Yorkshire Dales Walks
Fountains Fell & Knowe Fell
Date: 5th November 2005
Distance: 11.3 miles
Ascent: 1961 feet
Time: 5 hours 10 mins
Start Grid Ref: SD814696
This, my second visit to Fountains Fell, was just as wet and soggy as the first.
Route Summary: Helwith Bridge - Long Lane - Pennine Way - Fountains Fell - Fountains Fell Tarn - Fountains Fell South - Knowe Fell - Rough Close - Sannat Hall Farm - Moor Head Lane - Helwith Bridge
1. Looking across Ribblesdale to a cloud covered Ingleborough
2. A pot hole at Dub Cote Scar
3. Pen-y-Ghent from Dub Cote Scar
4. Looking back along the Pennine Way towards Pen-y-Ghent
5. Matt standing above Churn Milk Hole
6. Approaching Fountains Fell
7. By the summit cairn on Fountains Fell
8. Hill fog over Fountains Fell Tarn
9. Tongue Gill
Walk Detail: We knew the weather was not going to be very good and when Matt suggested we revisit one of our previous walks I chose Fountains Fell because I felt I hadn't seen anything last time so at least if the weather was bad again I wouldn't miss anything.
When we began the ascent of Fountains Fell the cloud was not too low though and despite the rather dull initial stage up Long Lane we did come across an impressive pot hole on Dub Cote Scar. This was eclipsed though by the even wider and deeper Churn Milk Hole. From Dub Cote Scar we also enjoyed increasingly good views of Pen-y-Ghent.
Were it not for a bit of stomach cramp caused by my overeating the night before I would have quite enjoyed the climb up the steeper side of Fountains Fell. I was quite surprised to find a decent sized crag although the deteriorating weather conditions meant I couldn't get any decent photos of it.
The summit of Fountains Fell was pretty much like the last time I was there although visibility was a fraction better and it was not raining yet. The highlight of Fountains Fell was the tarn which looked almost endless thanks to the low cloud cover. All in all it made the whole place very atmospheric.
We lunched on the small rise that is apparently worthy of being called Fountains Fell South before we followed the wall/fence all the way south to Knowe Fell. As with last time we came across some quite spectacular spongy ground which we call 'blancmange'.
Another item of interest was a thin pond next to the path which, unusually for a sheet of water so high up, had an abundance of plant life which made it look like the surface was covered in fallen leaves.
The last time we visited Knowe Fell it was almost the saviour of a very wet walk as it afforded us a good view of the Three Peaks. Not this time though. In fact we had to descend all the way to Rough Close before we had any kind of visibility. The most memorable thing about the descent was the carcass of a sheep which was almost perfectly preserved except for the toe nails which had fallen off and the skull which had been completely picked clean.
The area known as Rough Lands certainly lived up to its name although we had fewer problems crossing walls than I thought we would. The little valley of Tongue Gill (or I guess Silverdale) containing Sannat Hall Farm and the impressive manor house of Neal Ings looked very attractive and secluded. The final leg was on another dull rocky track enclosed by walls.
All in all this was a reasonable walk and there was not too much disappointment about the weather as it was exactly as expected.