The Vault Regulars

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ponsonby Fell. Cumbria. NY 08198 07026

The blog has been quiet of late. It has been an enforced quiet due to a long standing problem with my back. It’s never perfect and it cannot be repaired, according to my Neurosurgeon.
For some reason over the past month it has been playing up and it’s been too painful to walk more than a couple of km.

However, a while ago we booked a weekend at Gosforth Hall in SW Cumbria and with the good weather forecast decided to go anyway and just do a short walk or two.

I decided that Ponsonby Fell fitted the bill as it was easy walking and not too far if i had to make a early retreat. So that’s just about the crux of the post.

Ponsonby Fell is in the Wainwright Outlying Fells book and stands at the unremarkable height of 315 metres or 1033ft if you prefer and is classed as being part of the Pillar family of hills.. Wainwright does the walk as a circular route through Bleng Forest but we had done this section many times, and with all the logging that takes place in this area i decided not to chance it and chose my own easier route.

If you collect tops Ponsonby Fell is also a Birket, Synge and Tump. Wonderful names.

Leaving Gosforth Hall on a lovely spring morning we went east towards Wellington Bridge, passing Dorothy’s previous residence which still looks in fine fettle and then leaving the main road to go left along a minor road following the river.

This minor road is quite steep in parts but is a quiet backwater and pleasant enough, passing some manicured gardens to admire. At the junction for Hurlbarrow, NY07070473, signpost accompanied by a wellington boot for some reason, we joined the land rover track north.

Reaching and passing Hurlbarrow Farm we inadvertently scarred a few sheep that bounded off from some outbuildings as they heard our voices which then set the farm dogs off barking.
Unfortunately for us the haze was increasing and visibility of the surrounding hills was reducing to just an outline. Our goal was still not in sight.

Reaching a gate and then across Scargreen Beck the route had to be checked. The obvious way, especially if in conversation, can be easily taken and bends away to the west towards Scargeen, but this is not the route. We needed to go NW, which on the ground is not an obvious path as a low wall is crossed and then a second tributary of Scargreen Beck is crossed before following a hedgerow above on the left hand side.

After another couple of fields and stiles we joined a land rover track leading to Laverock How.  After a hundred yards at a new gate on the right the “path”, again not obvious on the ground follows the boundary fence NE. Now on open fell the ground becomes more tussock grass and boggy in places.
The views open up and our top is visible. It’s a shame that the extensive views of the higher fells cannot be seen. To our west the sun is dropping fast and the Power Station can only be made out by silhouette.

At this point i guessed that Dorothy was getting a bit tired but we were close enough to carry on rather than call it a day. My back was holding up and i wanted to get to the top. Across the valley we could see the ruin of the Farmery, an isolated farm which dates back a long way. It was certainly a working farm in the early 1700’s but i cannot find out when it was built.
Through a gate in the boundary fence, across another boggy section brought us to the final gate before the last uphill section.
The bog was deep here and especially so around the gate itself which had to be waded. Another couple of hundred yards and we were into knee deep bleached grasses for the last section to the small rocky cairn.

The “top” has two distinct high points and the cairn is on the southerly one. Normally we would have great views from here but today Haycock, Seatallon and the Wasdale Screes were nowhere to be seen.

The return route was the same as the outgoing except when reaching Wind Hall we left the road and took the short cut path back to Gosforth passing the Holy Well.

Route Map. The walk was a surprising 10.5km and had taken us a slow 3.5 hours. 

Approaching Hurlbarrow farm

 Crossing Scargreen Beck
 MF 860 Backhoe Loader.
 The abandoned and ruined Farmery
 Approach to the last gate and Ponsonby Fell. Cairn on RH Top.
 Ponsonby Fell Cairn
 Visible Swainson Knott
Before the descent. A well earned 5 minutes.


Sir Hugh said...

Very interesting. I was just researching a reasonable route for this one still on the list of W's Outlying to do. W's description seems to be over complicated. Watch my space - there will be be a reelvant post ere long.

Best wishes with the back. Hopefully it is one of those passing niggles.

AlanR said...

The AW version is OK.I have walked through Bleng Forest and across to the back of Ponsonby Fell before. If my back was 100% i wouldn't have hesitated from doing it. However the route i picked was enjoyable. We will look forward to reading your account.

Dawn said...

You have my commiserations Alan in regard to having back troubles. Looks as if you had a cracking walk though. Blue sky too!

AlanR said...

Thanks Dawn, I feel ok at the moment apart from a dull ache, but i just need to let it settle down.
The west lakes is a good area to wander as its quiet. We never saw a soul all day.

afootinthehills said...

Interesting post Alan and hopefully the exercise will help recovery. Best wishes for a return to normality soon.

AlanR said...

Thanks Gibson. I was pleased to be out and completed without any deterioration. I didn't push it by going out the following day and the tablets are a help. Hopefully after Easter's walkies I will be fine. Fingers crossed.

Maria said...

Lovely, sunny outing!

Too bad to hear about your back. Hope the exercise helps.

AlanR said...

Feeling much better now thanks Maria.

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