24th May 2008

"an" Old Crown Round


Walk Overview
Time 06.50 to 17.50
Duration 11 hr
Distance 25.7 mile
Ascent 7400 ft
Walking with Andrew Leaney
Hesket Newmarket - Pasture Lane - Calebreck - Carrock Fell - Swinside (road end) - Bowscale Fell - Blencathra - Mungrisedale Common - The Stake - Skiddaw House - Sale How - Skiddaw - Bakestall - Dash Beck - Brocklecrag - Great Cockup - River Ellen - Longlands - Charleton Wath (ford) - Fell Side - Nethe Row - Street Head - Hesket Newmarket
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Hesket Newmarket

The 'proper' car park in Hesket Newmarket would be my first choice if I were setting off from here. Should it be full however, the village still offers plenty of roadside parking,


Route Map

Early morning in Hesket Newmarket.
Today's walk saw us undertake The Old Crown Round; a walk or run that challenges you to visit Skiddaw, Blencathra, Carrock Fell and Great Cockup. These are actually the names of four beers brewed at the Old Crown in Hesket Newmarket. The rules for the challenge are that you must reach all four summits, start and finish in the same place and complete it in under twenty hours. The flexible side to the challenge is that you can start anywhere you like and you can take any route you like.

After the walk we went into the Old Crown to sign the log book and "claim" our certificate of completion. While we were talking to the guy in there, he told us that High Pike was being added to the challenge, so I suppose we'll have to do the walk again. One thought is to do the walk on the day it's re-launched, hopefully we could then claim to have briefly held the record for the quickest time. The current record stands at a little over three hours.

Early morning sunshine along the road to Carrock Fell.

High Pike seen from our route up the northern flank of Carrock Fell.

Carrock Fell summit; our first fell of the day.
In the far distance, just topped with cloud, is Skiddaw. Over four and a half hours later and we'd be standing up there.

From Carrock Fell we took an off path route down to the end of the Swinedale road where we were faced with the job of crossing the River Caldew. This proved to be easier said than done, and in the end there was nothing for it but to wade through the water; bare foot. As cold, slippery and awkward as it was, about two miles before the end of the walk when my feet were throbbing, I'd have willingly paid for the same experience.

Bowscale Fell, and although it's not part of the actual challenge it was still included on our route. Needless to say we weren't, but had we been out to break the record for the quickest to complete the round, we would have skirted around the summit to keep the ascent to a minimum.

We bypassed Bannerdale Crags and headed across to the col which separates the River Glenderamackin and Blackhazel Beck. From here we followed the path up Blue Screes to Atkinson Pike and Blencathra.

A close up of Threlkeld, the A66 and Threlkeld Quarry.

I know it was still only mid morning, but the summit of Blencathra was surprisingly quiet. Although I'm sure in a couple of hours time it would be a different story.

PS. Skiddaw still looks an awful long way off.

Perhaps this is a controversial thing to say, but I find the much maligned Mungrisdale Common to be a fantastic place.

Many people would describe themselves as peak baggers, with the summit itself being their main aim, in which case I can understand why Mungrisedale Common would rank pretty low on their list of favourites. But I was never bothered about planning or striving to get to the summit of a particular fell for that first ascent. A bit naive I know, but for years I honestly didn't realise that was what people did, and I certainly didn't know that there were "lists" out there that people challenged themselves to complete.
When we first ventured onto the fells we had no grand plan and no challenge; the first ascents just came and went, not without satisfaction I should add, but certainly without ceremony or celebration. My biggest sense of achievement came from walking new routes and linking familiar routes together to gain a greater knowledge of the place. In my early days of fell walking, routes were planned which would get me into new areas, and if the route happened to include a new fell top then that was just a nice bonus. As I've said before - there's more to the fells than their highest point.

If I was asked to make a list of fells I enjoy for the "mountain" experience then this one, as with most other people, would be in the bottom half dozen. More importantly to me personally, if I were asked to list the places I simply enjoy being at the most, then Mungrisedale Common would be in the top half dozen.

The cairn on Mungrisedale Common seems to have gained a piece of metal.

A close up of Skiddaw House.

Standing next to the wall around Skiddaw House, with the pointed top of Great Calva on the left of the picture.
And now for the long walk up to Skiddaw. As with all the other steeper ascents today, the accelerator simply didn't work. So it was a case of switching into HGV mode; ( put it in a low gear and chug - chug - chug your way to the top of the hill ).

The impressive looking Ullock Pike ridge seen below Skiddaw summit, where I should tell you it was blowing gale.

Great Cockup (right) looks quite small from here, but after all the "downs and ups" on this walk I knew the walk past Brocklecrag was going to hurt; which as it turned out, it did.

The route from Bakestall to the road below Dash Falls offered us some of the clearest and grandest views of the day. Predictably so, but it also presented us with the steepest descent of the day.

There it is, the high point on the left; Great Cockup.

Brocklecrag with Binsey in the distance.

Great Cockup summit.

Leaving Great Cockup with a view across to Binsey and Overwater.

It was quite a nice afternoon now, as we neared the bottom of Great Cockup's grassy northern ridge. We were almost out of the wind and it was much warmer than it had been on the tops; just right for the long lower level walk back to Hesket Newmarket.

The route to the end of the walk skirted around the edge of the northern fells, taking us through some lovely countryside.


Not far to go now.

It's a pity the guy who was told to paint this a nice shade of green so it would blend in with the surroundings was colour blind.

Eleven hours after setting out we arrived back in Hesket Newmarket.
The amount of regular walking I do did nothing to prepare my feet for this walk, which is about double what I'd generally call a decent fell walk. From the start, I'd consciously slowed down on the steep ascents and descents to preserve my legs, and I'd intentionally ate little and often to maintain energy levels. Both of these seemed to work, as I didn't feel excessively tired and my legs weren't aching much more than they would on a walk of half this length, but my feet; they were killing me by the time we finished. Every step was painful and had the walk been much further, then I'd have questioned how wise it would be to continue.
Having said that you can't help but feel a great sense of achievement.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks