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|Ill Bell partial pan >|
Date: 08 Mar 2004
Start / Finish: Staveley.
Maps: Outdoor Leisure 7: English Lakes South East.
|Day 1||Hollow Moor & High Street||11 miles / 3770 feet (17.7km / 1149m)|
|Day 2||Ill Bell, Rainsborrow Tarn & Sallows||10 miles / 1400 feet (16.1km / 426m)|
A circuit of the Kent valley fells, culminating in High Street and visiting a little known but beautiful tarn.
Crossing Barley Bridge, the lane leads N towards Park House and becomes an easy track that heads over Staveley Fell and Skeggles Water comes into view. Just after a wall gap at 473035, there is a permanently secured gate in a fence around Hollow Moor. Going through it (literally!) an easy climb NW on grass leads to the summit marked by an upright stone, with a good prospect of the Kentmere horseshoe of fells ahead. Following the NE ridge to a wall and easily crossing it, we descended N to the byway.
A good path climbs to the cairn on Shipman Knotts and shortly beyond we diverted R to Goat Scar for a good view of Tarn Crag. Rejoining the peaty main path, Kentmere Pike and Harter Fell are quickly reached. One of the next day main objectives, Rainsborrow Tarn, could be seen as a shining dot on the flanks of Yoke across the valley. Descending to the Nan Bield pass the jewel of Small Water comes into view with Haweswater beyond, and from the pass we descended about halfway to the lake where an inflow stream crosses the path and collected excellent water. Returning and climbing to Mardale Ill Bell, a short walk to the edge reveals Blea Water below. Rejoining the main path we ascended to High Street for the pitch. The grassy ground was frozen solid for a couple of inches and we had to hammer the pegs in with a rock. Through the tent porch, with the central fells silhouetted against a clear sky, the red sun set between Great End and Great Gable.
Waking to the bright glow of a silvery moon on the thick frost, a thin mist annoyingly formed just before dawn and blotted out the views, and was accompanied by a very cold easterly breeze. Walking to Thornthwaite Crag it was locally clear and we could then see that only the top of High Street was misted out in the Eastern fells. A good clear path leads S to the main summits of Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke. Descending E from the summit of Yoke past two pools on trackless but easy terrain, the seldom visited but beautiful Rainsborrow Tarn comes into view, poised almost directly above the final plunge into the valley. We could now see why it was so striking from Kentmere Pike - it was a sheet of gleaming white ice. There are also some smaller pools just below.
After lingering to enjoy this spot, we contoured the flank of Yoke following a partially ruined wall, but this was a little awkward in places and hard on the feet, and in hindsight it may have been preferable to ascend back to the main path. We collected some water at a tiny streamlet flowing through the wall. Crossing a ladder stile, the main path follows a wall across a peaty area where we diverged R to Garburn Nook. Just past a gate, a stile on the L gives access to Sallows, where the easiest line is SW to the brow then E to the summit. Descending SE past the stone butts, we followed a small stream S through a gap in Long Crag to the bridleway track and sheepfold at 443027. An easy track leads SE by Park Beck and crosses it at good stepping stones, then crosses Black Beck by a stone building to arrive at Ullthwaite Bridge. A bridleway heads S to Browfoot and the lane that follows the River Kent SE to Staveley.