On Place Fell

Five years since we were last up Place Fell and how the world has changed? It seemed time to a revisit, particularly as I’m trying to get hill-fit. As it happened I was better going up than I expected. We did a short walk from Sedbergh last week, just a few miles on footpaths and I felt whacked afterwards. But I felt much better up on Place Fell and fine up on the summit.

On the way up

I often find footpath walking much harder going than being out on mountain and moorland. Whether it’s because you can see further and it’s all psychological, I don’t know.

Looking towards the Helvellyn Edges

It was just so pleasant to be back in the Lake District – although we live nearby, we stuck strictly to home in the lockdown and just touched its fringes when the rules were first eased.

The Top

I always think Place Fell looks stunning from Patterdale. It is the hill’s best side, for it slopes away into a long moorland slope on the other side. Lovely hill in all its variety.

Looking down to Glenridding

We went up the easy way via Wool and Boardale Hause, and were fortunate to be up before most of the Sunday crowds. A stunning day, warm with the gentlest of breezes on the top. And clear views north to the Pennines, across to Helvellyn, still with a few patches of snow, and Red Screes and Dove Crag looking magnificent.

Fell View South

A rather wonderful day.

Lakeland Cottages

Text and pictures (c) John Bainbridge 2021

By John Bainbridge

Rambler, hillwalker, stravaiger and trespasser, access campaigner. Novelist writing historical and period crime fiction.


  1. We managed Place Fell on one of our very few visits to further-away-Lake-District last year. Otherwise, I pretty much stuck to my local hills all year – NW/Northern Fells. Patterdale is just about my favourite walking area in the Lakes though – I hope I manage to get back there again this year.

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      1. No – that’s what’s got really worrying about the Lakes now. Before, you just had to wait to walk in the week and avoid the weekends – now they just won’t go home! 😦 They’re here all the time and always ‘taking the day off’ to go walking. I swear those who work from home only do so in the evenings now and have all moved up to second homes in the Lakes. Some even come into the shop proudly admitting that 😦 The last thing the Lakes needed was a population explosion…

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      2. It is hard going – reminds me of Northern Dartmoor, and quite a climb to start with.


      3. I ascended via an old mining track from the little village of Kirkland (plenty of parking too and only 2 other cars). It was a nice route up but it’s around 5.5 miles to Cross Fell summit which, by Lakes standards, is a very long way! I then did some rough country walking from Silverband Mine (below Great Dun Fell) to reach the gill above Grumply Hill (great name) and descended via that. I then went past ‘The Hanging Walls of Mark Anthony’ but wasn’t sure what I was looking for really and back to the village on that footpath. Good job Richard wasn’t with me!

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      4. And that track you went up is the old corpse road, along which they bought the bodies over the Pennines for burial.


      5. it was a great track until after the mines – then it was the usual bogginess and fairly sketchy. On the ridge it’s a great track though isn’t it. The work they’ve done with the slabs between the hills is admirable.

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      6. Didn’t realise that. Can’t see the boundary of the danger area on my map – it just says ‘Danger Area’. The hills I’m interested in are: Roman Fell, Long Fell/Tinside Rigg, Pattinsons Allotment. Actually, just looked on the 1:25000 and the boundary is on that – they have everything down to the road! Do you know anything about access times? It can’t be barred all the time surely?


      7. They allow 12 weekends a year, plus sporadic non-firing days. They tell you to stick to the paths (rights of way) because of unexploded ordnance (Not a bother to me, I’m used to it on northern Dartmoor) and none of the paths go to the summits. However, if you look on line you’ll find that people do do the tops. Details on the Warcop range MoD site.


      8. Well, I WILL be doing the summits when I go as I’m one of those people who doesn’t really see the point of setting off without a summit-type target. I had a feeling there’d be unexploded ordnance – I’ll have to keep my eyes open. To be honest, I always look where I’m putting my feet anyway, especially on rough country.

        I found a number to ring for days they’re open and was very disappointed to see it was mainly weekends – I hate walking at weekends when it’s busy (not sure if it gets busy there though?). I’ll keep ringing until they mention a day in the week I think and hope I get reasonable weather on that day…

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      9. I suspect it’s never very busy up there. We will be doing the summits when we get round to it.


      10. There are lots of farm fields and enclosures if you go up from Warcop, I think. Whereas from Murton you are straight out on the hill.


      11. There are two routes out of the Murton car park – the path to Murton Pike and a path going right as you look towards the Pennines. The latter leads towards Roman Fell.


      12. I saw that on the map – thanks John. I was going to go over there today but went to Haweswater instead. I got soaked and it looked fine across your side so I made the wrong choice!

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      13. If you do the pike first, you get a very good view towards the forbidden fells.


      14. Yeah I was going to do the Murton Pike/High Cup Nick walk first. Then have a mooch down to have a look at access/paths/potential parking etc. when I come back from the walk. Do you know if there’s any ‘sleep-in-the-car’ spots around Murton without being in the village? I might want to spend a couple of days in the area rather than keep driving from here…

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      15. We often see modest camper-vans who’ve clearly spent the night in the Murton car park.


      16. Well, I’ll be even less intrusive as I’ll be in a car! I don’t generally sleep in villages though out of respect for the villagers. Having said that, I used to regularly sleep in Burley village carpark in the New Forest as I found the wilder carparks pretty scary there! You’d wake up in the night with heavy breathing and something rocking your car – it would usually be a horse but you never dared open your eyes for ages in case it was a strange bloke!

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      17. The Dufton one? or the Murton one? I parked in Dufton in a carpark and it was near the green and more or less opposite the pub. There were public toilets. That was right in the village. Is there another one?

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  2. That really does look a rather wonderful day, John. It must have meant all the more to be back after such a lengthy absence, and what a place to get hill-fit! Another enviable walk and stunning photography. Like the new-look website. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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