Hill: Mellbreak
Date: Friday 15th November 2013
Company: Just myself
Distance: 10km, Ascent: 635m
Time: 3Hrs 10Mins

The weather today was fairly good except for low cloud down to 600-700m. I therefore had a flick through my guidebook for an interesting hill below 600m in an attempt to stay below the cloud. Mellbreak seemed to fit the bill nicely so I drove from my base at Thirlmere to Kirkhead near Loweswater.

Instead of paying c.£7 in the car park, I parked free of charge just beyond the bridge near the Kirkstile Inn. Parking charges in the Lakes are mostly extortionate. However, if you look a short distance away from the formal car park you can usually find some free parking.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

On looking out my car windscreen towards Mellbreak, the ascent up the North ridge looked dangerously steep. I therefore read through the guidebook again which confirmed that the way up was not as bad as it looks. I therefore got suited and booted and set of walking towards Mellbreak.

Mellbreak from Kirkhead:


I initially walked along a road past a farm until reaching a gate leading into a small wood.

Ascent through small wood below Mellbreak:

After ascending through the small wood, I continued up grassy ground towards the steep base of the hill.

Looking back to Loweswater:

Fells around Loweswater:

The initial scree slope was excellent – a diagonal line rising towards the face. As I gained height the scree became less good and the path less well defined.

Start of steep scree ascent of Mellbreak:

Looking back down the scree:

Looking back down the scree:

Once above the scree I followed a narrow twisting, turning path leading up through the various steep sections. There are several short sections of easy scrambling during the ascent and you do need to take care given the substantial drop below. This ascent route is no place for a slip.

Looking back during steep ascent:

View during steep ascent of Mellbreak:

The narrow path led me onto the top of several small bumps during the ascent.

Looking back during steep ascent:

Above the steep section it was a relief to reach much easier ground a short distance away from the North Top. The North Top of Mellbreak is only 3m lower than the summit top circa 1km away.

Onto easier ground, approaching Mellbreak North Top:

It was disappointing not to get great views from Mellbreak. However at least I managed to stay below the cloud, as planned.

Cloud-covered Grasmoor from Mellbreak North Top:

The walk from the North Top to the South Top was nice and easy albeit fairly wet in places. It was nice to walk across heather instead of grass or rock.

Heading from the North Top to the summit of Mellbreak:

On reaching the summit area I had a walkaround to ensure I visited the high-point before continuing Southwards to descend towards Scale Force.

Looking back to the North Top from the summit of Mellbreak:

Buttermere wasn’t looking at its best today. It looked much nicer four months ago when I undertook the Dale Head horseshoe.

Buttermere from just beyond the summit of Mellbreak:

Crummock Water and Buttermere:

Descent from Mellbreak:

Looking back to Mellbreak:

View during descent:

As I approached the base of the hill I decided to take a short detour to visit Scale Force.

Scale Force:

From Scale Force, I opted to return to the starting point by traversing round Crummock Water.

Looking back towards Scale Beck:

Looking across Crummock Water to Grasmoor:

While the views from the lakeside path were ok, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the path. It was fairly wet in places with lots of annoying rocks which slowed me down.

View across Crummock Water:

Steep Eastern crags on Mellbreak:


Approaching High Park and Low Park:

I got back to the car 3Hrs 10Mins after setting off (including the detour to the waterfall) which I suppose was not too bad compared with the guidebook time of 5Hrs. A tortoise could probably undertake the walk in 5Hrs! Another successful trip to the Lakes comes to an end. In the past year I have visited the Lakes three times ascending 6 Furths / 44 Wainwrights / 21 Marilyns.

The Mountains of Scotland are great but so are the Lakeland Fells.

The Lake District is a relatively small, compact area with a large number of fantastic walks and scrambles up excellent fells. If you are based in the Lakes you can get to almost anywhere else in the Lakes within an hour. Many of the lakes are very scenic and part of what makes Lakeland special for me is the wide variety of beautiful trees. Scotland in comparison is just a mess of pine, excluding Scot's Pine of course. If you don't like crowds visit off-season but do visit. I am already looking forward to my next trip, hopefully in 2014 .