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My Dad David died 10.09.13 aged 69. He had a huge love of the countryside. He loved walking and was a keen angler. I was desperate to find and own an object that summed Dad up, after an insightful conversation with a friend, I remembered his walking boots. This set me thinking... How about stepping into them and going for a walk somewhere with a body of water (sea, river, lake, canal, pond, tarn...) and stunning, just as Dad would have wanted.... Here I go in 'My Dad's Boots'

Friday, 29 May 2015

The Lake District - Beacon Fell

The Saturday before the first May Bank Holiday was a wet one but this did not deter my latest MDB trip; glad to be back in the Lakes and this time the destination was Beacon Fell, not to be confused with the one I'm more familiar with in the Forest of Bowland. Beacon Fell is a Wainwright of sorts as he wrote about it in his later Outlying Fells guide. In addition to his seven pictorial guides the Outlying Fells is a book full of little accessible gems and I felt it was time I honoured one of these, so the beautiful Beacon Fell was recommended to me.

Map: Bing and Ordnance Survey

Beacon Fell is accessed by a little tarmac track just off the A5084 a little way along from Torver. I parked in a handy little lay-by, booted up, brewed up and grabbed my OL6 map and then took an immediate left onto the track. I walked along for around 3/4 a mile and felt a little disappointed to start this walk on tarmac but I was soon off it and climbing through a lovely wooded meadow. 

As I picked my way through an array of plants, trees and rocky outcrops the view opened up taking in Coniston and Selside Fells.  

I didn't just take note of the long range views I was also paying attention to the amazing variety of flora as I went. The verdant quality was also noted by AW. Here I found Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and Haircap Moss (Polytrichum commune) growing happily together in this micro landscape. 

The hooded flower of Lousewort (Pedicularis sylvatica) grows freely too. 

I love the tenacious quality of plants and trees to survive in rocky environments, this wind pruned Juniper (Juniperus communis) is a great example. 

As I ascended the view over to (l-r) Great Stickle and Stickle Pike and Caw opened up. 

Caw adds to the backdrop as you reach Beacon Fell's rugged summit..... When you reach the summit it's worth the hunt for the 'Blue Tin', as mentioned in the 2nd edition of AWs Outlying Fells, a geocache left to be discovered in the area.

On a clear day from the summit you should be able to take in Coniston Old Man, Wetherlam and Dow Crag..... But not for me today. I could however see the disused Reservoir at Plain Riggs.  

The path off the summit takes me towards a more local stretch of water, the lovely Beacon Tarn.

I love to spend time by water, as my Dad did.... So tea at the tarn while resting MDBs was a must. 

This beautiful and relatively shallow tarn (approx 26ft deep) is popular with wild swimmers and trout fishermen alike.... but perhaps on different days! 

There is a route that circumnavigates the tarn, to start The Cumbria Way runs closely to the western bank of the tarn and takes you directly to Wool Knott.  

Looking over the tarn to Beacon Fell.

Making my way up to the summit of Wool Knott.

From the summit of Wool Knott, you can see the Blawith Fells and a prominent Beacon Fell.

The onwards route.... Bleak Knott from Wool Knott.

A solitary Yew (Taxus Baccata) provides a figurehead at the far end of Beacon Tarn. 

An outflow, Tarn Beck, needs to be crossed to reach a small gathering of trees by the tarn shore.

These trees create a mini mixed woodland including a rather lovely and for me significant Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

I continue across Bleak Knott.

To the amusingly named Nutty Sheepfold. 

From there I pick my way down the fell side passing under the power lines that criss-cross overhead 

The view as I descend, of Coniston and High Light Haw and Low Light Haw.

And then looking northwards up Coniston to the Selside Fells.

The peninsula of Park Nab.

Then I was wowed by a fabulous miniature valley of beautiful buttery coloured wild Primroses (Primula vulgaris).

I was soon down back on to the A5084, I crossed over....

I made my way through the trees....

And on to the banks of Coniston. 

Once I had spend some time pottering about watching the moored boats bob up and down I made my way back to the road on the well made path through reeds. 

I walked for a short way along the road then found a pathway opposite Brown Howe to the disused quarry and on back to my car and a final brew before setting off.

The joy of this walk was the ease of the assent and the variety of views from the summit, the tarn side path and abundance of flora to be found.... a dream for any gardener and wild plant spotter. A really beautiful little fell. 

Till next time..... Tight laces. MDB x

Phil this was a perfect recommendation, a real treat, thank you! 

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