The intention was to tick off at least four off the Birkett list, this time from the far west of Cumbria, clinging to the Lake District before it falls off to what’s left of the industrial coast and the Irish Sea. But short days, irritated farmers, day-glow jackets along with inappropriate way markers were to conspire against us.
Park at Lamplugh Church, NY 089 208, and you will find an inviting stile with a path heading towards the first hill, Owson Fell. Unfortunately the right of way does not quite go ‘all the way’ to the access land and though I have seen several blogs saying ‘just ignore’ the unfriendly signs, they really are impossible to miss and I would think the land owner is well ‘issed off’ by those that do. The fact that I was also fairly unmissable in my new bright green jacket meant I could hardly sneak across the rather open space.
So, not being one to challenge authority, I opted to stay on the right off way and follow a path south ish to Fell dyke. Once there, it was a case of using the OS map and seeing where we could go and what we could see. There was a marked right of way up to Cogra Moss, pointing hill wards, so we heading up only to be a little thwarted by MAFF (obviously old) way mark arrows which pointed away from the right of way shown on the OS map, around a plantation. Being good citizens we stupidly followed them.
By now, having adjusted plans to go up Knock Murton, and just see what followed. I became unimpressed by Birkett Bagging. The underfoot going was squelchy and rough as well as being pretty steep. Advantage to the lack of path, though, was a distinct lack of other people. Can’t have everything.
On reaching the top I was appeased, where there was not only a well built shelter, but the Lake District hills
proper, unfolding west with Ennerdale Water to the south and over the Solway, Scotland. The next challenge was getting down, the other side. It was just a tad steep. Would have been far happier with skis on. Instead just slipped and slid down the peat track before deciding that negotiation of the heather roots was a slightly safer option.
The acute angle continued in the plantation, where larch branches proved unreliable handrails. The route redemption being the wonderful air moss and old man’s beard. Such an amazing colour!
Trees negotiated, it was an easy return by Cogra Moss, but at least the effort had ‘bagged one Birkett’. Not that that really bothered me, I just wanted to go for a walk!
Though I am sure there are some of you not quite as wussy as myself when faced with ‘no access’ signs, our outing did make clear the way to get to the other Birketts on Lamplugh Fell and north to Loweswater. Park at the car park at Fell End, NY 085 198. Follow the track, ignoring the footpath arrows, up to Cogra Moss and then use the forestry track to negotiate a way through the plantation northwards. I have attempted to plot it here. Will tell you when it has been tested.
More pictures from the day here.
Click below for Bill’s Book.