Following a long day out in the Coniston Fells, day six of my autumn trip was reserved for something a little easier going! With my attention still on Wainwright’s Southern Fells, it was time to head for the area’s two lowest fells – Black Fell and Holme Fell.
I had pre planned a circular walk from Skelwith Bridge, and although it would require some on the spot modifying and improvising, it would be a much more relaxed affair with plenty of time to enjoy the scenery!
I took the morning Langdale bus service for the short journey to Skelwith Bridge, beginning the walk at around 9:45 am. Taking off southwards, first crossing Skelwith Bridge itself, I opted to change my planned walk along the A593 for a kilometre, when I noticed just how fast the traffic was blasting along the narrow road! Fortunately the good old Cumbria Way was nearby, and I ducked onto it to take a longer, safer route.
With Skelwith Force so close, I took a quick detour for a look at the pretty waterfalls, before continuing along westwards.
Before reaching Colwith Force, I got off the Cumbria Way for a necessary 0.5 km of road walking, with just a 100 m on the busy main road that I took as quickly as possible.
Happy to be on a footpath again, I made my way up the lower slopes of Black Fell, aiming for the stone wall that bisected the high point of the fell, Black Crag.
I took a slow casual wander towards the 322 m summit, having a luxury of time rather than a mad bagging rush, and was happy to find a nice trig column, psychedelic style bent wall and a nearby felled tree!
All round views took in the Fairfield Horseshoe, Langdale Pikes, Coniston Fells, Ambleside, Windermere and Esthwaite Water.
For my descent off Black Fell I went south, past Iron Keld and into Iron Keld Plantation. Through the sparsely populated trees, I followed the path onto a wide bridleway, and then onto a footpath down to the northern tip of pretty Tarn Hows.
As I reached a stile, I disturbed a couple, improvising a table, and apologetically got over and out of their way!
I took a slow mender along the lake shore path, following the western bank of the popular tarn. The path was a lot more populated than I am used to when out walking, courtesy of the convenient parking nearby.
Clear of the tarn and back on a narrow footpath, I headed for the start of the ascent to Holme Fell.
Through a field, a horse grazed on the long grass, refusing to pick his head up for a good photo!
The path up Holme Fell offered a glimpse down to little Yew Tree Tarn, and the quick ascent meant I was eager to explore one of the lower tops to the north , before continuing on for the summit of the area’s lowest Wainwright fell.
From my vantage point, I saw a couple of walkers coming down from the double summits of Holme Fell, and after making my way back to the main path, I was soon on my way up.
First reaching the lower eastern top, then onto the 317 m summit, the highlight being a view over the full length of Coniston Water and over Lingmoor Fell to the Langdale Pikes.
Relaxing over along lunch in the afternoon sun, I reluctantly begun my descent, heading north past a few small disused reservoirs.
A few hundred metres of road walking led past a disused quarry at Hodge Close, where a steep drop surrounded a large pool of dark stagnant waters below.
After another few kilometres of walking, I joined up with my outward route at the base of Black Fell, simply reversing my route for the journey back to Skelwith Bridge.
Once again with a little time to wait for the bus, I was glad to take advantage of the bar in the Skelwith Bridge Hotel for a well deserved drink!
Only one day remained of my autumn walking adventures for 2016 and for the final day I had some big ones planned – Bow Fell via the Climbers Traverse and Great End!
Time: ~ 7 Hours
Altitude: High: ~322 m/ 1056 ft
Low: ~50 m / 165 ft
Distance: ~ 11 Miles / 18 Km
Wainwrights: 2 – Black Fell, Holme Fell