West Fell, High Pike and Carrock Fell

Walk date – 19th November 2020

Distance – 6 miles

Weather – Cloudy start, sunny later, nippy north westerly breeze

Yet more days of rain and wind have passed since our last walk but today was looking good and we left home in an Eden Valley bathed in sunshine and blue sky. Approaching Blencathra along the A66 you couldn’t miss seeing a long and unbroken line of cloud stretching from the northern fells down to who knew where and which none of the forecasts had mentioned. Oh well, nothing for it but to turn off the A66 and carry on along Mosedale as planned in the hope that the damned thing would eventually shift and allow us some much needed sunlight. Cars were beginning to park up along the road below Carrock Fell but we carried on a little further and parked off road up the hill just beyond the ford across Carrock Beck, from where we could pick up the less frequented route to High Pike across West Fell. We didn’t see a soul until we reached one of the old mining areas below High Pike after which we met dozens of walkers, no doubt all  of them hoping to enjoy a sunny day’s walking. The morning was very dull thanks to the very long line of cloud which seemed to take forever to drift away but, about  12.45 pm, it eventually did and the afternoon weather was just glorious. Everywhere was very wet underfoot but our gaiters were up to the job, now all I need to remember is to wear my winter weight trousers next time we are out, its getting just a bit too nippy now for anything in a lighter weight.


 Quaker Hill – Sunny Bank – West Fell – High Pike – Drygill Head – Miton Hill – Carrock Fell – Carrock Beck – Quaker Hill

Carrock Fell from our off road parking spot on the narrow lane on Quaker Hill. The ford across Carrock Beck is about a hundred yards down the hill to the left. No problems finding the start of the path as its right opposite the parking area.

The path heads towards Sunny Bank, the light coloured low rise just ahead, West Fell is the greener hill behind it. High Pike can just be seen on the left skyline. The low light conditions came courtesy of the bank of cloud overhead.

Looking ahead as we climb West Fell we see brighter skies are likely to occur at some point but its a long line of cloud so it’ll be with us for a while yet. As the photo shows there’s not a whole lot to look at for the time being.

On the top of West Fell now with High Pike ahead of us on the centre of the skyline. Drygill Head is to the left of High Pike.

Drygill Head …..

….. and a closer look at the deep gullies below it.

Still plodding on towards High Pike with the cheery sight of larger patches of blue sky appearing. Unfortunately the sun is positioned a little behind us to the left and the cloud bank is only moving very slowly so its going to be some time before any sunlight lands on us.

Carrock Fell from one of the old mining areas on the slopes of High Pike. We’re now on the main path up to the summit so we begin to see lots of other walkers dotted here and there across the landscape.

View of the the north Pennines on the distant left skyline as we take a look back towards West Fell and Carrock Fell. Cloud free and sunny over there, ho hum.

Looking beyond Carrock Fell we can just see that the tops of Bowscale Fell, Bannerdale Crags and Blencathra are enjoying a sunny spell. Still as dull as ditchwater across here though.

High Pike’s summit and assorted ‘furniture’ with a glimpse of Carrock Fell just beyond.

The summit was empty when we arrived so I grabbed a few quick shots while I could because we could see a large group was fast approaching via the Calebreck route off to the right of the shot. In the distance the cloud has descended low enough to shroud the top of Skiddaw.

I moved away from the summit and the large group now gathered there for this view across the Solway Firth where the hills over in Dumfries and Galloway were standing out clearly in the sunlight. Cumbria’s coastal plain is dulled by the same cloud bank that we are under.

Looking to the south west from High Pike where that bank of cloud refuses to budge from Skiddaw.

Blencathra on the skyline as we begin to descend High Pike and walk across Drygill Head to pick up the path over to Carrock Fell.

Looking towards Carrock Fell as we pass one of the many gullies below Drygill Head.

Bowscale Fell, with a smidge of Bowscale Tarn just visible below it, and Bannerdale Crags as we cross over Drygill Head.

Heading towards Miton Hill as we gain the path over to Carrock Fell.

Miton Hill’s soggy bottom, although to be fair to Miton Hill everywhere we walked today was soggy thanks to another week’s worth of rain, rain and more rain.

Looking back to Drygill Head and High Pike from the path up Miton HIll.

Carrock Fell summit from the cairn on Miton Hill and then …..

….. three minutes later somebody put a bob in the meter and the lights came back on again! That pesky bank of cloud had finally drifted away and put smiles on the faces of every walker in the vicinity, and shouts of ‘Yay’ were heard across the fell.

Looking back across the usual quagmire between Miton Hill and Carrock Fell summit. It rarely dries out fully, even after a three week drought in high summer there’s always a mushy patch somewhere, but today it was a very wet crossing indeed, hardly surprising though given all the rain that has fallen lately. Our gaiters definitely came into their own across here. Over on the left is Round Knott and with a zoom in you might be able to spot a lone walker coming this way. He had to zig-zag his way across too.

Heading up, over the rising and relatively drier ground, towards the rocky top of Carrock Fell …..

….. and a look back, from just below the summit, towards High Pike on the right and Knott over on the left.

I took several shots of the cairn and the summit area but couldn’t decide  which one I liked best so I’ve included all of them …..

The River Caldew and the Cumbria Way path alongside it with the Skiddaw group on the skyline.

High Pike and West Fell as we begin to descend from the summit. Our return route will take us down to the right and straight into the shadow of Carrock Fell so we can say goodbye to the sun for a while.

High Pike and West Fell as we reach the valley bottom and head towards the little crossing over Carrock Beck …..

….. but it wasn’t to be had today. A little further up the beck we had dropped down to an established crossing which would have taken us very neatly back on to the Quaker Hill path we’d started out on earlier. On the opposite bank were two chaps who we had exchanged greetings with as we were approaching Miton Hill and they were heading for High Pike. We each searched our respective sides of the beck looking in vain for anywhere which offered a sensible place to cross over. As none of us were able to find one there was nothing else we could do but to continue walking along our respective sides of the beck until we reached the bridge at the ford crossing the lane a little lower down.

The afore-mentioned bridge at the ford crossing the lane. The ford is normally little more than a trickle and the bridge is often not needed but the water level, and the speed of flow, was rather too much for walking boots to deal with today. Once across the bridge we only had a short walk up the hill to where the car was parked and where we were back in the sunlight again. A sun sandwich of a walk today, a cloudy start, a sunny middle and a shady finish. Best of all it didn’t rain so, all things considered, a good day all round. Now, if you’ve got five minutes to spare why not take a listen to the following –


and if that one isn’t available try this one –


The man giving it what for is Dr. Roger Hodkinson, ex-Chairman of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Examination Committee in General Pathology in Ottawa, former Assistant Professor and now the CEO of a biotech company that manufactures Covid tests, tells Government officials in Alberta (on the Community and Public Services Committee) that the current coronavirus crisis is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting public”. These remarks were secretly recorded by one of the people present. The good doctor certainly doesn’t hold back and tells them what he thinks in no uncertain terms. WOW!