Pottering on the Outlying
Lack of time put the higher more distant fells out of bounds , and with mist and low cloud maybe a good day to ‘potter the short and easy slopes’ of the foothills, to quote Mr W.
Brunt Knott and Ulgraves were still on my list of outlying fells and not too far away and may be the damp drizzle would lift?
Optimistic; even Farleton Knott was invisible as I left the village.
Parking my car the rain washed deep colours in the verdant foliage along the lane with cloud hanging low overhead.
At least with all the water the falls put on a good show as I set off to follow Wainwright’s Potter Fell route.
What looked like a solid white barrier of cloud guarded the path up the hill towards Brunt Knott. Two walkers emerging out of the gloom told me they were going back to walk along the river as the mist was far too thick.
I thought about turning round for a split second, then decided it was hardly worth putting myself through the pain of Mountain Leadership training if I couldn’t find my way across the fells in the mist, and anyway it might burn off. Ever optimistic.
The route was fairly easy to follow at first. Walls and clearly stomped paths through rampant bracken, but conveniently as I crossed the last wall before Brunt Knott, the the thick white stuff enveloped me and I could see little further than my map. Deliberately weaning myself off my GPS I had no choice but to use my compass. Even though it is clearly in an upwards direction there is quite a largish flat area over 400 m where I could envisage myself wandering around trying to find the top.
Much to my surprise and delight I almost walked into the trig. My training had not been in vain.
Move around a trig-point in the mist and you soon forget which side you walked up. I needed to go down the correct side to find another wall, which would lead me a couple of K, more or less, to Ulgraves. Armed again with compass, I headed back down the hill. And hoped.
I practically danced a jig when the mist lifted and I was exactly where I wanted to be!
Not only did the mist lift, but the rain stopped for a while. So with my precious wall at my back I sat down and opened lunch. Only for it to start to rain again a few minutes later. Then I remembered I had a Rab ‘shelter’, another ML purchase, in my bag. An ideal time to try it out. My lunch was finished cocooned in synthetic, ultra light, bright orange. Admittedly it did the trick, me, backpack and lunch all remained dry, even if the fantastic view of mist and rain was blocked. I even warmed up.
Sojourn complete the next two K was an easy plod up and over a couple of nondescript hills, following a wall most of the way. The cloud shifted about giving occasional glimpses down in to Long Sleddale. It remained firmly fixed SE where Ulgraves ought to be.
Compass and map again and I was on my second trig of the day.
Long Sleddale from Ulgraves
Right on cue the cloud lifted from the hill revealing undulating landscape of Potter Fell dotted with small tarns.
Foot path back to Potter Tarn
The rest was easy. Just followed my nose down to Gurnal Dubs, what a wonderful name, and picked up the public footpath back to the road. Well it was almost easy. There are a few wiggles in the last part of my route. My paranoia over cows with calves resting on the path made me deviate slightly.
May be I’ll go back when the weather is a bit better. The Outlying fells are harder to navigate than the high up ridges!