us company all the way across.

The walk across wasn’t as devoid of walkers as this shot may make it seem. Every now and again a head, or group of heads, would pop up above a dip in the landscape so there were more greetings exchanged than the shot would have you believe.

The final section of path up to the summit of Lonscale Fell from another wet area in the dip between it and Jenkin Hill.

Blencathra from the summit cairn on Lonscale Fell.

We wandered across the summit area to take a look across St John’s in the Vale towards the Helvellyn range and Thirlmere. Across the middle foreground are High Rigg and Low Rigg, and if you squint hard enough you might be able to pick out Tewet Tarn below them.

Over to the right now for a hazy view of Keswick, Derwentwater and the surrounding fells.

There’s also a good view of the Coledale Horseshoe, albeit under a rapidly spreading white cloud of chemicals, the result of all the planes which haven’t stopped spraying all morning and are still doing so.

More chemical trails above the Skiddaw group as I take a look back from the cairn.

We walked a little way towards Blendcathra from the cairn from where you can see the path going over to the distinctive ‘pointy’ part of Lonscale Fell. We didn’t bother walking over to it as sandwiches were crying out to be eaten because its been a while since breakfast. We walked back to the cairn area, dropped down a little to avoid the breeze and got out the soup and sandwiches.

The descent route from Lonscale Fell …..

….. which gets very steep further down, so steep that at this point we can’t see the bottom because of the convex curve of the hill and which makes you feel as though you’re walking on the outside of a very large ball. We couldn’t see them from here but below us was a small group of walkers, some of whom were reduced to climbing up on all fours. Accompanying them was an elderly dog with extremely grey whiskers who seemed very reluctant to go any further leaving me wondering if they would get it to go any further. We also met a young woman coming up who was carrying a very small dog whose legs were no longer than the length of my hand. No way could that dog have negotiated the steepness but at least it was light enough to be tucked under an arm and carried up. Parts of the path had given way so we had to negotiate some very deep stepdowns. Some of them were much too deep for my little legs so I shuffled my way round them as best I could.

After a very careful descent on we go with J leading the way across the humps and bumps of Burnt Horse.

From Burnt Horse we have a very gentle descent back down to the gate we passed through earlier and the Cumbria Way path. A handful of walkers passed over the Cumbria Way as we were descending.

Back at the gate where the view of Great Calva is marred by the criss-crossing noxious lines of chemicals spewed out by those damned planes, and they were still at it as I took the shot.

Just before crossing over to the other side of the valley I took a look along the Glenderaterra valley, noticing another sheet of chemical covering forming over on the right.

Down the path, through the gate, across the two bridges and then we’re back on the same path we followed on the outward leg this morning. No sign of the dreaded bracken awakening from its winter sleep just yet but its only a matter of time.

Water pouring down Roughten Gill as we approach the concrete and stone bridge across it …..

….. and a longer view upstream from the crossing point.

Further along and we’re back at the un-named beck for a sunnier view of the falls than we had this morning. We splash through the shallow water for the second time today.

Bleaberry Fell and Walla Crag are back in view so journey’s end is not too far away now and …..

….. when Clough Head, the Dodds and the Helvellyn group come into view you know that just around the next bend the parking area will come into view and that you are only minutes away from placing yourself onto the soft and comfortable seat you left behind earlier on and that sheer bliss awaits you. Well, that’s it for today folks, we’re at the end of our walk today. I’ve had my grumbles along the way but in spite of those it has been good to get out and about again after such a long lay-off. Let’s hope that it won’t be too long before the next good weather day turns up.