Trivia: In 1996 Denis Norden filmed an episode of Alright on the Night on location at Great Cockup. Apparently, the amusingly named fell is the source of all human error. I often used to see Denis Norden when I lived in Golders Green. God bless him!
We got a good 15 miles in today. It was cloudy, which meant we got a little bit disorientated on Knott, visiting it three times, we were looking for the track to High Pike but couldn't pick it out in the cloud and snow. Here's the route we did take (click on the photo to enlarge it):
The back of Skiddaw fells are almost like another world compared to the rest of the lakes. Grassy and, in places, boggy with no real scene stealing superstar of a fell, they are much more suited to running than walking.
|taken from the car on the way there - Longside Edge in front of Skiddaw|
We took the track from Peter House farm, going through some farm gates until we parked up where the track splits and you need a 4x4 to go any further. The eastern split forks off to Skiddaw House, the northern one to Dash Farm. We took the northern split and then headed up onto the fells alongside Brockle Crag, a rocky prominence on the side of Little Cockup, noticeable for the quartz that runs through the rock.
|Dead Beck with snow on the steep track that leads to Bakestall|
After about a mile, we headed steeply up a grass track to the top of Little Cockup and then steeply up again to Great Cockup.
These ascents were not actually that steep but it was the fact that we were running up them that made them more difficult.
Gerrard led the way, getting into a rhythm, taking little steps to get to the top of each climb. I made good efforts, much better efforts than I would have done had I been on my own, but I had the distance and energy preservation in mind so ended up walking after a while.
|Heading for some Cockups|
From Great Cockup, we headed down a pleasant grassy descent, getting windy and rocky at the bottom into Trusmadoor, a narrow valley bottom. This was a nice test out of my knee, which has been diagnosed as arthritic, and it seemed to hold up well. From this point, we made another, see how far you can run it, ascent up to Meal Fell.
Unusually for fells in this area, Meal Fell has a distinctive top. It has a sort of amphitheatre shaped top to it, with a large cairn shelter at the summit.
Next, we headed east to Little Scafell, turning sharp left (north) once we had gained the high ground to bag the summit before turning back on ourselves to head towards Great Scafell and then on to Knott.
We hung around for a bit on the top of Knott. Perhaps this was our mistake (or cockup), because we ended up turning back on ourselves and heading back to Great Scafell. We were looking for High Pike, which would have been a turn off heading east from Knott, but instead we ended up heading back north west. At Great Scafell, we did a loop around and headed back to Knott. There was a rock on top that somebody had written on with a marker. We saw that rock three times today!
|Jonathan and Andy on a grassy climb with Bakestall in the background|
|Little Scafell windshelter|
|Knott good navigation!|
On the second passing of the Knott summit cairn, we decided to head straight on and try to find a track heading left (north) to High Pike.
This track proved to be elusive and we ended heading onto Coomb Height until we started descending and decided to loop around, ending up in a dry top branch of Burden Gill.
We decided to descend into the gill and then followed it up back to high ground where we joined up with a track taking us to, err... Knott.
Now I'm not a fan of looped running courses at the best of times but I was having fun today. I really didn't care about the multiple Knott visits, it was all good miles in my legs as far as I was concerned. There were some largish snow drifts on the higher ground. Jonathan managed to fall into most of them. The ground was boggy and wet in places but not particularly bad. Some of it seemed to have a slight frost in it which gave a degree of firmness.
|somebody else has been this way - hang on Sherlock, I think it was us!|
|climbing out of a misty Burden Gill (up to Knott of course)|
We headed straight on, at least that way we had a chance of not getting to Knott again. At Great Scafell (also visited three times) the cloud lifted a bit and, after a little stop at Little Scafell, we decided to head over to Brae Fell, which was clear of cloud at this point.
The run over was very nice. I was impressed with myself for running the whole way despite being on about ten miles at this point.
Brae Fell was a new Wainwright for me so a group photo was in order. After getting a shot of the grass, I managed to balance my camera in the wind and get back before the countdown timer clicked. From Brae Fell, we looped around to Longlands Fell, then back up to Lowthwaite Fell, "a good training hill" according to Gerrard, before curving around the side of the Cockups to the bottom of a steep climb up to Meal Fell. Gerrard gave two options but we all opted to take on the steep climb, through snow.
|Knott sure which way to go now|
|running over to Brae Fell. Most of the terrain is like this|
|Brae Fell group photo|
|climbing back up to Meal Fell|
|Over Water from Longlands Fell|
From Meal Fell, we continued to Great Cockup, that gentle downhill not seeming so gentle when going back uphill. From the top of Great Cockup we headed down to the wall that we crossed at the start near to Brockle Crag and then trotted the half mile or so back to the car where I found out that there are few pleasures greater in life than a clean and dry set of clothes.