I set off this morning from my base in Whitehaven with a view to ascending Hay Stacks and Fleetwith Pike from beautiful Buttermere. On arriving at my intended starting point, the hills to the east, including Hay Stacks and Fleetwith Pike, were capped in cloud. As the weather west of Buttermere was real good, I drove back towards Loweswater parking in the car park at Maggie's Bridge to instead ascend Gavel Fell, Blake Fell and Burnbank Fell.

Once suited and booted I set off along the track towards High Nook Farm.

Hills: Gavel Fell, Blake Fell, Carling Knott and Burnbank Fell
Date: Monday 27th December 2021
Company: Just myself
Distance: 12.1km, Ascent: 615m
Time: 3Hrs 30Mins


It was a beautiful blue-sky morning. As I progressed along the track I could see and hear numerous birds including a small flock of bullfinch and numerous redwing. I was not however carrying my DSLR .

Track towards High Nook Farm:

Nearby Mellbreak is incredibly steep. I ascended Mellbreak in 2014.

Early morning panorama towards Mellbreak:

Beyond the farm I was in two minds whether to also ascend Hen Comb. As there was now a stream and barbed-wire fences between myself and the long gentle ridge of Hen Comb, I opted to leave it for another day.

On looking back, it was nice to see Grasmoor. I ascended Grasmoor on my last trip to the lakes just a few months ago.

Looking back towards Grasmoor and Mellbreak:

The ascent of Gavel Fell, via Black Crag, was straight-forward.

Ascending Black Crag en-route to Gavel Fell:

As I gained height, the views got better and better. This really is a beautiful part of the Lakes.

Looking back towards Loweswater and Low Fell:

On looking east I could see the bank of cloud moving slowly west. I hoped my hills would not be engulfed in cloud as walking with great views is so much better than seeing nowt.

Black Crag:

Looking back:

The bank of cloud flowing over the hilltops to the east looked real nice.

Sun rising above Hen Comb:

Cloud-capped mountains to the east:

On reaching the top of Gavel Fell I visited the cairn and the summit (featureless). While at the summit, I could see that the cloud would be reaching me in a matter of minutes.

At the cairn atop Gavel Fell:

As I progressed from Gavel Fell towards Blake Fell I was overtaken by cloud. Instead of being engulfed, the wispy clouds added to the beauty of the surrounding hills.

Blake Fell in cloud:

Looking back to Gavel Fell:

It didn't take long to reach the summit of Blake Fell which is the highest of this group.

At the summit of Blake Fell:

On descending Blake Fell I was treated to a very brief Brocken Spectre, so brief that by the time I got my phone out of my pocket to take a photo, it was gone!

While these hills were relatively busy with numerous groups of walkers, no-one was ascending Carling Knott. I can only assume this is because it is not a Wainwright. I haven't a clue why Wainwright did not include Carling Knott in his list as it is a really decent hill. There is no way I would be bypassing this hill.

Heading for Carling Knott:

At the summit of Carling Knott:

If visiting Carling Knott it is worth continuing on a short distance beyond the summit to get great views across to Grasmoor.

Nice view from a short distance beyond the summit:

From Carling Knott I made my way out to my final hill of the day, Burnbank Fell.

Heading out to Burnbank Fell:

At the summit of Burnbank Fell:

While the summit views from Burnbank Fell are not as great as neighbouring hills, the view in descent is by far the best of the walk.

Stunning view during descent from Burnbank Fell:

Lovely Loweswater:

During the walk back towards the starting point, I passed a bench with a view. While it would have been good to stop for a seat to take in the views, I feared if I sat on it, it might collapse .

A bench with a view:

On reaching Loweswater I stopped to take a photograph. I need to return in the future to just walk round this lake as I have done several times for nearby Buttermere.

Looking across Loweswater towards Darling Fell and Low Fell:

The track from Watergate Farm back to the car park was busy with lots of people. I suspect most were walking round the lake.

A wonderful half-day out .