Arthur and Bill Baggin
After a miserable drizzly Saturday, Sunday had to be the day to go up a hill or two. Early on snow clouds hung low in the sky, but by the time we reached our staring point, Maggie’s Bridge, Loweswater, blue sky had broken the grey. There is a small National Trust car park at Maggie’s Bridge, NY134210, a convenient start point for several tracks and trails around Loweswater and the surrounding fells.
Our first hill of the day was to be Floutern Cop. Conveniently a bridle way, signposted High Nook Farm, climbed slowly up the hillside almost all the way to the ‘Cop’.
North over Loweswater
Having done a few of these lesser trod hills recently I have become used to hopping over moss, sliding through steeply sloping woodlands and wading through bogs, so a track gently etched into the hill side was a most relaxing start to the day. What’s more the weather was being kind, the visibility was good and there was a real opportunity to enjoy everything that Arthur and Bill championed, with the seemingly endless hills stretching north to Scotland.
Unfortunately, as the map shows, the handy green dashes don’t quiet reach Floutern Cop. It comes to an abrupt end and between this point and the top of the Cop, several thin blue lines converge along with a plethora of little green hummock sketches. As the ground was frozen, circumnavigating the sphagnum moss and tussocks was a far drier experience than I expect it will be in spring. Though merely 451m Floutern Cop is one of those almost perfectly round hills. A pudding basin turned upside down. It was just big enough to hide Floutern Tarn and Crummock Water and just high enough to be covered by a dusting of white, making me feel, almost, as though I was back in Zermatt. Well may be not…
So, then to a Wainwright. Hen Comb. It wasn’t so far away, with only a bit of a dip down and then back up again. But what a difference 100m makes. Twenty minutes of relative calm before the proverbial storm. As we reached the top of Hen Comb the same wind which was creating a visual delight of blue and white pushed in a snow storm and near white out. I made it to the top by convincing myself there was an Alpine restaurant and rosti waiting for me. As it was, there was just a pile of stones and certainly no incentive to hang around.
A hasty descent north again to Little Dodd, the flurries disappeared, the ground turned greenish and we could see again. Mellbreak looking just as formidable and black as the day I ‘conquered’ it a few weeks ago. The track from Little Dodd peters out at the intake wall but it was a pleasant and easy walk, following a sheep trail, along the wall and over Whiteoak Beck to finally retrace our steps by High Nook Farm and back to the car.
Snow blowing from Grassmoor
If you are into ticking things of lists this relatively short walk, 9.2k will take off a Wainwright and two additional Birketts (‘The Birketts’ are the 541 fells described by Bill Birkett in his book ‘The Complete Lakeland Fells’. The book covers all the fell tops over 1000 feet in the English Lake District National Park). Food and drink a the Kirkstile Inn.
More pictures here and the map…
..and the Wainright book