Lake District Walks
Date: 6th August 2011
Distance: 6.1 miles
Ascent: 1970 feet
Time: 4 hours
Start Grid Ref: NY141209
A steep but memorable climb up on to Mellbreak preceded some wonderful views and a return along the shore of Crummock Water. Fantastic.
Route Summary: Kirkstile Inn - Kirkgate Farm - White Crag - Mellbreak North Top - Mellbreak - Black Beck - Low Ling Crag - Green Wood - Park Bridge - Kirkstile Inn
1. The Kirkstile Inn is a great starting point for the ascent of Mellbreak
2. Lisa in the early stages of the climb up Mellbreak
3. Lisa looking back down to the Kirkstile Inn
4. Crummock Water
5. The main summit of Mellbreak from the North Top
6. The tiny summit cairn on Mellbreak
7. Buttermere and Fleetwith Pike
8. Crummock Water and the Buttermere Valley
9. Scale Force hidden in the trees
10. Lisa on the mini peninsula of Low Ling Crag
11. Red Pike from Low Ling Crag
12. Lisa on the grassy path as it leaves Crummock Water
Walk Detail: When Wainwright describes a route as, 'HIGHLY RECOMMENDED', you know it is definitely one to try. Thus when I was thinking of a nice way for Lisa and I to spend our 16th wedding anniversary I came up with the plan of combining an overnight stay at the Kirkstile Inn followed by the ascent of Mellbreak from Loweswater that Wainwright was so enthusiastic about.
The forecast for the day featured lots of rain and all the way through the fine cooked breakfast that was served up at the Inn I kept peering out the window looking for signs of the approaching deluge. As we set off it was certainly cloudy but as the cloud level was well above Grasmoor, which is much higher than Mellbreak, I felt confident we would be okay for at least the first part of the walk.
From the Kirkstile Inn it is only a short walk to the start of the steep climb up the southern gable end of the mountain. The ascent proved to be every bit as enjoyable as I'd hoped. Although some sections of the path was little more than scree for the most part it zig-zagged up rather effortlessly. As height was gained quickly the views north expanded rapidly and despite the cloudy skies visibility was good enough to see the distant Galloway hills in Scotland.
Mellbreak has two distinct summits separated by over half a mile. The northern most summit is the slightly lower of the two but has two fairly well built cairns, a complete contrast to the tiny construction marking the summit of the southern top. The ground between the two tops was surprisingly moist by Lake District standards but this just us gave an added spring to our step.
Walking a short distance from the south top brought into view a magnificent panorama of Crummock Water and Buttermere with the distinctive profile of Fleetwith Pike at the head of the valley. After soaking up the view whilst enjoying a light snack we then began our descent to Black Beck and its confluence with Scale Beck. It was a fairly steep drop down mainly on grass and unfortunately Lisa began to get some pain in her knee. Thankfully this eased off as we got down to flatter ground.
Our route of return, via the western shore of Crummock Water, was enitrely delightful with a fine array of fells across the lake and the steep eastern face of Mellbreak directly above us. Having stopped for another quick bite to eat on the curious little peninsula called Low Ling Crag we continued north along the lake shore before finally leaving it behind for a brief interlude in Green Wood and thence back to the Kirkstile Inn.
The walk promised much and certainly delivered. What was even more remarkable, on a day when most of northern England - including much of the Lake District - was hit by a heavy downpour, we only had a few light spots of precipitation which couldn't even be described as rain. The view of the Buttermere valley from the southern end of Mellbreak was majestic and I certainly hope to return there, camera in hand, on a brighter day.