Sunday, 15 April 2012

Great Mell Fell

Great Mell Fell - 537m (1,762')
Completion Date: 11.04.12

The previous days tramping through the snow had taken its toll on some of our equipment. In particular, Katie's boots. They were soaking inside and out having had some sort of catastrophic waterproofing fail. So our first task was to try and find an outdoor shop and buy some new kit.

We headed over the river to Glenridding where we dropped into Catstycam Outdoors Shop. A clearance sale of last year's stock meant that we saved around 50% overall on our purchases (I love a bargain). The staff were really helpful and keen walkers themselves which meant that the information they gave was informative and knowledgeable. They have a good choice of stock tending to be of higher end specifications, so not budget equipment that lasts a short while before breaking or not being up to the task.

So, with the new boots, waterproofs base layers and various other shiny new things, we decided to test the equipment out on a couple of smaller fells (as it would suck to be up on top of Helvellyn with new boots that are rubbing). We decided to do the Mell Fell's, Great and Little.

After a short drive we found the lay-by at the south eastern base of Great Mell Fell. The weather was a contrast to the previous day with large swathes of blue sky visible and a gentle cooling breeze, perfect for walking.

Great Mell Fell is pretty straight forward, with a limited choice of ascents and descents. We followed the track along the southern edge of the wood and after a short while climbed over the style to start the ascent. We followed the path shown on the OS Map clockwise around the base of the fell until just after leaving the woods we found the track to our right that marks the ascent onto the fell top. Although the track isn't marked on the OS Map it is regularly walked and easy to follow.

Wainwright suggests taking a meandering route that follows the edge of the woods. It is clear that most people tend to choose a more direct route straight to the top as this route is clearly more used and worn out, however we are keen to make this Wainwright Bagging challenge about the walks as well, and not just simply ticking off a series of numbers. So we took the chance to change the gradient of the walk and take in some scenery, I mean, who are we to argue with AW?
First view of the summit.
As we approached the summit of the fell we could see the clouds in the distance rolling in. We hurried to the top in order to take in the views of the surrounding fells. Unfortunately the clouds beat us and we could only pick out some of the snow capped peaks in the Helvellyn range.
Great Mell Fell summit cairn

The descent off the grassy fell top was same route as the ascent, offering views of the north side of Little Mell Fell with its gorse bushes in full flower.

With the kit performing well we made it back to the car and set off towards our next destination, Little Mell Fell.


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