TEA AND MORE, HBG MK4 - 14.7.19


On a fine July morning twelve members, including three from Northumbria, gathered in Hallbankgate. The walk started along a disused railway track, part of the legacy of mining in the area. We soon abandoned the railway though and headed to Coal Fell, really just a couple of terraces so named as the location of the Roachburn mine. The memorial still stands to the miners who lost their lives when the mine flooded a century ago. Little other evidence remains, a demonstration of nature’s restorative powers.

From Coal Fell we headed East past Greenside and Roachburn farms emerging onto the A689 at Hanningburn gate. Deer fencing has been installed recently as their numbers are increasing but we saw no sign. Now it’s back along the Sustrans cycle route to Tindale where evidence of former mining abounds. Also flourishing was a plethora of wild flowers with orchids in abundance. A view across Tindale tarn shows ample bird-life too. But thoughts stray to coffee and a break at RSPB Geltsdale is hard to beat.

Sufficiently limbered up we are ready for more serious ascent. Beyond Howgill we joined the track towards Cold fell. First, however, we must deviate: no path in evidence but at the stile we head a bit North of East straight up the fellside to achieve our first summit of Tindale fell whose cairns can be seen from the A69 far below. No time to rest though as our second peak can be glimpsed a kilometre or so away, although the path is not direct. No orchids here in this sour land but plenty of bilberries and also cloud berries, although not yet fully ripe. Less rain in recent months means the going is soft but relatively dry; our main objective of Cold Fell is soon achieved and lunch bags opened. Sufficiently replenished we head on to our final summit of Tarnmonath Fell before a steep descent over grass and heather to the bridle path.

It’s now easy going past Gairs, the former mining cottages, then at “the green” a turn to the north takes us past Kirky fell to join the road into Forest Head. Another old railway track now takes us onward but we leave it before Clesketts to take the path to “the park” and then to “High fell”. Only Clement Leazes farm is now between us and Journey’s end. And so to Peel House where tea, coffee and cake did not disappoint.

The statistics: 12 people, 7 hours, 16 miles, 700 metres of ascent, quite a bit of cake and my thanks to all who came along to share a lovely day in this remote part of the Pennines.