An enjoyable if somewhat moist exploration of some of the minor hills above the western banks of the River Lune including High Fell, Wakebarrow Scar and Talebrigg Hill.
|Parking:||Old Scotch Road|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
In August 2016 the Yorkshire Dales National Park was extended to include the Orton Fells, the northern Howgill Fells and much of the Lune valley north of Kirkby Lonsdale. Whilst I had already explored most of these areas the one exception were the small hills above the west bank of the River Lune.
In March 2017 I did a fantastic walk from Beck Foot over Firbank Fell and Knotts. At the time I also had on my to-do list a walk further south visiting some small hills and lakes to the north of Old Town. While some sort of route in the area has been added to my annual to-do list over the last few years I’ve just not never got round to it – until now.
"Following this around to the left brought me to the modest outcrops of Wakebarrow Scar. With much of the bracken already turning, the small limestone scars, reedy channels and occasional patches of purple heather this was really colourful country."
My original plan had been to start at Old Town or Mansergh but while there are plenty of rights of way in the area, for me to visit the places I wanted to would also require a lot of road walking. It was during a late evening read on the Summit Bagging website that I saw someone mention a layby on Old Scotch Road near Talebrigg Hill. This looked to be very convenient for two of the tops I wanted to visit so I re-planned my route accordingly.
It should be noted that Old Scotch Road is very narrow with very few passing places. As I discovered on the way home after the walk, the grass verge is just wide enough to avoid oncoming tractors!
From the layby (grid reference SD597855) I walked south back down the road until reaching a sign for a bridleway. Turning right on this I got my first view of High Fell. The track reached a gate with a fish symbol. Beyond was a good view of Wyndhammere, one of a number of small but little seen lakes in the area. The map shows the bridleway passing through the gate and then through some trees. However, the signs on the ground point you in the direction of the little dotted line on the map.
Having passed to the north of the lake the path doubled back up to High Fell House. After a short way along the latter’s access road I then turned right on to a bridleway. This climbed a pasture to pass through a gate and onto an enclosed grassy track. By this point I had excellent views back across Lunedale towards Middleton Fell (Calf Top) and Castle Knott.
I followed the track until it emerged into a field. I followed the wall on my right until reaching a gate at about grid reference SD583852. From here a thin path climbed gently up the hill with the turbines of the nearby windfarm coming into view. A short detour across grass soon brought me to the summit of High Fell marked by a trig point, called High Audland on the OS database.
The 360 degree panorama was quite exceptional. It included a long line of Lakeland fells, the Howgill fells, Calf Top, Gragareth and the northern Bowland fells. The nearby windfarm also featured prominently.
After taking a number of photos I walked over to the nearby broken wall and located the top of the track which is marked on the map. The top of the track was deeply rutted and quite wet. As it wound its way down it gradually improved though it still had its moister moments. I followed the track down to pass through a couple of gates. The next section continuing along the track down to a bridleway is not a public right of way or on access land but it is very short.
Passing through a gate I turned right along the bridleway heading in a north-easterly direction. Crossing over the windfarm access road the path became more indistinct. Passing around a small outcrop it led to a gate and onto a pasture above a gorse lined stream. There were cows and a bull in the field but they didn’t bother me. This was a good job as my only means of escape would have been to launch myself into the gorse.
After crossing another field I emerged on to a minor road. Turning right on this I followed it until coming to a junction. Turning left back on to Old Scotch Road I looked for a way to access Stone Park and Wakebarrow Scar. Not long after the road passed above a stream I came across a handy gate on my right. So far the walk had been just outside the National Park’s boundary. From this point the rest of the walk was in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The area marked as Stone Park on the map was quite wet and marshy in places. I found it best to stick close to the bracken.
Eventually this brought me to the stream that the road had crossed earlier. Following this around to the left brought me to the modest outcrops of Wakebarrow Scar. With much of the bracken already turning, the small limestone scars, reedy channels and occasional patches of purple heather this was really colourful country.
Continuing along, a wall descended from one of the scars and turned into a fence. About after about 30m I spotted a section of fence with no barbed wire so hopped over. Slanting back up above the Scar I then made my way towards the 240m contour line on Park Hill. As I approached this I saw across the wall the obvious summit of Green Park Hill. This is slightly higher than Park Hill but is not on access land.
Leaving behind the temptation of Green Park Hill I arrived at the top of Park Hill to have the most wonderful view of the Lune valley appear below me. Sedbergh, backed by the Howgill fells also featured in the view as did Holme Knott, Calf Top and Castle Knott across the other side of the valley.
After spending some time taking in the view I descended through grass and bracken trying to find a way to link up with the public right of way to the north-east. A narrow path through the bracken led me to a sizeable gap in the wall at about grid reference SD607874. From here I continued on a thin wet path, squeezing through bracken and gorse to reach the public path. Turning right on this I passed through a couple of gates on to a field.
The path faded but I soon came to a gap stile and small footbridge. Crossing the latter I turned right up to the house at Harprigg to gain the latters access road. After all the wet ground I’d crossed it was with some relief to reach a bit of tarmac. I followed the access road down to a crossroads. Crossing straight over I continued on the quiet country lane passing the Egholme Farm. There were more good views of Calf Top and Castle Knott from the road.
As the road passed through some woods I spotted an OS cut benchmark on the wall at grid reference SD609856. Soon after I took a bridleway slanting up to a ruin. Just beyond I crossed a stream above a small waterfall. It is worth noting the route of the bridleway follows the dotted line on the map rather than the green dashes. The bridleway emerged out of Park Wood on to a pasture where the path abruptly disappeared. Continuing up the pasture I came to a gate.
Passing through the gate I continued on a once again clearer path following the trees bordering Kitmere. Another secretive body of water, Kitmere is surrounded by trees and a barbed wire fence. As the track reached a small brow I detoured up to the right to visit the unmarked top of Talebrigg Hill. Here High Fell came back into view along with some of the Lake District fells. There was also another good view of Calf Top and Castle Knott. Retracing my steps back to the path I could see a fair amount of Kitmere. Turning right on the path it was a short walk back to the road and the layby where I’d parked the car.
Although modest in height the hills I’d visited had some pretty big views. The panorama from High Fell was superb. Meanwhile I’d rate Park Hill as one of the best viewpoints for the Lune valley. There were some wet and scrappy sections but also some very colourful countryside. Definitely worth the effort of going.