North Pennine Walks
Date: 2nd June 2007
Distance: 8.9 miles
Ascent: 1359 feet
Time: 3 hours 55 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY646418
A fine walk with easy gradients to the top of Melmerby Fell before a rougher section to Fiend's Fell.
Route Summary: Hartside Cafe - A686 - Maiden Way - Meg's Cairn - Melmerby Fell - Knapside Hill - Fiend's Fell - Hartside Cafe
1. Melmerby Fell and the Maiden Way
2. Aglionby Beck
3. Meg's Cairn looking south to Cross Fell
4. The top of Melmerby Fell
5. Approaching Fiend's Fell
6. The trig point on Fiend's Fell
7. Black Fell and Hartside Height
8. Thack Moor
Walk Detail: Despite having badly hurt my left knee walking up Scafell Pike the previous weekend I still wanted to get out for a walk and I hoped that by choosing this walk, with its undemanding gradients, that I would be okay.
After the initial walk along the main road I was able to branch off along the old track where I was able to indulge in watching the numerous curlews and lapwings in the area. The Maiden Way was a well made rocky track which seemed to go on for a very long time with very little change in scenery.
I had been looking forward to some sweeping Pennine views, and while I did get these, it was too hazy to get any half decent long distance photos. Whether it was the dry loose stones on the path or whether it would have happened anyway but about a mile from Meg's Cairn I knew my knee wasn’t right and by the time I got there I was having some quite uncomfortable twinges. As a result I didn't descend westwards to look over Melmerby Scar but followed the ridge to the summit.
The summit of Melmerby Fell was all cropped grass except for the decent sized cairn behind which I sheltered from the wind to eat my sandwichs. Under normal circumstances the rest of the ridge walk would have been supremely easy and a real joy to stride out but unfortunately it was not to be.
After visiting the nice rash of rocks marking the minor top of Knapside Hill I carried on with some difficulty and by the time I got to the top of Fiend's Fell I was in some considerable pain. After another brief stop at the summit I carried on back to the car park now full of motor bikers.
It would be a further two months before I could manage a hill walk without knee pain. Had it not been for the knee this would have been a fantastic stride and had it been less hazy the views would have been first rate too.